In 1921 David and Svea Flood went with their two-year-old son from Sweden to the heart of Africa, to what was then called the Belgian Congo. This missionary couple met up with the Ericksons, another young Scandinavian couple, and the four of them sought God for direction. In those days of much devotion and sacrifice, they felt led of the Lord to set out from the main mission station to take the gospel to the village of N’dolera, a remote area.
This was a huge step of faith.
There, they were rebuffed by the chief, who would not let them enter his town for fear of alienating the local gods. The two couples opted to build their own mud huts half a mile up the slope.
They prayed for a spiritual breakthrough, but there was none. Their only contact with the villagers was a young boy, who was allowed to sell them chickens and eggs twice a week.
Svea Flood—a tiny woman only four feet, eight inches tall—decided that if this was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead the boy to Jesus. And she succeeded!
Meanwhile, malaria struck one member of the little missionary band after another. In time, the Ericksons decided they had had enough suffering and left to return to the central mission station.
David and Svea Flood remained near N’dolera to carry on alone.
Then, Svea found herself pregnant in the middle of the primitive wilderness. When the time came for her to give birth, the village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to help her. A little girl was born, whom they named Aina. The delivery was exhausting. Svea Flood was already weak from bouts of malaria so the birthing process was a heavy blow to her stamina. She died only 17 days after Aina was born.
Something snapped Inside David Flood at that moment. He dug a crude grave, buried his 27-year-old wife, and then went back down the mountain with his children to the mission station.
Giving baby Aina to the Ericksons, he snarled, “I’m going back to Sweden. I’ve lost my wife, and I obviously can’t take care of this baby. God has ruined my life!”
With that, he headed for the port, rejecting not only his calling, but God Himself.
Within eight months, both the Ericksons were stricken with a mysterious malady and died within days of each other. Baby Aina was then turned over to another American missionary family who changed her Swedish name to “Aggie”. Eventually they took her back to the United States at age three.
This family loved Aggie. Afraid that if they tried to return to Africa some legal obstacle might separate her from them, they decided to stay in their home country and switch from missionary work to pastoral ministry. That is how Aggie grew up in South Dakota.
As a young woman, she attended North Central Bible College in Minneapolis. There she met and married Dewey Hurst.
Years passed. The Hursts enjoyed a fruitful ministry. Aggie gave birth first to a daughter, then a son. In time, her husband became president of a Christian college in the Seattle area, and Aggie was intrigued to find so much Scandinavian heritage there.
One day she found a Swedish religious magazine in their mailbox. She had no idea who had sent it, and of course she couldn’t read the words, but as she turned the pages, a photo suddenly stopped her cold.
There, in a primitive setting, was a grave with a white cross—and on the cross were the words SVEA FLOOD.
Aggie got in her car and drove straight to a college faculty member whom she knew could translate the article.
“What does this article say?”
The teacher shared a summary of the story.
“It is about missionaries who went to N’dolera, Africa, long ago. A baby was born. The young mother died. One little African boy was led to Jesus before that. After the whites had all left, the boy all grown up finally persuaded the chief to let him build a school in the village. He gradually won all his students to Christ and the children led their parents to Him. Even the chief became a follower of Jesus! Today there are six hundred believers in that village, all because of the sacrifice of David and Svea Flood.”
Aggie was elated!
For the Hursts’ 25th wedding anniversary, the college presented them with the gift of a vacation to Sweden.
Aggie sought out her birth father.
David Flood was an old man now. He had remarried, fathered four more children, and generally dissipated his life with alcohol. He had recently suffered a stroke. Still bitter, he had one rule in his family: “Never mention the name of God! God took everything from me!”
After an emotional reunion with her half-brothers and half-sister, Aggie brought up the subject of her longing to see her father. They hesitated….
“You can talk to him, but he’s very ill now. You need to know that whenever he hears the name of God, he flies into a rage.”
Aggie walked into the squalid apartment, which had liquor bottles strewn everywhere, and slowly approached her 73-year-old father lying in a rumpled bed.
“Papa,” she said tentatively.
He turned and began to cry.
“I never meant to give you away!”
“It’s all right, Papa,” she replied, taking him gently in her arms.
“God took good care of me.”
Her father instantly stiffened and his tears stopped.
“God forgot all of us. Our lives have been like this because of Him.”
He turned his face back to the wall.
Aggie stroked his face and then continued, undaunted.
“Papa, I’ve got a marvelous story to tell you!”
“You didn’t go to Africa in vain. Mama didn’t die in vain. The little boy you won to the Lord grew up to win that whole village to Jesus! The one seed you planted in his heart kept growing and growing! Today there are 600 people serving the Lord because you were faithful to the call of God in your life!”
“Papa, Jesus loves you. He has never hated you or abandoned us.”
The old father turned back to look into his daughter’s eyes. His body relaxed.
He slowly began to talk.
And by the end of the afternoon, he had come back to the God he had resented for so many years. Over the next few days, father and daughter enjoyed warm moments together. A few weeks after Aggie and her husband returned to America, David Flood died.
And a few years later….
Aggie and her husband were attending an evangelism conference in London, England, when a report was given from Zaire (the former Belgian Congo).
The superintendent of the national church, representing some 110,000 baptized believers, spoke eloquently of the Gospel’s spread in his nation.
Aggie could not help going to ask him afterward if he had ever heard of David and Svea Flood.
“Yes, madam,” the man replied in French, his words being translated into English.
“Svea Flood led me to Jesus Christ! I was the boy who brought food to your parents before you were born. In fact, to this day, your mother’s grave and her memory are honored by all of us.”
He embraced Aggie for a long time, sobbing.
“You must come to Zaire! Your mother is the most famous and honored person in our history.”
When Aggie and her husband went to N’dolera, they were welcomed by cheering throngs of villagers. Aggie even met the man who had been hired by her father to carry her down the mountain in a hammock-cradle.
Then the pastor escorted Aggie to see her mother’s tomb with a white cross bearing her name. She knelt in the soil to pray and give thanks to God.
Later that day, in the church, the boy turned pastor read….
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24
“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” Psalm 126:5.
When a man named Tazeem was listening to the radio one day, he heard a Christian share the gospel in his own language.
The message was about God’s love for people, forgiveness in Jesus and the power of prayer, and it deeply encouraged him. He wanted to know more, but never found the radio broadcast again. Nevertheless, he started to share the message he had heard with others in his village.
On one of those occasions he met an elderly woman who sometimes would sing praise songs to God. This was not common in a Muslim community. When she heard Tazeem share the message he had heard on the radio she smiled broadly and said: “So now there are two of us here, and you can worship God together with me. From now on you are my son!”
Neither Tazeem nor his new friend owned a Bible. But the woman – whom he affectionately referred to as ‘Old Mother’ – had learned some of the chronological storytelling from a brief exposure to church planters in another community. The two of them began working together to share what they knew of God’s Word with their friends and neighbors. They had a very simple message: “Come to Jesus. This is the right way. Just come!”
One day, the mother of the sheikh in the town began to manifest demonic spirits. She was taken to the witch doctors, and then to the Muslim marabouts who read the Qur’an to her, but to no avail. In a brief moment of lucidity she exclaimed: “I must go to the home of Old Mother and her boy!” And with that one brief sentence she ran from the sheikh’s home straight to the Christian woman’s house.
The demonized woman, however, was deeply in the clutches of the enemy. The moment she crossed the threshold of the Christian’s home, her body froze and she collapsed helpless on the floor. For eight days she lay on a sleeping mat, unable to move. She did not eat, speak or use the latrine. She was in a fixed position while Tazeem and ‘Old Mother’ prayed. Then suddenly, on the eighth day, the evil spirits left her. She stood up and spoke, and the faithful Christians began to minister to her needs.
Word went throughout the village instantaneously: “The sheikh’s mother is healed! The spirits have been defeated!”
The sheikh heard the news and came running. When he saw his mother eating and in her right mind, he immediately collapsed to his knees and begged Tazeem to teach him about his God. And that day, both the sheikh and his mother became followers of Jesus.
The news spread quickly, and people from the village began to flood the Christian woman’s home, seeking healings and deliverance from evil influences through the power of her God. The little hut looked like an outpatient clinic, a hospital for body and soul.
But the Muslim leaders in the area had also heard about the sheikh’s ‘betrayal of Islam’, and they brought together a committee to deal with him. They armed themselves with spears, knives and guns, and set out to find the Christian sheikh. Luckily, he was warned in time and found sanctuary in the police station. When the police wanted to arrest the murderous party, he stepped forward and said: “Please, do not arrest them. I have already forgiven them! As long as they do me no harm, I do not want to take them before the magistrates.”
Today that former sheikh is planting churches, and those churches are multiplying. In that area of 70 villages, there are now 17 small churches with about 125 new Christians. Persecution is still present, but there is a foothold of the gospel in this challenging place.
Source: Tazeem, interviewed by Jerry Trousdale for his book ‘Miraculous Movements’
Joel News – Inspiring stories on the advance of God’s Kingdom around the globe today, delivered once a week in your mailbox. We cover all continents and serve mission-minded Christians in over 100 nations.
The Chinese Communist Party has long tried to eliminate or control the Church, but without success. Take Sister Hu’s amazing story, a mother who started a house church movement after Jesus healed her son.
When Sister Hu’s son fell seriously ill with kidney disease, she visited numerous temples to seek help from the gods, but he got worse. Then a Christian at the hospital told her that if she believed in Jesus her son could be healed. Her son fully recovered and Sister Hu committed to always serve God and share the gospel with as many people as she could.
Soon, a small group of believers emerged, and the fellowship quickly outgrew the building where it met. “Over time, the Holy Spirit revealed that we should focus on two things: evangelizing the lost and training leaders,” Sister Hu said. “We formed teams with five people in each, and we targeted 18 towns with the gospel. As we approached each town we prayed, and then we would look for the poorest household to share the good news of Jesus with.”
‘Many people believed and more churches were formed’
Each team was supported by an intercession and fasting chain, which operated around the clock, with believers rotating in two-hour shifts. “We fasted for seven days before a campaign, and to this day we still gather every morning at 4:30 a.m. for prayer, even in winter when it’s minus 30 degrees outside.”
The results were remarkable. “In the first 15 towns many people believed our message, and we formed new churches in each place. The final three towns were further away, so we had to cycle over long distances to reach them. Miraculously, in one town the officials let us use the municipal loudspeaker, to ensure that everyone could hear the message. Many people believed and more churches were formed.”
‘We have seen God perform many remarkable things’
“Our meetings were always crowded. Some people who came were demon possessed, but when we prayed they were completely delivered. Others were healed from deafness and other ailments. At first, we had many sisters but only one brother on our teams. We asked God to add 100 new brothers, and after the first evangelistic campaigns, we found that was exactly the number of men who had been converted. Later, we added mercy ministries to help the sick, elderly, and orphans.”
Over the years Sister Hu’s church has grown to 40,000 believers, and they have 1,000 evangelists and pastors. “We have seen God perform many remarkable things, which have helped spread his salvation message more widely,” she said. Some towns have been so thoroughly saturated with the gospel that now over 80 percent of the people are Christians.
“Jesus has been so good to us,” Sister Hu said. “He has been our best friend and He sticks closer than a brother. In recent years we have faced fresh challenges, as the government’s strict new religious policies have taken effect. We are under pressure to compromise, but we are determined to fully obey Jesus, regardless of the cost.”
For 20 years, an unprecedented revival has been growing among Slovakia’s marginalised Roma (gypsie) population.
“These unprecedented occurrences have captured the attention of governments, law enforcement, social workers, and scholars studying the Roma culture.”
Since the formation of an embryonic Roma church fellowship in Sabinov, Slovakia, in 2000, the revival has gained momentum and spread to the unlikeliest of places. “We have never seen anything like it. No one can take credit for starting it,” say Jim and Sherry Sabella, AGWM area directors for Southeast Europe. “Christ the King has gone into the highways and byways, inviting whosoever will come to His table. The Roma are coming in droves.”
Roma church leaders Marian, Rinaldo, Marek, and Tibor rejoice in God’s miracles in their communities and lives.
In 2007, the construction of a building for Sabinov Gypsy Church began. Miraculously they were granted government permission to begin, but many hurdles were faced in the process, related to discrimination of the Roma in Slovakian society. Despite the opposition, the building was completed with no debt, and has continued to expand. Today Sabinov Gypsy Church stands as the physical birthplace of a revival among the Roma in the neighborhood, the country, and the continent.
‘Crime rates began to drastically fall’
The Roma community in Sabinov, like Roma communities across Europe, traditionally endured many problems. Unemployment, alcoholism, sexual abuse, violence, theft, and few education opportunities were rampant. Yet as the Lord began to pour out His presence through the church, crime rates began to drastically fall. Police and local authorities took notice, soon partnering gladly with the church. Over the years, the pattern has proven itself: Roma who come to Christ experience and consciously engage in dramatic life transformations.
Substance abuse and addictive, destructive patterns are defeated, Marian states. Homes, though humble and often in squalid settlements, are cleaned and kept immaculate. Hygiene improves. Begging and thievery stops. Jobs are sought. Money is handled with wisdom and foresight. Education becomes prized. Young families seek higher living standards. Communities once characterized by chaos become organized from the inside out.
Generosity is also born. Rinaldo shares that in one transformed community, impoverished believers learned of a blind man living in a shack. They pooled their money to build the man and his family a new home. Marian says that Roma believers also tithe faithfully. “I am deeply touched by this,” he says. “Even those who are unemployed are still willing to give to God.”
These unprecedented occurrences have captured the attention of governments, law enforcement, social workers, and scholars studying the Roma culture. Marian, Rinaldo, Marek, and Tibor have had the opportunity share with government officials the changes that have originated in their own community of Sabinov.
In two nations, they have even spoken with the national parliament. When asked what they are doing to bring about change and how those results can be replicated, Marian answers clearly: “You can offer the Roma any kind of help, but they will not change unless they have been changed in their hearts by Jesus Christ. He will first change their hearts, and then He will change their minds.”
‘They spread revival fires wherever they go’
Roma who are touched by the revival in Slovakia are now moving across Europe seeking better opportunities for their families. They carry Jesus with them, spreading revival fires wherever they go.
Hundreds of Roma churches being planted across Europe look routinely to Marian and his team for training and guidance, and so do mainstream European church leaders. Teams of pastors from England, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Austria come to Sabinov’s church leaders to learn how to reach the Roma in their own countries.
“To see revival is hard work,” Marian says. “But we are seeing its fruit – and the blessings of God – and in that there is great joy. We do not wait for the broken to come to us. We go find them. Revival must first be in us. Its fire must be in our hearts. Pray this for us: We need more servants to come help us. Many villages are crying out to us for help in terrible situations, and we do not have enough people to send.”
In the meantime the Romani Bible translation project in Slovakia has been very successful, with a complete New Testament and about 34% of the Old Testament translated.
Roma Networks in Eastern Europe produced an inspiring video on God’s work among the Roma people. It shows how the global church can partner with the vibrant Roma communities in healthy and dynamic ways.
More information: https://romanetworks.org.
Persecution and opposition to God and the Bible continue to increase globally, but so does revival, just as in the Book of Acts.
Revival explodes globally now. Where God’s people take his Word and his promises seriously in repentance, unity and commitment, revivals of New Testament proportions blaze like wildfire across the nations of the earth.
These reports give some examples of current transforming revivals where whole communities have been totally changed. Many of these accounts are reproduced from recent reports.
China gripped by spiritual revival, 2017 report
Forty-one years after China’s Cultural Revolution snuffed out all forms of religious expression, hundreds of millions of Chinese people are flocking to religions like Christianity. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ian Johnson believes what’s transpiring in China is nothing short of “one of the world’s great spiritual revivals” and says the world better take note because the impact of this “spiritual transformation” could have significant global implications. “People in China are looking for new moral guideposts, some sort of moral compass to organize society,” said Johnson, author of The Souls of China: “So they are turning to religion as a source of values to help reorganize society.” Johnson spent six years researching the “values and faiths of today’s China.” He says the fastest-growing drivers of this “religious revolution” are unregistered churches or so-called “house” or “underground” churches.
“These groups have become surprisingly well-organized, meeting very openly and often counting hundreds of congregants,” Johnson wrote in an article. “They’ve helped the number of Protestants soar from about one million when the communists took power to at least 60 million today.” Over the past 15 years, CBN News has also documented this unprecedented revival. From the countryside to the big cities, we’ve highlighted how a new generation of Believers is changing the face of Chinese Christianity. “Any casual visitor to the country can tell you that the number of churches, mosques, and temples has soared in recent years, and that many of them are full,” Johnson wrote. “While problems abound, the space for religious expression has grown rapidly, and Chinese Believers eagerly grab it as they search for new ideas and values to underpin a society that long ago discarded traditional morality.”
Church leaders that CBN News spoke with say prayer has played a key role in sparking the Christian revival. For example, in one corner of northeast China, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, thousands of Christians have been meeting for an unprecedented prayer movement. What started as a small gathering several years ago has turned into a nationwide prayer initiative uniting hundreds of Chinese churches. In some cases, this revival is even touching China’s state-controlled churches known as Three-Self Church. “Now there’s big revivals happening in the Three-Self Churches,” Dr. Zhao Xiao told CBN News from his offices on the outskirts of China’s capital city. Zhao is one of China’s foremost experts on Christianity. A former Communist Party member and atheist, Zhao converted after reading the Bible.
“If you go to Haidian Church, you’ll find yourself in a more than 100-metre line trying to get inside and worship. In Shenzhen, there are usually an average of 500 people being baptized each Sunday!” he shared. Decades ago, the Chinese government had a law that said that young men and women below the age of 18 could not attend Three-Self Churches. Zhao says those rules have been loosened in recent years. “There’s an increasing proportion of them in churches now, more young male Believers, professionals, mainstream celebrities, especially in the big cities, that are attending the church unlike the past when it was mainly the elderly who attended.” While the government remains deeply suspicious of China’s religious revival, Johnson says it hasn’t stopped people from exploring matters of faith.
Source: CBN News, May 2017
Bangladesh: The Christian faith is exploding, 2017 report
Sandwiched between India and Myanmar, Bangladesh is the third largest Muslim-majority country in the world. Despite persecution, the Christian faith is growing fast in this nation. Bangladesh is 89% Muslim and nearly 10% Hindu, according to the Joshua Project, with Christians numbering less than one percent. Often beset by floods, cyclones and tornadoes roaring through the Bengal Delta, it also has the sad distinction of ranking number one in the world for children suffering malnutrition.
One ministry leader, who recently completed a fact-finding trip to the country, believes Christians are being undercounted. “Christianity is much larger and growing, especially in the rural areas,” says Jim Jacobson, president of Christian Freedom International (CFI). On his trip, Jacobson interviewed scores of indigenous Christian pastors, street evangelists, missionaries and converts to Christianity. “According to them, Christianity is on the increase, mostly underground, and the growth is a cause of concern for the Muslim majority, leading to persecution.”
20,000 Muslims have converted among the hill tribes
One 60-year-old pastor, a former Muslim, reported to Jacobson that 20,000 Muslims have converted to Christianity among the hill tribes of northeast Bangladesh in the last 12 months. This pastor faces many hardships, has been beaten numerous times, and must pay bribes to the police to continue his ministry.
Another pastor and Muslim convert to Christianity told him that in his district more than 6,000 have converted to Christ since 1991. This pastor has been targeted for assassination by a radical Islamic group. He told CFI, “Of course I am afraid, but when I think about my spiritual life I am not afraid. We continue to preach, no matter what.”
Jacobson believes the under-reporting of believers is because most tallies only count ‘traditional Christians’, people born into the Christian faith who attend government-approved churches. “But ‘converts’, those who change their religion from Islam to Christianity are not counted and no surveys have been made,” he contends. “The number of Christians in Bangladesh may be as high as 10 percent of the population.”
One pastor told Jacobson that after he converted in 2007, his rickshaw shop and tea business were taken away from him and he was disowned by his family. “Two imams caught him talking about Christianity in the market and attacked him. The imams beat him and tied him with ropes in front of a nearby mosque. His sons ransomed him only after they agreed that they would force him to reconvert to Islam.” When the sons failed to persuade him to return to Islam, they beat their father nearly to death, took all his possessions and left him for dead. In this pastor’s rural village, he has seen more than 700 Muslims convert to Christianity in the last two years.
The young people are interested in Christ
Babul, a Muslim who converted Christianity in 2013, once worked as a day labourer. After his conversion, his life was threatened and he was disowned by his family. He had to go into hiding in the jungle to survive. After eight months in the jungle, some Christian converts helped him. He is now a ‘street preacher’ and faces many hardships to share the gospel. He has been beaten numerous times but sees it as a badge of honour. “The young like me, are converting,” Babul told Jacobson. “Many more are interested in Christ.”
Bakar, another Christian convert told CFI, “Christianity is really growing in Bangladesh. The next generation is becoming Christian. We believe that Bangladesh will become a Christian nation one day. Islam has no mercy, no compassion, no love. It has nothing to offer. Christianity offers the assurance of eternal life, it offers hope.”
Source: Jim Jacobson, CFI
18,000 imams, mullahs and emirs led to Christ in West Africa, 2016 report
In the last 15 years Brother Thomas and his team have led 18,000 imams, mullahs, and emirs to Christ. “We have led several Al Qaeda commanders to Christ, some of whom penetrated our centre as spies.”
At 19, a leper first introduced him to Christ and a blind man led him to salvation. “His reading braille captivated me,” says Brother Thomas*. “I asked him where I will go when I die.” In response to the young man’s request, the blind man quoted Scripture from the Book of John. The power of God’s Word left a lasting imprint on his heart and propelled his future ministry. “I didn’t understand the cross or what my decision meant, but I went ahead and received Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour.” Raised in a Muslim home and community in West Africa, he experienced hostility, but took it in stride. “Every true believer should experience opposition,” he maintains. “The important thing is the discovery of the life-given Spirit in Christ. I found a new life.”
Two years after his life-changing conversion, he felt an overwhelming desire to share the Good News. “I saw my people were living in darkness,” he says. Although he had little training, he began to travel from village to village for several weeks at a time. “Nobody told me to go. I didn’t know many of the Scriptures,” he admits, “but I wanted to tell people that Jesus can give you eternal life.” Through eventual contact with Sudan Inland Mission (SIM), he received further training. In 1990, he went on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ and served with them for a decade, utilizing the impactful JESUS Film. In 2000, he started his own organization, which targets Muslim leaders throughout West Africa. “They the leaders are sincerely deluded,” he observes. “Satan has blinded their eyes. They cannot see the light of the gospel.”
“They were born into it,” he continues. “Nobody told them anything different. Most people in West Africa are not Muslim by choice. They are born into a community that believes in Islam.” Brother Thomas decided he and his team would have to approach the “custodians” of the community of Islam, something very few are willing to do. “Christians never take the initiative to go to them,” he observes. “The Bible never tells us to wait for them to come to us. The Bible says to go. The lack of going to the Muslims is disobedience.” Brother Thomas and his team develop relational connections with Muslim scholars slowly and privately. It may take weeks or months of meetings before an Islamic scholar will discover the Truth.
“We met with a Shia leader in one country for a year,” he notes. After Islamic services on Friday, this Muslim leader would drive several hours to spend a weekend with Brother Thomas. “I went through the Word teaching him. The turning point was when he realized that Jesus is God.” Remarkably, this imam actually stayed in the mosque, but his message changed dramatically as a follower of Jesus. The man’s changed perspective did not go unnoticed.
“They took him to a psychiatric hospital and took his wives away. They said he was mad,” Brother Thomas says. After his release from the psychiatric facility, Brother Thomas urged the man to escape. “We don’t know where he is today. Quite a few of these leaders who converted have died.”
Another Muslim leader who met with Brother Thomas made regular appearances on national TV during Ramadan. “He came to Christ because we proved to him the Quran is not the inspired word of God and is not in the program of God for salvation,” he recounts. One Friday evening a mob of other scholars came to kill the recent convert, but were unsuccessful. “He was fearless,” Brother Thomas says. “They gave his wife to his best friend and took his daughter away because he rejected Islam. This year he was poisoned and died.” Brother Thomas believes that in the top ranks of Islamic scholars, many are atheists, because they no longer believe in the inspiration of the Quran.
In the last 15 years Brother Thomas* and his team have led 18,000 imams, mullahs, and emirs to Christ. “We have led several Al Qaeda commanders to Christ, some of whom penetrated our centre as spies.” His team of 300 has dwindled to 65, due to the intensity of the fight. “Some have died, some left us, and some became afraid,” he says. He has developed a training program that is bearing fruit wherever it has been employed. Brother Thomas believes the church has been ineffective in reaching Muslims because they have concentrated on methods and strategies. “Christians want to bribe the Muslims to faith through relief and compassion, but those methods do not save. If you give relief to them it will not save them.” For salvation Muslims must discover Christ through His Word.
*name changed. Source: God Reports, 2016
The Great Underground Revival in the Middle East, 2016 report
By J. D. King, director of the World Revival Network (2016 report).
Many Middle-Eastern Christians publicly acknowledge the fact that dreams actively facilitated them coming into a saving knowledge of Jesus. For example, Nabeel Qureshi is a former devout Muslim. He became a believer in part through a visionary experience. When recounting his conversion he writes,
“I asked God to reveal himself to me in truth, through dreams and visions. All those things, combined with actually reading the Bible, are what drove me forward to the point of accepting Christ.”
When asked about his conversion to Christianity from Islam, Pastor Naeem Fazal of Mosaic Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, mentioned several things that impacted him. He pointed out things like friendship with a knowledgeable Christian as well as reading the Bible. However, it was a particular supernatural encounter that brought him into a moment of crisis. Having a visionary experience one night, Fazal had an encounter that forever shifted the course of his life.
“It looked like a figure made up with light—solid, yet transparent. It was an experience like no other. The peace I felt from this presence was so powerful, so aggressive … and [He] introduced Himself to me and said, ‘I’m Jesus; your life is not your own.’ The next morning my life changed forever.”
Fazal acknowledges that he is not unique in this experience. He notes that “the majority of the [Muslim] conversion stories I hear seem to involve dreams and visions inspired by the Holy Spirit in which Christ is supernaturally revealed.”
Joel Rosenberg’s Insights into the Middle-Eastern Revival
More Muslims have committed to follow Christ in the last 10 years than in the last 15 centuries of Islam. In spite of great difficulty and turmoil, Christianity is unquestionably expanding throughout the Islamic world. God is up to something amazing in a region that many have thought was unreachable.
Joel Rosenberg, an Evangelical researcher, author, and resident of Israel has documented the recent upsurge of Christianity in the Middle-East. Through first-hand reconnaissance, coupled with reports from Arabic nationals, Rosenberg demonstrates that Christianity is rising rapidly in the world of Islam.
Admittedly some of the following statistics have shifted in the aftermath of the Isis and other violent demonstrations against Christians. Those who follow Jesus have been slaughtered and have experienced severe persecution in this region. Nevertheless, Joel Rosenberg’s observations provide a window into many amazing developments.
Some of the particulars can certainly be debated, but in many of the Mediterranean nations, Christianity is making extraordinary inroads. Though the subsequent conversion figures are impossible to confirm, even in their imprecision, they provide a snapshot of what’s transpiring in the Middle East.
A number of reports suggest that increasing numbers of Christ-followers are emerging in the brutal, war-torn nation of Sudan. Here, in the Nile river valley – along the Islamic strongholds of Northern Africa – It is being noted that
“One million Sudanese have turned to Christ since the year 2000—not in spite of persecution, war, and genocide, but because of them…the estimated total number of believers in the country is more than 5.5 million.”
Many are convinced that the great brutalities that this nation has encountered are becoming a catalyst for the expansion and growth of Christianity. Rather than inhibiting the Church, the war is actually propelling it.
Pakistan is typically not identified as a nation experiencing a move of God, but apparently they’re beginning to see one spark within their contentious borders. Christianity’s Middle-Eastern expansion is particularly evident in this unexpected place. Rosenberg acknowledges that,
“Senior Pakistani Christian leaders tell me there is a ‘conversion explosion’ going on in their country. There are now an estimated 2.5 million to 3 million born-again Pakistani believers worshiping Jesus Christ. Whole towns and villages along the Afghan-Pakistani border are…converting to Christianity.”
This Islamic country is not alone, many others in this region are having similar things take place.
Reliable reports suggest that there is also a great revival erupting in the land of Egypt. Rosenberg declares that, “Ministry leaders in Egypt estimate there are more than 2.5 million followers of Jesus Christ in their country. Many of these are Muslim converts.”
Undoubtedly, the severe persecutions and disruptions related to the “Arab Spring” have affected the lives of Christians throughout this nation, but the faithful have remained strong. Martyrdom invites outsiders to examine the claims of those willing to die for Jesus. It is believed that many amazing things are taking place in Egypt.
Surprisingly, the contentious nation of Iran is also beginning to encounter the rising flames of awakening. Violent Islamic Fundamentalism has not been able to impede the advancement of the Gospel in this fierce Persian nation. Reflecting on this reality, Rosenberg writes,
“At the time of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, there were only about five hundred known Muslim converts to Jesus inside the country. By 2000, a survey of Christian demographic trends reported that there were two hundred twenty thousand Christians inside Iran, of which between four and twenty thousand were Muslim converts. And according to Iranian Christian leaders I interviewed, the number of Christ-followers inside their country shot dramatically higher between 2000 and 2008.”
Yes, you read that right. Christianity went from 500 people to 220,000 in 21 years. Contrary to what many Americans think, Christianity is quietly advancing behind the scenes in some of the most unlikely places around the globe.
Reports continue to come in. A strikingly similar stirring is also taking place in Saudi Arabia – unquestionably the epicenter of world Islam. One wouldn’t expect the growth of Christianity in Mecca, but it is happening. Summarizing some of what he has heard, Joel Rosenberg reports that “Arab Christian leaders estimated there were more than one hundred thousand Saudi Muslim background believers in 2005, and they believe the numbers are even higher today.” Saudi Arabia is being quickened by the Spirit of the Lord. It seems to be positioned to experience significant growth in the decades to come.
Christianity is also quietly advancing in the turbulent nation of Iraq. Again, it needs to be noted that these numbers precede the vicious emergence of Isis and the aftermath of the Arab Spring. Multitudes of Christians have been martyred since these figures were originally reported. Yet, even the fact that Muslims felt compelled to quell its advancement suggests that Christianity’s influence has been growing.
“Before 2003, senior Iraqi Christian leaders tell me, there were only about four to six hundred known born-again followers of Jesus Christ in the entire country, despite an estimated seven hundred fifty thousand nominal Christians in historic Iraqi churches. By the end of 2008, Iraqi Christian leaders estimated that there were more than seventy thousand born-again Iraqi believers.”
As many are aware, the expansion of Christianity has been greatly hindered more recently in Iraq. Don’t be mistaken, this martyrdom and brutality will ultimately give way to more Christians in the land once known as Babylon.
The whole Islamic world is currently shaking. We have already discussed some of the amazing advancements that are taking place in several of Arabic nations. These are where the greatest signs of revival are evident. Nevertheless, on a lesser level, other Islamic nations are also experiencing a tremendous stirring within their borders. One of these is Algeria. Rosenberg recounts the recent upsurge in Algeria, noting that:
“more than eighty thousand Muslims have become followers of Christ in recent years…The surge of Christianity has become so alarming to Islamic clerics that in March of 2006, Algerian officials passed a law banning Muslims from becoming Christians or even learning about Christianity, and forbidding Christians from meeting together without a license from the government.”
Algeria is beginning to come alive with the gospel like much of Northern Africa.
Another ancient Middle-Eastern locale where Christianity is beginning to take root is along the borders the eastern bank of the Jordan River. The Islamic land of Jordan is also experiencing the grace and wonder of Jesus. Reflecting on what is transpiring in this nation, Rosenberg noted the following:
“God has been reviving the Jordanian Church in the last four decades, and particularly in the past few years. Conservative estimates say the number of believers in the country is now between five and ten thousand. The head of one major Jordanian ministry, however, believes there may be as many as fifty thousand believers in the country.”
Jordan is also experiencing the salvation of Jesus Christ.
Other Islamic Nations
Almost every Islamic nation has been experiencing a significant upsurge of Christianity over the last twenty years. Though the numbers aren’t equally high, all are experiencing the impact on some level. Here are some of the other reports.
While in the nation of Morocco it has been claimed that “between 20,000 and 40,000 Muslims have become Christ-followers.” Rosenberg suggests that, “The number of Afghan believers is now between 20,000 and 30,000.” In Kazakhstan “there are more than fifteen thousand Kazakh Christians, and more than one hundred thousand Christians of all ethnicities.” Reflecting on Lebanon, Rosenberg suggests that, “there are about ten thousand truly born-again followers of Jesus Christ today.” Reports suggest there were no Muslim background Christians in Syria fifty years ago, but today “there are between four and five thousand born-again believers in the country.”
Rosenberg’s figures suggest that there are over 13 million Christians in Islamic countries and a majority of them are from a Muslim background.
There are other evidences of a notable transformation taking place. For example, Journalist George Thomas notes that,
“A Christian revival is touching the northernmost reaches of Africa. In a region once hostile to the gospel, now tens of thousands of Muslims are following Jesus. As the sun sets over the Mediterranean Sea, Muslims across Northern Africa are converting to faith in Jesus Christ in record numbers… What experts say is that there is a profound move of God in the predominantly Muslim nations of Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia.”
Tino Qahoush, a researcher and filmmaker, has been traveling to various parts of this region to document the Christian revival that has been taking place. Reflecting on what he observed, he noted the following,
“What God is doing in North Africa, all the way from actually Mauritanian to Libya is unprecedented in the history of missions. I have the privilege of recording testimonies and listening to first-hand stories of men and women, of all ages.”
Jayson Casper, a journalist with Christianity Today, also pointed out some astounding growth that’s taking place in the Arabian Peninsula. He writes,
“Today the Pew Research Center numbers Christians in the Arabian Peninsula at 2.3 million – more Christians than nearly 100 countries can claim. The Gulf Christian Fellowship, an umbrella group, estimates 3.5 million…United Arab Emirates Christian population [is] 13 percent, according to Pew. Among other Gulf states, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar each about 14 percent Christian, while Oman is about 6 percent. Even Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest cities (Mecca and Medina), is 4 percent Christian…”
One of the best examples of the expansion of Christianity within Muslim lands is through the work of Heidi and Roland Baker. Along with their church plants and trained workers from Iris Ministries, the Bakers have made an extraordinary impact on the brutal nation of Mozambique. The province that they currently operate in was entirely Muslim before their arrival, but a little over ten years later those figures have changed drastically. Kelly Head from Christ for the Nations writes,
“The Bakers are now based full-time in Pemba, Mozambique, in an area where Heidi says was once called a ‘graveyard to missionaries.’ But recently the government announced publicly that it’s no longer a Muslim providence; now it’s a Christian providence.”
Iris Global in Mozambique (from their website):
Two devastating cyclones in 2019 flattened thousands of homes and villages. Iris Global worked with international efforts to bring 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.”
The abrupt changes to the once Muslim Africa are something even the Islamic clerics are beginning to acknowledge. In December 2001, Sheikh Ahmad al Qataani, the president of The Companions Lighthouse for the Science of Islamic Law in Libya, appeared on a live interview on Al-Jazeera satellite television. He declared the following:
“Islam used to represent, as you previously mentioned, Africa’s main religion and there were 30 African languages that used to be written in Arabic script. The number of Muslims in Africa has diminished to 316 million, half of whom are Arabs in North Africa. So in the section of Africa that we are talking about, the non Arab section, the number of Muslims does not exceed 150 million people. When we realize that the entire population of Africa is one billion people, we see that the number of Muslims has diminished greatly from what it was in the beginning of the last century…As to how that happened, well, there are now 1.5 million churches whose congregations account for 46 million people. In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Everyday, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Ever year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity. These numbers are very large indeed.”
It is obvious from these and other reports that Christianity is advancing.
Source: World Revival Network
The staggering rise of the church in Iran, 2019 report
A report from the International Prayer Council, 2019.
For many years, Iran was one of the most difficult regions of the world to reach with the gospel. In 1979, however, there was an Islamic Revolution in Iran. The ruling monarch, Shah Pahlavi, was overthrown, and in his place an Islamic Republic was birthed, led by the Ayatollah Khomeini. Sharia law became the law of the land, and Muslim clerics became the heads of state. Many in those days believed Iranian society would flourish. The new regime made great promises about rights and economic progress and that the laws of man would be replaced by the laws of God, they claimed.
Near the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, we see that the prayers of many Christians have been answered, and the climate in Iran is vastly different. The gospel has spread throughout the land despite increased persecution of Christians. In 1979, there were about 500 known Christians in Iran. Today, the average estimate of Christians range from 300,000 to upwards of one million, according to missions experts. Operation World continues to list Iran as having the fastest-growing evangelical church in the world. In fact, more Iranians have become Christians in the last twenty years than in the previous 1,300 years, since Islam came to Iran.
Several factors have contributed to the rapid growth of the church in Iran. Here are four of the most important.
1. Disillusionment with Islam
Since the time of the revolution, the Islamic regime, which promised much in the way of economic development and freedom, has not delivered. Rather than prosperity and growth, the economy stagnated. The people also have been oppressed, women punished for not covering their hair, and others punished for speaking out in protest. As a result, the country has isolated itself further from the rest of the world. Because the Islamic Republic has tied religion and state so closely together, the people’s disappointment with the government has led to great scepticism of Islam. Consequently, Iranians have become increasingly open to hearing the Christian message.
The rise of persecution against Christians in Iran has served as a sign of the rapid growth of Christianity. In the 1990s, several key church leaders in Iran were killed. One of the most famous martyrs, Mehdi Dibaj, gave a defence before the Islamic courts prior to his death that has become a rallying cry for many Christians in Iran. Dibaj declared, “I would rather have the whole world against me, but know that the Almighty God is with me; be called an apostate, but know that I have the approval of the God of glory. Life for me is an opportunity to serve him, and death is a better opportunity to be with Christ.”
Examples like this have emboldened the church. One faithful brother in prison recounted the moment he received news that many of his colleagues were being arrested. Briefly, he considered fleeing but remembered the words of Jesus from John 10, that he is not the hired hand who sees the wolves coming and flees, but he is rather the good shepherd, who lays his life down for his sheep (John 10:11–12). He went home knowing it would lead to his arrest, but he saw prison as an assignment by God to reach many within prison. This persecution has served to motivate further evangelistic zeal among Iranian Christians.
3. The Diaspora and Use of Media
A countless number of Iranian Christians have been scattered around the world. Many of these saints sense a unique calling to continue supporting the work of gospel advancement within Iran from the outside. The advancement of technology through the Internet and satellite TV has made the Christian message more accessible to Iranians who may have never even met a Christian. The diaspora Christians have been active in broadcasting the gospel and Bible teaching into Iran. In the last decade, social media also has been a powerful tool to reach Iranians and teach them the truths of Scripture.
4. Bible Distribution
Although persecution has not produced the results that the Iranian authorities wanted, they have continued to work hard to stamp out the message of Christianity. The Bible (especially the New Testament) is banned literature in Iran. But the people have been hungry for the word of God. There have been over two million New Testaments printed in recent years for dissemination in Iran, and about 180,000 entire Bibles have been distributed within the country. As Paul told Timothy, “The word of God is not bound!” (2 Timothy 2:9).
Christians in Iran.
Thirty years of Islamic revolution have made Iranians the most open Muslim people in the world to Christ. And it is only the Gospel that can bring peace to Iranians and the whole Middle East. …
“Mahmoud has become a totally new person since he met Christ,” beams Vahid, talking about his disciple. “Honestly, I’m jealous of the deep love Mahmoud has for the Lord. He’s the one ministering to me these days.”
While COVID-19 has ravaged Iran’s government and economy, a popular Christian satellite channel is reporting an upsurge in Iranian Muslims converting to Christianity.
Mohabat TV has recorded 10 times more salvation decisions online than this time last year, with 3,000 Iranians coming to Christ every month since March. “We have seen an increase in our online traffic from inside Iran,” said Mike Ansari, director of operations for Mohabat TV. “That’s why we call this the pandemic of hope.”
Revival in South America, 2014 report
There is a massive Evangelical revival going on in South America. Latin American religious demographics are changing. Brazil is now around 25% Evangelical and their numbers are growing so fast that Brazil is expected to become the world’s first Latin Evangelical Nation.
1-3 Million Brazilians converting to Evangelicalism every year.
Pentecostals go into drug and crime ridden favelas and Evangelicals pack the largest stadiums for worship, prayer and evangelism. Chile is 15% Evangelical, and Reformation Day is now a national holiday in Catholic Chile. Even famously Catholic Argentina is now 9% Evangelical.
Tens of millions of Latin Americans have embraced Pentecostal Christianity, according to a Pew Research Center survey on religion in 18 Latin American countries. Nearly one-in-five [nearly 20%] Latin Americans now describe themselves as Protestant, and across the countries surveyed majorities of them self-identify as Pentecostal. Pentecostals share many beliefs with other evangelical Protestants, but they put more emphasis on the “gifts of the Holy Spirit,” such as speaking in tongues, faith healing, and prophesying.
Pentecostalism is now a global phenomenon. We asked Andrew Chesnut, professor of religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, to discuss how and why Pentecostalism has grown so dramatically in Latin America in recent years.
Why have we seen this shift in Latin America in recent decades away from Roman Catholicism and toward Pentecostal Protestantism?
Andrew Chesnut: One reason is that Pentecostalism has very successfully absorbed Latin American culture. So, for example, the music that you hear in Pentecostal churches has the same rhythms that people enjoy outside of church. In fact, in only a century, Pentecostalism has become indigenous, or “Latin Americanized,” to a greater extent than Roman Catholicism has in its four centuries in Latin America.
There are other factors. For instance, some Latin Americans who grow up Catholic convert to Pentecostalism at a time of a health crisis, because Pentecostalism puts such a great emphasis on faith healing. This healing ministry is one of the propelling motors of the Pentecostal boom.
And the Pentecostal preachers tend to sound more like their congregants. They are often unlettered and they speak to their flock in the same way that people in Latin American speak to each other. They also tend to look like their congregants. So in Guatemala, many preachers are Mayan, and in Brazil they are Afro-Brazilian.
Are there particular groups or types of people in Latin America who are especially drawn to Pentecostalism?
Chesnut: Historically, Pentecostalism has appealed to the poor and to outsiders. But more recently, it has begun to appeal to middle-class professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, who have formed their own denominations in Brazil and Guatemala, among other countries. The emphases on “inner healing,” individual responsibility and prosperity theology are especially appealing to these more affluent Pentecostals.
Some people, particularly men, are attracted to Pentecostalism because they are struggling with substance abuse or other problems. Pentecostalism promotes healthy lifestyles and serves as the largest detox center for Latin American men. Men who join these churches often stop hard-drinking or gambling or womanizing.
How did Pentecostalism begin in Latin America?
Chesnut: For the most part, it was imported from the United States. In the early 20th century, Pentecostal missionaries began arriving in South America and they start doing well almost immediately. One reason was the emphasis on gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as faith healing, which resonated with many people.
Unlike earlier American missionaries, Pentecostals also were quick to train Latin American pastors and nationalize their denominations. For example, the Assemblies of God in Brazil [the country’s largest Pentecostal denomination] was fully under Brazilian control by 1930, just two decades after the first American evangelists arrived.
Is there a deep connection today between American Pentecostal churches and those in Latin America?
Chesnut: There is a connection, but today, things are reversed. Pentecostalism is now overwhelmingly anchored in Latin America, rather than the United States. In Brazil, for example, the Assemblies of God has 10 million to 12 million members, while the American Assemblies of God church has 2 million to 3 million. So now, the Brazilian church is the big brother and the United States is seen as mission territory.
Many [Latin American] churches are now sending out missionaries to the United States, as well as to Europe and Africa and even Asia. In the U.S., these missionaries have tried to attract Euro-Americans and African Americans. But so far, they’ve had little success. Instead, they’ve attracted Latin American immigrants living in the U.S.
Do you think that the increased religious competition from Pentecostalism has made Latin America more religious?
Chesnut: Yes. I think competition from Pentecostal churches has definitely made the Latin American religious landscape more robust. In addition to contributing to a certain renewal of the Catholic Church, it’s impacted mainline Protestant churches – like the Presbyterian and Methodist churches – which, like the Catholics, now also offer their own version of Pentecostalism. If Pentecostalism had never come to Latin America, I think the religious landscape would not be nearly as vibrant as it is today.
Evangelism in Venezuela, 2019 report
Six Thousand (6000) people accepted Jesus Christ in Venezuela and they were baptized… the glory of God fell upon them…
George Otis reported on recent developments in Arizona.
As of Fall 2018, every single nation on earth was represented at Arizona State University! Over 150 nations had someone on the ASU campus, while other nations are involved online – including North Korea and Antarctica! From this one place, Spirit-led believers have the potential to impact the entire family of nations, just as the apostles did on Pentecost!
In recent months, this huge university, the largest in the United States, has been in the grip of a bona fide spiritual awakening.
By our definition, formed over twenty years of monitoring transforming revival around the world, a true awakening means the work of God is comprehensive. This stands in contrast to a human campaign or initiative where results are typically confined to a single category or location within the community.
At ASU, God’s sweep is as broad as it gets.
Not surprisingly, united prayer has proven to be a major factor behind these happy developments. After several tough years where campus ministries tended to go their own way, things took a pleasant turn in the fall of 2017. Instead of the usual two to three ministries coming together before God, prayer events at the local Campus Christian Center were rocking a three-fold increase in intercessory participants.
By 2019, fully a dozen ministries united behind a forty-day prayer focus where petitions were lifted day and night from a tent erected near the main campus square. The initiative was so fruitful, the ministries decided to continue the effort over the balance of the academic semester.
During fall in 2019, the tally of participating ministries and campus churches reached seventeen, as a fresh fifty-six-day campaign drew prodigals, atheists, Muslims, New Agers, and students suffering from depression. In addition to witnessing numerous conversions, healings, and deliverances, the intercessors also watched God begin to move among the University faculty and administration.
One of the more significant breakthroughs involved the school’s Interfaith Council of Religious Advisors. Today, the council is headed by the son of a Baptist minister!
Even more dramatic has been the departure from the university of notorious atheist Lawrence Krauss. Virulently anti-Christian, the highly-paid professor routinely packed out Gammage Auditorium on campus by bringing in atheist luminaries such as Richard Dawkins and the late Stephen Hawking.
A theoretical physicist, Krauss founded the Origins Project in 2009 with the aim of placing the university at the forefront of the New Atheist Movement. By promoting hostile, anti-religious rhetoric and policies (“teaching Creationism to youth is child abuse”), Krauss bullied Christian students and faculty into silence.
During the worst of Krauss’s campaign, God assured one late-night intercessor that the professor would be brought low, and that the backbone of the atheist movement on campus would be broken.
Given Krauss’s fame and tenure, this prospect was almost unimaginable.
And yet, on Oct. 21, 2018, Lawrence Krauss announced his resignation after being stripped of his role as an academic chair and as the Director of the Origins Project. This action came in the wake of an impending termination procedure urged by the dean of ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
According to ASU provost, Mark Searle, action was taken because the physicist “violated the school’s sexual harassment policy and code of ethics.” In a July 31 letter to Krauss, Searle told the professor his behaviour was “unprofessional, reflects a failure of leadership, and is extremely disappointing.”
As for the Origins Project itself, the university newspaper notes that “sources point to a very different future for the project.” The initiative has already lost its name.
With Krauss out of the picture at ASU, Christian faculty in both the arts and sciences are again raising their flag. A March 2019 conference on Science and Faith allowed students to engage faculty in six fields, an approach being lauded by the university president. As one professor’s official profile declares: “Through his work he intends to glorify God, from whom all good things come.”
Transforming winds have also been coursing through the university’s athletic department. During 2019, over 100 Christian student athletes attended an all-sport gathering in the men’s football facility that featured worship, prayer, and inspirational messages.
Many athletes were touched at this student-led event as the room was charged with the Spirit of God. One of them, star wide receiver N’Keal Harry — whom many analysts peg as a top-15 pick in the NFL draft — gave his heart to Christ and is devouring the Word. He is arguably the most popular personality on the ASU campus.
And Harry is but one of an estimated twenty to thirty football players who have turned their lives over to Jesus in recent months. The wrestling team has also been impacted through the open witness of Austyn Harris and All-American Josh Shields, and encouraging reports are coming in from athletes associated with hockey, lacrosse, gymnastics, track, swimming, and volleyball.
Dorm and Greek life are likewise feeling the impact of the Gospel. As one knowledgeable source told me, “Before this year, it was hard to find any Christians in the Honors dorms. Now, it seems like they are everywhere!” Better yet, they are uniting in prayer that God’s purposes will be realized in the lives of these elite students.
So much more could be said, but I’ll leave you with the observation one student athlete shared with me earlier this month: “The identity of ASU is being flipped.”
As of Fall 2018, every single nation on earth was represented at Arizona State University! Over 150 nations had someone on the ASU campus, while other nations are involved online – including North Korea and Antarctica! From this one place, Spirit-led believers have the potential to impact the entire family of nations, just as the apostles did on Pentecost!
When we look at the state of Christianity in the world today, we see a decidedly mixed picture. In many parts of the world, there is incredibly good news: God is authoring a season of multiplication instead of addition in many parts of the world. Across Africa and Asia, millions of people in historically unengaged people groups are now in rapidly growing Disciple Making Movements. In 2000 there were 6 such movements, today there are now 1,035! Almost all of the Pygmy peoples of Africa are seeing dramatic transformation by the Gospel of the Kingdom in the last 12 years. Hundreds of large people groups that had been Muslim for many centuries, are now seeing ordinary people making disciples that transform whole communities.
Across Africa and Asia many thousands of former Muslim clerics have left Islam to become fearless disciples of Christ. Not surprisingly, Christianity’s growth in Africa and Asia is explosive. On average, using data from The Status of Global Christianity, between 2000 to 2020, (7,300 days): Africa had 37,825 new Christ Followers every day over the last 20 years. Latin America had 16,988. Asia had 13,443. North America had 1,999. Oceania had 473 and Europe had 8. Much of the great momentum is coming from Disciple Making Movements. Christian history has seen rapid movements happen when many thousands, or millions of people in a region became Christ Followers.
We are living in a season of the greatest church growth since the 1st century! But half of the world is missing the move of God. How is it possible that the Global South Church is seeing Christian history being made while the Global North church is struggling for answers? God alone provides the increase, but why there and not here? What is it that the churches of the Global South are doing that makes so much difference? Two researchers and Disciple-Making practitioners have spent five years identifying several biblical values that Jesus modelled or mandated in his disciples, and which are embraced in the Global South but not in the Global North church. The Kingdom Unleashed was the result of that research.
1. Abundant, and Bold Prayer
In Africa, it is not unusual for churches to commit 50-100 days per year to fasting and prayer. In American churches, seasons of fasting and prayer are not the norm, and if there are prayer meetings, there may be few participants. Some studies suggest that we do not spend much time in private prayer either. It is easy for us to rely on our many resources rather than on God. As a result we lose the privilege of depending on God every day. In the Global South, people often have no choice but to rely on God to meet their needs, lacking resources to do otherwise. Their awareness of their need drives them to pray not just for their physical needs but for guidance, direction, spiritual power and breakthroughs, healings, deliverances, and identifying people to disciple.
2. Discipling to Conversion
American Evangelicals tend to think about Christianity in terms of conversion, forgiveness of sins and Eternal Life. In the Global South, they focus far less on conversion than on disciple-making. When Jesus called the Twelve, he discipled them for nearly three years before he asked them for a statement of faith, “Who do you say I am?” In other words, he discipled them to conversion rather than converting them and then discipling them. That is the model used in the Global South.
3. Obedience-Based Discipleship
Even the idea of what it means to be a disciple is different. For us, discipleship is knowledge-based. But in the Great Commission, Jesus tells us to make disciples (not converts) and teach them to obey everything he commanded. Biblical discipleship is thus obedience-based, not knowledge-based. Our sins are forgiven by faith alone, but throughout the New Testament we are told to live out our faith by obeying Jesus’ commands to love God and neighbour. So from day one in Discovery Bible Groups, people are encouraged to put into practice what they are learning. This approach results in personal transformation as well as community transformation. As people sink into Scripture, they learn that Jesus is Lord of all, and there is no area of life that is not rightfully his.
4. Empowering Ordinary People for Ministry
This changes fundamentally the way the Global South conceives of ministry. In the US, “going into the ministry” means becoming a pastor or missionary. Pastors are expected to preach, pray, visit the sick, counsel people, disciple church members, evangelize, provide direction for the church, handle or oversee administration, etc. In other words, they are responsible for just about everything the church does. But is all this really the job of pastors? Ephesians 4 tells us that pastors are to equip believers to do ministry, in other words, pastors are to be coaches and teachers, but the actual work of ministry is to be carried out by the people in the congregation, something we see in the churches in the Global South. We talk about every member ministry; they do it.
5. Make Replicating Disciples, not Converts
Members of Discovery Groups are also encouraged to tell others about what they are learning. So, even before they come to faith, they are discipled into sharing what they are learning about God. As a result, when they do come to faith, it is the most natural thing in the world to them to share it with others, to start new Discover Groups, and even to found simple churches. People like carpenters, sports coaches, taxi drivers, school teachers, custodians, farmers, and even politicians are making disciples and planting churches. In some parts of Africa, we can identify movements with more than thirty generations of churches planting churches. That is how the Gospel goes viral in these countries, leading to full-blown Disciple Making Movements (DMM).
6. Never Ending Leadership Training for All
Lay ministry is central in the Global South to finding pastors. In many western churches, to become a pastor requires years of education, a degree from a Bible college and often a Master of Divinity degree. Where Christianity is spreading rapidly, evidence of effective ministry precedes the call to be a pastor. You have to have a track record of making disciples and planting churches before you can become a pastor. Where Christianity is growing, they do things very differently from how we do them, pointing to a totally different ministry paradigm drawn from Jesus’ teaching and example. And that paradigm is based on a very different thinking about the Kingdom, the Gospel, the Church, and the ways the invisible world of the Spirit interacts with the physical world.
What would happen to the church in the west if it revised its ministry paradigms to align with what Jesus himself taught and did? What would happen if we adopted different practices like those of the churches of the Global South? It’s starting to happen: A campus minister at a large state school is reading the Word one hour a day, interceding one hour a day and listening for God’s response one hour a day 5-6 days a week. God has placed a burden on his heart for reaching guys in fraternities and God has been opening doors for him to begin training “insiders” to start Discovery Groups with their fraternity brothers who are lost. A woman in a New England church prayer walked every street in her town, over 700 miles, praying for a Kingdom movement where she lives.
Many Global South ministries are mobilizing thousands of intercessors to pray daily for the Global North churches to be restored to vitality. Some are sending workers to help Global North churches. A Discovery Bible Study in Alabama went viral and impacted multiple countries and a huge number of people. God is no respecter of persons and is the same in the west as He is in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Maybe if we don’t let our theological systems, traditions, and habits stop us from putting into practice the things Jesus taught about making disciples, we might see movements here that would make the great revivals of American history look insignificant by comparison. For more information: www.finalcommand.com and www.kingdomunleashed.org
Jesus, Author & Finisher: Timeless Principles of Christianity
Brian Mulheran (Synergy, 2002)
Review by Outreach Magazine, Brisbane.
Brian Mulheran’s 200-page book, Jesus, Author & Finisher: Timeless Principles of Christianity, which includes a study guide, is designed to help new Christians, older Christians and pastors desiring to establish people in the faith.
Through his book, Brian hopes to further awaken people to their fullest potential in God. “Every Christian has great potential in their life to do something powerful for God,” says Brian. “They know that on the inside, but to see that come to pass, they need to really grab hold of the truths of God’s word.”
Having been a COC pastor for more than 15 years, Brian has seen thousands of people “come to the altar to have their faith authored, but many of them sadly didn’t finish the race”. “I see a lot of them struggle, trying to fix things up in their life in order for God to use them, but they end up just going round and round. This book gives them keys on how to release their potential.”
“Any ordinary person can look at the negatives of life in order not to succeed. Any ordinary person can read passages of scripture that seem to tell them what they need to do or not do in order to ‘keep themselves in God’. Any ordinary person will try to hold their life in God in order to make it to heaven. Any ordinary person can live a respectable life in God. Any ordinary person can pray enough and read their Bible enough in order to appear godly. But the Bible is full of extraordinary truths for ordinary people like you and me to allow our extraordinary God to do extraordinary things through us.”
Now working on a second book about the Holy Spirit, Brian believes many Christians are too pre-occupied with their own issues to focus on God. He says:
What could God do through a person who was not focused on whether or not they would commit any more sins but were totally preoccupied with fulfilling His call?
What could God do through a person who knew they were totally righteous and could stand before God at all times?
What could God do through a person who knew that He could not fail to do anything He said?
What could God do through a person who knew that they had the unlimited resources of heaven at their disposal?
What could God do through a person who knew that He was totally for them?
It is Brian’s desire that, through discovering these truths, readers would look to Jesus, the author and finisher of their faith, to lay a foundation from which to fulfil the call that God has placed upon their life.
Useful insight into Revivals in the South Pacific region
The cover’s the immediate attraction with this book – beautiful Pacific Island image …… Nice large format size book, too.
Geoff Waugh has been fascinated with Christian revivals since he was a young man, so it’s no big surprise that he should conduct some research into these fascinating phenomena ‘down under’ in the South Pacific area, as he has travelled and worked in many of these islands over several decades. His other recent book, Looking to Jesus: A Journey Into Renewal & Revival is another book worth checking out, being essentially an auto-biography of the author.
South Pacific Revivals gives some very illuminating information about numerous little-known revivals in the region, as well as a number of charismatic movements, one or two of which I personally wouldn’t necessarily term ‘revivals’, but many will find to be of much interest nonetheless, because of the phenomena exhibited and the passion aroused, etc. [The 3rd edition, 2012, has a comprehensive Preface of the history of revivals in the South Pacific.] A surprising number of movements are provided – including islands and places I had never before heard of! A number of remarkable personal testimonies are included, and some black and white photos are dotted throughout the book. Some useful appendices are included, such as ‘Characteristics of Revivals from Acts 2′ and ‘Examples of Repentance and Revival’.
If you’re interested in revivals, this is a book you’re going to want to get. (Blue Yonder, Amazon)
God led Randy Clark into global revival ministries, particularly from the Toronto Blessing of January 1994. “The Lord said, ‘They’re not wanting you. They’re wanting Me.'”
Revival blessings continue to explode worldwide in evangelism, healing, miracles and signs and wonders as in the New Testament.
Randy Clark reads from his personal journal, recounting the events that lead up to the Toronto Blessing. Before revival comes, it starts with a group of people pressing hard after God, crying out for His presence to come.
Randy Clark wrote:
From the very beginning, the ministry that God gave me and my team has demonstrated that everyday Christians can operate in the supernatural. Today, the power of the Spirit is flowing everywhere from mission fields and shopping malls to grocery stores and even aboard airplanes.
Join me as I read from my personal journal on November 8, 2019, at Global Awakening School of Supernatural Ministry, recounting the events that led up to the Toronto Blessing. Up to that point, I had never journalled before in my life.
THE MEETING ON OCTOBER 27, 1993 IN MISSOURI, JUST WEEKS BEFORE THE TORONTO BLESSING (January 1994), WAS A VERY STRATEGIC TIME IN MY LIFE. MOVING IN THE POWER OF GOD WAS A DREAM COME TRUE. I ALWAYS WANTED TO BE ABLE TO PRAY FOR PEOPLE AND SEE HIS POWER COME ON THEM. THAT NIGHT WAS AWESOME. IT WAS LIKE WALKING IN ANOTHER DIMENSION. I ONLY HOPED THAT IT WOULD NOT BE A RARE OCCASION, BUT THAT GOD WOULD ALLOW ME TO VISIT THAT DIMENSION FREQUENTLY. I THOUGHT THAT WOULD BE HEAVEN.
Before revival comes, it starts with a group of people pressing hard after God, crying out for His presence to come. I believed God wanted to touch the leadership – the pastors and the wives – of our region. I prayed in general for the Spirit to fall on the meeting. The great theme of my prayer time beforehand was, “Come, Holy Spirit.”
The meeting was drenched in prayer ahead of time. At the meeting, I shared on “those who are thirsty may come to Jesus and drink” from John 7:37, 1 Corinthians 12:13, Revelation 21:6 and Acts 2:15. It was obvious that the Holy Spirit was at work among the pastors and their wives as well as many others who attended the meeting.
In total, I shared at the meeting for about 40 minutes telling a story of how God had come again into my ministry in a wonderful way and how He was touching people in my church. I also told a story about how far I had fallen from the work in the Spirit that had characterized my earlier ministry when I had first gotten involved with the Vineyard Church in Missouri and how I had repented of that to the church.
The first person I and a team member prayed for was a woman. She came and stood right in front of me. She was very hurt and nothing happened to her initially. She later finally broke through and was touched by God about two hours later.
The next people I and this team member prayed for at the meeting fell quickly to the floor under the power of the Holy Spirit. Some began to cry. Others, laugh. And others were just quietly ministered to.
Interestingly enough, I wrote of these occurrences in my journal: “I anticipate this may occur in my ministry in the future.” But I concluded: only time will tell if those were isolated sovereign incidents or whether they will be the beginning of a ministry of revival for the church.
The next two hours of the meeting were like stepping into another dimension, or like living in a dream. I kept thinking to myself, I need someone to pinch me to know this is really happening. (Be sure to watch the video to this point in which you will hear about some of the more notable incidents that are still deeply impressed upon my memory today.)
In the video, I recall a story from the 1980’s in which the whole choir at a Baptist church in southeast Missouri was being “wiped out” by the power of the Holy Spirit while they were singing a worship song. I point out how you could hear the wind—literally, “like a mighty rushing wind”—and the church service went until mid-afternoon. I will report how within a few weeks, every miracle you can think of that you would see in the New Testament—including raising the dead—happened.
My friend Happy watched the meeting happen for some time. He had gotten scared and hidden under a chair. At this point in the story, it’s important to know that “Happy was Mr. Control; he had to have everything figured out down to the last second.” But Happy finally approached me and said, “I’ve received things from you in the past. Now I want this. I want to drink.”
I began to pray for Happy. Happy began to bow his body backwards under the power of God and, instead of falling, Happy began to shuffle his feet backwards to keep from falling. This was not safe because the floor was covered by people who were “slain” in the Spirit. Before I and my team would begin to pray for someone, we had to find a place to position them so that when they would fall, they would not fall on someone. It was like “falling trees”!
I told Happy not to walk out from under the Spirit’s power but to stand and fall. But, not to back up to keep from falling. I prayed again, and Happy fell under the power of God. After about 15 minutes, Happy came up and said,”I want another drink.” Happy was prayed for again, and he began to shuffle backwards under the power of God again.
I and a team member pushed Happy up and continued to pray for a few seconds. Happy fell on the floor under the power of God again. This time Happy began to double up with his knees to his chest and his feet sticking up in the air, as he began to belly laugh. It was quite the sight! You couldn’t help but laugh in the natural at what God was doing in their midst. It was funny, because Happy who was “Mr. Control” had now given God the control.
Then I felt led by the Holy Spirit to kneel down beside Happy as Happy was laying on the floor, laughing. I said, “God, take control of Happy. He wants to control, and I ask that you take control of Happy.” When I prayed this, Happy stopped belly laughing and quickly grabbed his shirt at his belly button area. Happy was gripping his shirt and his hands were clenched. I knew by an unction of Holy Spirit this was a stronghold of the enemy in Happy’s life. Then I and my team member prayed for the power of God to totally take Happy and for the stronghold to be broken.
Slowly Happy’s grip began to loosen and he began to relax his hands. Then I began to pray, “Lord, birth Your work in Happy. This [grabbing of Happy’s shirt at his belly button area and not laughing] is breach. Turn it around, and let it be born.” Very soon, there was a breakthrough in Happy. The joy and laughter returned, and he was once again laughing and enjoying the refreshment of the Holy Spirit.
After about 30 minutes, Happy came up to me again and asked for another drink. I prayed for Happy again and within seconds, Happy fell under the power of God again; enjoying the Lord’s presence. At this point in the story, it’s important to realize that simultaneously others were receiving prayer and being touched by the Holy Spirit as well.
Happy later helped start two of the Vineyard churches in the Midwest. So there’s a history between Happy and me. In fact, the most powerful touch from God that I ever had was when Happy blew on me at his church in 1999 when I thought I was going to die. (You’ll want to watch the rest of the video to hear more stories like Happy’s.)
This meeting was just a foretaste of a new move of supernatural Christianity characterized by signs, wonders and healing miracles that God ignited around the globe and that He caused to transpire in my and my team’s four decades of ministry that followed.
P.S. I believe the events that led up to the Toronto Blessing are a prophetic sign to the culture that God can use everybody. Over the years, I and my team have developed two conferences that provide a solid foundation in living a supernatural lifestyle. It’s my heart that people everywhere will be empowered to see a fresh revival come to their spheres of influence.
Randy is the founder and President of Global Awakening and author of books on healing, impartation, and revival history. He spends his time writing, traveling, speaking at events, and hanging out with his children and grandkids. His life’s message is: “God will use anyone who’s willing to take a risk in faith.”
From 1982 revival stirred in Argentina. Large crowds attended meetings with Carlos Annacondia, a businessman turned evangelist. His healing evangelism included thousands reporting healings, deliverance from demons, and miracles. Thousands of people accepted Christ as Saviour and virtually every church grew. Pastors meet every week to pray with Annacondia for revival in the nation and the world.
In 1992, another movement of revival began with Claudio Freidzon, founder of a Buenos Aires church that in four years grew from 7 to 3000 people. Freidzon experienced a deep encounter with the Holy Spirit, after which his ministry became famous for the manifested presence of God, long services of worship and adoration, and a dramatic increase of healings and deliverance in the worship and ministry.
John and Carol Arnott from Toronto were powerfully touched in meetings led by Claudio Freidzon in Argentina in 1993. Randy Clark spoke at the Toronto church on Thursday, January 20, 1994, and the Father’s blessing fell on the 120 people attending. Randy gave his testimony, including how he had been powerfully touched by God when Rodney Howard-Browne (evangelist from South Africa) prayed for him. People fell all over the floor under the power of the Holy Spirit, laughing and crying. People were saved and healed, more in the next two years than ever before in the Arnott’s ministry. Thousands flew or drove to visit the little church which had to relocate into larger premises. The blessing continued, called by a British journalist, the “Toronto Blessing”.
On Father’s Day, Sunday 18 June 1995, evangelist Steve Hill spoke at Brownsville Assembly of God, near Pensacola, Florida. A thousand people streamed forward at the altar call as the Holy Spirit moved on them. Their pastor, John Kilpatrick, fell down under the power of God and was overwhelmingly impacted for four days. That morning service, normally finishing at noon, lasted till 4 pm. The evening service continued for another five and a half hours. So the church asked Steve Hill to stay. He cancelled appointments and continued with nightly meetings. Their wives, Jeri Hill and Brenda Kilpatrick tell that story in this 2019 Conference.
Dr Michael Brown founded the Brownsville School of Ministry in that revival and Evangelist Daniel Kolenda, now the Director of Christ for All Nations, was a student there then. Christ for All Nations hosted this 2019 Light the Fire Again conference.