Randy Clark, founding director of Global Awakening (globalawakening.com), leads short term missions in the power of the Spirit worldwide. His personal stories are in his books Lighting Fires and There Is More. The stories here in this article are stories of what happened through the ministry members on their teams and others who were blessed by their ministry. For over 20 years Randy has been leading teams and equipping people of faith to minister just as Jesus told us to, and as Jesus taught his followers to do.
Jesus was, of course, the world’s best at short term supernatural missions – constantly travelling, as Paul and his teams did later.
This article is reproduced from Chapter 10 of Randy Clark’s book Supernatural Missions (Global Awakening, 2012), “Power Evangelism in Short Term Mission Trips”. See bookstore on www.globalawakening.com
What is the place of short-term missions in the big picture of world evangelization? It is not meant to replace long-term mission efforts, but to be in cooperation with them. Those who go on short term mission trips and minister in the power of the Spirit often return home with a new passion for what God is doing in the earth. Such trips can also benefit the ongoing work in the field, by impacting large groups of people through evangelistic meetings, bringing impartation and refreshment to the host pastors and churches. By seeing what God does through short-term missions, we may engage in his overall plan in a strategic way.
The Effects of Short-Term Mission trips on team members
1.) The “Vicious Downward Spiral” is reversed
2.) Full-time missions service
3.) Connections are created between local churches and the host country leaders or churches
4.) Vision is created for International Ministry
The Effects of Short Term Mission trips on Receiving/Hosting Groups: Apostolic Impartation for Pastors A. Brazil
Power Evangelism in Short-term Missions
The Effects of Short-Term Mission trips on team members
1.) The “Vicious Downward Spiral” is reversed
Several years ago I ministered at a large Vineyard Church in Champaign, Illinois. I had known the pastor for many years and was shocked at the change of atmosphere in his church from the last time I had ministered there some years before. The church had continued to grow numerically, but there was a noticeable difference in the people’s expectation for God to move in their midst. I felt such a spirit of grief that I found it hard to speak.
Later, when I met with the Pastor Happy Leman and his staff, the executive pastor asked me a very important question. This question would change the way I looked at inviting people to come with me to minister in other countries. Prior to that time, I felt somewhat awkward inviting people to go with me, as if what I was doing was self-serving. But, after this question I have never felt that inviting someone to go with me to the nations was self-serving. The question was, “What do you do to keep your expectation for healing high?” The executive pastor continued, “Our doctrinal belief hasn’t changed since you first met us years ago. Then, what we believed doctrinally we expected to happen in our midst. However, since then, though our beliefs have not changed, our experience has not matched our beliefs. As a result our expectation has dropped. With the dropping of our expectation, our experience dropped, and we see less than before. Now, we are caught in a vicious cycle. Each year it seems like our experience is less, and our expectation drops even more.” He then asked the question, “What do you do to not get caught in this vicious cycle?”
I responded, “I have to go somewhere where there is an open heaven- where there are apostolic leaders who are getting a break through, and minister in that context for a couple of weeks twice a year. During that time I will see more healings than most pastors will see in a lifetime. This builds up my experience and causes my expectation for healing to remain high.” This is what I have been doing for 17 years, and it not only works for me. I see it affect the people who come with me as well. They have their faith raised for healing due to their experience of seeing so many people get healed and seeing God use them to bring healing to people.
I have had several pastors from various denominations come with me to the nations who were so discouraged that they were looking at the want ads in the paper. They felt like they couldn’t continue in ministry unless God refreshed them and touched them. They were “burned out”, discouraged and depressed. I watched these men be touched by the Holy Spirit and saw them experience a whole new zeal and energy for ministry. Depression was broken off. Hopelessness was replaced with faith that God would use them. One of these pastors was 60 years old when this happened to him. The years since then have been the most productive, most exciting and most fruitful of his entire 40+ years of ministry.
Why are short-term mission trips important? The kind I am talking about, the team is the ministry team. They gives words of knowledge and pray for the sick to be healed for hours every day. This is important for the creation of faith that God will use the team members. “This experience changed my life” is one of the most common responses we get on our evaluation forms.
2.) Full-time missions service
Two pastors who have taken more people with me to the nations are Tom Jones and Tom Hauser. When they first started going with me on short-term ministry trips to the nations, Tom Jones was pastoring one of the largest Church of God Cleveland, Tennessee churches in Florida. Tom Hauser was on staff as the Executive Pastor of one of the larger Vineyard Churches on the East Coast in North Carolina. Their churches developed not only a strong openness to the Holy Spirit but also a strong commitment to missions. Both of their churches would have several people leave their secular jobs and become missionaries after going with us on short-term ministry trips. Tom Jones had a total of 6 people become missionaries in 10 years. Tom Hauser had a total of 8 people become missionaries in 6 years. He has seen around 160 go on short-term mission trips. Also, his church helped establish two orphanages and plant 73 churches in Nepal, India, Costa Rica and the US. It is true that there could be other factors contributing to this outcome, such as the fact that both churches were deeply committed to renewal and the outpouring of the Spirit in Toronto. But, when you compare the percentage who went on trips to the percentage who didn’t go on trips in relationship to going into missions or other mercy type ministries, I believe the variable is sufficiently removed to give us a better indication of the effects of the trips.
This is not just true for my ministry trips. I have a spiritual father, Cleddie Keith, who was for many years in the Assemblies of God denomination, and who took people from his church on ministry trips with him. These trips were very similar to mine in that the people were expected to be the ministry team and pray for the people. He has taken several hundred on short-term mission trips. During the last 17 years since the beginning of the renewal, which he was very committed to, over 30 people have gone into missions or full-time ministry from his church.
3.) Connections are created between local churches and the host country leaders or churches
People we took on our first few trips to Mozambique to work with Heidi and Rolland Baker of Iris Ministries, became a great blessing to their ministry. Many of these pastors and businessmen continued to provide support to their ministry. Terry Inman’s Assembly of God church in California has been supportive with finances and with people going to serve. Alan Hawkins, pastor of a Charismatic church in New Mexico, has made several trips to minister with Iris Ministries. Tom Hauser has made many trips and has sent several couples and individuals to work with Iris since his first trip to Mozambique. On our first trip, we had people from Australia and the United States with us. Two of the people came back as full time missionaries within one year of that first trip.
What I hadn’t expected though I should not have been surprised, was how my own interns and students from our school would be sent to help Heidi and Rolland. Will Hart and his wife Musy, were recently married when they led a trip for me to Mozambique. I received an email from Heidi. “Randy, will you give Will and Musy to me? I am in need of them!” I told her of course I would and that if they wanted to go, I would bless them. They went and spent three years serving Rolland and Heidi after Will had already spent three years serving me. In Mozambique, they would have their first two children, born at home without a doctor or midwife. They only had a book to read. Then Jean Nicole, another one of my interns, went and became a missionary with Heidi. He married another Iris missionary named Teisa. Today, they are working with Iris South Africa. On my last trip to Mozambique, I took Timothy, a young intern of mine. He is very bright and graduated first in his high school class. He loved our time in Mozambique and wants to move back there with his new wife. The two plan to help Heidi and Rolland as Timothy continues his theological studies.
One of the most exciting short-term ministry trips we do is to Brazil in July each year. It is called the Youth Power Invasion. Each year 125-200 youths from America, ages 13-29, join with several hundred youths from Brazil. We spend a week teaching the youth in the day about how to preach, heal the sick, receive words of knowledge, and lead ministry teams. At night the youth divide into 4 groups and go with me and other key leaders to conduct services for healing and impartation in the local churches. The second week our key speakers come home and the youth lead the teams. They often see up to 8,000 healings during those two weeks! Many of the young people are so impacted that they quit their careers or schooling to take two years to be trained at our Global School of Supernatural Ministry in Mechanicsburg, PA.
From my trips to Brazil, I know of many families that have continued to go to minister on their own in the country. From Tom Hauser’s church and Tom Jones’ church, several couples and individuals have gone as longer-term missionaries. From our Global School of Supernatural Ministry we have people who first went to Brazil with us that are now going back long term (five students from our current class and two from a former class including a 74 year old student.) The five students are going to southern Brazil to start a Global School of Supernatural Ministry and hope to have 5-10 other classmates join them next year. The older woman went to be a missionary with an Indian tribe that is in revival as a result of our team going to minister near the reservation where the Baileys work (see chapter 1). This tribe continues to reach out to the other tribes of the same dialect in the region.
Our ministry works with apostolic leaders around the world. When we first started the Global School of Supernatural Ministry, we sent out a letter to ask the apostolic leaders what they needed most. Their response was a school similar to ours that could be conducted in their country. Presently, many of our students between their 20’sto 70’s desiring to go and start ministry schools in Brazil, South Africa,Thailand, England, and India.
Others who went with us to Brazil have gone back to begin orphanages and to work in the favelas (slums) with the poor. Several others who first traveled with us are now taking their own teams into Brazil and other Latin American countries.
On one trip we took with us veterinarian Frank Pak and his wife Robbie to Ukraine. When I wasn’t able to continue coming into the country on a regular basis, the Pak’s picked up where I left off. They have made multiple trips to serve the church including medical trips, trips to work with drug addicts and trips to strengthen the pastors and churches. They now lead their own teams from the church they attend.
In 1996 I led my first team to Russia and continued for about three years to take large teams there. Russ Purcello, pastor of a large independent church in Tennessee, went with me. He had been involved in taking many mission trips to Honduras but had never felt a burden for Russia. However, when I shared about the trip, he felt he should go. Since his first trip, he has continued replicas of my meetings in almost every political region in Russia. God touched him so profoundly that for more than a decade, he and his church have been going into Russia to strengthen the young pastors and leaders. He has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into his efforts to strengthen the churches in Russia. After my initial three-year commitment to Russia, the door was opened wide for me to work more in Brazil. It was such a relief to see Pastor Purcello continue the much needed training and impartation to the leaders and pastors of Russia that I could no longer reach.
These stories are just some of the fruit from the connections between the local churches and the host church or leaders. Some of these missionaries have received substantial help including hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, that came through their continued connection with the pastors and wealthy businessmen that went with us. When they saw what was being done, for example by Iris Ministries in Mozambique, their hearts and wallets were opened to the Bakers and the work in Mozambique.
4.) Vision is created for International Ministry
Almost all of the people I have mentioned in the above paragraphs had no vision for international ministry or mission work when they first went with us to the nations. But, for the majority their first trip touched them so profoundly that they made several trips as finances could be raised, and some ended up either starting ministries that reached out to the world or to a local country. Most began these in the country they visited first or the one they visited most on short-term trips with us.
The Effects of Short Term Mission Trips upon the Receiving /Hosting Group
1. Apostolic Impartation for Pastors
Most of our International Ministry Trips are focused on encouraging, equipping and imparting to pastors and leaders who are related to national indigenous apostolic leaders. The exception is Mozambique where Rolland and Heidi Baker are not indigenous, although they are apostolic. (The reason I now use “ministry trips” rather than “mission trips” is because the implications of mission traditionally seem more paternal, when in reality, some of the places we work are far ahead of much of the Western Church.) I will be sharing what some of these leaders have told us regarding the value of our ministry trips to their leadership.
Brazil is where we have conducted most of our International Ministry Trips. We have averaged about 5 trips per year with about 70 days a year in Brazil by either myself or one of my colleagues in ministry. No other nation has received so much time and resources invested into it from our ministry.
Why have we made so many trips to Brazil? First, when I first went to Brazil, I had already made several trips to Argentina where I worked with Dr. Pablo Deiros and Dr. Carlos Mrarida of the Baptist denomination. Also, I had been working with Omar Cabrera Sr. in his denomination, Vision de Futuro. When I made my first trip to Brazil I told a friend, “I feel like the revival in Argentina has peaked and is diminishing in power. I feel like we are catching the beginning of the wave of revival in Brazil, and I want to ride it to its end.”
Second, I believe Brazil will be the number one missionary sending country in the world in this century. A few years ago, I heard C. Peter Wagner remark that Brazil is the country most in revival. I believe that wherever revival is the strongest is where you will see the most missionaries sent out. I wanted to have a part in this revival by equipping and focusing the revival upon the nations with an emphasis of sending forth missionaries.
Third, around 1999 I was in Toronto just after traveling to Sydney, Australia. While there I had worked with Pastor Frank Huston who was a great apostolic leader, especially for the Pacific area, and was also very prophetic. I was in a season of trying to determine from God what was next. I wanted to know if there was anything God wanted me to know. I had asked God to give Frank a prophecy for me in Sydney, but he did not have one. But, when I was in Toronto, Frank called me out and gave me this prophecy: “As God has used you in Toronto, in the near future God is going to use you to birth revival in six nations. Four of those nations your feet have ‘not touched yet.’” A few hours later, I met with delegations from Korea and Brazil inviting me to come to their countries. I definitely believe Brazil is one of those six nations.
Fourth, as I mentioned earlier, Brazil seems to be the land of my anointing. It is definitely the land of my greatest favor. I went there not knowing how to speak a word of Portuguese, not being part of a denominational heritage connected with the country, and not knowing a soul in Brazil. Today, 11 years later, I have spoken in more churches in Brazil than in the United States, including some of the largest in the nation: Pentecostal – Assemblies of God, Quadrangular Four Square), new denominations that are Pentecostal/Charismatic in nature, Methodist, Baptist, and Nazarene. Most of these churches are over 1,000 in average attendance and some have 8,000, 12,000, 30,000 and 60,000 in just one local church. What have the key leaders of these denominations and churches said to me about our trips? In what way were they beneficial to their churches?
1. Belem – Quadrangular
In Belem, located near the mouth of the Amazon in Northeast Brazil, we worked primarily with the Quadrangular denomination. I was invited by Pastor Josue Bengtson, who is over the Quadrangular Church in that region. They have a total of over 30,000 members among many churches in the city of Belem. His son, Paulo told me, “You are the first American that my father has invited back.” When I asked why, he told me that most Americans his father had invited were proud and boastful. But, our teams were humble. Paulo also told me that he believed their churches had grown rapidly recently due to two main reasons: their commitment to cells and the impact of our trips upon their leaders. He told us that our teams really encouraged their pastors and leadership with not only the teachings on equipping, but also the experiences of impartation that their leaders received through the Holy Spirit in our ministry.
2. Maua – Baptist
Pastor Silvio Galli is the pastor of the Living Waters Baptist Church in Maua, Brazil. When we first came to his church, it had about 300 members and was a small church down a dirt road. It was a traditional Baptist Church, but Pastor Galli was open and desperate for the power of the Holy Spirit. When we first ministered in his church, the Holy Spirit fell powerfully. There were many healings including some of the members of the staff. The church building was too small for the crowd. People were outside listening through the windows, in the hallways and were packed in to 140% capacity. Pastor Galli was very excited about what God was doing in his church.
Three years later we revisited this church. I was surprised when we pulled up to the church. It was not down the dirt road. It wasn’t the same little building that would barely seat 300. Instead, it was right on a main street in the city. The building seated about 1,500. They had multiple services to accommodate the 3,000 weekly attendance. He told me that the rapid growth had come because of two main reasons: one, the implementation of the cell system, and two, the impact of the Holy Spirit upon the congregation. This congregation had experienced a significant corporate impartation during our meetings. There were many healings and more continued after we left. They truly received an impartation to move in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Six years later we returned to the church. The church building had once again relocated to a building that would seat over 2,000 people. The church had grown to over 14,000 in 6 locations with 9,000 at the main congregation. Again, the power of God came mightily. Pastor Galli again told me that our last two visits to his church were significant in the rapid growth of the church. This time only ¼ of his church could come on each of the 4 nights due to the limitation of the building. On the third night, we had a noticeable increase in the miraculous. On this night blind eyes saw, deaf ears opened and tumors disappeared. One paralyzed person walked and talked after a stroke had taken both abilities away. A cast was cut off the arm of a woman who had been in excruciating pain. All the pain had left her after she heard a word of knowledge about her condition. Knees with no cartilage were healed, and pain from childhood polio left. Movement was restored to an ankle and many other things happened. The following night, a man who was paralyzed from the neck down from MS and couldn’t even move a finger, got out of the wheel chair and walked. There were so many healings. The pastor again told us that the three visits to his church were a major part of the reason for the phenomenal growth of the church.
3. Joinville – Quadrangular
We visited Joinville in the south of Brazil, where we ministered to the Quadrangular denominational leaders. The main overseer was so discouraged that if the Holy Spirit didn’t come powerfully upon the other pastors during our meeting, he was going to resign his position. He didn’t resign because we had a wonderful visitation of the Holy Spirit. On one of the nights, a man came with such horrible neuropathy that he couldn’t lift his feet from the floor but could only shuffle his feet with the aid of a walker. While he was being healed that night and began to walk, his doctor told me, “I am his doctor. He can’t do that. He hasn’t been able to walk without a walker or pick up his feet in years!” Another man was healed of a substantial heart problem. Deaf ears were opened and blind eyes were healed.
Just as importantly the pastors and leaders experienced a powerful impartation and left the meetings encouraged by this fresh visitation of the Holy Spirit. Some received gifts of healing and greater faith for operating in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Manaus is a city in northern Brazil located 1,000 miles into the Rain Forest. We first ministered there in September 2001 with Pastor Rene Terre Nova. He was one of Cesar Castellanos’ original 12 in the G-12 movement. Outside of our ministry and the ministry of Heidi Baker, he does not allow anyone to speak that is not in the G-12 movement. We have made 3 or 4 visits to his church over the last 11 years. As I mentioned earlier, his church was disfellowshiped by the Baptist denomination after the Holy Spirit visited it with healing and manifestations. When the church left the Baptist denomination, it had an average attendance of 700. As of our first visit, it had grown to 25,000 in only 7 years.
I will never forget that first visit about a decade ago. At the time I had only seen a few deaf people healed in my whole lifetime. However, in one night we experienced an amazing outpouring of the Holy Spirit connected with a manifestation of nature. The building did not have walls yet. We began to see rain falling and wind blowing inside the building even though this was not happening outside! Within a few minutes, we had 8 deaf people hearing. On our second visit we had over 40 deaf people healed. The church had grown to 40,000 in one congregation. This time the walls were built, but the main doors had not been installed. Once again the rain and the wind only occurring inside the building were supernatural signs of the visitation of God. Wind blew chairs down in the building when there was no wind outside the building. On our last trip, we had a lot of angelic activity. We saw about 9,000 people healed the last night. The church had now grown to 60,000.
The associate pastor, Aaron, told us that the people of the church had nicknamed our teams, “The Wonderworkers.” They could not believe the people who traveled with me were not professional healers who traveled with me everywhere we went. This was even after I had specifically told them that only about 1/10 of the ministry team were ministers. The other 9/10 were people just like them who had paid to come and pray for the sick and minister in Jesus’ name.
5. Sao Paulo
I want to end this section on Brazil with the first place we went in Brazil. It was a pastors meeting for about 1,200 pastors and pastoras (female pastors) in the state of Sao Paulo. I taught for three days. The meetings were very powerful. Our team of 11 was small in comparison to what they would later become (30-200 with an average of around 70). No one on my team was a pastor. On the second day, I lost control of the meetings. So many people were being healed during the sermon on healing that the noise from the excitement of the crowd was drowning out my voice. Even with proper sound amplification, people were unable to hear me.
The last day, I emphasized that we were passing the baton to the Brazilians to do the ministry during ministry time and that they would be the ones to give words of knowledge. My team would only be coaching tonight. After a time of impartation, they were released to minister themselves the things our team had been doing.
During that trip Pastor Dirceu had been overseeing setting up special meetings for the Quadrangular denomination. The next time I visited, he told me that the few days with our team were the most impacting on the Quadrangular denomination that he had seen in his life. He told me, “Your ministry has impacted our pastors more than anyone else’s we have brought to Brazil.” I asked him, “Why? How were we different?” He responded, “It isn’t that you are more anointed than others. We have brought some of the most famous ministers in the world to minister to our pastors. They are powerful men of God who preach powerfully. But, when they left, we were the same. When you came, you told us how you moved in the gifts of the Spirit. You explained to us how to receive words of knowledge. You told us we would be able to do so. You told us God would impart these gifts to us, and when you prayed for us, He did.” Pastor Dirceu also told me that he had heard of many testimonies of pastors who had gone back to their respective churches and had seen many healings, whereas before they had seen few if any when they prayed. He said, “When you and your team left, we were different.”
B. Mozambique – Pastors’ Conferences
Next to Brazil, there probably isn’t another country that I have been so committed to serving as Mozambique. For many years we sent two teams a year to Mozambique. I knew that my job description, given to me by God in Toronto, was to be a “Fire Lighter, Vision Caster, and a Bridge Builder.” When I was leaving Mozambique after my first visit and was about to make my first visit to Brazil, Heidi said to me. “Randy, when you get to Brazil, don’t forget us. Tell the Brazilians about us. They already speak the language, and it is easier for them to adjust to the culture than for westerners. Tell them this is not the Macedonian Call- this is the Mozambican call.” I was faithful and during my first years of visits to Brazil, I would often use illustrations about Rolland and Heidi. God used this to open the door for Rolland and Heidi to visit some of the greatest churches in Brazil.
Short-term ministry trips are one way of cross-pollinating between different streams in the revival. Casting a vision for Mozambique and building a bridge between Mozambique and Brazil has been one of my primary goals on these ministry trips. It isn’t enough for me to be used by God to “light the fire” of revival in countries. I am to also cast vision for God’s purposes and build a bridge between networks, denominations, countries, and mission sending and mission receiving countries. I am to communicate the truth that missions follows revival, and that missions is one of the greatest evidences of true revival.
1. Beira – Heidi and key leaders – “thousands of churches and millions of people.”
During my first visit to Mozambique, I preached at three pastors meetings arranged by Rolland and Heidi Baker in Maputo, Beira and Chimoio. I do not like ministering in Mozambique. The primary reason is that I don’t feel needed there and feel intimidated by my translators who often have raised the dead. Rolland and Heidi have encouraged me to continue coming because of the importance of the connection between our ministries. When Heidi visited Toronto for her second time, I was ministering there. As I was preaching, she ran to the front and knelt to pray in response to the message. I knew her name and said to her, “Heidi, God wants to know- do you want the nation of Mozambique?” To which she responded, “Yes!!!” I then said to her, “God is going to give you the nation of Mozambique. You will see the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, and the dead be raised.”
The Spirit of God hit her very powerfully immediately following my prophecy to her. Then she heard God speak to her, “Hundreds of churches and thousands of people.” She replied, “How, God? How can this be? My husband Rolland and I have started four churches in seventeen years and it has almost killed us.” God spoke to Heidi a few other things during those seven days and nights as the experience continued. He told her to gather 12 men together and prophesy over them everything that I had prophesied to her, which she did. In just a couple of years, they started over 200 hundred churches. When I visited her for the first time at their Beira base, the Spirit once again fell upon her as well as Rolland and the main leaders who were present. I could tell by the look on the people’s faces that this was not normal for Heidi in Mozambique, though it was normal for her when she visited the Church in the Western world. This time, she went into a vision and saw ships coming with food and supplies and heard the Lord say, “Thousands of churches and millions of people.” She told me that this was easier to believe than the first word of hundreds of churches and thousands of people. Because God had fulfilled the first word, Heidi now had faith for Him to fulfill the second word. These types of experiences are of great value to apostolic leaders in other countries. It helps establish them in the purposes of God and gives them faith to attempt what was given to them in a prophecy or vision.
2. Chimoio – Mountain Vision
We left Beira and went to Chimoio. When we arrived, Heidi preached the first message. Her message was powerful. Everyone was lying on the ground, prostrated in prayer. I could find no room to lie down, since the floor was covered with the bodies of the saints in prayer. I leaned up against a wall and began to pray. I was very much aware of the fact that I was going to be translated from English into Portuguese and from Portuguese to the local dialect. I began to pray, “Oh Lord, I have not come half way around the world to give a teaching. God I must hear from you. What do you want to say to these people? Oh God, I want to see; I want to see; I want to see into the spiritual realm; I want to see!” Suddenly, I thought I might have seen something. I said, “God, what was that? Did I just see something?” I had had a brief mental picture in my mind’s eye, like a daydream picture. I thought I 218
had seen a man standing on a mountain looking over a great amount of land. He was asking the Lord, “Lord, do you want me to go into this land?” I had an impression that the answer was “yes.”
I have never been a seer, and mental pictures were not something I had much experience with. After the meeting I asked Supresa, one of the key leaders of Iris Ministries, to translate as I interviewed Johnny, who had raised the dead. Supresa would soon begin to raise the dead, and has since raised several of them. On the way I asked Supresa if he had open visions, where he wouldn’t see anything except what God was showing him. He told me he did. This intimidated me more.
That night while I was preaching, I gave an invitation for men who had been on a mountain asking God if they were to go into this land to come forward for prayer. About seven men came forward. A few of them were key leaders in the movement, and another two had actually been on a mountain a few days earlier fasting and praying. During this time these two men had seen a vision of a ball of fire moving through the sky and hovering over Chimoio. They heard God tell them to go to this building (the one we were meeting in) and there they would find their overseers. These men eventually became powerful leaders in Iris’ ministry.
In addition, Heidi told me later that she had been praying for months asking God who was to go into the Muslim northern provinces of Mozambique. God gave her the answer that night. Sometime later, I found out that this story was on the webpage of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. It was called, “The Mountain Vision.” How funny! What started out as a very weak “I thought I might have seen something,” was now called the “Mountain Vision.”
3. Pemba – Mrs. Tanuecki
During another trip to minister in Mozambique with Heidi, she invited me to a pastors conference. After preaching and ministering I was once again very much troubled by what seemed to me my own inadequacy. I went to Heidi and told her that I didn’t want to come back to Mozambique. I said, “You don’t need me here. These people are more powerful than I am. They pray better, and they can communicate the gospel better than I can to their fellow Mozambicans. They are raising the dead; what can I do for them?
Heidi stopped me and pointed to a woman in the crowd named Mrs. Tanuecki. She told me, “That woman over there has been involved in raising several people from the dead, but when you touched her and prayed for her, God took her into a trance. She is still in the trance. We do need you to come with your teams to Mozambique. You carry a special grace, a special anointing.”
Later that day, Heidi had four people pray for me, all of whom had raised the dead, and a few of them had raised three or four from the dead. It was a humbling experience, but one for which I was very grateful. I want to receive an impartation for raising the dead.
As with the section on Brazil, I want to end this one on Mozambique with my very first night in Mozambique and the fruit of that meeting. I was exhausted by the time I arrived. Heidi said, “You might want to rest for half an hour to an hour. Tonight, I want to take you to the dump where we minister to people and then into the city. I also want you to lead devotions with my staff before we leave.”
I was exhausted and didn’t feel like leading devotions for the staff. When we met I asked them, “Why are you here? Tell me your story.” I was shocked to hear that every one of them had been touched either in Toronto, or by someone from Toronto who was carrying the anointing. They were from Israel, England, Canada, United States, and Australia. I began to realize how impacting the Toronto Blessing was upon missions, at least in Mozambique.
While in Maputo I interviewed many people. I remember interviewing the only nurse on the base. At that time there weren’t any doctors on the base and this nurse was working long hours. She was a pretty blond from England, but she was exhausted. She was planning to go back to England in the near future after having fulfilled her commitment. A few days later, I preached a message called “Spend and Be Spent” from 2 Corinthians 12:11. At the conclusion I saw this nurse come forward weeping, touched by the Holy Spirit. She committed that day to stay longer in Mozambique.
Also, I learned quite some time later that on that same day, there was a person on our team from Nebraska named Betty. She too had heard God speak to her about coming back and helping Heidi. She would later return and serve as Heidi’s personal assistant and in other positions for some time. She had no special training or cross-cultural education. She did, however, have a heart that had been touched by the Holy Spirit. Our short-term ministry team had not only impacted the missionaries working in Maputo; the missionaries, in turn, had impacted our team. Those who came to “refresh others” had themselves “been refreshed.”
On my next trip to Mozambique, I was surprised to see several of the people who I met on my first trip who also had been visiting for their first time. They had returned to become part of the crucial leadership team. One man, Steve Lazar, was an educator from Australia. He would begin a school for Iris that would become the #1 rated primary school in Mozambique. Also, from that first trip, several couples from my team would go back as full time missionaries to work with Rolland and Heidi.
I would like to conclude with a strategy God gave me to help Rolland and Heidi. I believed that I was to take the pastors of the largest churches I had relationship with to Mozambique with me. And, I knew that I was to not only invite pastors, but also very successful businessmen. I wouldn’t have to say anything about helping Rolland and Heidi, and I knew that Rolland and Heidi wouldn’t either. I knew that when these pastors and businessmen saw what God was doing through Rolland and Heidi and saw their hearts, they would begin to help them. I had heard God correctly. These people would become some of the strongest financial supporters of their ministry.
C. Russia – Moscow – Pastor’s Conferences
Years ago, I was attending a conference in Kansas City when I heard Terry Law share about his experiences in Russia. At this meeting an offering would be taken up for Bibles for China. In this one offering, $1,000,000 was raised. I had an impression that one day I would lead my worship team to Russia and they would sing in Russian. My church was just getting started and had less than 100 people in it at the time. A few years later, I had an impression from the Lord, “Ask me for $100,000.” I knew it wasn’t for me personally, but I did not know what it was for. I didn’t need to know to obey. I began asking the Lord for $100,000 dollars. This was around 1994.
On Sunday January 1, 1995, I was preaching and told my church, “We are to go to Russia.” I told them that we were to take the anointing that had fallen in our church in 1993 and in Toronto in 1994 to Russia. I said, “I need the worship team to go with me. I now know what the $100,000 is for. We are going to do a Catch the Fire conference in Russia. Begin raising the money, and if you can’t raise enough, I will help you. Oh, another thing- you can’t sing in English. You have to learn Russian and I don’t have a clue how this will happen!”
About a week later I was conducting meetings in Melbourne, Florida where another revival had broken out when I went to preach. This one lasted six nights a week for about eight months. While there, a young man in his early 20’s named Keith Major asked me to pray for him. I asked him, “For what?” He said, “About going back to Russia. My wife and I were among the leaders of one of the first churches started after the wall came down. That is where we met and got married. I want to go back, but don’t know what to do.” I said, “I will pray for you, but could you and your wife eat with me after the meeting?” He said they could.
During our 3:00 a.m. meal, I asked his wife Iwona, “What did you do in Russia?” She replied, “I taught English speaking people how to speak Russian.” Long story short, I asked them to move into the parsonage of my church and to spend time training my team how to sing phonetically in Russian. I also asked her to translate our songs into Russian. This took about a year, but eventually the team and I made it to Moscow, ready to do the first Catch The Fire – Moscow. 222
1. Models for new forms of worship
The Berlin Wall hadn’t been down for long when we first went in the fall of 1995 for our “spying out the land” meetings. Then, we returned in the spring of 1996 with a full team of musicians. I hadn’t any idea how far behind the Russian Protestant churches were at this time. It was like stepping back into what I imagined the American church worship experience looked like in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Many of the songs were American songs that had been translated into Russian. The worship was led by someone who was more of a “song leader” than a worship leader. And, the instruments consisted of a piano and nothing else.
On our “spy out the land” trip, a Russian leader told me, “We Russians are not like you Americans. We will not fall down, we will not laugh, nor will we become drunk in the Spirit.”
The time had come for our meeting and the musicians were on stage. The Izmaillovo Hotel Civic Center was filled to capacity- 1,000 pastors, church planters and worship leaders had come. The $100,000 required now had grown to $130,000 for this event due to inflation. My worship leaders Bob and Kathleen Balassi, my associate worship leader Gary Shelton, the whole worship team and some special musicians from Nashville had all come to help us. In addition to the keyboards, two acoustic guitars, an electric guitar, a bass guitar, asaxophone, a flute, a harmonica and drums were the wonderful vocals of people who once sang in bars with their own bands. We also had a voice major who was so good that she had received a college scholarship and even sang in the Sistine Chapel in Rome for the Pope.
During the first song, the Russians sat there as the team sang the song once through in English. The Russians had no expression and showed no joy. But, when the second time through the English words were pulled off the overhead, the Russian words were put up and the team switched into Russian, the place exploded. At once the Russians rose to their feet, learning the new contemporary worship songs. People shouted, twirled, waved, fell down, got drunk, shook and did many other things. They were not like us Americans. They were more abandoned to this new instrument-filled experience of worship! You could see people taking their video cameras, looking up at the words, and then down to the guitar necks to get the chord progressions. A year later we went back to do a larger event. We had worked on getting the music onto a CD recording to give to them. But, it was already too late. We were told that those songs had gone all over the country. Another fruit of this event relating to worship was what happened to one famous Russian Rock and Roll singer who was newly saved. He had laid his guitar down, not seeing a way it could be used in church. When he saw our team worship, God called him to become a worship leader. He immediately was catapulted into being one of the most famous worship leaders in the former Soviet Union. He would later work with a church in Ukraine.
2. Models for small groups
We also taught about small groups at this meeting. We encouraged them to consider small groups as a way of discipling the new converts. This was an important part of the fruitfulness of our ministry there.
3. Models for Philosophy of Ministry
While there, we emphasized a new kind of leadership- servant leadership, which exemplified humility rather than an authoritarian model. I was very much aware of the typical image many people had of American evangelists who were loud, braggadocios and proud. I have tried to offer a different model wherever we have gone in the world.
4. Impartation – Boris and Oleg and the South African Church Planter
The most important thing that happened at the Catch the Fire – Moscow was the experience of impartation that so many of the pastors experienced. Later, I would learn of two close friends from Ukraine that had come to this meeting: Boris, who was the Rabbi for the largest messianic Jewish congregation in the world in Kiev, Ukraine, and Oleg, who had become the bishop of the protestant churches in Nikolaev, Ukraine. Both men had become overwhelmed by the mighty presence of the Holy Spirit and had returned in the “power of the Spirit” to their cities. I later would meet them and hear their stories, visit their congregation and minister with them many times.
Also, a year after Catch the Fire – Moscow, I met many young pastors who had received gifts of healing at our meeting. They told me many testimonies of healings, miracles, blind eyes that saw and deaf ears that heard. They were very excited and very grateful.
Almost 14 years later, I was ministering for a South African apostle, Nevel Norton. While in his church ministering to his network of pastors, I met a South African pastor, Hugo V. Niekerk, who was touched at the Catch the Fire – Moscow 1996 while he was a missionary. He had since planted over 200 churches in Russia. He told me how powerfully he had been touched in that meeting and how it had impacted his ministry and his faith. Only heaven really knows the fruit of such meetings.
This was also the meeting during which Russ Purcello was touched. Through him, we have been able to continue to impact churches across Russia. As I shared earlier, he continued to go back every year offering other cities what he had seen us do in Moscow. This American pastor has been used to powerfully affect the Protestant Church in Russia.
D. India – Pastor’s Conferences
Krishnagiri–pastor who prayed for woman in a coma, and pastor who promised healing.
In January-February of 2010, I led a team to Bangalore and Krishnagiri, India. Bangalore was predominantly Hindu, but Krishnagiri had a strong Muslim presence. A young apostolic leader named Ravi invited us to come. The focus of the first meeting was equipping about 2,000 pastors. The second meeting had about 600 pastors, but also had a small crusade with 5,000-9,000 people. We decided to expend most of our money on the pastors’ meetings rather than on a larger crusade. There were many spectacular healings, miracles and salvations. No one had ever conducted a healing crusade in this city. A Hindu school with 700 students and teachers were curious and sent a delegate to the meeting asking if we would send someone from our team to tell them about Christianity. A small team was sent, and they prayed for many who were healed. All the students, teachers, and administrators prayed the sinner’s prayer to receive Jesus and some were filled with the Holy Spirit. Afterwards they were concerned about how they would be persecuted by family for accepting Jesus.
The same day, three Muslim women came to the pastors’ meeting, which was held in a public hall. They sat outside the hall, but because the doors were open for ventilation, they could hear everything. At the lunch break, the mother and her sister came and asked to be set free from demonic problems. The daughter, who looked to be in her 20’s and wearing a Berka allowing only her eyes to be seen, had leg problems. The mother was set free from the demonic attack and the daughter’s legs were healed. That night the husband/father came with them to the healing meeting. He was one of the first healed through a word of knowledge. When the invitation for salvation was given, this Muslim family was among the very first to come forward to confess heir sins and commit their lives to Jesus Christ. I have since heard that they are on fire for God and telling others about the great healing power in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. And, God is using them to heal many, including key leaders in the Muslim community.
One pastor at our meetings went straight from the impartation service to a woman in another city who had been in a coma for about a year. When he laid hands on her and prayed, she came out of the coma. Another pastor that week had promised a Hindu teenager who was crippled in his legs that if he would go to the meeting, he would be healed. The boy went with the pastor, but was not healed at the crusade. The pastor was beside himself, since he had promised healing and did not want to be a poor testimony to the Gospel. He didn’t know how to explain the lack of healing to the family. However, when the boy woke up the next day, he could walk. During those 4 days in Krishnagiri, the blind saw, the deaf heard, the lame walked, the terminally ill were healed. The pastors were greatly encouraged.
A few months after these meetings, the apostolic leader from Bangalore and Krishnagiri came to our headquarters and told us about the fruit that continued to happen. The pastors were not seeing many healings before the event, but they were now occurring regularly. Two people had been raised from the dead and over 90 Muslims, including several leaders, had been saved after being healed. Greater prosperity had come to the city in the form of job opportunities offered by the government. Even the land was impacted, as mangos began to grow once again after many years of little to no growth.
We have made two short-term mission trips to Phenom Phen, Cambodia. Both were to pray for the pastors and leaders that the apostolic leader, Sophal Ung, had gathered together from all over Cambodia. The second trip also included pastors from Vietnam. There were many who were healed and who received impartations that equipped them to see more healings and more success in their own ministries. Sophal and his wife Debra are very excited about the fruit of those meetings. They continue to invite us back, hoping our schedule will allow another visit with them.
In 1995 I prayed and prophesied over a Baptist pastor in Norway named Leif Hetland. During the prayer, I told him, “I see you in a dark place. All around you is darkness, but behind you is light. And, I see a multitude of people following you out of the darkness into the light.” The power of the Holy Spirit knocked him to the floor where he shook for 2 ½ to 3 hours. He got up and by the next week was operating in many gifts he never had before. Every person he prayed for was healed. However, he didn’t yet understand the prophecy I gave him. The next year he had his neck and back broken. While recuperating from the injury in traction, he was meditating on the prophecy and realized he was not to remain a Baptist pastor but was to go to unreached people groups. Since then he has led 850,000 people to the Lord in Islamic countries as of March, 2010. This has been done by conducting healing meetings as many Muslims believe in Jesus because of the healings they see. Also, Leif has started over 2,000 Lighthouses of Love in these countries, which focus on healing, deliverance and restoration of lives. God is using him throughout the Western Hemisphere, Africa, Asia, Middle East and Europe. Great healing miracles take place in his ministry even as he endures serious pain from his own injuries. The anointing that led him to the nations has resulted in him being away from his wife and four children for up to 200+ days a year. He even has had threats against his life including several by the Taliban. However, nothing has prevented him from continuing to preach the Gospel and heal the sick.
Juan Aguilar is an apostolic leader in Mexico City. I took two short-term missions teams with me to minister to his leaders. On each trip the power of God came upon the pastors and leaders. During the first trip, several key leaders in the Baptist denomination were powerfully touched and began to see much more of the power of God in their ministries. Also, many other pastors from diverse denominations and apostolic streams were empowered.
In 2009, I took a very small team to Queretaro, Mexico to minister in another apostolic network of pastors. We taught them how to receive words of knowledge and how to pray for the sick out of a place of dependence on the Holy Spirit. We had a special time of impartation for over 1,000 pastors and leaders. Then, we had a service where we prayed specifically for the terminally ill, blind, deaf and/or crippled. The day after I left, they did it again and saw many healings, some miracles and 11 blind people healed. The pastors were so excited because there had previously been very little healing in their ministries. They exclaimed, “We did receive an impartation!”
One of the miracles that occurred at this event was the healing of a woman who had cancer resulting in a urostomy bag for her urine. She was accompanied by her daughter, who had cancer in her breast. Both women were healed of their cancer and the woman no longer needed a urostomy. Somehow, her organ was reconstructed and was working normally. She was able to go to the bathroom normally before she left the building instead of the urine flowing into the bag.
During this meeting a Baptist pastor came up to me at the end of the meeting and asked to be prayed for by the laying on of hands. I prayed for him and his wife. They fell down, but there did not initially appear to be a strong anointing. They were resting quietly on the floor without much trembling or shaking. However, the longer he was on the floor the stronger the anointing became. About an hour later, I saw him being helped from the building by two men since he was unable to walk. He shook the whole next day, and it was quite noticeable to all who were there. The following day, now two days after the impartation, he ministered in his 10,000 member Baptist Church. He was helped to the pulpit by two deacons. As they tried to help him, the Holy Spirit knocked all three of them to the floor. He was going to pray for the church to receive an anointing, but before he could say, “anointing,” the Spirit came upon him and his church. When this happened over three-fourths of the 8,000 people in attendance fell to the floor or shook under the power of God. And many other manifestations of the Holy Spirit occurred that day in his church. The early service didn’t end until about 4:30 p.m.
H. Argentina – Story of Baptist Church Planter out of Del Centro Baptist Church, Marcello Diaz
About 15 years ago, I went to Buenos Aires, Argentina. While there I ministered at a large pastors’ meeting in a Baptist Church- La Iglesia Evangélica Bautista del Centro. This church was the first Baptist Church in Argentina. At this conference one young pastor, Marcelo Diaz, had been prayed for several times. Near midnight he came to me and asked for one more prayer. When I prayed for him, the power of God knocked him to the floor. I sensed an urgency to tell him to pray for everyone in his new church that he was starting in the area. When he did this the next day, everyone he prayed for was healed, including a woman dying of cancer. The community named this new church plant the “Healing Church”. Today, it is one of the largest churches in that area of the city.
The most important aspect of the short-term mission trips that our ministry has is the impartation pastors receive, the encouragement that God can and will use them for healing, and the activation of the gifts of the Spirit in their lives and ministries.
I am grateful to know that I am not only leading short-term ministry trips into many countries, but also are so many other pastors who first traveled with me and are now taking teams themselves into many countries. Our network, the Apostolic Network of Global Awakening is only 4 years old, yet already, we are in 1/3 of the countries of the world. Not only are pastors who traveled with me taking teams into the world, but so are itinerate ministers. There has been a real multiplication of effect and a multiplication of countries we are reaching every year. We, or someone in our apostolic network, are taking short-term ministry trips to almost 50 countries a year where people are healed, delivered and empowered to more effectively reach their communities in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Before and after: two simple words frequently used to describe a city in western Guatemala named Almolonga. The locals consistently refer to their city in terms of two eras: before the power of God came in the mid- 1970s, and after, when it is reported that 90% of the 18,000 residents became born-again Christians. The way the people of Almolonga say “before” is reminiscent of how others might say, “in the dark ages.”
After: The word signals a new epoch for the city, marked by family harmony, prosperity and peace in the Holy Spirit. The contrast is stark and real to these people who remember how, just 25 years ago, demons, fear, poverty, disease, idolatry, and alcohol dominated their region and their families.
Some call Almolonga the “Miracle City” because of the radical transformations in many dimensions of this ethnically Quiché society (descendants of the Mayans). Some Christian leaders say Almolonga is the best example they’ve seen of how intercession, spiritual warfare, and evangelism can transform a community.
Driving into Almolonga, one is immediately struck by the brilliant green hues of the fertile fields spreading throughout this magnificent valley. Even before the onset of the rainy season, when much of the Guatemalan landscape is still dry, Almolonga remains vibrant and lush. Hence, Almolonga is nicknamed “America’s Vegetable Garden”.
A weak church
But it wasn’t always so. About 25 years ago, the Church was small and weak, the fields were undeveloped and the city was characterized by an alcohol-induced lethargy – the fruit of serving an idol named Maxirnon. This perverse idol is associated with the vices of smoking, drinking liquor, and immorality. Maximon is a 3-foot idol consisting of a clay mask and a wood and cloth body. He receives the kisses of the faithful who kneel before him. Placing at his feet bottles of liquor purchased with their meagre earnings, they hope against hope that their offering will bring blessing and healing. The priest offers lit cigars to the idol, and taking a mouthful of the liquor offering, spews it over the devotees. The followers leave expecting a blessing, perhaps receiving a demonic display of power, but nonetheless slipping deeper and deeper into an abyss of oppression.
Sadly, his influence is so strong that he is considered the patron saint and protector of many Guatemalan mountain villages. In addition to serving Maximon, many of the residents of Almolonga once sought the blessing of other idols as well. Pastor Genero Riscaiché, one of the pastors at Almolonga’s largest church, Mission Evangelical Monte Calvario, notes, “Before, this was a very idolatrous town. There were many different types of idols. Many worshipped the silver image of Almolonga’s patron saint, San Pedro.”
But in 1974-75 the Kingdom of God dramatically started clashing with Maximon and the ruling powers of darkness controlling Almolonga. Following the pattern of historic revivals, God first began this community transformation in the heart of one of his consecrated servants. Mariano Riscaiché (no relation to Genero), now the pastor of El Calvario Church, was a typical young man of Almolonga who sought the protection and blessing of idols before he encountered the living God.
At his conversion, Pastor Mariano heard the Lord say, “I have elected you to serve Me.” He said it was like waking from a dream; his understanding was opened and the promises of the Bible became real. Pastor Mariano’s burning desire was to see people come to Christ and find freedom. Then, one by one, his own family was saved.
A new season of power encounters with Maximon began shortly after Pastor Mariano’s surrender to Christ. Mariano and other pastors in town, such as Guillermo Satey, founding and senior pastor of Mission Evangelical Monte Calvario, saw more than 400 people delivered from demons. When believers asked a demon to identify itself, “Maximon” was sometimes uttered by the oppressed one. This mass deliverance was similar to the book of Acts where people burned their possessions that linked them to a past consumed by witchcraft and idolatry. “Those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them.” (Acts 19:19, NASB). The eviction of these demons not only brought freedom to individuals, but the spiritual oppression over the city began to lift as well.
The early days of spiritual warfare were extremely intense. Those being set free were sometimes thrown across the room, and at times coughed up blood. The Church continued steadfast in intercession, spiritual warfare, and evangelism as the name of Jesus was demonstrated to be the dominant force in this battle. Pastor Mariano asserts that the enemy had to be confronted directly and boldly.
One of those set free from demonic control was a powerful priest of Maximon named José Albino Tazei. Many people in Almolonga sought him out to heal their illnesses, foresee their future, and to bless their businesses. But one night, José, near death after a month-long drinking binge, cried out to God to save him. At 11:00 pm, José woke his family to share the glorious news of his new-found freedom in Christ. In repentance, the family burned all of their idols and witchcraft paraphernalia. The following day José went to the mountains to fast and seek the Lord.
Witnessing this well-known slave to witchcraft come to Christ intensified the Church’s intercession for God to transform not only individuals like José, but their whole community as well.
Before his conversion José would abandon the family for eight to ten days at a time to drink and conduct witchcraft activities for Maximon. He often left his family without any money for food. As his dedication to Maximon grew, so did his addiction to alcohol.
José’s oldest daughter, Francisca, grimaces and lowers her voice as she recounts the memory of herself and the other children kneeling before Maximon, burning candies and bringing their offerings. But quickly she diverts the subject to “after we surrendered to Jesus” and joyfully asserts that God changed everything 24 years ago. She proudly inserts, “We were some of the first converts during the mid 70s.”
“Before we received Christ, we didn’t have any money, little food, or a decent house, and only clothes discarded by others,” she continues. “My father started seeking God and fasting. He began a business and started working diligently. Now, God has given us a house, a small store, and a calm, hard-working, godly father.”
Francisca recounts, “The church accepted us and didn’t leave us in the middle. They loved us and visited us, and really struggled with us as we became established in Christ.” This care for new converts is one of the key ways God has used to maintain and deepen the effects of this revival.
As his grip started loosening, the evil one instigated a persecution against the Church. Some merchants would not even sell food to believers recently set free from the old ways. Enemies of the Gospel would go into church and do witchcraft to disrupt the services. The believers suffered under this backlash for years, but one particular incident stands out in Pastor Mariano’s memory. Six men attacked him, tying his hands behind his back. They knocked his front teeth out, then one man shoved a gun in his mouth. Pastor Mariano prayed for God to cover him, and as the Lord’s presence descended he heard the “click… click… click” of the gun, unable to fire. Bewildered by this divine intervention, his attackers ran away.
Pastor Genero, a native of Almolonga, describes the early resistance to the Gospel as follows: “If a person from outside Almolonga came to someone’s home to share the Gospel, people would kick them out of their house with sticks, stones, and even shovels. It was terrible! They didn’t view the Gospel as Good News, but as something offensive. Unbelievers circulated rumours about the Church and accused the Christians of being lazy.” Some of the unbelievers threw stones at houses where the church met for prayer. Pastor Genero notes, “Many of those who threw stones are now leaders in the church. Things have now changed, for even the non-Christians respect the Gospel.”
As one who has pastored a little over one year in Almolonga, Pastor Joel Pérez agrees and says, “Even unbelievers in Almolonga recognize the marvellous work of God. These few unbelievers acknowledge that the advances in their society and agriculture are due to the Gospel. They do not resist the Church now, as we heard about in the early days. More than once, I have been eating in a restaurant and someone has said, “You are a pastor, aren’t you? I’m not a Christian, but let me buy your lunch.’”
Since the power of God started transforming the community, crime has taken a definite downturn. Donato Santiago, chief of police, can sometimes be spotted resting in the shade during market days. Armed with a whistle, this tranquil brother has seen it all during his 23 years as a policeman in Almolonga. “We used to average 20 to 30 people in jail each month,” he recounts.” Crowds would gather just to watch the drunks fight. It seemed like I had no rest. I was often awakened in the middle of the night to stop family violence. Before, we had four jails and that was insufficient to adequately house all of our prisoners,” Donato recalls. “Things were so bad we enlisted around a dozen citizens at night to help the officers patrol the streets. But now things are different! The people have changed their attitudes. Crime has risen in many places over the past 20 years, but not here in Almolonga.”
What accounts for this dramatic change in the townspeople? Donato is quick to respond, “The Word of God! Once people were converted they changed their customs and left behind drinking. They gained respect in the community. Day by day the rest followed and joined the church because of the changes they saw in the lives of Christians. People living with a deep respect for God accounts for the changed attitudes. Crime and drinking are now viewed by the people as a waste of time and a waste of money.”
The last jail closed in 1989! Now remodelled and called “The Hall of Honour,” it’s a place for celebrating weddings, receptions, and community events. In addition to the drop in the crime rate, great societal changes can also be observed by the absence of prostitutes and the number of bars turned into small stores with new names like “Little Jerusalem” and “Jehovah Jireh.” Before, there was a house of prostitution and people often waited in line to get into the packed bars. “There was even a custom in which we threw a party and gave alcohol (in small portions) to the little ones,” says Pastor Genero. In the 1970s, 34 cantinas did a brisk business in Almolonga; today there are only three. After the bars started shutting down, a new one opened but the owner closed the doors when he met the Lord three months later. He now plays in a Christian band called “Combo Israel.”
God’s mercy over Almolonga is evidenced in many ways, but one often-repeated display of grace is the incredible number of miracles. Many have come to Christ through signs and wonders. Teresa and her family found new life in Christ after she received a last-chance miracle. In 1984, the incision from her poorly performed Cesarean section became infected. This gangrenous state progressed to the point where she couldn’t eat; drinking was extremely difficult.
Teresa continued to weaken. Different doctors each said that she was in a very dangerous state. Valeriano, her husband, remembers the days of just hopelessly waiting for her to die. She died about 10:00 pm one night. Her husband checked for a pulse and placed a mirror beneath her nostrils to see if she was breathing, but there were no signs of life. For three hours she lay motionless. Grief stricken, at 1:00 AM Valeriano went to look for Pastor Mariano to make funeral preparations. As Pastor Mariano and Valeriano were walking back to the house, Pastor Mariano heard the unmistakable voice of the Lord saying, “Do not prepare for the funeral; pray for her. I will lift her up.’
Pastor Mariano recalls coming into the home seeing distraught people frantically running back and forth. He grabbed Valeriano and they began to pray for God’s miraculous intervention. After 10 minutes, Teresa suddenly began stirring. Her colour returned and she sat up on the bed! Valeriano was astounded at this display of God’s power. Pastor Mariano began to preach the Gospel to all the neighbours and family who had gathered at the home that night. And in the days that followed, many believed.
Teresa’s strength was restored day by day. In deep gratitude, she and Valeriano also gave their lives to Christ. Now people come to their home to receive prayer for healing. Remembering her miracle inspires faith when Teresa prays for others; she has witnessed many miracles as a result. Valeriano now preaches the Gospel and testifies of a miracle-working Heavenly Father. He joyfully says, “God is the only one who is on our side and only he can do these miracles.”
Just as Vateriano and Teresa’s family opened their hearts to the Gospel after this powerful miracle, in many cases the revival has spread through family units. Pastor Mariano articulates a truth held dear in Almolonga when he says, “True success is when your whole family comes to the Lord.” Therefore believers seriously fast and pray to bring their family into God’s family.
Although the women still weave and wear the beautiful indigenous dresses and carry heavy loads upon their heads (like Quiché women have for hundreds of years), they walk in a new dignity – a result of the redemption of the family. Prior to God’s inbreaking, Pastor Genero recalls, “The majority of men drank and the homes were disorderly. Neglect and physical abuse were rampant. It was common for men to hit their wives, sometimes even with sticks.”
“The family system before was at the bottom,” comments Pastor Francisco Garcia of Iglesia de Dios de la Profecia Universal. Women were largely viewed simply as servants. Pastor Genero comments, “Before, the custom was that only the men would study. We believed that schools were not for women. Since the Gospel came, we teach that both sexes have the same opportunities. Today we see some women who are professionals.”
Ramon Cotzoy’s wife recalls the earlier days. “My husband would sometimes treat me harshly and try to throw me out of the house. Things have changed. Now he is a humble man of God.”
Ramon admits that he neglected and mistreated his family prior to surrendering to Christ. Now he ministers to men in the community and exhorts them to stop drinking and start loving their families. Ramon observes, “Because the unbelievers see the peaceful example of how the Christian men are living with their families, they are treating their wives better now.”
“Today there is more communication within families and very little abuse in Almolonga. In the church, we teach a lot on biblical family orientation,” says Pastor Genero. “Couples solve their problems through dialogue and communication.”
This renewal of family harmony has opened the way for the Spirit of God to span the generations and impact all age groups, including the youth and children. The youth do not view Christianity as simply something for the older people. There is a new thrust of youth-motivated home groups with the focus to bring the remaining unsaved youth in the city to Christ. Pastor Joel observes, “The youth are getting hold of God. In different churches some of the youth groups even go on special fasting retreats.”
Chief of Police Santiago says, “The parents are taking better care of their children now.” Santiago explains why there aren’t teens loitering around town. “The youth work hard to buy farm trucks. This atmosphere of diligent work is the best atmosphere to grow up in.”
Seeing the youth and children cheerfully working alongside their parents in the fields and marketplace evokes a smile in visitors to Almolonga. Pastor Mariano’s father, one of the oldest men in the city, observes, “Everyone in Almolonga works. Even the 12-15-year olds fill a truck with vegetables to sell. They throw themselves into God and into their work.”
This work ethic has produced an economic renewal, an incredible dimension of community transformation throughout Airnolonga. There is no evidence of the unemployment, the beggars, the drunkards asleep in alleyways, or the loiterers that so often characterize similar places. In other cities around this region people often appear exhausted with life. Not so in Almolonga.
The people’s diligence and tenacity have seen this valley come alive with multiple harvests each year. Celery, leeks, cauliflower, turnips, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, radishes, and watercress thrive under the skilful care of Almolonga’s farmers. These vegetables are often incredibly larger than the size of those grown in the surrounding villages. Pastor Joel attributes this agricultural blessing to the Lord of Glory. He mentioned a time when agronomists from the U.S.A. visited Almolonga to test their scientific principles to produce better crops. The result? Pastor Joel says, “The wisdom God gave the farmers of Almolonga produced more than the scientific methods yielded.”
A subterranean stream provides a constant source of water for the farms. These lucrative products have elevated the lifestyles of many of the believers. Pastor Mariano’s father was one of the former bar owners who now runs a tienda (small store) and raises vegetables. He reports that the greatest changes in commerce came in the 80s because the farmers not only quit spending their money on liquor, but they began to incorporate principles from God’s Word, saving and investing their profits. Before the farmers would farm just enough to support their drinking habit; they had no vision beyond that.
Then God started giving the farmers understanding. They began to plan ahead and invest in topsoil and fertilizers. Some farmers have even paid cash for Mercedes trucks, emblazoning them with names like Regalito de Dios (“Little Gift from God”). Many farmers have now hired others to work their fields. They are even developing farms in the surrounding communities as they shift from being farmers to businessmen. Mariano’s father marvels, “We never dreamed of selling our produce outside of Guatemala, but now we export to other nations.”
Since this relatively small town has so many growing churches, a question often arises concerning the relationship between the pastors. Pastor Joel describes the fellowship among pastors as “a tight fraternity of ministers.” He further notes, “We have an agenda of prayer and fasting. We go outside the city to a hill to pray and earnestly seek the Lord … When we have little things come up or if the enemy tries to interrupt our unity, we quickly restore it through seeking the Lord for more souls to come into the Kingdom.”
Pastor Genero says, “Presently we are strengthening our fellowship. Years ago there was an association of pastors, but it faded out because of individuality. This year we have restored the pastoral association again.” Two Christian radio stations service Almolonga. Pastor Joel reports that these stations enhance unity by allowing air time for all the evangelical pastors to use for a token price.
Reaching 90% of the city with the Gospel doesn’t satisfy the pastors’ evangelistic zeal. Pastor Francisco emphatically asserts, “We are applying God’s guidance for the churches to keep growing. We have the goal to reach the whole town!”
Pastor Mariano believes God is giving the Church insight into the strategies to deepen and extend this community impact into future generations. His heart breaks when he hears about powerful revivals which were not passed along to the next generation. To maintain the results already reached in Almolonga, Pastor Mariano’s strategy encompasses a fivefold focus:
living in the fear of the Lord,
maintaining intense prayer and fasting,
building Christian schools,
caring for new converts,
and establishing strong families.
Firstly, he urges his flock to, “always live under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Live your life in the fear of the Lord as a good testimony. When we truly live the Christian life, demonic principalities are more easily overthrown.”
Secondly, to maintain the results won through intercession and spiritual warfare, the Church must continue steadfast in prayer and fasting. Long past the breakthroughs in the 70s, many believers in Almolonga continue weekly disciplines of prayer and fasting. At El Calvario Church, people are held accountable to participate in prayer and fasting.
Thirdly, Pastor Mariano is taking steps to build a Christian school, which he believes is critical to sustain the revival. He says that the children not only need an education, but a Christ-centred education taught by Christian teachers. “Education without Christian teachers can set up a counterattack from Satan by introducing traditions outside of Christianity. Then all that we have reached [in the revival] can crumble.”
A fourth ingredient to maintain revival is an intentional plan to care for the new Christians. Someone from the church personally visits the new believers. They hold special discipleship meetings focusing on basic Bible doctrines. Deliverance and a clear break with their past life are important. “We inspire them toward diligent hard work, debt reduction and to live in the fear of God. New believers are instructed to prepare themselves for baptism. Fasting is one of the first spiritual disciplines taught to the new Christian,” reports Pastor Mariano.
The fifth and final major focus to sustain the revival’s impact is establishing strong families. Christians are instructed to only marry fellow believers. One counter-cultural measure El Calvario introduced in the late 1970s was the concept of letting people decide for themselves whom they would marry. Today, parents are consulted and there is a process of obtaining parental blessing and approval in mate selection, but the decision rests with the couple. Before, the parents would determine whom their children would marry. A courtship period was also unheard of in their culture; now they recommend a 6-month to a year courtship during which the couple gets to know each other. This has increased marital harmony within the Christianity community. Consequently, other churches in the community also follow similar plans.
Testimonies of individuals being changed relationally, spiritually, and financially by God’s power are common in Christianity. But the amazing distinctive of Almolonga is that Christians there tell their testimony not simply as individuals, but collectively, as families and as a people.
Visiting a service at El Calvario Church is a little taste of Heaven. The church building is one of Guatemala’s largest and most beautiful. This debt-free sanctuary (seating 1200+) is the gathering place of exuberant worshippers. Their release of emotions toward the Son of God is noteworthy because culturally these people are generally stoic and very reserved in expressing their emotions. To watch this passion for Jesus, especially among the youth and children, it is hard to imagine that only a generation back, their families were in bondage to alcohol, idols, and demons. Perhaps that legacy of suffering explains the great abandon with which they worship Jesus: these people know they have something to celebrate!
Mell Winger has a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary.
This article is reproduced with permission from Chapter 17 of The Transforming Power of Revival, edited by Harold Caballeros and Mell Winger (Peniel Press, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1998).
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A video called Transformation, including a report on Almolonga in Guatemala and Cali in Columbia, is available from Toowoomba City Church, PO Box 2216, Toowoomba, Qld. 4350. Ph: 07 4638 2399. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please be warned: some Renewal people might be disturbed by this book. Some may be suspicious of the title and question, ‘Is it worth putting effort into building a better world when it is so fallen?’ Then there is the book’s absence of religious language – no mention of the baptism in the Spirit or revival. It’s all about building community to overcome cruel divisions, being inclusive even with your enemies, working with the poor as dignified equals. That sounds biblical.
The advantage of this reviewer is that she has been she has been deeply touched by the author, as caring friend, stimulating colleague and prophetic writer (Dave has another book: Can you hear the heartbeat?).Underlying this book is a passionate love for Jesus – strong enough for him and Ange his wife and the family to live with the poor in India and Australia, disturbing enough for him to choose to empower others rather than accept powerful positions more in keeping with his superior abilities, transforming enough so that his life is open to intimacy and to vagaries of successive waves of co-workers who may not always catch the breadth of the vision.
Dave deeply challenges, in non-charismatic language, a limited application of the transformation of the Holy Spirit. A privatistic bless-me, heal-me approach does not build kingdom communities. Dave calls us to move beyond such narrow confines. Through stories of his own joys and sorrows, he offers a loving, powerful invitation to open up our lives together to the naked infusion of the Spirit. Dave may squirm at language like this, as he is committed to removing all barriers preventing many different types of people joining the movement for love, hope and justice.
Read this book and get Dave and his friends to run seminars on community development. More than this, let’s do what he does and join together in creating communities of hope. Isn’t this the work of the Spirit?
Surprised by the Power of the Spirit (Zondervan, 1993)
Surprised by the Voice of God (Zondervan, 1996)
both by Jack Deere
Jack Deere combines rigorous biblical scholarship with compassionate pastoral insight in these landmark books on the place of the Holy Spirit in life and ministry.
His doctoral degree in Theology, including studies in Germany, his mastery of biblical languages and his experience as an associate professor of Old Testament at the evangelical, conservative Dallas Theological Seminary equip him well to examine the biblical issues involved.
His experience as a pastor, teacher and writer, and his wide ranging ministry as a conference speaker throughout the world, including many years ministering in Vineyard conferences, provided him with a unique breadth and depth in ministry experience.
These books beautifully combine these essential dimensions of biblical truth and ministry experience.
Surprised by the Power of the Spirit argues strongly for the full range of all the biblical gifts of the Spirit in the church today, including controversial ones such as tongues, healing and deliverance from evil spirits.
For example, the chapter on miraculous gifts provides these reasons for their use now from passages in 1 Corinthians 12-14:
God gave spiritual gifts to strengthen the church.
God commands us to eagerly desire spiritual gifts.
God commands us not to forbid speaking in tongues.
The Apostle Paul valued the gift of tongues.
Spiritual gifts are necessary for the health of Christ’s body.
Spiritual gifts will not cease until Christ returns.
The book challenges common misconceptions about the Holy Spirit including western rationalism and false ideologies as well as unbelief and disobedience.
Similarly, Surprised by the Voice of God challenges inadequate interpretations of Scripture, the denial of the supernatural, and the huge gap between Christianity as revealed in Scripture and as seen in so much of western Christianity.
It explores how the Holy Spirit speaks through the Bible, experience, supernatural and natural means. Particularly helpful chapters examine the potential and pitfalls of prophecies, dreams and visions, with sound pastoral guidance concerning their place in the church today.
Jack Deere has been able to bridge the false divide between charismatic and anti-charismatic theologies, grounding his work in God’s revelation of himself in Scripture. These are excellent books for personal reading, teaching and preaching. [GW]
Secrets of the Argentine Revival, by R Edward Miller
Peniel Outreach Ministries, 1999.
Secrets of the Argentine Revival is a personal account of the extraordinary revival in Argentina from the years 1949 to 1968. This incredible story explains in detail about the tremendous outpouring of God’s Spirit over the land of Argentina. This is also a factual account of the background leading up to one of the greatest spiritual awakenings in the history of the Christian Church.
Dr Ed Miller traces the tough early beginnings of revival in Argentina in scattered small churches and prayer groups, the unusual outpouring of God’s Spirit in little churches and evangelistic missions, leading to the astounding crusades with Tommy Hicks in 1954 which filled the largest stadium venues in Argentina and sparked massive church growth in the nation. (204 pages) [GW]
Pastor David Hogan is the founding leader of Freedom Ministries, a pioneering mission among remote Mexican mountain tribes. This article is edited from a message he gave at Christian Outreach Centre in Brisbane, Australia.
Between 150 and 500 people a month are being saved
A new move of the Holy Spirit has started. It’s been all over the place. It’s got a whole lot of different names, depending on what part of the world you’re from. Some people call it ‘The River’, some people call it ‘The Refreshing’, some people call it the ‘Fire of Heaven’, others just call it plain ‘Revival of God’. I don’t particularly care what we call it as long as we’re in it!
Our work is now so large that I have to take care of it, which means I have to protect it in the way of not allowing any false doctrine to get into it. Westerners are real ‘faddish’ people and tend to jump into the latest thing for a little while, until it subsides and then people go back into their normal way of life. Well I don’t agree with that.
I agree with Jesus and going and staying in the flow and allowing it to change you and be completely radical in the Holy Spirit. You have to do things by faith. Everything has to be done by faith or it’s sin.
I am responsible to the Holy Spirit for what happens to the people he’s given me. And I’m not going to jump in just because America jumps in, or just because Australia jumps in, or New Zealand, or England or anybody else. I’m going to jump in when the Holy Spirit jumps in our work. Now that’s not to say I’m fighting it, I never was fighting, please understand. I was not against the Refreshing, the River, the flow, the wind, the fire. I never was against all that. Every time I’d come out, or go around the world somewhere, I’d mix with everybody but I was being cautious.
So I went after God. I told the Lord: “This is what we’re going to do God, and if I’m wrong you can do whatever you want to. I am not going to preach this Refreshing, this Revival, in our work. I will not teach one message on it. I won’t allow anyone that comes from around the world to speak about it in our work till I see you divinely touch us as you have in the past.”
You may say, “You shouldn’t be that strict. You shouldn’t be that serious.”
Yes I should! If you knew how hard it is for me to dig those Indians out of those hills, to get them born again, to get churches started, to get it established, then you’d understand why I’m so serious about how I undertake what I do in my ministry.
And it really happened, it really, really happened.
We’ve had over 400 people raised from the dead in our work. God can raise anybody from the dead. It’s awesome to watch.
We had a lady the other day, just before I came over here, a 70-year-old grandma, who was dead for about 14-16 hours. The Holy Spirit touched her and raised her up, but it was after the whole family was brought in. They washed her for burial. They set her up on the altar in the house, and the whole town came through and acknowledged her death and gave respects to the people. Then God raised her from the dead! Hallelujah!
It’s wonderful. God can raise people from the dead, whoever he wants to. And it doesn’t make me any different whether you believe it or not. It matters that I believe. It matters that our work believes. It matters that Jesus is King.
We see the dead raised, the blinded eyes opened, the lame walking, and all sorts of tumours fall off people and every kind of miracle – tuberculosis is healed. Yes, we get that, we do get that and let me tell you something, that’s the very reason I was so cautious about going into this revival with the rest of the world; because I don’t want our work tainted at all.
Our work has got high integrity. It’s new. It’s fresh. It’s just 20 years old and I want the thing to carry over into the next millennium with glory and honour and victory! And we will, in Jesus’ name, if Jesus doesn’t come back.
So, I blocked it. I wouldn’t allow people to talk about this new revival that’s taking place in the world.
People say, “You can’t tell people what to preach.”
I wasn’t telling them what to preach, I was telling them what not to preach. They could preach on anything but this thing that was going on. We are stuck up in the mountains. It’s off the trail. It’s not a beaten path. It’s hard to get to. It’s not an easy thing to accomplish, and so people never would come to see us.
But now we’re a thousand strong and we’ve got every kind of miracle known, so now everyone wants to come! That’s fine, you can come, but there are certain things you’re not going to talk about.
The work must be protected. It’s a worthy thing that God’s doing. But God can do it because God wants to. God can quicken the dead if he wants to. I watched him do it, I’ve personally been in on 19 dead raisings and I know. I have watched people. We had a couple of girls that were dead for 3 days that were lying, covered in lime and the Holy Spirit brought them back from the dead. It’s wonderful. A couple of teenage girls. They loved it when they got up, spitting that lime out of their mouths.
Remember Romans 4:20: Abraham ‘staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.’
So, about the new wine. I was blocking people, not God. I wanted something that would last.
I visited an outlying village. It took 4 hours in a 4 wheel drive and then 2 hours on foot, uphill. It’s very remote. There’s no radio, no T.V., and no outside influences. I was sitting up there in this little hut on a piece of wood against the bamboo wall on the dirt floor. Chickens were walking around in there.
The pastor walked up to me. He’s a little guy, and he was trembling.
He said, “Brother David, I’m really afraid I’ve made a mistake.”
I hadn’t heard of any mistakes. I was wondering what had happened in the last few days. He’s got four little churches in his area.
He said, “It’s not my fault. I apologize. I’ve done everything right, like you taught me. I pray every day. I read the Bible. I’m doing it right. What happened is not my fault.”
I said, “What happened? Come on, tell me what happened.”
He was trembling. Tears were running out of his eyes. He said, “Brother David, I got up in our little church. I opened my Bible and I started preaching and the people started falling down. The people started crying. The people started laughing. And it scared me. I ran out of the church.”
That’s what I was looking for. That’s what I was waiting for, when God came in our work, not because somebody came and preached it, not because I said it was okay or not okay, because I was neutral about it. I knew it was all right, but I wanted to see it in our work not because I ushered it in, but because the Holy Spirit ushered it in. And he did.
I got together with my pastors and we made a covenant to do a month’s fast in September 1995. This was as well as the 3 days on and 3 days off fast that we had been doing that year anyway, so we were ready for whatever God wanted to do. That year every day at least 365 people were fasting.
God hit me on the third day of that month of fasting, but I continued the fast and on the seventh day he hit me again greater than I’ve ever been hit in my life up to that point. But we continued fasting for the whole month.
The River of God
Psalm 47:4-5 says, ‘There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God. God is in the midst of her…’
I found the river. It’s real. The Shekinah presence of God has come into our work. There is a river of God wider and deeper than we know.
The minute you think you are accomplishing something is the minute you should repent. Find ways to keep yourself humble. Look for ways to not be a ‘big shot’ and to stay in the river. We are the habitation of God, Zion, God’s people. He wants us flowing in the river.
It doesn’t matter what’s around us – bullets, knives, disease, the state of the economy. It matters that our eyes are fixed on Jesus. When the Holy Spirit fell on us there was war around us. Bullets were being fired. People were dying.
I don’t have words to describe what happened to us when the Holy Spirit fell on us on Friday 27 October 1995. If you had been there, you wouldn’t have words to describe it either.
It’s an awesome thing I’ve been able to witness.
The river of God is here, and it’s full. There’s plenty for all.
We were in an awesome time. I didn’t know how deep we were in the river of God. I’d been fasting for a month, and I didn’t know what was happening. So I decided to get my pastors together in each section. We had groups of about 30-75 pastors in each section. I went into the most conservative area of our mission first, because I wanted to see what would happen.
At the first meeting, with about 75 of my pastors I got up, I opened my Bible, and I shared one or two verses. Suddenly I felt, that’s enough. They’re used to me preaching two hours sometimes, but it hadn’t been ten minutes.
I said, “Stand up.” And they stood up.
I said, “Receive the River of Life.”
You should have seen it! It looked like someone was hitting them with bats in the stomach and the head. But nobody was touching them. People were lying over benches, forward, backward, all over the place. I was trying to help, but I couldn’t help. People were just flying everywhere. And these were ministers.
So I went through all the sections like that. I got into one section, and they were glad to see me. They hadn’t seen me in a few months. I stood up. I opened my Bible. I read one verse about the fire of God, and the people started shaking.
I thought, “Oh God, this is way out.”
So I said, “Stand up.” They tried to stand up. Some of them couldn’t stand up. I just said the word “Fire.” And the whole place fell.
It was getting more and more scary to me. But people were getting healed without anybody touching them.
A man in that meeting had been deaf for 27 years. I didn’t know the man. He fell over and hit his head on a bench, and fell underneath the bench. He got up from there after a few minutes and he took off running out of the room. His ears had unstopped and he was running from the noise!
After I had been through all the sections, introducing this softly, it finally came time to call all the pastors together from the whole work. A couple of hundred of our pastors came. I wish you had been there to see what we saw! It was amazing.
On the first day there were about 200 pastors there, and the whole church that was hosting us. That made about 450 people.
The first day was awesome. God hit us powerfully. There were healings. I was happy. The people were encouraged.
The second day was even better. It was stronger. I thought we were peaking out on the second day. I got there at 8 o’clock in the morning and left at 10 o’clock at night, and there was ministry all day. We were fixing problems, and God was working through the ministry. It was wonderful.
But I tell you, I was not ready for the third day.
We were coming in from different areas. The Indians were all there. I didn’t know they had been in an all-night prayer meeting. I didn’t know that the Holy Spirit had fallen on them and they couldn’t get up. I didn’t know that they had been pinned down by the Holy Spirit all night long, all over the place, stuck to the ground. Some of them had fallen on ant beds, but not one ant bit them.
I was staying about 45 minutes away. I got in my 4 wheel drive and as I drove there I began listening on the two-way radio. Some of our missionaries were already there, and were talking on the two-way radio saying, ‘What’s happening here. I can’t walk.’
As I listened to them on the radio I felt power come on me. And the closer I came, the more heat I felt settling on me. I could feel heat, and I had my air conditioner going!
When I got to the little church, I opened the door of the truck and instantly became hot. Sweat poured off me. I was about 300 yards from the church. The closer I got, the more intense was the heat. I could hardly walk through it, it was so thick. I’m talking about the presence of God. That was 7.30 in the morning!
I walked around the corner of the building. People were all over the place. Some were knocked out. Some were on the ground. Some were moaning and wailing. It was very unusual, and I could hardly walk. By the time I got to the front of the church where the elders were I could hardly walk. I was holding on to things to get there. I could hardly breathe.
The heat of the presence of God was amazing.
The people had been singing for two hours before I got there. At 8.15 on the morning of October 27th, 1995, I walked up there and lay my Bible down on that little wobbly Indian table. Hundreds were looking at me. Some were knocked out, lying on the ground. I could hardly talk.
I called the nine elders to the front and told them the Holy Spirit was there and we needed to make a covenant together, even to martyrdom. We made a covenant there that the entire country of Mexico would be saved. They asked me to join them in that pact.
When we lifted our hands in agreement all nine fell at once. I was hurled backward and fell under the table. When I got up the people in front fell over. In less than a minute every pastor there was knocked out.
We were ringed with unbelievers, coming to see what was going on. The anointing presence of God came and knocked them all out, dozens of them. Every unbeliever outside and everyone on the fence was knocked out and fell to the ground. There were dozens of them.
From the church at the top of the hill we could see people in the village below running out screaming from their huts and falling out under the Holy Spirit. It was amazing.
We always have a section for the sick and afflicted. They bring them in from miles around, some on stretchers. There were 25-30 of them there. Every sick person at the meeting was healed: the blind, the cancerous, lupus, tumours, epilepsy, demon possession. Nobody touched them but Jesus.
There was instant reconciliation between people who had been against each other. They were laying on top of each other, sobbing and repenting.
I was afraid when I saw all of that going on. I looked up to heaven and said, “God what are you … ?” and that was the end of it. He didn’t want to hear any questions. Bang!
I was about three or four metres from the table. When I woke up some hours later, I was under the table.
When I finally woke up my legs wouldn’t work. I scooted myself around looking at what was going on. It was pandemonium! When some people tried to get up, they would go flying. It was awesome.
We had five open-eyed visions.
One small pastor was hanging onto a pole to hold himself up. He was there, but he wasn’t there. He said to me, ‘Brother David, look at him. Look at him, Brother David! Who is it? Look how big he is! Oh, he’s got his white robe on. He’s got a golden girdle.’ It was Jesus.
He said, “Brother David, how did we get into this big palace?”
I looked around. I was still on the dirt floor. I still had a grass roof over me, but he was in a marble palace, pure white.
I crawled over to look at him. He was seeing things we could not see. Another of the elders, a prophet from America, who had been working with me for thirteen years, crawled over and we were watching this pastor who was in a trance. It was amazing.
The three of us were inside something like a force field of energy. Anybody who tried to come into it was knocked out. It was scary.
The pastor said, ‘He’s got a list, Brother David.’ And he started reading out aloud from the list.
I was looking around, and as he was reading from the list people went flying through the air, getting healed and delivered. It was phenomenal, what God was doing. And he’s done it in every service in our work that I’ve been in since then. It’s been over a year. It’s amazing. Wonderful.
Rev 22:1 says, “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.”
I saw that river. I actually saw the river, its pure water of life from God’s throne. If I could see it again I would know it. I saw it. I experienced it. I tasted it.
God came because we waited, and listened. We didn’t jump in at the first sprinkle. We will keep it through prayer and fasting.
Between 150 and 500 people per month are being saved because of it, just through what the North American missionaries are doing.
Unprecedented evangelism and mission continue to accelerate around the world. No one can keep up with the amazing accounts of this global harvest. Similarly, the accounts of outpourings of the Holy Spirit with miracles, signs and wonders increase. Often these cause huge numbers to respond in conversions to Christ.
Jesus said this would be so. All the gospels and the book of Acts tell of the risen Lord’s commission for our mission. Each command concerning our mission in the world includes the promise of God’s presence and power essential to fulfilling our mission.
Matthew 28:18-20. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus, so we are to go and make disciples of all peoples (ethna – ethnic groups, people groups). This includes baptizing them and teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded. He is with us to the end of the age.
Mark 16:15-18. This controversial command includes going into all the world and preaching the gospel to everyone. Signs accompanying that involve casting out demons in Jesus’ name, speaking in new tongues, protection from evil, and placing hands on the sick so they recover.
Luke 24:46-49. Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in Jesus’ name to all people, and Jesus said he himself would send the Holy Spirit promised by the Father, so the disciples had to wait for that. And Luke tells how it happened in his second book – The Acts.
John 20:21-23. As the Father sent Jesus, so Jesus sends us. He breathed on his disciples and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ They did. So must we.
Acts 1:8. Jesus last promise and command was that his followers would receive power when the Holy Spirit came on them, and they would be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. This issue of the Renewal Journal tells a little of that continuing story.
David Hogan describes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit among Mexican mountain tribes.
John Piper grounds the goal and task of missions in worship. God is great, and greatly to be praised. The supreme purpose in all mission is God’s glory in everything. Ultimately all the earth shall worship him.
Peter Wagner gives a brief global sweep of the massive prayer movement in the earth today and describes some of its impact. Dick Eastman provides further examples of the current astounding harvest in mission.
Dennis Balcombe reports on the growth of the church in China with the miracles accompanying ministry there. Paul Pilai, a converted Hindu, tells of signs and wonders accompanying mission among Hindu people in India.
Robert McQuillan surveys revival developments in Argentina as well as at Sunderland in England and Pensacola in America, and Michael Brown summarises developments at Pensacola where over 60,000 have now indicated commitments to Christ since June 1995.
The backdrop and context for much of these revivals include increasing violence, families torn apart, death and moral decay worldwide. Sin abounds. However, grace abounds even more. The light still shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot put it out.
Historically, great revivals and moves of God’s Spirit have often broken through into dark times. That still happens.
We can pray and believe for powerful moves of God’s Spirit in our land, that thousands may yet come to faith with lives and families transformed.
The nineties into the 21st century proved to be fascinating decades in the history of the church, and we expect that the years ahead will see even more profound changes as the kingdom of God breaks in upon us ever more fully.
Pioneer village pastor missionaries – front row
with remote village people
Endorsement by Rev L.A. (Tony) Cupit, former Director of Evangelism and Education, Baptist World Alliance:
No one speaks more authentically about a mission situation than one who has experienced it. That is one reason, among others, why Geoff Waugh’s latest book, Light on the Mountains, is such a valuable resource.
It was my privilege to serve in Papua New Guinea with Global Interaction at the same time as Geoff. I greatly appreciated his genuine love for Jesus the Christ and notable contribution to and love for the Enga people during the seven years we served together. These are reflected in this fascinating book. Geoff writes with deep personal knowledge and insight about the joys and challenges of mission life. He has collected valuable original source material and used it creatively to convey historical and missiological insights that needed to be unearthed and made available.
Anyone interested in learning about the dynamic work of the Holy Spirit of God in Papua New Guinea, and of discovering reasons why people engage in cross-cultural and linguistic mission work, would be well rewarded by studying and absorbing the insights this book provides.
Endorsement by Rev Don Doull, pioneer missionary in PNG from 1949.
This book describes those exciting days when Australian Baptists began a new missionary enterprise in 1949, the Baptist New Guinea Mission. We were motivated by a desire to fulfil our Lord’s great commission and reach out to those people just to the north of our country who had not yet heard the name of Jesus. As you peruse the pages of this book, which records the beginnings of that missionary challenge taken up by the Post-War churches of Australia, you will sense again the spirit of adventure and dedication which drove our churches in what has proved to be a wonderfully rewarding missionary task.
Geoff Waugh has done a wonderful job of drawing together the many threads which have been woven together to make the fabric of what we are able to stand back and marvel at as we now are aware of the activities of the Baptist Union of PNG.
Many hundreds of missionaries and many thousands of faithful Christians from our Australian churches have contributed to this modern missionary endeavour which has now exceeded the vision of those who commenced the task. We can now look back over these past six decades with much gratitude to God and see a vital indigenous church functioning in PNG in a part of that country still emerging from “The Stone Age” when we commenced our task.
Our world has now changed almost beyond belief over these past decades, but the task still remains of reaching the multitudes of people who have never heard the name of Jesus. My prayer is that God will use the story Geoff has documented to challenge our 21st Century fellow believers, to move into our modern world with a similar faith and dedication as that which was demonstrated during the second half of the 20th Century by our Australian Baptists.
Part 1: Pioneer Mission History
1. Beginnings of the Baptist New Guinea Mission
2. The Church is Born: the first baptisms
3. The Church Grows: community transformation
Pioneer mission centres
Pioneer mission development
Part 2: Pioneer Mission Teaching
4. Trails and trials: mission life in the highlands