Written by our founder in August 2019:
“For years now I have known that I am called to live overseas as a missionary but I was waiting patiently to find the place that would be my forever home. When I landed in Capetown the first time in 2016, I instantly fell in love. I fell in love with the beauty of the land but also the brokenness of the people. At the time I didn’t think it was something God wanted for me though. I thought it would be too selfish of me to want to live in a place that is so beautiful.
So, in 2017 I moved to Tete Mozambique in hopes that it would be my long term home. I loved the people and the ministry at that base so I thought “this was it”. But the Lord told me I would be there for 2 years. So I then began to pray and ask Him what He had in store for my future. I always had Capetown in the back of my mind, specifically a place called Muizenberg, so a friend encouraged me to really pray about it. I had to surrender the thoughts of it “being too good to be true.” As I prayed, the Lord reminded me of Encounters. As some of you know when I staffed Harvest School I was the leader of Encounters. “Encounters” is a ministry set up for people to encounter the love of God. A room is set up with different stations such as a communion station, art station, prayer station, etc. Each station is designed to create an atmosphere where the participant can have an encounter with God. The Lord showed me that Encounters was a tool I could take anywhere so I introduced Encounters to the women at White As Snow and staff in Tete. I have shared before some of the beautiful testimonies that have come from Encounters. Some people had visions of Jesus, some were healed and others felt freedom from oppression, all because we set up a place for God to encounter them.
So as I prayed about my future, the Lord said He wanted me to create a prayer house where I could lead Encounters for all who come. He then showed me a picture of a travel agent and He said, “I want you to be like a travel agent for the community. When you go to a travel agent you tell them where you want to go and the agent helps you find different options and opportunities.” I saw myself being like a travel agent and helping the local community find resources, make connections, and develop partnerships. As I was praying for a name for this ministry, I thought of John 1: 14 “ and the Word became flesh and made HIS DWELLING among us.” I thought “His Dwelling” was the perfect expression of my passion and desire for this ministry to bring people into a place of intimacy with God.
Even though I knew the Lord was sharing this with me, I questioned it. I had always thought I would develop a ministry for trafficking victims so I wondered if “a prayer house” was really all He wanted me to do..it seemed so small. Immediately He impressed on me “Tatum if all I ask of you is to have a prayer house would you do it?” Right then and there I said “YES LORD.”
After I told him yes, He reminded me of a lady in Holland that came to minister to us at the Harvest School. He told me to go look at her website and when I did I saw “our vision is to be a place where all can meet God” which was a wonderful confirmation. Then, God reminded me of a voice note I had from the same lady and He told me to listen to it. The voice note was of her praying over me and part of it said “God makes his home in you and you express it to the nations. God is making you a dwelling place of high quality.” My heart skipped a beat as I realized how a prayer house could use my personal passion and my experience with Encounters to fulfill this vision He was giving me. It even confirmed that “dwelling” should be part of the name.
I still have a big heart for rescuing women from trafficking and I know that will be a part of His Dwelling ministry in the future. For now I have to be faithful with the first steps the Lord has given me. His Dwelling will buy or lease a building called the “Shekinah Refuge” . This is where I will offer Encounters and other types of workshops to the community of Muizenberg.
Back in 2014 the Lord told me about the name Shekinah Refuge but I didn’t know what it meant. Shekinah is the Hebrew word meaning “dwelling” and denotes the dwelling of the divine presence of God. So FIVE years ago He gave me the name for the ministry before I even knew that I would have one. Is that not so wild? It lines up exactly with the mission. Shekinah Refuge will be open to the community for prayer, worship, rest, and connection.
We will be running other ministries at the refuge such as “The Belonging”. The Belonging will be a combination of outreach ministry and community groups. We will host Belonging community nights where everyone is welcome to come spend time in fellowship. As Belonging groups begin to organically evolve we will offer opportunities for the community on outreaches to minister and love on others.”