For Pastor Willie Norris from Gospel Work Ministries in Heidedal, who has been in the ministry for over 40 years and will be turning 70 this coming Friday, the initial plan he had for his life was not to become a pastor, but after all the years and miracles he has witnessed, he would not have wanted it any other way.
Norris explained that he started his work in 1977 when he began a small Bible Study group and was moving around the Free State to pray and preach. He told Bloemfontein Courant as time went by, the group started growing and later decided to open a bank account as people whom they had prayed for had started sending them money. When he got to the bank, however, it was explained to him that he would need a name for his organisation. So many names later, Gospel Work Ministries was decided on. “We named the church after the reflection of the work that we were doing in the community,” he said.
After this, Norris travelled to various places across the world to preach. He also joined the KRUISKYK family, a programme that can be streamed right across the world in hopes of touching more lives.
Norris, together with his congregation and other donors, managed to build a church in Heidedal in 2011, which he said is really one of his greatest highlights. He explained that he could have decided to do this anywhere in the city but one thing he will always hold dear to his heart is the community of Heidedal. This is where he grew up, where he attended school and where he is currently working. He said besides being in politics back in those years, he was teaching many learners in different grades at the hostel of Dr Blok to pray. Up and until this day he and the church hand out food parcels and teach people how to save money for their future.
Norris will be turning 70 this coming weekend and said he does not anticipate retiring any time soon as he feels there will always be people in need that he could help.