Kwadwo Antwi-Donkor

I remember in the year 2006 when I was 4 years old, we started church at home by ourselves. Please note that some of the information may not be very accurate as I am recalling what I can remember from a very young age.

I remember that in our Bible Studies we didn’t have Bible Study books, so we started from the book of John. We used to sing praises with tambourines in the living room, along with Uncle Sam (our piano teacher who played the piano) and offering was also done here to raise money for the church building that we had always been praying for.

We were joined by our cousin Uncle Yaw Stone a year later who played a major role in the Little angels when we got the church building in 2008. He was the one who told each of us to say, “Our song is entitled” before we sang each song (which I am glad we have maintained till this day), and along with Mummy, they orchestrated the Little Angels.

Within the first few months of receiving our new church building at Hazelbottom Road we began to grow in number. Composed of the 4 founding families including our own we were just over 20 in number (the majority being Congolese with a few Nigerians and Ghanaians). Additionally, the little angels grew to about 10 children, and every Saturday Mummy would show us how to do breathing exercise to improve our voices, as well as actions in songs, and smiling to the audience (although they were mainly chairing!).

Proverbs 23:13 was also applied to our lives at our tender ages, and every time we misbehaved during rehearsals we were corrected. The rod of correction taught me to respect my elders, to comport myself, and not to get too hyper (as you can tell I received the most canes!).

Although we had the church building, we did not have the funds to do rehearsals, prayer meeting, or watchnight at church, so all these activities were done in our living room, however we still enjoyed church.

By 2009 I remember we had our church laptop and all the songs were typed by Uncle Yaw Stone and the laptop operator was Nana Kyere, but this role transferred to me, and Nana Kyere played the piano instead along with Maame Konama. The role of praises was switched between Uncle Yaw Stone, Nana Kyere, Maame Konama, and I was always promised that I would stand at the front and lead praises (a promise that was fulfilled 9 years later!).

We were joined by Uncle Osei Asebay and Uncle Emmanuel at the same year, and we had Wednesday Bible Studies, rotating from the houses of Uncle Emmanuel, Auntie Esther, and Auntie Nelly thus Acts 2:42 was fulfilled.

Unfortunately, our number began to fall leaving the Donkor Family to run the church by ourselves once again. I remember at this time Mummy and Daddy always told us to pray for our church to grow in number, and over all 100 chairs during worship, anointing each one of them with our hands that they will become full one day, though I always doubted it.

By God’s grace we were able to do activities in the church to invite visitors to encourage the growth of the church. On about 3 occasions we made leaflets on Microsoft Word inviting people to come to the church to watch a movie and have a feast.

To our success, we were able to invite some of our neighbours who initially came for the food but still enjoyed the church! Additionally, during Christmas time, we invited our neighbour Jordan, who also liked the church, but then shied away after he was called, ‘Bible Basher’ by his school mates.

We were still determined to promote the church, so we invited Reverend Opanin Kwadwo Kyere from Ghana for a marriage seminar, as well as Singers Aunty Juliet Antwi and Aunty Serwaa Agyepong (2 singers from London).

For the first time ever, I saw that the church was full which greatly encouraged me, only to realise that they came for the seminar and not to stay; God still blessed us with our first seminar which was in October 2010. Though we were not many, God found favour in our eyes once again, and we were able to host another marriage seminar this time inviting the Scripture Union Leader Reverend Kwame Addu. Again, the church was packed with over 100 people for the seminar, but afterwards it was back to Donkor family.

At times it felt like it was a waste of time recurrently praying over the 100 empty chairs.

Eventually we made hundreds of leaflets, which we distributed to our neighbours as a family throughout Crumpsall, which seemed to me to be a waste of money and papers, as we obtained zero members after this.

One day we drove up Shropshire and God granted us with a drum kit. Although nobody knew how to play, God used my father, Pastor Geoffrey, as our church drummer for some time. Afterwards when Uncle Yaw Stone got married his wife, Auntie Eugenia became the church drummer.

God also blessed us by allowing us to finally use the church for prayer meeting around 2011. I remember on one particular Friday prayer meeting, Auntie Eugenia was playing the drums with all her might whilst it was just our family dancing in the church, and the next day she gave birth at her house whilst me and Maame Yeboah were there. This convinced me that the Lord was truly on our side.

Not long afterwards, we received members from the south upon which the Asamoah Family and the Dacosta’s joined; little did we know that God would allow them to stay faithful to us from 2011 till date. There was also other family like Mamma Larby who frequently joined us and helped us in our growth.

By this time Uncle Yaw Stone’s family moved up to Scotland and we were on our own again. At this time, we still did rehearsals at home, and Mummy was still the children’s mother, but her role was soon given to Auntie Adelaide after the Lord blessed us with the use of the Church building for Saturday rehearsals. Whilst we were doing rehearsals at home, Bengali who was evangelised to on the streets came to our house and taught the little angels a song in Swahili (Nani anapenda watoto, Yesu Yesu – Who loves children, Jesus Jesus).

Although we were now doing rehearsals in church, the rod of correction still followed us to keep us on the right path. Prayer tower was invented, and at the close of the year memory verses began starting with Joshua 1:8.

Additionally, I remember when I was 9 and Mummy wanted us to say the poem, ‘Thats my King’ for Easter. Experimenting with each of the kids we soon found that I was able to say the poem; from then on, I recited the same poem every year, and even memorised 2 more which I still recite today, furthermore I have been able to recite poems for this church.

Once again, God blessed us with our first church excursion; after raising some money, we went to Knowsley Safari Park in 2012 both to enjoy ourselves and promote the kingdom.

Additionally, we started our visit the Old People’s homes which were opposite the church; every Christmas from 2012, until we got kicked out by a new vicar for the Church in 2015 (A new king who knew not Joseph, Exodus 1:8). We will visit these people to give them basic needs like towels and coats, as well as food, thus we were witnessing as a way of life.

By 2012 we had more members and God increased our number. Given that we had a lot of children, children’s service was created, and we became separated into the Little Angels and Goodnews choir. We now had enough children to do Christmas and Easter plays, which we still do now. At this time, I was in high school but no matter how persistent I was about joining the Goodnews choir I stayed in the children’s group for 3 more years.

With further fundraising and prayer to the Lord, we were able to raise money for a church bus in 2013; before, God would use some of our members to drive to the south and pick up other members. Other times, the southerners used to commute to church in the back of Uncle Dacosta’s church van, which was dark and had no seats!

Soon our blessed Uncle Ben Makumator became church bus driver, as well as Nat and Uncle Dacosta; this shows the unity between our members at Goodnews. With this church bus, we drove to town to see our first Festival of Praise in 2013. In addition to this, we drove to the 3-day Audacious conference, as well as the 3-day Spree forest camp.

God had already told us at the beginning of the year, that 2015 is a year of taking over, and we took over indeed!

Moving into 2016, I remember that God told us it was a year of revolution; truly it was because this was the year I moved out of the children’s!

We also had our first Youth day, in which we got all the boys to sing for the first time.

2016 was also the year we started the prayer walk, the trip to Wales, and the Family Barbeque Fun Day.

Indeed, this year had been a year of revolution. Not to mention, we initially found needles and drugs along the streets whilst we started prayer walk in 2016, but God doing things in His own time enabled us to remove most of them from the streets by 2018.

God being so good we were able to host our first Youth Awakening Conference, along with the Bradford GMC church. In this 3-day conference we invited various speakers and did performances as a form of evangelism in town.

Again in 2018, we hosted our second Youth Awakening Conference which was a great success. Truly it has come with us to stay.

Standing on Romans 8:28, ‘all things work together for good’, and even though the church hasn’t been growing incrementally in members, we have done in Spirit and I believe the Lord has been with us from the beginning.

Indeed, the Lord has brought us far.

God bless you!

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