Sounds of Revival
Mrs Sue Armstrong and her evangelist husband the Rev. Dan Armstrong founded Kairos Ministries in Australia and organized the Vineyard Conferences here with John Wimber and his teams. Sue reports on revival moves they have seen, including the Wimber Conferences in Brisbane and Perth in 1994. This article is expanded from the June and September 1994 Kairos newsletters, ‘News Across Australia’.
Once you have been in a place that is experiencing revival you will never forget the sounds! I have heard these sounds in other countries and up in the North amongst our aboriginal people and I have longed for the time when I would hear them here in our churches.
I will never forget a night in Papua New Guinea at Manngai High School, New Ireland, when the Holy Spirit fell on the young students gathered. They cried and wailed. They fell They shook. Repentance was there. Salvation came to many and deliverance from demonic powers came to some. I remember driving back to our village late that night singing, ‘Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord,’ and truly knowing what that glory was!
I remember a night at Lelean High School in Fiji when the Holy Spirit fell on around 600 school children. It was pitch dark as there was a blackout with no power. Yet, we sure had Holy Spirit power! Bodies were lying everywhere, some pleading the mercy of God as their sin was revealed, some praising, some sobbing, some resting under the power of God. Suddenly people appeared from nearby houses. They saw flames coming from the buildings and they came to put out the fire, but there was no fire!
On another occasion in Fiji the Spirit fell during worship. We were singing to the Lord and suddenly weeping broke out. The Indian Fijian young folk and the Fijian kids began to run to each other and embrace. Racial hatred was dealt a severe blow as these kids repented and loved one another. We had no way of knowing that there would be a coup in a matter of weeks and that this touch from God was a moment of great importance.
In Indonesia we saw people flocking to the front of the large galvanised iron building. Some fell as they came and remained motionless. Some shouted as they had a common vision of Jesus. A group of Muslim school girls had a common vision of hell. People received healing and many were set free from demonic forces. The noise was ear splitting and the place was like a battle field – not at all the way I imagined revival would be. As people lay motionless on the floor some panic stricken people tried to administer smelling salts, but the ‘sleeping people’ remained on the floor with beatific smiles on their faces.
On a visit to Africa to the Transki, Dan was in a big gathering of blacks. He was listening to a massed choir singing in that amazing close harmony that only Africans can achieve when the Holy Spirit fell on the meeting. The whole choir fell to the floor. The pastors jumped to their feet exclaiming, ‘The Holy Spirit is here!’
Dan describes the next event as ‘like watching wind in a wheat field’. The Spirit moved among the people in waves and they swayed and fell as the Holy Spirit touched them. Many experienced miraculous healing and some who had come as spectators were saved.
The revival was different again in Arnhemland, Australia. It was much more gentle in its beginnings. The meetings were held at night in the open air, and people came out of the darkness to kneel on the ground and acknowledge Jesus as Lord. After that they jumped to their feet and joined with those praying for others. This was spontaneous. Immediately they began to experience the gifts of the Holy Spirit operating in their new lives.
There were special manifestations. One night we went with them at their request to cleanse the ceremonial grounds. Satan manifested in some of the people with bizarre happenings. One man bit a young woman. Another man tried to crucify himself on the cross the people had erected. Dogs went wild, barking, biting, fighting and howling all over the island. Then came the presence of the Lord over the place and a great release of joy and celebration.
I have read accounts of revival by J. Edwin Orr, John Wesley, John Whitefield, and Jonathan Edwards. They describe the falling, shaking, wailing, laughing and even rolling and drunken behaviour. But that was then. It’s surely not for our sophisticated society!
Over the past year reports have filtered through of churches experiencing some of the above phenomena, just here and there in regular services or home groups. Just the whisper that revival is on the way.
In Brisbane and Perth at the Wimber Conferences last April, right from the first meeting it became clear that God had his own agenda. During the initial worship time the Holy Spirit began to rest on individuals across the auditorium and ripples of laughter could be heard. Before John Wimber gave the opening message he called out young folk who had obvious signs of the Spirit resting on them – shaking, trembling, laughing and one just quiet and transfixed. He spoke of the way the Spirit moves on people’s lives and that we must trust the Holy Spirit and not try to stop or control what God is doing.
Each meeting the Holy Spirit came and people were touched in all kinds of ways. Here are a few testimonies.
* Although just a young married man I had to resign from my job because of chronic fatigue syndrome. The first night at the conference I was released with amazing laughter and the fatigue completely left during the conference. Energy has returned.
* I stood up and was really praising God, in my tongues language, and beseeching him to heal my back (where a tumour had been removed) which seemed to have got worse in terms of niggling pain of late. One of the members from my church put her hand right where the operation had been. After a few moments there seemed to be a real heat, like a hot water bottle, beneath her hand. John Wimber said, to the effect, ‘God is touching a man right now and putting his spine back together!’ The heat stayed around my waist area for some time and then, like honey running out of a container quite slowly, the feeling of heat extended down my leg following the sciatic nerve – I know my sciatic nerve! This feeling of heat ran right down to my foot where it stayed for several minutes. I could literally feel the power of God around me. I met with God that night. (He has been free of pain and can move his leg at the hip and knee.)
* I have had severe scoliosis for 35 years. I sought healing on Wednesday night and when I arrived home my wife (a registered nurse) agreed that the hollow on the left side of my lower back had changed and become more like the right side. It would appear that a rotated vertebrae may have been realigned.
* I received prayer for hearing loss Wednesday night and today I have not had to wear a hearing aid and my hearing is much improved.
* I had been walking with two walking sticks for four years. I had a fall after my hip replacement surgery causing the bone not to knit. This caused pain when I walked. On Tuesday night John Wimber had a word for someone who had had hip problems for 63 years causing pain in the right leg. Members of the team prayed for me and I am now walking without my sticks and the pain gets less every day.
* I have had arthritis in both knees for three years. Two of the girls in the team prayed for me and the pain and discomfort has completely gone. I can now move quite freely without discomfort.
* I have received the most special healing of major pain from a broken heart. Two young kids from the American team prayed for me. This has opened my eyes and given me a new vision for youth ministry.
* No one can know what it is like for someone who has believed for 39 years that she cannot be loved or should even exist, to suddenly discover that she is loved by the living God.
God touched people powerfully, in many different ways.
But the sound was there! I heard the Spirit come. John Wimber spoke from Judges 13:3, speaking to the nation of Australia: ‘You are sterile and childless but you are going to conceive and have a son.’ Revival is being brought to birth in this nation. Listen for the sound. Revival has begun!
North America and England
We have received reports of similar moves of God this year.
Charisma magazine, June 1994, told of people from all denominations flocking to a small church in Toronto, the Airport Vineyard, where revival has been stirring this year. People tell of the manifest presence of God. Many rest in the Spirit. Many exhibit laughing and drunken behaviour. Many report healings and release from emotional problems. The meetings have been dubbed ‘the laughing revival’ in which ordinary people, not high profile leaders, have suddenly begun ministering powerfully in the Lord.
Terry Virgo reports in New Frontiers magazine, July 1994, on moves of God this year following his return from ministry in South Africa:
On my return to Columbia, Missouri, I found our church meetings were totally transformed and that a new release of the Holy Spirit had overtaken us. We have seen extraordinary sights in terms of people being filled with the spirit of joy and ‘drunkenness’. We have seen lives totally transformed. People have a new hunger for God and a new zeal to see him glorified. I have seen lives changed so rapidly and the atmosphere of a church changed so swiftly.
He also describes moves of God this year in England:
I returned to England and found that wherever I went to report news of this outbreak, God accompanied us with more signs of his mercy and overwhelming love for his church.
First of all I met with a number of leading brothers in New Frontiers and we had two days of amazing experiences of God’s presence and a release of prophesying such as I have never known. After that came an unforgettable evening in my home church in Brighton which continued till 11.30 p.m. Many were overwhelmed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Following this, over two hundred full-time elders from New Frontiers gathered for fasting at Stoneleigh where once again the Spirit of God was poured out in phenomenal measure. I have never seen such spiritual drunkenness and joy in my life. And once again the release of prophecy was breathtaking.
God moves powerfully in revival. People repent. Many are healed and delivered. God pours out his Spirit. Christians minister as Jesus did, and as he taught his disciples to do.
The sounds of revival are stirring again. You’ll hear cries of repentance, great joy and liberty, and awe and excitement at the amazing grace of God.
Editor’s P.S.: Darryl Krause (YWAM, Norway) wrote this in September 1994:
An Outpouring of God’s Spirit
Concerning the ‘Tronoto Revival’, we are beginning to experience something of it here also.
On 20th January this year the Holy Spirit was poured out in a special way at a meeting of the Airport Vineyard Church in Toronto, Canada. Meetings have continued there almost every night since then. Meanwhile similar outpourings began occurring elsewhere, often as a result of someone being ‘infected’ in Toronto and then returning to their home place.
It is reported that over 500 congregations in North America, and in England over 600 congregations (mostly Anglican), have been touched so far by this move of God. Several Norwegian Churches have now also been touched. Just over a week ago our local congregation was ‘hit’.
This outpouring has been mostly in the form of refreshing and renewal for God’s people, but there are also many who have come to salvation. The meetings have been characterised not by charismatic leader figures or gifted worship leaders, but by the Holy Spirit working deeply in people’s lives as ‘ordinary’ believers pray for and minister to one another.
Many thousands of believers have been led into an incredible new degree of freedom and security in their relationship with God. Some sob deeply or even cry out loud as the Holy Spirit ministers to deep areas of pain in their lives. Others dance around like children or laugh wildly – literallly drunk in the Spirit – as they rejoice in God’s goodness. Many are interpreting this as part of the outpouring of God’s Spirit before the period of great harvesting.
© Renewal Journal 4: Healing (1994, 2011)
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