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The Life of Surprise

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Mr Sithole and me

Mr Sithole and me

On the third day of my visit at Iris Ministries South Africa, I was helping the men and children to cook food on a women’s conference. Suddenly a jeep with the Iris logo appeared, and out stepped a man whose big smile I recognized so well. “Surprise! Wow, I’m so glad to meet you! I’ve read your book!!” The smiling apostle shook my hand, told me I was welcome, guided some ladies to the jeep and then pointed at me: “Micael, get into the car!”

We dropped off lady after lady until we arrived to the house of the last one, where all three of us entered. There was a very, very thin and weak man. I didn’t catch what condition he was suffering from, but I eagerly joined Surprise in praying for his healing. Then we left, and Surprise drove me back to the conference.

I met this man’s wife last Thursday. He has had severe problems with his liver and kidneys as well as TB, and has not been working since October last year. However, now he started to feel much better, he went to the doctor last week – and the doctor pronounced him 100 % well. He started working again last Wednesday. Glory to God!

This first meeting of mine with Surprise Sithole was very Surprise-ish. In his book Voice in the Night, he shares his amazing life story. He was born in a family of witch doctors in a small village in Mozambique. At the age of 15, he heard a booming voice in the middle of the night: “Surprise! Get out of the house! If you do not leave, you will die.”

Surprise with the children at Village of Hope

Surprise with the children at Village of Hope

Surprise obeyed (he thought it was one of the spirits) and took his friend Gafar with him out in the jungle. They walked there for two weeks until they arrived at another village where a Christian man, Mr Lucas, was waiting for them. God had told him to take care of two boys coming from the jungle. When he told this to them, they wondered who God was, so he led them to the Lord. Soon, they received the news of that a rivaling family of witch doctors had killed all of Surprise’s family. He was the only survivor.

This painful conversion formed Surprise as a radical soul-winner, because he didn’t want anyone to die without knowing Jesus Christ. He and Gafar travelled from village to village, preaching the Gospel. The Lord called them to Malawi, and soon they were on the island of Chikusi, gathering people for a prayer meeting. There, they discovered that the people didn’t understand their language, and they didn’t understand theirs. Surprise started to preach anyway, and suddenly God did a miracle. He was preaching in Chichewa. Everyone surrendered their hearts to Jesus when they saw this miracle, and a church was planted in that village. Surprise still knows Chichewa. Even the first Bible he owned was in that language!

As he has continued to preach in different areas and cultures, God has continued to provide him with new supernatural languages. Including English. The same thing has happened to his wife Tryphina. I asked him how this works in practice, and he simply answered that the details belongs to the Lord, but he basically don’t know a language the first second and then suddenly he does.

Surprise is also known for having prayed for eight dead people that have come back to life. I’ve met one of them, Francis Shongwe – pastor for Iris Ministries in Clau-Clau. In September 2003, he was violently beaten by a gang, went to heaven, woke up in the hospital where he had been pronounced dead, and even though his clothes where filled with blood his body was healed. He said that even though he initially was sad to leave Heaven, he was glad that pastor Surprise prayed that he would come back, since he now could continue preaching about God’s love. Directly after he left the hospital, he went to the police station and forgave his murderers, demanded their release and led them to Christ.

Another time, Surprise had a dream where he saw a man rise from the dead. The next morning he received news that a man had died so he went there only to realise that this was the same man he had seen in his dream. He started laughing and rejoicing, and the man got up.

The Smiling Apostle

The Smiling Apostle

And then we got the food multiplications. He is writing in his book how he was in Maputo just after he had met Heidi and Rolland Baker and connected with Iris Ministries in the mid-90’s. Iris was going through some serious troubles, the Mozambiqian government had confiscated their orphanage so that they had to move everything to their small office, including the hundred children they were taking care of. And they didn’t have food to give them. A lady from the US embassy called Nelda Lawrence brought some food for Heidi, Rolland and their two children. Heidi blessed the food and started to give to her hundred children. And there was enough for everyone. They even got left overs.

I was doing an interview with Surprise a couple of weeks ago and asked him about this food miracle in Maputo. “Oh, there has been three food multiplications in Maputo!” he replied. He told me about when Georgien Banhof where bringing chicken to the kids there. They got 500 pieces of chicken but fed 2000 people, one piece per person. Then Surprise told me about how he went to Malawi during the big drought in 2001 with a friend from Australia. They managed to feed 24 districts with 10 000 dollars. “God multiplied the money AND the food!”

All right, this blog post is getting too long already and I haven’t even started writing about the amazing prophecies, supernatural protections and life-saving healings this man of God has experienced. Please read his book. And/or come to Mbombela and hear him yourself. In a more and more secularised world, we need wonder-workers like this whose lives are screaming HOLY SPIRIT. As Surprise told me in the interview: “There is no single doubt in me. I believe fully that God is alive. I believe the sick can get healed. I believe the dead can rise. Others wait to see before they believe. I believe for me to see.”


  1. […] of Iris Ministries South Africa is to a large extent the story of Surprise Sithole, a man of God who has experienced many miracles. In the mid-90′s, shortly before he connected with Iris, he received a prophetic word from […]

  2. […] this video, Pastor Surprise Sithole shares two testimonies in Iris Revival Church, Nelspruit South Africa: Firstly, a church member has […]

  3. […] tänker på min vän Surprise Sithole som varit nära att bli martyr flera gånger efter att han lämnade animismen och gick till Jesus […]

  4. […] around today. We’ve got rid of the title, not the ministry. Modern apostolic leaders, like Surprise Sithole, are indeed doing amazing miracles and have been called and appointed by Jesus in supernatural […]

  5. […] point with animism in that it says that we should pray to God directly. This is for example what Surprise Sithole claims to be one of the main differences between animism and Christianity. To charismatic theology, […]

  6. […] Africa this summer was to meet and do a interview with their leader Surprise Sithole. Surprise has, as I’ve written before, had an amazing life with many miracles as he has been preaching the Gospel and helped the poor in […]

  7. […] from poverty. When I visited Iris Global’s South African branch I met Surprise Sithole who has raised eight people from the dead and who is a passionate advocate for poverty […]

  8. […] an Indian language called Ho at a pastor’s conference, and my other friend Surprise Sithole has learned many languages supernaturally. God is alive, and He is international. This is one of the many wonderful messages of Pentecost. […]

  9. perpetual says:

    I greet you man of so touched of your story I pray that you keep on that way from your calling dont Let anything change you from this blessing.i believe that my On problem is over through your prayer sa well.Amen

  10. […] on a minor thesis in systematic theology on belief in miracles. I will compare Pentecostal pastor Surprise Sithole in South Africa, former arch bishop of the Swedish Lutheran Church KG Hammar, and pope Francis. One […]

  11. […] Suddenly, he heard a voice, calling his name. He then woke up in the mortuary in a hospital in Nelspruit, and discovered that pastor Surprise Sithole had raised him from the dead in the power of the Holy Spirit. As readers of this blog should know, this wasn’t the first time Surprise has raised a dead person. […]

  12. […] written several times about Surprise Sithole, the South African apostle who has raised several people from the dead in the power of the Holy […]

  13. […] of Iris Ministries South Africa is to a large extent the story of Surprise Sithole, a man of God who has experienced many miracles. In the mid-90′s, shortly before he connected with Iris, he received a prophetic word from […]

  14. […] Micael Grenholm is editor for PCPJ. This article was originally posted on his personal blog Holy Spirit Activism. […]

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The author

Micael Grenholm, a Swedish charismactivist, apologist and author.

Micael Grenholm, a Swedish charismactivist, apologist and author.

Check out my YouTube channel!

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