Leon du Preez, founder of Encounter Ministries International, became a Christian in 2002 after he experienced a supernatural encounter with the power of God that instantly delivered him from a lifetsyle of darkness, bondage and demonic influence. God called Leon to take that same experience and encounter which he had to the generation of this hour! In obedience to that call, Leon has since been traveling the nation of South Africa and abroad ministering in conferences, crusades, churches, schools and youth groups proclaiming a Message of hope and deliverance, to both young and old, through a demonstration of the Spirit and of Power.

In 2013 Leon was sent out into full-time, itinerant ministry after serving at Destiny Harvest Centre under Marc Bredenkamp, his spiritual father and senior pastor for 8 years. Leon is also an ordained and recognized minister with Five Fold Ministries International and is currently residing in Centurion, South Africa with his beautiful wife, Este-Lee Du Preez.

I remember, at a very young age, my parents told me that before they had decided to conceive me, the doctors told them that it would be impossible for my mother to fall pregnant. Despite the enemy’s plan to never allow me to enter into this world, I, Leon du Preez, was born in 1984.

When I was a young child, I had many dreams for the future ahead of me. I dreamt of making a lot of money. I dreamt of having a good family life. I even had dreams of speaking in front of thousands of people in crusades or huge events. Even though I was too young to fully comprehend the truth that was revealed to me, I knew deep within me that there was some sort of purpose behind my life. God was showing me events and plans for the future that He had for me without me even comprehending it.

However, without me even acknowledging it or being aware of it, satan also had a purpose for my life. Like many others today, he began to strangle and choke every single one of those dreams that God had given me. As a result, at the very tender age of 12, my life went into a downward spiral of darkness, loneliness and depression which could easily have led to death and eternal separation from the source of life- Christ. The enemy set many shrewd traps for my life in order to ensnare me and because of this, certain painful events in my past ensured that I would get caught up into severe rejection, rebellion and dejection and caused me to frantically search for an identity from the age of 12. My melancholic personality at the time caused me to keep many issues and problems to myself and hindered me from going to my parents, despite the fact that they were kind and caring parents! I would shut myself up in my room night after night where I would experience many, terrifying demonic manifestations. This resulted in a strong pull towards the dark side for a reason that I never knew. Knowing that it was wrong, I was still very intrigued as to what it could offer me. As the loneliness, rejection and rebellion kept kicking in, with much demonic influence, I decided that my life was not worth living and as a result, I tried to take my life on numerous occasions. I would cut myself in my room late at night, experiencing such relief as the blade would cut deep into the skin of my arms or legs, numbing the pain deep within my heart. During the same year, I looked for other ways to numb the pain in the form of alcohol, drugs and any addictive substances that I could lay my hands on. As I got to the age of 13, just before entering high school, my initial experimentations with substances became much more regular and then turned into substance abuse of almost every kind.

Peer pressure added to all of my insecurities at this stage. As much as we try to make this phrase light, it is very real and evident in the lives of young people – I experienced it first hand. Basically, I wanted to do things simply because my friends did it. It was even better if they hadn’t done it yet, because if I could be the first of my friends to try something new and dangerous, then I would build up an image and reputation for myself. By now, alcohol abuse was commonplace in my life. Weekend after weekend, myself and my friends would get completely wasted! The things which I saw happening with young girls and boys at only 13 years of age is so horrific that it would not be suitable for me to speak of in this article. What shocks me more is that this happened 12 years ago… I wonder what is happening now?

As I entered high school, I was a complete vicious, rebellious and hurt young kid. I wanted to destroy anything I could and run a mock everywhere I went. I lived only for the weekends and the partying! During this time, I got introduced to a drug den where I started spending most of my time. At that stage of my life, having older friends that accepted me for who I was meant the world to me. Finally, I got “acceptance”. Finally, I got “love”. Finally, I got “security”. Or so I thought! Days would go by in that drug den and all we would do day after day, was use drugs and abuse our bodies with harmful, mind -numbing substances. It even got to a point where I would go there before school every morning. Eventually, the school that I was attending labeled me as a delinquent and wanted to expel me. Fortunately for me, I decided to leave the school just before the expulsion took place. As I reached the age of 15/16 I started seeing the horrendous affects of drugs in people’s lives. I’ve seen girls being taken advantaged of right in front of me. I’ve seen my friends die by virtue of drug addiction and foolish acts. I’ve seen teenagers of 18/19 years of age who have had their minds “fried” by the amount of drugs that they had taken!

All of a sudden, I realized with startling clarity, that this was no longer funny. This was no longer cool, and no longer could I carry on this way. I came to a realization that this could be the destruction of me, of my life, even to the point of death. I remembered trying my hardest to come free and break away from the bondage I was in, trying my best to leave that lifestyle behind, but unfortunately the pull was just too strong and I couldn’t break free, not on my own. Through this, I would attempt many ways to come right. I tried to go to church, but unfortunately the church did nothing for me. After a period I started thinking about God and without me even knowing it, the Holy Spirit was drawing me towards Him. He brought me to a place, where one day, while driving with a friend in his car, I told him that I wanted to change. I told him that there must be more to life than this, that there must be more to life than what I was currently experiencing. I was being set up for a radical encounter! As the next evening dawned upon us, myself and that same friend were sitting in his house, chilling and doing the usual – getting “out of it” on alcohol and drugs. As we were getting out of it, I saw an old friend of mine walk in. This friend used to take drugs with me at the drug den a few years before, but now, there was something different about him. There was something “light” about him. He came walking towards me with a strong resolution, with purpose, with power! Before I could even open my mouth he began talking to me about God. I still interrupted him by saying that I didn’t want God or any form of religion. That didn’t stop him. As he spoke, I realized that the words that came out of his mouth had power. I had experienced encounters from the spiritual realm when I was younger, but never before had I experienced the power that was coming out of him. I was arrested in my seat and there was no way that I could deny anything that he was saying. All of a sudden I heard the following words bubbling out of my mouth: “Please, pray for me, I want my life to change”. As he laid his hands on me and I prayed a prayer of salvation, I felt that same power fall on me, a power that wiped away every single sin that I had ever committed, a power that contradicted every feeling of hurt and rejection that had been with me for years, a power that gave me the identity that I was looking for all along. I remember it as though it happened just yesterday. It felt like ice, electricity and fire, all at the same time! I still sat down and asked him what had just happened to me, what it was that I felt? He said to me: “It is the power of God, it is the Holy Spirit”. From that night on, my life changed forever! In an instant, I was completely set free from alcohol abuse, drug abuse, rejection, suicide and a life of darkness and hopelessness. All of a sudden, I left that place with a purpose. I left that house knowing that God is real and that He has a destiny for me. That was the first night where someone could show me the true power of God, and it was the first night in my life where I experienced the manifest presence of God embracing me as if I was clean, forgiven and His child, regardless of my past!

A few months after my salvation, as I was struggling to fit into the church world, I attended a meeting of a man called Marc Bredenkamp, a man of which I had heard much about but knew very little. Out of a crowd of 1000′s he called me out and spoke a prophetic word to me, a word straight from the throne room of God. This word began to steer me into the direction and will of God for my life and confirmed traveling to nations and ignited the call of an evangelist upon my life and that I would be operating in signs, wonders and miracles etc. Now, a few years later as I am seeing this prophetic word unfold before my very eyes, I suddenly realize the greatness of God and His ability to take every single individual out of the the dust and raise them up to be a warrior! I now have the wondrous privilege of seeing God’s power working in and through my life. From someone who thought that they would go nowhere in life, someone whose dreams were shattered and their hope was lost, I realised that all we truly need is to be connected back to our Source, our Creator, and that every dream that He has placed inside of us will come to pass if we draw near to Him.

Since this time I have been serving my spiritual father, Marc Bredenkamp for 8 years and have been sent out to do full-time itinerant ministry. God has opened up doors all around the world and we have seen revival coming to drug-addicts, the lost, the demon-possessed and young people alike! I have been ministering in conferences, city-wide crusades, camps, churches, nationally and internationally, with a mandate to bring the supernatural power of God to this generation!