Dr. Charles Mully was a self-made millionaire living in one of Nairobi’s wealthiest enclaves when God called him to dedicate his life to caring for impoverished children.
And that’s exactly what he did.
Giving up his life of comfort and wealth, Mully established the Mully Children’s Family (MCF), a charitable organization helping tens of thousands of the more than 2.6 million children living on the streets of Africa.
“I walk by faith and not by sight, and everything I own really belongs to God,” Mully, 68, told The Gospel Herald in an exclusive interview. “So, it was not difficult to give everything up. When I surrendered to him, He never let me down, and many lives have been changed as a result.”
Mully’s amazing story of faith, sacrifice, and determination is the subject of the forthcoming documentary, Mully. From October 3-5, the film will be shown at about 750 theaters across the United States.
The desire of the Kenyan-born entrepreneur to transform the lives of vulnerable children stems from his own experience. At 6 years old, he was abandoned by his family and forced to survive by begging on the streets.
“I was raised very poor; my father was an alcoholic who abused me and my brother,” he recalled. “One day, I woke up and discovered my family had left. That was a very difficult time in my life.”
After ten difficult years on the streets, Mully, now-teenager, was on the verge of committing suicide when a man invited him to church. There, Mully heard the Good News of the Gospel for the first time.
“When I heard the Word of God, it changed my life forever,” he shared. “It gave me a purpose and a motivation to live.”
As a young man, Mully walked to Nairobi, where he landed a job and met his future wife, Esther Nthenya. Against overwhelming odds, he found incredible success as a businessman, soon providing a comfortable lifestyle for his wife and their eight children.
Still, Mully was convinced that God had something more in store for his life. Leaving his company behind, Mully moved back to Kenya, where he and his wife opened their home to orphans who had nowhere else to turn.
“People thought I was crazy,” Mully admitted. “It has not been an easy journey. My wife and I have experienced rejection and mockery from those around us. But, God never fails. He is a God of love, of peace, and deliverance, and He calls us to obedience.”
Since 1989, Kenya’s “Father to the Fatherless” has transformed the lives of over 15,000 children through rescue, holistic rehabilitation and reintegration. Today, it’s the largest children’s rehabilitation organization in Africa.
Many of his children, Mully said, have gone on to become successful businessman, doctors, and lawyers.
“The Bible says, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,'” Mully said. “Yes, this organization has seen great success, but it is not because of me – it is because of the Lord, who gives me strength. Through God, anything is possible for the benefit of mankind.”
Through his story, Mully hopes Christians worldwide are inspired to take seriously the words of James 1:26 – “look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
“Many people in the Western world are about working hard to acquire wealth and money, money, money,” he said. “When God calls us, we need to listen. There are so many poor brothers and sisters around the world, and we are called to help those in great need, to share what little we may have.”
He continued, “That is the love of God. If don’t have love, if we don’t care for those God loves, we cannot please God. That is my challenge and advice to my brothers and sisters in America.”
Iris Global, based in Mozambique, currently feeds well over 10,000 children a day, including 4,000 families in Malawi. Its network of churches also numbers more than 10,000, including some 2,000 churches among the Makua people of northern Mozambique. Iris operates five Bible schools, in addition to its three primary schools and its school of missions in Pemba.
Heidi Baker became a Christian after hearing a Navajo preacher’s message while volunteering on a Choctaw reservation. She has a Ph.D. in systematic theology from King’s College London (1995).
She met Rolland Baker (now with D.Min.), the grandson of missionary H. A. Baker, in 1979. They married six months later in 1980; they left for the mission field two weeks after that. They were ordained as ministers in 1985.
In 1980 the Bakers founded Iris Global, a non-profit Christian ministry dedicated to charitable service and evangelism, particularly in developing nations. They served God together in Indonesia, Hong Kong, and London, then in Africa. Iris – rainbow – living in the promises of God.
In 1995 the Bakers moved to Mozambique in order to begin a new ministry focused on the care of orphaned and abandoned children. A year later, Heidi Baker became sick with tuberculosis and pneumonia, but despite her doctor’s recommendation, she went to a healing meeting in Toronto, Canada. There, she had a vision where Jesus showed her thousands of children to feed; when she exclaimed that it was impossible to help them all, he said “There will always be enough, because I died.” After which, she was healed.
Iris Global negotiated with the Mozambican government to assume financial and administrative responsibility for a former government orphanage in Chihango, near the capital city of Maputo. There were roughly 80 children present. Since that time Iris Global’s operations have expanded to include well-drilling, free health clinics, village feeding programs, the operation of primary and secondary schools, cottage industries and the founding more than 5000 churches in Mozambique, with a total of over 10,000 Iris-affiliated churches in more than 20 nations. Their ministry is known for its reports of miracles, and in September 2010 the Southern Medical Journal published an article presenting evidence of “significant improvements” in auditory and visual function among subjects exhibiting impairment before receiving prayer from the ministry.
Beyond their administrative duties the Bakers are authors and frequent conference speakers, traveling worldwide to speak on Christian ministry and spirituality. Candy Gunther Brown, professor of religious studies at Indiana University, has called the Bakers “among the most influential leaders in world Pentecostalism.” [Wikipedia]
Roland Baker tells their story:
For years we longed to get to Africa in fulfilment of our calling to prove the Gospel in the most challenging situation we could find. We wanted to see a continuation of “Visions Beyond the Veil,” and believed with my grandfather that the most likely place to see such revival again was among the most unlikely! So we were drawn to Mozambique, officially listed at the time as the poorest country in the world.
A few days into my initial visit to Maputo, Mozambique’s capital, I was offered an orphanage that no one could or would support, not even large churches in South Africa or European donor nations. It was horribly neglected and dilapidated, with eighty miserable, demon-afflicted orphans in rags. I thought it was a perfect test of the Sermon on the Mount. Our Father in heaven knows what we need. Seek first His Kingdom and righteousness, and these things will be ours as well … Take no thought for tomorrow. Why worry? Jesus is enough for us, for anyone.
Alone and without support, Heidi and I offered to take over the center and provide for the children in return for the opportunity to bring the Gospel to them. Within months the children were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, weeping while still in rags with gratitude for their salvation. Jesus provided miraculously, more all the time as our children prayed night and day for their daily food. We brought in teams, improved the center, and took our children to the streets to testify to more orphaned and abandoned children. Some were lost in visions, taken to heaven and dancing around the throne of God on the shoulders of angels.
But abruptly, after we got up to 320 children, the government evicted us and denied our children permission to pray and worship on our property. Totally without a back-up plan, our children marched off the property barefoot without a home. We lost everything. We also lost tremendous amounts of support because we welcomed the increasing Presence of the Holy Spirit in our meetings.
But we were only beginning to taste the power of God in Mozambique. Land was donated by a nearby city. We got tents and food from South Africa. Provision came in from supernaturally touched hearts all over the world. Soon we could actually build our own dorms. Bush pastors longed for a Bible school, and to receive what our children had received from the Holy Spirit. Graduates went out and began healing the sick and raising the dead. Church growth in the bush exploded.
Then revival was fuelled exponentially by the desperation caused by catastrophic flooding in 2000 when three cyclones came together and brought torrential rain for forty days and nights. More damage was caused by that flood than Mozambique’s many years of civil war. A cry for God rose up like we had never experienced or imagined, and our churches across the country multiplied into thousands. God provided a bush airplane, which we used constantly to spread the Gospel through remote “bush conferences” at dirt airstrips in every province.
Now we have networks of churches and church-based orphan care in all ten provinces in Mozambique in addition to our bases in main cities. In recent years Heidi and I have concentrated on the Makua, a people group of four million in the north who were listed by missiologists as “unreached and unreachable.” With tremendous help from missionaries and nationals, around two thousand churches have been planted among these people in the last eight years.
Two devastating cyclones in 2019 flattened thousands of homes and villages. Iris Global, working with international efforts, brought relief along with thousands of solar Bibles in local languages, eagerly wanted by previously resistant people groups.
Iris Global currently feeds well over 10,000 children a day, as well as various members of many other communities, currently including 4,000 families in Malawi. Its network of churches also numbers more than 10,000, including some 2,000 churches among the Makua people of northern Mozambique. Iris operates five Bible schools, in addition to its three primary schools and its school of missions in Pemba. Current major projects include continuing outreaches to very remote coastal regions via Iris’s recently acquired boat, expansion of Iris’s air transport abilities, investment in a range of cottage industries, and a special well-drilling initiative. Iris, having recently acquired a drilling rig by generous funding from several U.S. churches, intends to transform life in desperately dry villages everywhere possible. One by one.
“The primary mission of Iris Global as a family is to seek the face of God with all our hearts, that we might glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. We proclaim Jesus. He is our salvation, our prize, our reward, our inheritance, our destination, our motivation, our joy, wisdom and sanctification — and absolutely everything else we need, now and forever.” – from their website.
Christianity marked their household as much as poverty.
Because God was in his heart, William never accepted his fate to a life of poverty and impossibility. The Holy Spirit illuminated his mind to see he could use existing resources to create success.
William Kamkwamba was born amidst famine and poverty on a farm in Malawi, but with God’s inspiration he fabricated a primitive windmill to bring electricity to his house. His ingenuity caught the eye of international organizations that opened doors for him.
“With a windmill, we’d finally released ourselves from the troubles of darkness and hunger,” the resourceful youth told the Malawi Daily Times. “In Malawi, the wind was one of the few consistent things given to us by God, blowing in the treetops day and night. A windmill meant more than just power, it was freedom.”
William’s improbable journey from farm subsistence in Africa to international mover and shaker in technology education begins with his father, a rough fighting man who settled down after he received Jesus into his heart. Christianity marked their household as much as poverty. The only boy among six sisters, William shouldered the burden to help his family survive. When rains skipped 2001 and famine clouds gathered, William had to drop out of school in 2002 because the family couldn’t afford the fees.
William dutifully toiled the soil, but he never let go of his hunger for learning and frequently visited an internationally-supported library near his home, where he found a couple of books about energy that piqued his curiosity. One was called ‘Using Energy and How it Works’. As he thumbed through the pages with diagrams, he understood the basic mechanics behind magnetism for generating electricity in a turbine and a windmill.
He was a tinkering kid who once disassembled his father’s radio because he thought there were little people inside that he wanted to talk to. He was not able to reassemble the radio, so when he asked permission of his father to disassemble his bike to build a windmill, his father was resistant. Eventually he prevailed on his father and began to collect scraps of junk to fashion his windmill.
Like Noah building an ark, William became the laughingstock of the townspeople, who watched the formation of his quixotic windmill, resembling a modern art assemblage in the famine-stricken plains of Africa. But when William brought light to his house in Mastala Village, a section of the country unreached yet by the government’s electrification projects, villagers no longer laughed at him. “When I was making all these, some people were mocking me that I was going mad but I had confidence in what I was doing because I knew if it was written in the books then it was true and possible,” William remembers. “When I succeeded they were impressed.”
He charged car batteries throughout the day, which then were used to light houses or power radios in the neighborhood. Encouraged by his first success as a 14-year-old inventor, William next devised a plan to build a larger windmill to pump water during the drought. He received donations from outsiders to help his project. After his second triumph, the town was no longer at the mercy of darkness or drought. It was an astonishing feat and the world took note.
William was invited to speak at a Ted Talk and given the chance to resume his studies after a 5-year lapse. He received a scholarship to study at Dartmouth University, where he attended the Thayer School of Engineering’s ‘Humanitarian Engineering Leadership Program Worldwide’. A documentary was produced on-site of his childhood accomplishments. His autobiography, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, credits God with the inspiration to overcome the cruel capriciousness of Mother Nature and impose order to a chaotic world using rational engineering.
With the wind in his sails, William began launching other projects to help boys unable to continue their education. One such project was a soccer team. He has since produced solar-powered water pumps for his and other villages. He’s produced clean water plants, worked on malaria prevention and developed a drip irrigation system, according to his website. Today, William is employed by Ideo.org, focusing on human-centered design development projects across the globe, from sanitation in India to gender-based violence prevention in Kenya. He is now working with WiderNet to develop an appropriate technology curriculum that will allow people to bridge the gap between ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’. WiderNet will distribute the content through ‘e-granaries’ around Malawi and across Africa.
Because God was in his heart, William never accepted his fate to a life of poverty and impossibility. The Holy Spirit illuminated his mind to see he could use existing resources to create success.
Source: William Kamkwamba, Stephen Lahood
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind has been turned into an inspiring movie that currently runs on Netflix. Click to watch the trailer.
Source: Christian TodayJoel News #1130, June 18, 2019
Papua New Guinea: A story that impacted world missions
Hidden among tribal cultures, there are practices or understandings which could be called ‘redemptive analogies’. These can be used to illustrate the meaning of the gospel, contextualizing the incarnation of Jesus.
This missionary principle is best illustrated in Don Richardson’s classic book ‘PeaceChild’ (1974). This great missions story, demonstrating the power of the gospel in a primitive tribal culture in Papua New Guinea, had a strong impact on many people around the world.
In 1962, Don, his wife Carol, and their 7-month-old son went to Dutch New Guinea to minister to the Sawis, a group of cannibalistic headhunters. Don immersed himself in learning the complex language, and began working to teach them about salvation in Jesus. But the cultural barriers made this seemingly impossible, especially because of the value the culture placed on treachery and deception.
As he learned the language and lived with the people, he became more aware of the gulf that separated his Christian worldview from the worldview of the Sawi. In their eyes, Judas, not Jesus, was the hero of the Gospels, Jesus was just the dupe to be laughed at. Eventually Richardson discovered what he referred to as a ‘redemptive analogy’ that pointed to the Incarnate Christ far more clearly than any biblical passage alone could have done. What he discovered was the Sawi concept of the Peace Child.
During this time, the village Don and Carol were living in was attacked by an enemy tribe. Weeks of fighting ensued, and the Richardsons were considering leaving. Motivated to stop the fighting, the chief of Don’s tribe paid the price of peace: in a ceremony, the chief took his own infant son and placed him in the arms of his adversary. The child would live with the enemy tribe for the rest of his life; as long as he lived, there was peace between the tribes.
Don wrote: “If a man would actually give his own son to his enemies, that man could be trusted!” Through this analogy of Jesus being the ultimate peace child who will never die, Don was able to reach the Sawi with the truth of the gospel. Eventually the New Testament was published in their language, and many villagers placed their trust in Christ.
Seven years ago Don Richardson, then 77, and his three sons returned to the Sawi tribe in West Papua, Indonesia. They found the Sawi still faithfully following Christ. We published about this in JNI 839. This reunion was captured on film and it’s exciting and moving to see. While they were there 250 people were baptized.
Don’s follow-up book ‘Eternity in Their Hearts’ documented how the concept of a supreme God has existed for centuries in hundreds of cultures around the world. This book soon became required reading in seminaries and Bible colleges. Christians worldwide were inspired afresh by the notion that God has “prepared the gospel for the world and the world for the gospel.”
In December 2018 Don Richardson passed away at age 83.
Source: Randy Alcorn, Mission Frontiers, Peace Child Legacy
I have read many similar stories, but this one exceeds them all.
I read the online edition and was blown away by the response of the Solomon Islanders to the power of the Holy Spirit. It was amazing, or should I say God-planned. Geoff and Don have done well to not only be in so many places and seeing God at work but also writing a book about it all. It’s as if it has all happened in a world apart, but the events in Brisbane show that it could happen in Australia also. ~ Barbara Vickridge (Perth, Australia)
These Highlights from Journey into Mission bring some of the key biographical revival passages together.
From Chapter 5 – Australia: Elcho Island (1994)
By Djiniyini Gondarra:
In that same evening, the word just spread like the flames of fire and reached the whole community in Galiwin’ku. Gelung [his wife] and I couldn’t sleep at all that night because people were just coming for the ministry, bringing the sick to be prayed for, for healing. Others came to bring their problems. Even a husband and wife came to bring their marriage problem, so the Lord touched them and healed their marriage.
Next morning the Galiwin’ku Community once again became the new community. The love of Jesus was being shared and many expressions of forgiveness were taking place in the families and in the tribes. Wherever I went I could hear people singing and humming Christian choruses and hymns! Before then I would have expected to hear only fighting and swearing and many other troublesome things that would hurt your feelings and make you feel sad.
Many unplanned and unexpected things happened every time we went from camp to camp to meet with the people. The fellowship was held every night and more and more people gave their lives to Christ, and it went on and on until sometimes the fellowship meeting would end around about midnight. There was more singing, testimony, and ministry going on. People did not feel tired in the morning and still went to work.
By Geoff: I invited a team from Elcho Island to Brisbane for Pentecost weekend in 1993 and two dozen flew down! We held their meetings at Christian Outreach Centre. They told me it was the first time they had been invited to speak in a white fellas’ church! They sat around on the platform and talked and prayed with anyone who came for prayer.
They invited a team from our Renewal Fellowship to go to Elcho Island in March 1994 for their annual celebration of the start of the revival. Their speakers were on fire! I was humbled and honoured to speak at an evening outdoor rally there, and also to visit a small community of 30 people, 50 kilometres by dirt track to the north end of the island. That whole community there prays together at the start and finish of every day.
From Chapter 8 – Philippines (1995)
During the class seminars, my students reported on various signs and wonders that they had experienced in their churches. Many of them expected God to do the same things now as he did in the New Testament, but not all! “We don’t seem to have miracles in our church,” said one student, a part-time Baptist pastor and police inspector. “You could interview a pastor from a church that does,” I suggested. So he interviewed a Pentecostal pastor about miraculous answers to prayer in their church. That student reported to the class how the Pentecostal church sent a team of young people to the local mental hospital for monthly meetings where they sang and witnessed and prayed for people. Over 40 patients attended their first meeting there, and they prayed for 26 personally, laying hands on them. A month later, when they returned for their next meeting, all those 26 patients had been discharged and sent home.
From Chapter 9 – Ghana, West Africa (1995)
When we arrived in the mountain town of Suhum, it was dark. The monsoon torrential rain had cut off the electricity supply. The rain eased off a bit, so we gathered in the market square and prayed to God to guide us and to take over. Soon the rain ceased. The electricity came on. The host team began excitedly shouting that it was a miracle. “We will talk about this for years” they exclaimed with gleaming eyes.
My interpreter that night didn’t know a lot of English. I think he preached his own sermon based on some phrases of mine he understood or guessed, and apparently he did well. When we invited people to respond and give their lives to Christ, they came from the surrounding darkness into the light. Some wandered over from the pub, smelling of beer. They kept the ministry team busy praying and arranging follow up with the local churches.
At that point, I left the work to the locals who understood one another. I just moved around laying hands on people’s heads and praying for them, as did many others. People reported various touches of God in their lives. Some were healed. Later in the week an elderly man excitedly told how he had come to the meeting almost blind but now he could see.
Each day we held morning worship and teaching sessions for Christians in a church, hot under an iron roof on those clear, tropical sunny days. During the second morning I vividly ‘saw’ golden light fill the church and swallow up or remove blackness. At that point the African Christians became very noisy, vigorously celebrating and shouting praises to God. A fresh anointing seemed to fall on them just then.
From Chapter 9 – Toronto, Canada (1995)
Both of us appreciated the gracious, caring way people prayed for us and others. No rush. No hype. No pressure. Whether we stood, or sat in a chair, or rested on the carpeted floor, those praying for us did so quietly with prayers prompted by the Holy Spirit. Those praying laid a hand on us gently, as led, and trusted the Lord to touch us. He did. Warmth and love permeated us. We returned to our hotel after the meetings aware of increased peace and deeper assurance of the Lord’s love and grace. The senior pastors, John and Carol Arnott, led the sensitive ministry team.
After returning to Brisbane I noticed that people I prayed for received strong touches from the Lord, most resting in the Spirit on the floor. We needed people to be ready to catch those who fell, to avoid them getting hurt (then needing extra healing prayer!). Some of them had visions of the Lord blessing them and others.
From Chapter 13 – Nepal (2000)
After praying on the bridge we approached the Chinese officials to get a permission to enter Tibet. The first official refused but the second one nodded approvingly, taking the four Australian passports from my hand as security, and let us go free of charge! This could happen only by the supernatural intervention of our Almighty God, Hallelujah! We had good prayer inside Tibet, especially on those individual shopkeepers whom I would grab and pray on without any resistance from them!
On 21 April all the eight of Australians and I had a trip to Gochadda in west Nepal and held a three days conference over there at Easter. While driving toward the destination I shared the Word with the driver of the private bus and during the inauguration of the conference he approached the altar and accepted Christ as his personal Saviour. On the same day a Christian brother whose hand was partially crippled for six years was touched by the Holy Spirit and healed absolutely. He was shaking in his whole body and raising his hands, even the crippled one already healed, praising the Lord with all his strength, he glorified the Lord for his greatness, Hallelujah!
Out of about 200 participants in the conference by the grace of God 100 of them were baptized in the Holy Spirit praising the Lord, singing, falling, crying, and many other actions as the Holy Spirit would prompt them to act. About ten of them testified that they had never experienced such a presence of the power and love of God. Some others testified being lifted to heavenly realms by the power of the Holy Spirit, being surrounded by the angels of the Lord in a great peace, joy, and love toward each other and being melted in the power of his presence. Many re-committed their lives to the Lord for ministry by any means through his revelation.
On the second day of the conference the trend continued as the people seemingly would fall down, repent, minister to each other in the love of Christ, enjoy the mighty touch of the Holy Spirit, singing, prophesying, weeping, laughing, hugging, and all the beauty of the Holy Spirit was manifested throughout the congregation by his grace and love. One woman of age 65 testified that she never had danced in her life in any occasion even in secret, but the Lord had told her that she should now dance to him and she was dancing praising him with all her strength. For hours this outpouring continued and the pastors of the churches were one by one testifying that they had never experienced such a presence and power of God in their whole Christian life and ministry.
Some 60 evangelists from Gorkha, Dhanding, Chitwan, Butwal declared that they were renewed in their spirits by the refreshing of the Holy Spirit and they are now going to serve the Lord in the field wherever the Holy Spirit will lead them to be fully fledged in His service. In the last day of the conference, while praying together with the congregation and committing them in his hands, many prophesied that the Lord was assuring them of great changes in their ministry, life and in the area. While the power of God was at work in our midst three children of 6-7 years old fell down weeping, screaming and testifying about a huge hand coming on them and touching their stomachs and healing them instantly. After the prayer all the participants got into the joy of the Holy Spirit and started dancing to the Lord, singing and praising Him for His goodness.
Before leaving Gochadda while we were having snacks in the pastor’s house a woman of high Brahmin caste came by the direction of the Lord to the place, claiming that she was prompted by a voice in her ear to go to the Christians and ask for prayer for healing of her chronic stomach pain and problems, and that is why she was there. We prayed for her and she was instantly healed and we shared the Gospel, but she stopped us saying, “I need to accept Christ as my Saviour so don’t waste time!” She accepted Jesus as her personal Saviour being lifted in spirit, and even the body as she said she didn’t feel anymore burden in her body, and spirit, Hallelujah!
From Chapter 14 – USA: Pensacola
I liked the spontaneous bits best. Before Friday night’s revival service some people in the singing group of over 50 people on stage began singing free harmonies without music while they waited for the sound system to work, and we all joined in. It sounded like angels harmonizing in continual worship. Wonderful. No need for words!
Later, during the service Lindel Cooley, their worship leader, led spontaneously from the keyboard without other instruments, singing the chorus of an old hymn from his youth (and mine) – ‘Love lifted me’. All the oldies joined in, and then it went on to a verse sung from memory. It moved me deeply, from my own boyhood memories, especially as I had just then been asking the Lord for a personal touch from him.
A visitor preached, calling for faith and action. Their prayer team prayed for many hundreds at the ‘altar call’ – short and sharp, but relevant and challenging. The man who prayed briefly for me spoke about national and international ministries the Lord would open for me.
From Chapter 15 – Vanuatu (2002)
By Romulo [about outreach at university in Vanuatu]:
“The speaker was the Upper Room Church pastor, Jotham Napat who is also the Director of Meteorology in Vanuatu. The night was filled with the awesome power of the Lord and we had the Upper Room church ministry who provided music with their instruments. With our typical Pacific Island setting of bush and nature all around us, we had dances, drama, testified in an open environment, letting the wind carry the message of salvation to the bushes and the darkened areas. That worked because most of those that came to the altar call were people hiding or listening in those areas. The Lord was on the road of destiny with many people that night.”
Unusual lightning hovered around the sky and as soon as the prayer teams had finished praying with those who rushed forward at the altar call, the tropical rain pelted down on that open field.
God poured out his Spirit on many lives that night, including Jerry Waqainabete and Simon Kofe. Both of them played rugby in the popular university teams and enjoyed drinking and the nightclub scene. Both changed dramatically. Many of their friends said it would not last. It did last and led them into ministry and mission.
Romulo continues [about mission team to Australia]:
The concert organized was in obedience to a prompting for me to take a University mission team to Australia. Pastor Geoff then told me that as I shared the purpose of the concert and our plans to go for a mission trip to Australia, he felt a conviction in his spirit to do two things: firstly, to give our team all the money in his wallet as a seed into our mission trip and secondly to offer to host our mission team if we are to visit his city of Brisbane. This first experience was the beginning of my witnessing practical Christianity where faith was complemented by works.
The idea of being missionaries in Australia was certainly an exciting one. We planned to go to Sydney for our mission opportunity, or so we thought. In God-ordained fashion, we ended up going to Brisbane and the encounter and mentoring I received during that month felt like a lifetime of teaching and depositing of the practical Word.
My limited Pentecostal background boxed my understanding of where I could operate spiritually. I was taught, by observing that the altar was only for the ministering of the pastor or elders with the special occasions where the altar was opened for others such as children’s Sunday. …
I get the reasoning and the sacredness of the altar, but I also accept that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10: 34) and He will use willing and obedient vessels to advance His Kingdom. Moreover, by practical application of the Word of God, we discovered that God was more than willing to use us in ministering to those that came to the services throughout our mission trip.
The best part was, we did not need to have theology degrees or titles for God to use us in ministry. We simply had to be available.
Through our availability, we saw lives being surrendered to Christ in brokenness as healing, deliverance and restoration followed. I learnt to trust and rely on the Holy Spirit to lead me into His purpose whether it be in the laying of hands, ministering through prayer or in releasing a word of wisdom and knowledge.
Pastor Geoff guided us through these firsts of spiritual encounters and experiences and we were empowered to step into ministry. These were intimidating moments for us, but as Pastor Geoff mentored and encouraged us into ministry, we felt empowered and supported to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as we ministered. There was a spiritual hunger in our team, and yearning to learn, be discipled, and attuned to the convictions and leading of the Holy Spirit. …
In one of our ministry times, we were invited to lead an afternoon service in a suburb within the city. The word had gone out that a group of Pacific student missionaries were ministering that day. As the ministry took place, I looked up and saw a packed altar as people drawn by the power of the Holy Spirit kept making their way to the front of the church.
There was a tangible presence of the Lord as tears flowed and people were making themselves right with God. I was praying for the senior pastor and his wife and the power of the Holy Spirit came upon them causing them to be slain. I was taken back by this experience. Little me, a student missionary praying for a senior pastor and his wife and seeing them get slain by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I was bemused, but Pastor Geoff reminded us that it was all about the Holy Spirit and we were the vessels that He is using. He also reminded us to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and flow in the anointing.
Significant events associated with the coming of the Gospel to South Pentecost included a martyr killed and a paramount chief’s wife returning from death.
Thomas Tumtum had been an indentured worker on cane farms in Queensland, Australia. Converted there, he returned around 1901 to his village on South Pentecost with a new young disciple from a neighbouring island. They arrived when the village was tabu (taboo) because a baby had died a few days earlier, so no one was allowed into the village. Ancient tradition dictated that anyone breaking tabu must be killed, so they were going to kill Thomas, but his friend Lulkon asked Thomas to tell them to kill him instead so that Thomas could evangelize his own people. Just before he was clubbed to death at a sacred Mele palm tree, he read John 3:16, then closed his eyes and prayed for them. Thomas became a pioneer of the church in South Pentecost, establishing Churches of Christ there.
Paramount Chief Morris Bule died at 111 on 1stJuly, 2016, the son of the highest rank paramount chief on Pentecost Island. After a wife of Chief Morris’s father died and was prepared for burial, the calico cloths around her began to move. She had returned from death and they took the grave cloths of her. She sat up and told them all to leave their pagan ways and follow the Christian way. Then she lay down and died.
Chief Morris’s son, Paramount Chief Peter, had an uncle who returned from Queensland as a Christian in the early 1900s. When he was old, after many years telling them about the Gospel, one day he called all his relatives to him, shook hands in farewell with everyone, and lay down and died immediately.
From Chapter 16 – Solomon Islands (2003)
Solomon Islands youth conference
Revival began with the Spirit moving on youth and children in village churches. They had extended worship in revival songs, many visions and revelations and lives being changed with strong love for the Lord. Children and youth began meeting daily from 5pm for hours of praise, worship and testimonies. A police officer reported reduced crimes and said former rebels were attending daily worship and prayer meetings.
Revival continued to spread throughout the region. Revival movements brought moral change and built stronger communities in villages in the Solomon Islands including these lasting developments:
1. Higher moral standards. People involved in the revival quit crime and drunkenness and promoted good behaviour and co-operation.
2. Christians who once kept their Christianity inside churches and meetings talked more freely about their lifestyle in the community and amongst friends.
3. Revival groups, especially youth, enjoyed working together in unity and community, including a stronger emphasis on helping others in the community.
4. Families were strengthened in the revival. Parents spent more time with their youth and children to encourage and help them, often leading them in Bible reading and family prayers.
5. Many new gifts and ministries were used by more people than before, including revelations and healing. Even children received revelations or words of knowledge about hidden magic artifacts or ginger plants related to spirit power and removed them.
6. Churches grew. Many church buildings in the Marovo Lagoon were pulled down and replaced with much large buildings to fit in the crowds. Offerings and community support increased.
7. Unity. Increasingly Christians united in reconciliation for revival meetings, prayer and service to the community.
Children received revelations about their parent’s secret sins or the location of hidden magic artifacts or stolen property. Many children had visions of Jesus during the revival meetings. Often he would be smiling when they were worshipping and loving him, or he would show sadness when they were naughty or unkind. …
At Seghe the children and youth loved to meet every afternoon in the church near the Bible College there. The man leading these meetings had been a rascal involved in the ethnic tensions but was converted in the revival. A policeman from Seghe told me that since the revival began crime has dropped. Many former young criminals were converted and joined the youth, worshipping God each afternoon. Revival continued to spread throughout the region. …
We taught in morning sessions about revival and answered questions. One mother, for example, asked about the meaning of her young son’s vision of Jesus standing with one foot in heaven and one foot on the earth. What a beautiful, powerful picture of Jesus with all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew28:8), seen in a child’s vision.
The deliverance ministry group left the college by boat and when they arrived at the Bungalows they prayed together. After they prayed together they divided into two groups.
There is one person in each of these two groups that has a gift from the Lord that the Holy Spirit reveals where the witchcraft powers are, such as bones from dead babies or stones. These witchcraft powers are always found in the ground outside the houses or sometimes in the houses. So when the Holy Spirit reveals to that person the right spot where the witchcraft power is, then they have to dig it up with a spade.
When they dug it out from the soil they prayed over it and bound the power of that witchcraft in the name of Jesus. Then they claimed the blood of Jesus in that place.
Something very important when joining the deliverance group is that everyone in the group must be fully committed to the Lord and must be strong in their faith because sometimes the witchcraft power can affect the ones that are not really committed and do not have faith.
After they finished the deliverance ministry they came together again and just gave praise to the Lord in singing and prayer. Then they closed with a Benediction.
From Chapter 19 – Vanuatu Pentecost (2004)
By Don Hill:
The night’s worship led by the law students started off as usual with singing, then spontaneously turned into a joyful party. Then Joanna Kenilorea gave a testimony about a very sad event in her family that brought the Keniloreas back to God. She was especially eloquent in her address and when finished, Geoff found that it had been so powerful that he had no more to add that night and made an immediate altar call for prayer. Almost as one, 300 high school students, teachers and others present rose from their seats and moved out into the aisle to the front of the hall. There were a couple of slow starters, but when it became apparent that Geoff could not possibly pray for each individually, even these moved up to the back of the crowd until everybody in that room had come forward. Geoff in all his years of ministry and association with renewal ministries and revival (and that was the subject of his doctorate) had never experienced anything like it. The most remarkable thing for Helen and me was we were there and part of it in such a remote and previously unknown part of our world! It was surely a night to remember.
From Chapter 21 – Vanuatu: Pentecost (2005)
Many of the older people attending these intensive teaching sessions had been involved in local revivals through many years. They understood the principles involved such as repentance, reconciliation, unity, personal and group prayer that was earnest and full of faith, and using various gifts of the Spirit. They were most familiar with words of wisdom and knowledge, discerning spirits (especially from local witchcraft), revelations, healings and deliverance.
I learned much from them, especially about the spirit world and humbly seeking God for revelation and direction. We westerners tend to jump in and organize things without really waiting patiently on God for his revelation and direction. Many westerners, including missionaries, find waiting frustrating or annoying, but local people find it normal and natural. Wait on God and move when he shows you the way. For example, you can seek the Lord about who will speak, what to say, and how to respond. We westerners often use schedules and programs instead.
“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)
Before the Kibera slum church moved into their corrugated iron shed they met in a community hall. I taught leaders there, and spoke at their Sunday service with about 30 people. We gave them real bread for communion, not just symbolic cubes. The Spirit led me to give them all the bread we had, just t loaves (not five barley buns as the boy had in Scripture).
“Can I take some home to my family?” asked one young man. That’s a hard question to answer in front of 30 hungry people.
“It’s yours. You can take some of your own communion bread home if you want to,” I answered.
Everyone then took a large handful of communion bread, and most put some in their pockets to take home later. We shared real glasses of grape juice in plastic glasses, thanking the Lord for his body and blood given for us. After my return to Australia I heard that the bread apparently multiplied, as those who took some home had enough for their families to eat. Some of them were still eating it two weeks later.
From Chapter 22 – Fiji (2005)
While we were praying and worshipping, the Lord told me for the first ever time to take the salt water and the land and give it back to God. And I told this brother that when we offered it to God the rain is going to fall just to confirm that God hears and accepts it according to His leading.
I told him in advance while the Lord was putting it in my heart to do it… this is the first ever time and I always heard about it when people are being led… now it has happened to me… I could not even believe it.
As soon as he brought the water and I brought the soil to signify the sacrifice, I felt the mighty presence of God with us and was like numb… and the sun was really shining up in the sky with very little clouds. This rain fell slowly upon us…. I still could not believe… my cousin was astonished and could not believe it… it happened according to the way the Lord told me and I told him. It was like a made up story.
It was the blessings of God and I told the Lord that I am waiting for His own time to rebuild the walls of my village… but the Lord already told me that He wants and has chosen me to rebuild the wall of my village like Nehemiah.
[Jerry also visited the martyrdom site on Pentecost Island, where light warm rain also fell from a cloudless sky when a worshipping group dedicated themselves and the land to God.]
From Chapter 23 – Fiji (2006) re Tanna Island in Vanuatu
The Director of the Department of Meteorology in Vanuatu was in Fiji for a conference and I met him there again. He is also a pastor (Pastor Jotham) at Upper Room church in Port Vila where many of the law students attended.
In May 2006 he had been on mission in Tanna Island where the Lord moved strongly on young people, especially in worship and prayer. Children and youth were anointed to write and sing new songs in the local dialects. Some children asked the pastors to ordain them as missionaries – which was new for everyone. After prayer about it, they did.
Those children are strong evangelists already, telling Bible stories in pagan villages. One 9 year old boy did that, and people began giving their lives to God in his pagan village, so he became their ‘pastor’, assisted by older Christians from other villages.
At sharing time in the Upper Room service, a nurse, Leah Waqa, told how she had been recently on duty when parents brought in their young daughter who had been badly hit in a car accident, and showed no signs of life – the heart monitor registered zero.
Leah was in the dispensary giving out medicines when she heard about the girl and she suddenly felt unusual boldness, so went to the girl and prayed for her, commanding her to live, in Jesus’ name. She prayed for almost an hour, mostly in tongues, and after an hour the monitor started beeping and the girl recovered.
The revival team, including the two of us from Australia, trekked for a week into mountain villages. We literally obeyed Luke 10 – most going with no extra shirt, no sandals, and no money. The trek began with a five-hour climb across the island to the village of Ranwas on ridges by the sea on the eastern side. Mathias led worship, and strong moves of the Spirit touched everyone. We prayed for people many times in each meeting. At one point I spat on the dirt floor, making mud to show what Jesus did once. Merilyn Wari, wife of the President of the Churches of Christ, then jumped up asking for prayer for her eyes, using the mud. Later she testified that the Lord told her to do that, and then she found she could read her small pocket Bible without glasses. So she read to us all. Meetings continued like that each night. …
Revival meetings erupted at Ponra. The Spirit just took over. Visions. Revelations. Reconciliations. Healings. People drunk in the Spirit. Many resting on the floor getting blessed in various ways. When they heard about healing through ‘mud in the eye’ at Ranwas some wanted mud packs also at Ponra!
One of the girls in the team had a vision of the village children there paddling in a pure sea, crystal clear. They were like that – so pure. Not polluted at all by TV, DVDs, videos, movies, magazines, and worldliness. Their lives were so clean and holy. Just pure love for the Lord, especially among the young. Youth often lead in revival.
The sound of angels singing filled the air about 3am. It sounded as though the village church was packed. The harmonies in high descant declared “For You are great and You do wondrous things. You are God alone” and then harmonies, without words until words again for “I will praise You O Lord my God with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name for evermore” with long, long harmonies on “forever more”. Just worship. Pure, awesome and majestic.
From Chapter 24 – Solomon Islands (2006)
Revival in the Guadalcanal Mountains had begun at the Bubunuhu Christian Community High School on Monday, July 10, 2006, on their first night back from holidays. They were filled with the Spirit and began using many spiritual gifts they had not had before. Then they took teams of students to the villages to sing, testify, and pray for people, especially youth. Many gifts of the Spirit were new to them – prophecies, healings, tongues, and revelations (such as knowing where adults hid magic artefacts).
The National Christian Youth Convention (NCYC) in the north-west of the Solomon Islands at Choiseul Island, two hours flight from Honiara, brought over 1,000 youth together from all over the Solomon Islands.
“Most of a thousand youth came forward. Some ran to the altar, some crying! There was an amazing outpouring of the Spirit and because there were so many people Geoff and I split up and started laying hands on as many people as we could. People were falling under the power everywhere (some testified later to having visions). There were bodies all over the field (some people landing on top of each other). Then I did a general healing prayer and asked them to put their hand on the place where they had pain. After we prayed people began to come forward sharing testimonies of how the pain had left their bodies and they were completely healed! The meeting stretched on late into the night with more healing and many more people getting deep touches.
“It was one of the most amazing nights. I was deeply touched and feel like I have left a part of myself in Choiseul. God did an amazing thing that night with the young people and I really believe that he is raising up some of them to be mighty leaders in revival.”
A young man who was healed that night returned to his nearby village and prayed for his sick mother and brother. Both were healed immediately. He told the whole convention about that the next morning at the meeting, adding that he had never done that before.
The delegation from Kariki islands further west, returned home the following Monday.
The next night they led a meeting where the Spirit of God moved in revival. Many were filled with the Spirit, had visions, were healed, and discovered many spiritual gifts including discerning spirits and tongues. That revival has continued and spread.
From Chapter 25 – Solomon Islands (2007)
We held revival meetings at the Theological Seminary at Seghe in the fantastic Marovo Lagoon – 70 kilometres with hundreds of tropical bush laden islands north and west of New Georgia Island. Morning teaching sessions, personal prayers in the afternoons and night revival meetings, with worship led by the students, filled an eventful week in September 2007. That was the first time the seminary held such a week, and again we prayed for so many at each meeting, students and village people. Meetings included two village revival services in the lagoon. At the first, an afternoon meeting in the framework of a large new church building, everyone came for prayer, all 100, and 30 reported on pain leaving as we prayed for healings. Then we had a long evening meeting at Patutiva village, where revival started in Easter 2003 across the Lagoon from Seghe. That meeting went from 7pm to 1.30am with about 1,000 people! We prayed personally for hundreds after the meeting ‘closed’ at 11pm. Students told me they could hear the worship and preaching on the PA across the lagoon 1k away in the still night air, so those in bed listened that way!
The week at Taro island was the fullest of the whole trip, the most tiring, and also the most powerful so far. Worship was amazing. They brought all the United Church ministers together for the week from all surrounding islands where revival is spreading and was accelerated after the youth convention near here in Choiseul the previous December, where the tsunami hit in April. Many lay people also filled the church each morning – about 200.
Night rallies at the soccer field included the amplifiers reaching people in their houses as well. Each night I spoke and Mathias also spoke, especially challenging the youth. We prayed for hundreds, while the youth lead worship at the end of each meeting. The ministers helped but they preferred to just assist us, and people seemed to want us to pray for them. I involved the ministers in praying for people also. There was a lot of conviction and reconciliation going on.
It’s fascinating that we so often see powerful moves of God’s Spirit when all the churches and Christians unite together in worship and ministry. God blesses unity of heart and action, especially among God’s people. It always involves repentance and reconciliation.
In all these places people made strong commitments to the Lord, and healings were quick and deep. Both in Vanuatu and in the Solomon Islands the people said that they could all understand my English, even those who did not speak English, so they did not need an interpreter. Another miracle. …
Saturday night was billed as a big meeting at Patuvita across the channel. This is where the revival started with children of the lagoon at Easter 2003. Geoff had previously visited this church in September 2003. The old church building has been pulled down and the foundations were being pegged out on an open ridge high above the lagoon for the new one, which will probably hold up to 1000 as the revival swells the numbers.
Again students led the worship. Most of the adults were traditional, but there were forty or so in revival ministry teams who pray for the sick, cast out spirits and evangelize. We joined the meeting by 8pm and finished at 1.30am!
Very lively stuff. Only tiny kids went to sleep – 50 of them on pandanus leaf mats at the front. Then we prayed for people – and prayed, and prayed, and prayed and prayed, on and on and on and on! I involved the ministers (after praying for them and leaders first), and the students – and still people came for prayer – by the hundreds.
We prayed for leaders who wanted prayer first, then for their ministry teams, then for youth leaders and the youth, and then for anyone else who wanted prayer, and at about midnight Mark called all the children for prayer, so the parents woke them up and carried the babies. I guess I prayed for 30 sleeping kids in mother’s arms and for their mothers and fathers as well.
Then after midnight when the meeting “finished” about 200 remained for personal prayer, one by one. So I involved 4 students with me, and that was great on-the-job training as well as praying. We prayed about everything imaginable, including many barren wives, men whose wives were un-cooperative, women whose husbands weren’t interested, and healings galore – certainly many more than 100 healings. In every case, those with whom we prayed said that the pain was totally gone.
I doubt if I’ve ever seen so many healings, happening so quickly. At 1.30am there were still 30 people waiting for prayer, so I got desperate, and prayed for them all at once. I told them just to put their hands on the parts of their body needing healings, and I prayed for them all at once, while the students and some ministers still there laid hands on them, and I also moved quickly around to lay hands on each one.
They were all happy, and again reported healings. I wish I’d thought of that at midnight! But at least a few hundred had a chance to talk with us and be specific about their needs.
I loved it there among such humble, hungry, receptive, grateful, gentle, and faith-filled believers. I was often in tears just being there, appreciating their heartfelt zeal in everything. I have rarely been so impressed anywhere. No concerts. No acting. No hype. Just bare essentials. What a big and wonderful family we belong to, and our Father is so proud of his family there, I’m sure.
I had the great honour of speaking at a house church. People arrived in ones or twos over an hour or so, and stayed for many hours. Then they left quietly in ones or twos again, just personal visitors to that host family. Food on the small kitchen table welcomed everyone, some of it brought by the visitors.
About 30 of us crowded into a simple room with very few chairs. Most sat on the thin mat coverings. They sang their own heartfelt worship songs in their own language and style, pouring out love to the Lord, sometimes with tears. The leader played a very basic guitar in a very basic way.
Everyone listened intently to the message, and gladly asked questions, all of it interpreted. There was no need for an altar call or invitation to receive prayer. Everyone wanted personal prayer. Our prayer team of three or four people prayed with each person for specific needs such as healing and with personal prophecies. That flowed strongly. I knew none of that group, but received ‘pictures’ or words of encouragement for each one, as did the others.
While prayer continued, some began slipping quietly away. Others had supper. Others stayed to worship quietly. It was a quiet night because they did not want to disturb neighbours or attract attention.
Most people in that group were new believers with no Christian background at all. They identified easily with the house churches of the New Testament, the persecution, and the miracles, because they experienced all that as well. Many unbelievers become Christians because someone prayed for their healing and the Lord healed them.
From Chapter 28 – Fiji (2008, 2009)
By Romulo and Roneil (2008):
“Inter-tertiary went very well at Suva Grammar School that was hosted by Fiji School of Medicine Christian Fellowship (CF). It was an awesome two nights of fellowship with God and with one another. The Pacific Students for Christ combined worship was a huge blessings for those that attended the two nights of worship. Pastor Geoff spoke on Obedience to the Holy Spirit – this being a spark to revival and power.
“Students came in droves for prayers and the worship lit up the Grammar School skies with tears, repentance, anointing and empowerment. The worship by Fiji School of Medicine students brought us closer to intimate worship with the King. It was a Pacific gathering and each and every person there was truly blessed as young people sought a closer intimate relationship with the King. We were blessed beyond words. Thank you all for the prayers, the thoughts and the giving.”
Roneil, a Fijian Indian, added, “It was all so amazing, so amazing that words can’t describe it. For me, it was obvious that the glory of God just descended upon the people during the Inter-tertiary CF. I’ve never seen an altar call that lasted for way more than an hour. I myself just couldn’t get enough of it. It was and still is so amazing. God’s anointing is just so powerful. Hallelujah to Him Who Was, Who Is and Who is to Come.”
By Romulo (2009):
Two of the memorable highlights were the washing of leaders’ feet at RCCG Samabula and the worship service on Wednesday at RCCG Kiuva village. In fact I remember picking up the pastors on Sunday morning and seeing Pastor Geoff carrying towels. I said to myself, ‘This is going to be fun.’ And fun it was.
God was teaching the church the principles of servanthood, demonstrated not just by words but by actions. It was a moving experience as Pastor Geoff on his knees started washing feet, drying them with a towel and speaking into the lives of leaders. Powerful also was the fact that Pastor Geoff’s leading was to wash the feet of leaders.
That Sunday former PM Rabuka, who heard of the Pastor’s visit, came to church for prayer. Of course, the leading for Pastor Geoff to pray for leaders meant Rabuka would get his feet washed too. One of the acts that will be embedded forever in my mind was seeing Rabuka sit on the floor, remove his coat and wash the feet of Pastor Geoff and KY Tan. He then dried their feet with his ‘favourite’ Fiji rugby coat (he played in their national rugby team). I was blown away by this act of humility, as demonstrated by Christ on his final night with the disciples before his arrest and execution.
On Wednesday night, (their last night in Suva), we were at Kiuva village in Tailevu. The powerful and angelic worship of young people and kids in Tailevu made the atmosphere one of power with a tangible presence of the Lord in the place. We saw a glimpse of revival and the power of God at work in such a simple setting. I was blessed to witness for myself the prevalent hunger in the body as lives connected with God. In all, it is purely refreshing being in the presence of God and being touched and filled by the Holy Spirit.
From Chapter 34 – Vanuatu: Pentecost Island (2012, 2017-18)
One Sunday there we shared in a combined churches service in the packed village church. Before the service Andrew had words of knowledge about pain in a man’s shoulders and the right side of a woman’s face. Both came for prayer while people were gathering in the church. We then discovered that the man was the leader of the service and the woman preached that day! Many times, the words of knowledge Andrew received were for pastors and leaders first, and then later we prayed for others.
At that Sunday service I was strongly led to call people out for prayer during communion. That was a first for them. It never happened in communion. A large number came for prayer and the healings were fast and strong.
One night Andrew felt led to wash everyone’s feet. That took the whole service! We put a bucket of water near the door (regularly refilled) and Andrew washed everyone’s feet as they arrived while we worshipped, prayed, spoke and called people out for healing and empowering prayer. I was led to wash the leaders’ feet that night also [Photo: Andrew washes the chief’s feet].
Our adventures included another outboard motor canoe trip an hour north for a combined churches youth rally on the beach with a large campfire at the end of the meeting. We joined forces with another Australian mission team from Gladstone staying there. That night we also prayed for many people after the service. Healings were the fastest and strongest we had seen till then. We realized that people’s faith was rising and God was especially blessing unity. …
People were even more welcoming this time at Bunlap [custom village]. We prayed for dozens of people, and their pain left. We talked about the kingdom of God and how Jesus saves and heals. Some of the people told us they believed that, and when the chief allowed it they would be part of a church there.
The paramount chief once burned a Bible given to him by a revival team from the Christian villages. Now he is willing for a church to be built on the ground where he burned the Bible. Hallelujah – what a testimony to God’s grace and glory. For the first time ever that paramount chief asked for prayer. He wanted healing from head pain. Andrew placed his hands on the sides of the chief’s head and we prayed for him in Jesus’ name. The pain left.
Then another chief there prepared lunch for us so the pastors in the team and Andrew and I ate in his house – again the first time ever for white people on mission there.
Like Jesus’ disciples, we returned to Ranwas Christian village church rejoicing that afflicting spirits were cast out, people were healed in Jesus’ name, some believed in Jesus, and they now plan to have a church there. Our Bunlap host chief told Pastor Rolanson he can bring his guitar and have meetings in the chief’s house anytime.
I returned with Dante and others in June-July, 2017. The Riverlife Baptist Church people sent a keyboard, a guitar, and a large box of reading glasses with us. We often take used and discarded spectacles with us on these trips, and pray for healings too!
This time we had meetings at Ranwadi High School again and once again prayed with large numbers there. Then we returned to Pangi and Panlimsi villages for more meetings and visitation with Pastor Rolanson. At a Sunday service, Elder Jackson gave his testimony that his blood readings were normal at the clinic following prayer for diabetes.
We continue to encourage Christians to pray for one another in faith and obedience. I also participated when their new MP Silas Bule, formerly principal at Ranwadi, distributed Gideon’s New Testaments to the local school.
Then in 2018 I had a team of seven of us. The six young men with me included Dante and Ben again with Ben’s friends Scott (Andrew Chee’s brother), Blake, Sergie, and Dylan. We stayed in Rolanson and Doneth’s village at Panlimsi, up the ridge from Pangi on the coast.
Again we prayed with large numbers at their village meetings and during the day. Pain left immediately with healing prayers, people were filled with the Spirit, using spiritual gifts, and we saw rising faith and obedience among them.
We encourage and support revival leaders on Pentecost Island regularly. That includes providing revival books and resources, Bibles, and helping pastors with high school fees for their children. I usually take donated spectacles to give away to help people read their Bibles. We have invested into establishing a Revival Training Centre as a revival base to help equip local revival team ministries.
Here is an amazing story from a flight attendant on Delta Flight 15, written following 9-11 (this was forwarded to me by a friend):
On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, we were about 5 hours out of Frankfurt, flying over the North Atlantic .
All of a sudden the curtains parted and I was told to go to the cockpit, immediately, to see the captain. As soon as I got there I noticed that the crew had that “All Business” look on their faces. The captain handed me a printed message. It was from Delta’s main office in Atlanta and simply read, “All airways over the Continental United States are closed to commercial air traffic. Land ASAP at the nearest airport. Advise your destination.”
No one said a word about what this could mean. We knew it was a serious situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. The captain determined that the nearest airport was 400 miles behind us in Gander, New Foundland, in Canada.
He requested approval for a route change from the Canadian traffic controller and approval was granted immediately — no questions asked. We found out later, of course, why there was no hesitation in approving our request.
While the flight crew prepared the airplane for landing, another message arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity in the New York area. A few minutes later word came in about the hijackings.
We decided to LIE to the passengers while we were still in the air. We told them the plane had a simple instrument problem and that we needed to land at the nearest airport in Gander , New Foundland, to have it checked out.
We promised to give more information after landing in Gander .. There was much grumbling among the passengers, but that’s nothing new! Forty minutes later, we landed in Gander. Local time at Gander was 12:30 PM …. that’s 11:00 AM EST.
There were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over the world that had taken this detour on their way to the US.
After we parked on the ramp, the captain made the following announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these airplanes around us have the same instrument problem as we have. The reality is that we are here for another reason.”
Then he went on to explain the little bit we knew about the situation in the US. There were loud gasps and stares of disbelief. The captain informed passengers that Ground control in Gander told us to stay put.
The Canadian Government was in charge of our situation and no one was allowed to get off the aircraft. No one on the ground was allowed to come near any of the air crafts. Only airport police would come around periodically, look us over and go on to the next airplane.
In the next hour or so more planes landed and Gander ended up with 53 airplanes from all over the world, 27 of which were US commercial jets.
Meanwhile, bits of news started to come in over the aircraft radio and for the first time we learned that airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon in DC.
People were trying to use their cell phones, but were unable to connect due to a different cell system in Canada . Some did get through, but were only able to get to the Canadian operator who would tell them that the lines to the U.S. were either blocked or jammed.
Sometime in the evening the news filtered to us that the World Trade Center buildings had collapsed and that a fourth hijacking had resulted in a crash. By now the passengers were emotionally and physically exhausted, not to mention frightened, but everyone stayed amazingly calm.
We had only to look out the window at the 52 other stranded aircraft to realize that we were not the only ones in this predicament.
We had been told earlier that they would be allowing people off the planes one plane at a time. At 6 PM, Gander airport told us that our turn to deplane would be 11 am the next morning.
Passengers were not happy, but they simply resigned themselves to this news without much noise and started to prepare themselves to spend the night on the airplane.
Gander had promised us medical attention, if needed, water, and lavatory servicing.
And they were true to their word.
Fortunately we had no medical situations to worry about. We did have a young lady who was 33 weeks into her pregnancy. We took REALLY good care of her. The night passed without incident despite the uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.
About 10:30 on the morning of the 12th a convoy of school buses showed up. We got off the plane and were taken to the terminal where we went through Immigration and Customs and then had to register with the Red Cross.
After that we (the crew) were separated from the passengers and were taken in vans to a small hotel. We had no idea where our passengers were going. We learned from the Red Cross that the town of Gander has a population of 10,400 people and they had about 10,500 passengers to take care of from all the airplanes that were forced into Gander!
We were told to just relax at the hotel and we would be contacted when the US airports opened again, but not to expect that call for a while.
We found out the total scope of the terror back home only after getting to our hotel and turning on the TV, 24 hours after it all started.
Meanwhile, we had lots of time on our hands and found that the people of Gander were extremely friendly. They started calling us the “plane people.” We enjoyed their hospitality, explored the town of Gander and ended up having a pretty good time.
Two days later, we got that call and were taken back to the Gander airport. Back on the plane, we were reunited with the passengers and found out what they had been doing for the past two days.
What we found out was incredible…..
Gander and all the surrounding communities (within about a 75 Kilometer radius) had closed all high schools, meeting halls, lodges, and any other large gathering places. They converted all these facilities to mass lodging areas for all the stranded travelers.
Some had cots set up, some had mats with sleeping bags and pillows set up.
ALL the high school students were required to volunteer their time to take care of the “guests.”
Our 218 passengers ended up in a town called Lewisporte, about 45 kilometers from Gander where they were put up in a high school. If any women wanted to be in a women-only facility, that was arranged.
Families were kept together. All the elderly passengers were taken to private homes.
Remember that young pregnant lady? She was put up in a private home right across the street from a 24-hour Urgent Care facility. There was a dentist on call and both male and female nurses remained with the crowd for the duration.
Phone calls and e-mails to the U.S. and around the world were available to everyone once a day. During the day, passengers were offered “Excursion” trips. Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and harbors. Some went for hikes in the local forests.
Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh bread for the guests.
Food was prepared by all the residents and brought to the schools. People were driven to restaurants of their choice and offered wonderful meals. Everyone was given tokens for local laundry mats to wash their clothes, since luggage was still on the aircraft.
In other words, every single need was met for those stranded travelers.
Passengers were crying while telling us these stories. Finally, when they were told that U.S. airports had reopened, they were delivered to the airport right on time and without a single passenger missing or late. The local Red Cross had all the information about the whereabouts of each and every passenger and knew which plane they needed to be on and when all the planes were leaving. They coordinated everything beautifully.
It was absolutely incredible.
When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise. Everyone knew each other by name. They were swapping stories of their stay, impressing each other with who had the better time. Our flight back to Atlanta looked like a chartered party flight. The crew just stayed out of their way. It was mind-boggling.
Passengers had totally bonded and were calling each other by their first names, exchanging phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses.
And then a very unusual thing happened.
One of our passengers approached me and asked if he could make an announcement over the PA system. We never, ever allow that. But this time was different. I said “of course” and handed him the mike. He picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had just gone through in the last few days. He reminded them of the hospitality they had received at the hands of total strangers.
He continued by saying that he would like to do something in return for the good folks of Lewisporte.
He said he was going to set up a Trust Fund under the name of DELTA 15 (our flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide college scholarships for the high school students of Lewisporte.
He asked for donations of any amount from his fellow travelers. When the paper with donations got back to us with the amounts, names, phone numbers and addresses, the total was for more than $14,000!
The gentleman, a MD from Virginia , promised to match the donations and to start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that he would forward this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to donate as well.
As I write this account, the trust fund is at more than $1.5 million and has assisted 134 students in college education.
I just wanted to share this story because we need good stories right now. It gives me a little bit of hope to know that some people in a faraway place were kind to some strangers who literally dropped in on them.
“It reminds me how much good there is in the world.”
In spite of all the rotten things we see going on in today’s world this story confirms that there are still a lot of good people in the world and when things get bad, they will come forward.
*This is one of those stories that need to be shared. Please do so…*
Vincent van Gogh’s unappreciated journey with Christ
By Mark Ellis
A record 1.2 million visitors came to the giant retrospective of Van Gogh’s work in Amsterdam in 1990, which coincided with the 100th anniversary of the Dutch post-Impressionist’s death. What visitors did not see at that major exhibition were van Gogh’s Christian-themed paintings, which were left in the basement of the museum.
“None of the religious imagery was in the show. It was deliberately kept in the basement,” says William Havlicek, Ph. D , author of “Van Gogh’s Untold Journey” (Creative Storytellers). “In Western art there has been a move toward secularization through existential thinking,” he notes, which followed the disillusionment of many artists after two world wars.
Havlicek spent 15 years researching and studying more than 900 of van Gogh’s letters. His revealing book dispels many of the myths that surround the painter’s tumultuous life. “Vincent’s letters portray a very different story than the popular tale of the mad artist who cuts off his ear,” Havlicek notes. “What emerges instead is a story of selfless loyalty, the epitome of the Gospel’s sacred counsel – ‘love one another.’”
“Many of his religious letters were held back and only released in the last five or six years,” Havlicek adds.
Vincent’s father and grandfather were pastors and it seems many in the van Gogh family gravitated toward religion or art. His father Theodorus – a Dutch Reformed minister — was not known as a compelling preacher, but a “welfare pastor” who distributed food and clothing to the poor, Havlicek notes.
As Vincent’s zeal for Christ grew in his early twenties, he wanted to study theology, but failed his entrance exam for seminary. Instead, he went off to serve as a missionary to coal miners in the Borinage district of Belgium.
He found miners who were sick and starving, living a bleak existence, without adequate food, water or warm clothing. A mining explosion had left many in a horrible condition. Fighting for survival, they apparently had little interest in his evangelistic appeals.
In response to their plight, Vincent gave away everything he owned, including most of his clothing. To tend to their medical needs, he ripped up his own bed sheets for bandages, and slept on straw on the ground. “By such actions he won the admiration and respect of the workers, and was able to convert some of them,” Havlicek notes.
“Vincent was a very generous man. He understood that unconditional love of God extended to unconditional love for others. He would never recognize love that was not an action.” Van Gogh was also inspired by the writings of Charles Dickens in his compassionate response to human suffering.
Sadly, a church committee overseeing Vincent thought he suffered from excessive zeal and fired him because he did not dress or preach eloquently. “It did not seem to matter to them that he literally poured out his life in sacrifice and service on behalf of the diseased and destitute,” Havlicek laments.
Vincent went home to his parents, but the physical and emotional ordeal of caring for the miners and the rejection by the church hierarchy had taken its toll. He appeared to suffer a nervous breakdown, which caused his father to make his first quiet inquiries about committing Vincent to an asylum.
At the same time, the drawings Vincent had made of miners and others captured his brother Theo’s interest. He persuaded Vincent to begin formal art studies at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. Van Gogh wanted to continue to serve God with his art, stating: “…to try to understand the real significance of what the great artists, the serious masters, tell us in their masterpieces, that leads to God. One man wrote or told it in a book, another in a picture.”
In 1881, he fell in love and proposed marriage to woman who was seven years older. She turned him down, but his advances persisted in a clumsy manner. Exasperated, the woman and her parents forcibly rejected Vincent, partly due to the struggling artist’s inability to support himself.
During the time Vincent lived with his family, Vincent and his father got into more and more heated arguments. After one particular violent exchange on Christmas day when Vincent refused to go to church, Vincent left to live on his own in The Hague.
The following year Vincent attempted to rescue a prostitute, Sien Hoornik. He wrote of his unusual relationship with Hoornik in his letters: “I met a pregnant woman, deserted by the man whose child she carried. A pregnant woman who had to walk the streets in winter, had to earn her bread, you understand how, I took this woman for a model and have worked with her all winter. I could not pay her the full wages of a model, but that did not prevent my paying her rent, and, thank God, so far I have been able to protect her and her child from hunger and cold by sharing my own bread with her.”
As one might imagine, his family was shocked he had taken in a prostitute and pressured him to alter his living arrangement. His parents continued to explore the idea of committing Vincent to an asylum due to his errant behavior.
Vincent’s father died of a stroke in 1885 and Vincent’s sisters blamed him for “murdering” his father, due to the emotional fallout from their intense discussions and unresolved conflict.
After his father’s death, Vincent went into a tailspin. “Vincent embarked on a three-year drinking binge in Paris,” Havlicek notes. “This was the most destructive period of his life. Even so, he continued to produce some remarkable work inspired by the Impressionists who exhibited in the great city.”
He experimented with absinthe, which was a highly popular drink in some circles made from unstable wormwood alcohol. The unpredictable side effects for many users included nerve damage, blindness, and insanity. Absinthe may have triggered the epileptic seizures that began to plague Vincent during this period.
“After drinking a large quantity of absinthe, Vincent slashed off a portion of his ear,” Havlicek recounts. “It’s possible he had a grand mal seizure when he slashed the upper part of his ear,” he says.
Most art critics and historians believe Vincent lost his faith sometime between 1882 and 1885. Yet Havlicek found abundant evidence in Vincent’s letters and his art that an abiding faith remained, even as his health and behavior deteriorated. Surprisingly, most of the Christian-themed paintings appeared in the last three years of his life.
For the sake of self-preservation, Vincent moved to Arles in southern France, where he had an unusual meeting one day in a café he frequented. A local peasant walked in who bore a striking resemblance to his deceased father. “This chance meeting led to some of the most emotionally wrought portraits in the history of art – a father’s posthumous portrait painted vicariously using the face of another,” Havlicek notes.
Vincent painted the man’s hands clasped as if in prayer, holding a shepherd’s staff. “He surrounded his father in a gold light, which is always a symbol of the divine,” Havlicek notes. “It’s a sacred work; Vincent loved sacred references.”
Havlicek made the significant discovery that a saintly bishop’s ruminations on the cosmos in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables inspired one of Vincent’s most famous works, The Starry Night:
Victor Hugo wrote, “He was there alone with himself, collected, tranquil, adoring, comparing the serenity of his own heart with the serenity of the skies, moved in the darkness by the visible splendours of the constellations, and the invisible splendour of God, opening his soul to the thoughts that fall from the Unknown. In such moments offering up his heart at the hour when the flowers of night inhale their perfume, lighted like a lamp in the centre of The Starry Night…”
Vincent used the same title for his painting and Havlicek notes the striking similarities. “The theme of Les Miserables is redemption,” Havlicek observes. In van Gogh’s painting, “the stars are painted like flowers. There is an interaction between the earth and heaven. It is as if heaven is reaching down.”
“Starlight implies in Vincent’s view that the darkness of sin, guilt, and death are overcome by divinely mediated grace.”
“Van Gogh’s interest in the Gospel is very profound,” Havlicek says. His paintings, The Good Samaritan, The Raising of Lazarus, The Sower, The Sheaf Binder (or harvester) all display Christ-centered themes.
Havlicek even sees the work of Christ in van Gogh’s famous painting of sunflowers. “In 1886 van Gogh found sunflowers thrown in a street gutter in Paris. He went home and painted these beautiful cast-off flowers. The way the flowers were transformed through love shows redemption.”
Van Gogh died under unusual circumstances in what most label a suicide, but Havlicek has some doubts. “No gun was ever found,” he says, and there were no powder burns near the fatal wound to his abdomen.
Two boys admitted they were target shooting near van Gogh and had an encounter with him that appears suspicious. “One wrote a confessional letter years later saying they were harassing van Gogh. He didn’t admit he shot him, but he said there were things he did to him he wish he’d never done.”
Vincent lingered for two days after the fatal shot. When he was interviewed by police, Vincent said, “I’m hurt but don’t blame anybody else.”
Havlicek believes that if he was shot accidentally by the boys, it was consistent with Vincent’s character to withhold that information. “He had a very sacrificial aspect to his personality. There were several times in his life when he took the blame for someone else,” he says.
“He loved Christ enormously at the end of his life,” Havlicek maintains. “He said Christ alone among all the magi and wise men offered men eternal life. In spite of a broken life, something glorious emerged.”
Dr. William Havlicek has over 30 years of experience in college teaching, museum administration, publishing and fine art/studio production and exhibition. He holds a Ph. D from Claremont Graduate University. He currently teaches at the Laguna College of Art and Design in Laguna Beach, California. Proceeds from the sale of his book are donated to PROGENY, an international organization dedicated to the rescue, treatment, and rehabilitation of exploited and endangered children and the pursuit of justice on their behalf.
History and current experience are full of examples of people being filled with the Spirit of Jesus, the Holy Spirit. Jesus was filled with the Spirit at his baptism. The disciples were at Pentecost. The Samaritans were when Peter and John prayed for them. Paul was when Ananias prayed for him in Damascus. Cornelius and his household were while Peter was preaching. Believers in Ephesus were when Paul prayed for them. It still happens.
Here are some examples from history. Most of these are reproduced here from my books Flashpoints of Revival and Revival Fires.
Nicholas Zinzendorf and the Moravians in Saxony, Germany
No one present could tell exactly what happened on the Wednesday morning of the specially called communion service. The glory of the Lord came upon them so powerfully that they hardly knew if they were on earth or in heaven. The Spirit of God moved powerfully on those three hundred refugees in Saxony in 1727. One of their historians wrote:
[Church history] “abounds in records of special outpourings of the Holy Ghost, and verily the thirteenth of August, 1727, was a day of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We saw the hand of God and his wonders, and we were all under the cloud of our fathers baptized with their Spirit. The Holy Ghost came upon us and in those days great signs and wonders took place in our midst. From that time scarcely a day passed but what we beheld his almighty workings amongst us. A great hunger after the Word of God took possession of us so that we had to have three services every day, at 5.0 and 7.30 a.m. and 9.0 p.m. Every one desired above everything else that the Holy Spirit might have full control. Self‑love and self‑will, as well as all disobedience, disappeared and an overwhelming flood of grace swept us all out into the great ocean of Divine Love.”[i]
John and Charles Wesley and George Whitefield in London, England
John Wesley found strong motivation for evangelism at a conversion experience at the age of 35 while hearing Martin Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans read at a meeting in Aldersgate Street, London. “About a quarter before nine while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed, I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given to me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.” From then on he resolved “to Promote as far as I am able vital Practical religion and by the grace of God to beget, preserve, and increase the life of God in the souls of men.”
He told how he and others including his brother Charles and George Whitefield with about 60 people were touched by God at a love feast in Fetter Lane, London: “About three in the morning, as we were continuing instant in prayer, the power of God came mightily upon us, insomuch that many cried out for exceeding joy, and many fell to the ground. As soon as we were recovered a little from that awe and amazement at the presence of his majesty, we broke out with one voice, ‘We praise Thee, O God, we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.’”[ii]
Charles Finney in Adams, North America
Charles Finney (1792-1875) became well known in revivals in the nineteenth century. A keen sportsman and young lawyer, he had a mighty empowering by God’s Spirit on the night of his conversion on Wednesday 10 October 1821. That morning the Holy Spirit convicted him on his way to work. So he spent the morning in the woods near his small town of Adams in New York State, praying. There he surrendered fully to God. He walked to his law office that afternoon profoundly changed and in the afternoon assisted his employer Squire Wright to set up a new office. That night he was filled with the Spirit. He describes that momentous night in his autobiography:
“By evening we had the books and furniture adjusted, and I made a good fire in an open fireplace, hoping to spend the evening alone. Just at dark Squire W‑‑, seeing that everything was adjusted, told me good night and went to his home. I had accompanied him to the door, and as I closed the door and turned around my heart seemed to be liquid within me. All my feelings seemed to rise and flow out and the thought of my heart was, “I want to pour my whole soul out to God.” The rising of my soul was so great that I rushed into the room back of the front office to pray.
“There was no fire and no light in this back room; nevertheless it appeared to me as if it were perfectly light. As I went in and shut the door after me, it seemed to me as if I met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face. It seemed to me that I saw him as I would see any other man. He said nothing, but looked at me in such a manner as to break me right down at his feet. It seemed to me a reality that he stood before me, and I fell down at his feet and poured out my soul to him. I wept aloud like a child and made such confession as I could with my choked words. It seemed to me that I bathed his feet with my tears, and yet I had no distinct impression that I touched him.
“I must have continued in this state for a good while, but my mind was too much absorbed with the interview to remember anything that I said. As soon as my mind became calm enough I returned to the front office and found that the fire I had made of large wood was nearly burned out. But as I turned and was about to take a seat by the fire, I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Spirit. Without any expectation of it, without ever having the thought in my mind that there was any such thing for me, without any memory of ever hearing the thing mentioned by any person in the world, the Holy Spirit descended upon me in a manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul. I could feel the impression, like a wave of electricity, going through and through me. Indeed it seemed to come in waves of liquid love, for I could not express it in any other way. It seemed like the very breath of God. I can remember distinctly that it seemed to fan me, like immense wings.
“No words can express the wonderful love that was spread abroad in my heart. I wept aloud with joy and love. I literally bellowed out the unspeakable overflow of my heart. These waves came over me, and over me, and over me, one after another, until I remember crying out, “I shall die if these waves continue to pass over me.” I said, “Lord, I cannot bear any more,” yet I had no fear of death.
That night a member of the church choir which Finney led called in at his office, amazed to find the former sceptic in a “state of loud weeping” and unable to talk to him for some time. That young friend left and soon returned with an elder from the church who was usually serious and rarely laughed. “When he came in,” Finney observed, “I was very much in the state in which I was when the young man went out to call him. He asked me how I felt and I began to tell him. Instead of saying anything he fell into a most spasmodic laughter. It seemed as if it was impossible for him to keep from laughing from the very bottom of his heart.”[iii]
Dwight Lyman Moody in New York, North America
D. L. Moody (1837-1899), converted in 1855, later led powerful evangelistic campaigns in America and England. Two women in his church prayed constantly that he would be filled with the Spirit, and his yearning for God continued to increase. While visiting New York in 1871 to raise funds for churches and orphanages destroyed in the Chicago fire of October that year, in which his home, church sanctuary and the YMCA buildings were destroyed, he had a deep encounter with God. He wrote:
“I was crying all the time God would fill me with his Spirit. Well, one day in the city of New York ‑ oh, what a day! ‑ I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say that God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask him to stay his hand. I went to preaching again. The sermons were not different; I did not present any new truths; and yet hundreds were converted. I would not be placed back where I was before that blessed experience for all the world ‑ it would be as the small dust of the balance.”[iv]
On a visit to Britain he heard Henry Varley say, “The world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him.” He resolved to be that man.
Evan Roberts in Loughor, Wales
Born in Loughor in Glamorgan, between Swansea and Llanelly, Evan Roberts (1878-1951) was an exemplary school pupil. At twelve he began working in the mine with his father. He founded a Sunday school for the children of miners, and decided to become a preacher. Constantly he read the Bible, even in the mine. He published poems in the Cardiff Times under the pseudonym of Bwlchydd, learned shorthand, and taught himself to be a blacksmith. He describes his encounters with the Spirit as follows:
“One Friday evening that spring (1904), as I was praying at my bedside before going to bed, I was taken up into a great expanse – without time or space. It was communion with God. Up to that time I had only had a God who was far off. That evening I was afraid, but that fear has never come back. I trembled so violently that the bed shook, and my brother was awakened and took hold of me, thinking I was ill.
“After this experience I woke each night about one o’clock in the morning. It was the more strange, as usually I slept like a log and no noise in my room was enough to wake me. From one o’clock I was taken up into communion with God for about four hours. What it was I cannot tell you, except that it was of God. About five o’clock I was again allowed to sleep until about nine o’clock. I was then taken up again and carried away in the same experience as in the early hours of the morning, until about midday or one o’clock.
“At home they questioned me, and asked why I got up so late … but these things are too holy to speak of. This experience went on for about three months.[v]
He entered the Calvanistic Methodist Academy at Newcasle Emlyn in mid‑September 1904. He was convinced revival would touch all Wales and eventually he led a small band all over the country praying and preaching.
Students from the Academy, including Evan Roberts and his room-mate Sidney Evans, attended the meetings of Presbyterian evangelist, Seth Joshua’s meetings in Blaenannerch. There on Thursday 29 September, Seth Joshua closed the 7am meeting before breakfast crying out in Welsh, “Lord … bend us.” Evan Roberts remembered, “It was the Spirit that put the emphasis for me on ‘Bend us.’ ‘That is what you need,’ said the Spirit to me. And as I went out I prayed, O Lord, bend me.”[vi] During the 9am. meeting, Evan Roberts eventually prayed aloud after others had prayed. He knelt with his arms over the seat in front, bathed in perspiration as he agonised in prayer. He regarded that encounter with the Spirit as crucial in launching him into his revival ministry which began one month later.
Djiniyini Gondarra in Elcho Island, Australia
The Lord poured out the Holy Spirit on Elcho Island in northern Australia on Thursday, 14 March, 1979. Djiniyini Gondarra was then the Uniting Church minister in the town of Galiwin’ku at the south of the island. He had been away on holidays to Sydney and Brisbane, returning on the late afternoon Missionary Aviation Fellowship flight.
He was travel weary and just wanted to unpack and get to bed early. Many of the people, however, had been praying for months, and especially every day while he had been away, so they wanted to have prayer and Bible study with him in his home. This is his account of that Pentecost among Australian Aborigines in the Arnhem Land churches across the north of Australia:
“After the evening dinner, we called our friends to come and join us in the Bible Class meeting. We just sang some hymns and choruses translated into Gupapuynu and into Djambarrpuynu. There were only seven or eight people who were involved or came to the Bible Class meeting, and many of our friends didn’t turn up. We didn’t get worried about it.
“I began to talk to them that this was God’s will for us to get together this evening because God had planned this meeting through them so that we will see something of his great love which will be poured out on each one of them. I said a word of thanks to those few faithful Christians who had been praying for renewal in our church, and I shared with them that I too had been praying for the revival or the renewal for this church and for the whole of Arnhem Land churches, because to our heavenly Father everything is possible. He can do mighty things in our churches throughout our great land.
“These were some of the words of challenge I gave to those of my beloved brothers and sisters. Gelung, my wife, also shared something of her experience of the power and miracles that she felt deep down in her heart when she was about to die in Darwin Hospital delivering our fourth child. It was God’s power that brought the healing and the wholeness in her body.
“I then asked the group to hold each other’s hands and I began to pray for the people and for the church, that God would pour out his Holy Spirit to bring healing and renewal to the hearts of men and women, and to the children.
“Suddenly we began to feel God’s Spirit moving in our hearts and the whole form of our prayer suddenly changed and everybody began to pray in the Spirit and in harmony. And there was a great noise going on in the room and we began to ask one another what was going on.
“Some of us said that God had now visited us and once again established his kingdom among his people who have been bound for so long by the power of evil. Now the Lord is setting his church free and bringing us into the freedom of happiness and into reconciliation and to restoration.
“In that same evening the word just spread like the flames of fire and reached the whole community in Galiwin’ku. Gelung and I couldn’t sleep at all that night because people were just coming for the ministry, bringing the sick to be prayed for, for healing. Others came to bring their problems. Even a husband and wife came to bring their marriage problem, so the Lord touched them and healed their marriage.
“Next morning the Galiwin’ku Community once again became the new community. The love of Jesus was being shared and many expressions of forgiveness were taking place in the families and in the tribes. Wherever I went I could hear people singing and humming Christian choruses and hymns! Before then I would have expected to hear only fighting and swearing and many other troublesome things that would hurt your feelings and make you feel sad. …
“There was a great revival that swept further west. I would describe these experiences like a wild bush fire burning from one side of Australia to the other side of our great land. The experience of revival in Arnhem Land is still active in many of our Aboriginal parishes and the churches.
“We would like to share these experiences in many white churches where doors are closed to the power of the Holy Spirit. It has always been my humble prayer that the whole of Australian Christians, both black and white, will one day be touched by this great and mighty power of the living God.”[vii]
These testimonies all show how God continues to pour out His Spirit.
Endnotes [i] John Greenfield, 1927, Power from on High, Christian Literature Crusade (Reprint), p. 14. [ii] Idle, C ed., 1986, The Journal of John Wesley, Lion, pages 46, 55. [iii] Helen Wessel, 1977, The Autobiography of Charles Finney. Bethany, pages 20-22. [iv] W R Moody, 1900, The Life of D. L. Moody, Revell, p. 149. [v] Walter Hollenweger, 1972, The Pentecostals, Augsburg, pages 179-180. [vi] Eifion Evans, 1969, The Welsh Revival of 1904, Evangelical Press, page 70. [vii] Djiniyini Gondarra, 1991, Let My People Go, UCA, pages 14-19; also 1993, Renewal Journal, No. 1.
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6 October is remembered as the day when William Tyndale was martyred. For most of us, Bibles are easily accessible, and many of us have several. Having the Bible in English owes much to William Tyndale, sometimes called the Father of the English Bible.
90% of the King James Version of the Bible and 75% of the Revised Standard Version are from the translation of the Bible into English made by William Tyndale, yet Tyndale himself was burned at the stake on October 6, 1536.
Back in the fourteenth century, John Wycliffe was the first to make (or at least oversee) an English translation of the Bible, but that was before the invention of the printing press and all copies had to be handwritten. Besides, the church had banned the unauthorized translation of the Bible into English in 1408. Over one hundred years later, however, William Tyndale had a burning desire to make the Bible available to even the common people in England.
After studying at Oxford and Cambridge, he joined the household of Sir John Walsh at little Sudbury Manor as tutor to the Walsh children. Walsh was a generous lord of the manor and often entertained the local clergy at his table. Tyndale often added spice to the table conversation as he was confronted with the Biblical ignorance of the priests. At one point Tyndale told a priest, “If God spare my life, ere many years pass, I will cause a boy that driveth the plough to know more of the Scriptures than thou dost.”
It was a nice dream, but how was Tyndale to accomplish this when translating the Bible into English was illegal? He went to London to ask Bishop Tunstall if he could be authorized to make an English translation of the Bible, but the bishop would not grant his approval. However, Tyndale would not let the disapproval of men stop him from carrying out what seemed so obviously God’s will. With encouragement and support of some British merchants, he decided to go to Europe to complete his translation, then have it printed and smuggled back into England.
In 1524 Tyndale sailed for Germany. In Hamburg he worked on the New Testament, and in Cologne he found a printer who would print the work. However, news of Tyndale’s activity came to an opponent of the Reformation who had the press raided. Tyndale himself managed to escape with the pages already printed and made his way to the German city of Worms [famous for Luther’s stand at the Diet of Worms] where the New Testament was soon published. Six thousand copies were printed and smuggled into England.
The bishops did everything they could to eradicate the Bibles — Bishop Tunstall had copies ceremoniously burned at St. Paul’s; the archbishop of Canterbury bought up copies to destroy them. Tyndale used the money to print improved editions! King Henry VIII, then in the throes of his divorce with Queen Katherine, offered Tyndale a safe passage to England to serve as his writer and scholar. Tyndale refused, saying he would not return until the Bible could be legally translated into English.
Tyndale continued hiding among the merchants in Antwerp and began translating the Old Testament while the King’s agents searched all over England and Europe for him. Tyndale was finally found and betrayed by an Englishman. After a year and a half in prison, he was brought to trial for heresy — for believing, among other things, in the forgiveness of sins and that the mercy offered in the gospel was enough for salvation. In August 1536, he was condemned; on October 6, 1536 he was strangled and his body burned at the stake. His last prayer was “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.”
The prayer was answered in part when three years later, in 1539, Henry VIII required every parish church in England to make a copy of the English Bible available to its parishioners.
Adapted from an earlier Christian History Institute story.
Bowie, Walter Russell. Men of Fire. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1961.
Daniell, David. William Tyndale, a biography. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994.
Dictionary of National Biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. London: OxfordUniversity Press, 1921 – 1996.
Kunitz, Stanley L. British Authors Before 1800; a biographical dictionary. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1952.
Mozley, J. F. William Tyndale. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: The Macmillan company, 1937.
Sampson, George. Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge, 1961.
“Tyndale or Tindale, William.” The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Edited by F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone. Oxford, 1997.
Wild, Laura Huld. The Romance of the English Bible; a history of the translation of the Bible into English from Wyclif to the present day. GardenCity, New York: Doubleday, Doran, 1929.