Written by: Gillian Fraser
Article source: JOY! Magazine

Elisée Yao, the founder of Divine Restoration Ministries, was born and bred in Ivory Coast. The son of a pastor, Elisée gave his life to Jesus and was involved in ministry from a very early age.

Growing up in his father’s large church, Elisée was involved in the apostolic team that led many Gospel crusades in Ivory Coast. His passion for sharing the message of salvation has always been at the core of his identity. In 2002, Elisée got married to the love of his life, Sarah.

Together they have two sons, Ephraim and David. Soon after getting married, Elisée and Sarah followed God’s call, which led them to South Africa (without knowing anyone). Without fear and full of faith, the family packed their bags, hit the road, and started a journey of following the Lord’s guidance. Almost 20 years later, God has used this family in ways that they could never have imagined, all for His glory.

Elisée & Sarah Yao

“Go where God wants you to be, not where you want to be.”

Q. What led you to come to South Africa?
We came to South Africa to take up our studies at Christ for the Nations’ Bible Institute in Jeffrey’s Bay. After Bible School we visited a friend in Bloemfontein before travelling back to Ivory Coast. While in Bloemfontein, the Lord spoke to us and told my wife and I to start a church in the town. We had always dreamt of moving to America to start a ministry there, but the Lord had different plans. I remember dreaming that I was telling my friends that I was leaving South Africa to start my ministry in Texas and, while speaking, I had blood in my hands. I tried wiping it, but it wouldn’t go away. The Lord said: ‘The blood of My people will be on your hands if you do not do what I have called you to do here.’ We knew that God had plans for His church, so we took up the call and obeyed.

Q. Did you come with the intention to start a church?
No! The Lord’s ways are not always our ways, but He is always in control. We never came to South Africa with the intention of starting a church, as we were trusting God to start our ministry in America. We originally applied to go to CFNI’s Bible school in Texas, and after praying over our application they felt that the Lord wanted us to start in Africa first. We were referred to the Bible school in South Africa. Since then, God has used us to establish a multicultural church – touching people from all walks of life. Divine Restoration Ministries was born to offer hope to the hopeless, salvation to the lost, healing to the sick, and restoration to the broken through the power of the Holy Spirit sent by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Q. What is the mission for your ministry?
We affirm that God is revealed in Jesus Christ and that we are united and restored with Him in God’s Spirit. We also serve as a platform to train and release an eagle generation of leaders that will change the world through the power of the Holy Spirit. We are grateful to the Lord for calling us into such a ministry. We declare that our mission is:

• To strengthen our relationship with God.
• To establish a diversified and vibrant Church community.
• To revive, restore, and transform nations through the power of the Holy Spirit.
• To establish the community leadership firmly in the Word through training and development and release missionaries throughout the nations.
• To ensure effective communication and information distribution.

Q. Who are your mentors?
My mentors are Dr Robert Mawire from Texas (Chairman and CEO of Worldwide Short Wave Radio), my spiritual dad Angus Buchan in South African, as well as Pastor Ray Bentley, Senior Pastor of Maranatha Chapel in San Diego, California. Our ministry falls under Maranatha Chapel.

“We long to share the saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Q. What is the funniest thing that has happened in your church?
Because my surname is Yao, many people have been under the impression that I am a Chinese minister before meeting me. Some time ago, a man made an appointment to see me. Upon meeting me he exclaimed with great surprise, “You are not Chinese!” You can imagine his surprise when he saw I am indeed a man from West Africa.

Q. What advice can you offer to foreign nationals wanting to get into ministry in South Africa?
I believe that ministry is not a business, therefore we need to make sure of the call of God before starting a ministry in any given location. If we are where God wants us, we will do well regardless of the location. The green land is where God wants you to be, even if it is in a remote place in Africa. No one should start a ministry based on what the place offers, but rather on what God says. If He says South Africa, be obedient and do it. Otherwise be where God wants you and not where you want to be. Ensure that all your papers are in order before starting, because if God sent you, He will make sure you are legal where He sends you.

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Date published: 28/11/2020

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