Apostle goes beyond the call of God

IN THE same way that Jesus Christ ascended on a mountain to pray for 40 days in the desert, Apostle Simon Mokoena and his 60000 flock, who usually go to a mountain in QwaQwa, Free State, at Easter, will now go to a new home - intent on putting all their challenges to the only being who can make a difference in their lives, God.

Mokoena and his congregation will from tomorrow until Sunday embark on their annual Easter mission. The difference this time is that they will be going to their new home - the Tyrannus City of Zion - near Bloemfontein Airport.

Mokoena says: "I used to be a member of the Rhema Church and when the Spirit of God approached me to do His work, I became Pastor Ray McCauley's student in 1995. After graduating, God led me to forming my own ministry.

"That is when I realised there are so many souls in dire need of God's grace. I feel so humbled and blessed that since that day, God has been taking the ministry from glory to glory."

Blessed with a beautiful, powerful voice, Mokoena also chose a musical journey in his life.

"Music is not only beautiful and a potent healer of the soul, but it is another vehicle that can be used to praise and worship God. That's what led me to start singing hymns and choruses in Sesotho.

"This not only made me happy, but it empowered my congregation and those who buy my music to understand clearly what is being said so that they can relate better instead of becoming detached, thanks to language barriers.

"Our ancestors never spoke the Queen's language (English) but they still managed to connect with God. Most of our members, especially the elderly, love the fact that in our church we pray, preach and sing in Sesotho."

This is something that has seeped deeply into his music, finding favour with his growing fan base.

When he started Tyrannus, Mokoena never dreamt that he would reach cult status and earn the respect and attention he so effortlessly commands.

To date, he has four albums under his belt. Lefika laka seems to have found resonance with the masses and he believes it has already changed lives.

"The deeper you get into your career, the more you learn what people want. The message and content on the album is for people who are in pain and disappointment. Through it, they will understand themselves and heal," Mokoena says.

Amicable, reflective and dignified, the revered apostle says that in his albums, the latest of which is Hlabelela, he has fused old and new hymns as well as new compositions. "I wanted to stay where people were moving away from, forgetting that our language is rich with idioms."

Mokoena has recently signed a contract with EMI for the distribution of Bawo. "I suppose things would have fallen into place with my other albums - like Baba Hamba Nathi, Jehova Modimo and Modimo Wa Ntate - if I was not focusing on building the church."

BESIDES his church and music, Mokoena shares the word of God with thousands ofviewers on e.tv, SABC1 and Gaborone TV.

Mokoena has also developed a reputation for helping the destitute without being coerced. He is known for rebuilding people's destroyed houses, regardless of their church affiliation, and helping students.

Recently, he helped a boy, Itumeleng Mocwa, who suffered from severe asthma and needed a machine to help him breathe. The boy could neither play nor go to school. The machine has made a huge difference in his life.

"It is our prayer that God helps the ministry to build a village that will develop and make the people of God self-sufficient," Mokoena says.

"It is good to pray but it is also good to see your dreams realised, then it becomes easier to testify on God's miracles," says the apostle who is forever on a mission to help make other people's lives easier.