Written by: Gillian Fraser
Article source: JOY! Magazine 

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” – Colossians 3:17

These past few months of lockdown have been challenging for many industries across the world, especially here in South Africa. We have seen job losses, salary cuts, and many organisations shutting down in this time. One industry that has been particularly affected is that of hotels and hospitality. As Christians, we know that our hope is in the Lord. We know that He alone is our Provider and our Protector. And we know, more than anything, that there is immense power in prayer. These promises rang true for the family-owned Devon Valley Hotel, a gorgeous venue in the Stellenbosch Winelands that operates and exists on God’s Word and His guidance.

Trust in the Lord, He can do immeasurably more than you can think or imagine.

Rooted firmly on His promises
The award-winning Devon Valley Hotel is a breathtaking landmark in the Winelands, nestled amongst picturesque mountains, olive groves, and vineyards. The view is spectacular – something that I really enjoyed when I got married at this stunning venue in 2017. The true beauty of this hotel, however, lies not in its physical attributes, but in the hearts of the management. This is a hotel that is firmly rooted in Jesus Christ. The hotel has been operating for the last 86 years and when the Louis family took ownership, they knew that it would please the Father’s heart to, “open our inn to modern day Josephs and Marys, those Christians carrying Jesus Christ within them,” Alan Louis recalls. Since doing so, God has taken this hotel from strength to strength – all for His glory. Colossians 3:17 reads, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

How does a hotel put God first?
We have heard it said that if you put God first, you will never be last. But what does that practically look like in the hospitality industry? It started in 2019 when the hotel management significantly reduced fees to promote the Hotel for Christian gatherings and events. This was a huge blessing for many ministries who seek to have world-class Christian conferences and events, yet are not always able to afford venues of this nature. These include prophetic workshops, prayer meetings, brunches, and more. Much was done charitably too, as the hotel felt a strong conviction to sow seeds into the local Christian community. Additionally, Alan runs a free weekly Business Academy that is focussed on improving marketplace skills, from a Biblical perspective. Since 2003, this Academy has always operated from a separate venue. In 2019 however, the Business Academy was moved to the Devon Valley Hotel to ensure that God’s Word is preached directly from the hotel’s premises. The staff are all invited to join these inspired sessions. Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Lockdown – A spanner in the works
As with the majority of businesses in South Africa, the Covid-19 lockdown shook the hotel. In March 2020, as President Ramaphosa announced the stringent measures that were to be put in place, Alan knew exactly how to approach this crisis. He says, “My parents taught me both how to pray and the power of prayer, since the age of 3. My Grey College swimming coach also entrenched the significance of prayer into my competitive strategy.
So, when this crisis happened, I knew exactly what to do – which was a prayerful plea to God: Dear Lord, we have a serious crisis affecting the hotel industry. How do we attract business after this crisis? Only You can provide the revelation on how we are to proceed. Guide us in Your ways and lead us in Your protection…”

This serves as a reminder that prayer is accessible to anyone and is of infinite worth.

Jehovah Jireh, our Provider
In Matthew 21:22 the Word says, “whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” God heard the prayers and worked wonders. Not only did the Lord provide a hotel booking in September for an African Prayer Summit, where the Hotel will host 40 prayer warriors who in turn will spend 5 days reaching out to 500 prayer intercessors in Africa, but in August, the Devon Valley Hotel won two prestigious awards from Tripadvisor, the world’s leading travel company. The first award was for being the Best Value Hotel in Africa, and the second award as Top 1% Global Hotel. Alan recalls, “We immediately recognised this accolade as God’s direct intervention to remind us that we were to stay the course.”

What is Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best?
Tripadvisor is the largest online travel agency in the world. This award is Tripadvisor’s highest recognition and is presented annually to those businesses that are the Best of the Best on Tripadvisor, those that earn excellent reviews from travellers and are ranked in the top 1% of properties worldwide.

Trust in Christ and His wisdom
The Word of God promises us that we are never alone. When we call upon His mighty Name, circumstances change. What is the difference between this stunning hotel and all the other stunning hotels that are currently facing immense pressure? This testimony serves as a great example that prayer is the only difference between survival and struggle. Trust in the Lord today, He can do immeasurably more than you can think or imagine. There is wisdom in His Word, we simply need to apply it and submit to His gentle guidance.

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Date published: 02/09/2020

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