Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Adventures In Africa! – Part II

The first few days there found us having meetings with the church there and doing limited street ministry, due to our only having one interpreter during the day. The first couple of days there we had a light schedule and we all remarked that we didn’t get this much sleep at home! We were well rested and enjoying the meetings with Edouard, his leaders and the church there. At the meetings Edouard rented a sound system and turned the speakers out to the community, blaring our preaching throughout the entire district.

As we would find out, the witch doctors didn't like that.

After lunch one day we went with Edouard looking for some authentic African clothing to take home with us and on the way we ran across a beggar on the sidewalk. His legs were withered and his back was very crooked. He could only sit up by leaning on a nearby wall or by supporting himself with his arms. We asked if we could pray for him and told him about the Kingdom of God. As I put my hands on his back I was aware that his spine was in an almost “S’ shape. No sooner had I realized this than I felt intense heat in my hands and then I actually felt his back pop and crack! He sat up several inches straighter and could suddenly sit straight up without the support of the wall or his arms! After a few more minutes of prayer he could support his weight for a few seconds without help, but he did not get up and walk away.

While praying for him, a few people stopped by and wanted to see what we were doing. One of the people that stopped was a runaway young boy who the Lord gave us words of knowledge for. We had him kneel down and give his life to Jesus on the spot! He actually came with us to church that night!

We went to a service with his leaders and we were training them to minister the Kingdom of God. We were preaching out of Matthew 10:7-8 and giving very basic instructions and telling testimonies of “doing the stuff”. It was cool because it was Africa hot, it’s a dirt floor, outside, no roof, the stars are shining and we are equipping people by lantern light. I told my wife on the phone that night that it was probably the second coolest thing you could do in ministry, the first being preaching to Gospel to a people that have never heard the name of Jesus.

Within a few hours of that we received a phone call from Edouard saying that they were rushing his baby to the hospital with breathing difficulties. We were surprised and shocked because just a couple hours earlier at the meeting we were playing with Edouard’s baby, little John Wesley and he was perfectly healthy. An hour after that, Edouard, his wife and one of her sisters and little John Wesley show up at our hotel room. We bring the baby in and take a look at him. He was definitely working for breath, but all four of us, all daddies to little kids, were not concerned. We prayed over the baby, taking turns holding him and just worshipped together, believing God would heal him. They had just come from the hospital and instead of treating the illness they gave them some medication to put the baby to sleep! Let me put it this way, you DO NOT want to get sick in the Congo! After a couple of hours of prayer, the baby and his parents had calmed down considerably and we all had a sense of peace about the situation. Truthfully, my kids have had breathing trouble in the past and were far worse than this child. I wasn’t worried.

The next morning Nathan and Danny went to the church early in the morning to go and minister to their worship leaders and worship team. When they arrived, none of the worshipers were there! One of the ladies from the church was there waiting and told them that the worship team and Edouard’s wife had rushed little John Wesley to the hospital. We all headed to the hospital and found John lying in a hospital bed. He was a little worse off than the night before but again, nothing terribly concerning. He was very obviously having pain when he would inhale. They did some x-rays and found pneumonia in his lungs. We and many from the church were at the hospital praying. As we continued to pray throughout the morning John actually improved and began vomiting the fluid and infection out of his lungs. Things were looking up.

We were scheduled to be back at the church in the afternoon and take his leaders out into the market to preach the Gospel with signs and wonders. We were debating what to do since many people were there at the hospital with the baby and we were already late, our daylight wouldn’t last long. Edouard settled the issue by saying, “Even if I have only thirty minutes before or after work, I preach the Gospel. Why? Because those thirty minutes could mean one soul for the Kingdom of God!” That settled it. We arrived at the church and there were about 20 of his people waiting for us, along with three English speaking interpreters. As a group we headed out into the market.

God was waiting for us.

David had an interpreter with him, Nathan and Danny had an interpreter with them and I had an interpreter with me. We walked for a couple of minutes in the market as a whole group. David saw a sick person and stepped aside to pray for him along with several folks from the church. They didn’t move for almost two hours! I took a few steps past David and saw a guy with a cane and started praying for him. I didn’t leave my spot for two hours! Danny and Nathan took a few steps beyond me and started talking to someone. They didn’t move from that spot for two hours!

Why didn’t we move from the spot? Because it was impossible! As we started to pray for the sick, they started to get healed. As we started to prophesy over unbelievers, they would get saved! They would bring their friends back for prayer and curious onlookers would stop by. Each of our three groups had dozens of people around us, pressing in to see what was happening and as someone would get healed, the crowd would get bigger! A couple of folks from the church jumped into the crowd and brought us the sick. Every single person I prayed for was healed! There was not one person that did not walk away perfectly whole! In my group I saw literally dozens of miracles and healings, everything from broken and sprained bones to bent limbs and backs healed, scoliosis, liver problems and pains of every kind vanished by the fire of God! The healing anointing was so tangible that I asked my interpreter where the blind and the lame were, I just knew they would be healed! He told me that they would not come into the market so late in the day (it was almost dark).

I looked to my left and saw Danny and Nathan leading person after person to the Lord, kneeling in the mud! David was a few paces behind me and the church folks in his group began doing the stuff, casting out devils and healing the sick! As someone would get healed we all would address the crowd, telling them that Jesus is healing people and the Kingdom of God had come near to them! One father brought me his daughter, who was demonized and mute. She could barely speak a word, even her own name. We prayed over her and cast out the devil of fear that had entered her as a young girl. A few minutes later we commanded her to say “Jesus is King and His Kingdom is on the earth” in Lingala, her native tongue. She started shouting it, no longer mute and set free by Jesus!

It was awesome. Not only were we seeing this and doing this, but the church folks got on the bandwagon. They were doing the stuff and they were inviting people to church and following up with them. Ministry had multiplied! Instead of the lone man of God syndrome, the church was activated! As it grew darker, the church folks urged us to wrap it up, we would come back tomorrow. We met back at the church, telling testimony after testimony and the faith couldn’t have been higher. Edouard was there at the church, he had come from the hospital and stripped down to an undershirt, praying fervently his son at the hospital with his wife. He told us later that he was interrupted from praying several times because folks in his church kept calling him and telling him what God was doing in the market. We prayed over a handkerchief for little John Wesley and started down the alley to catch a cab to get something to eat.

On our way down the alley, just a few steps from the church we heard the most horrific scream that we’ve ever heard. Mind you, it is pitch black out, so we bust out our flashlights from our backpacks and point them to the noise. I look up and see Edouard’s wife coming down the alley with two men at either side of her, holding her arms and restraining her. I thought they were attacking her! I look over towards David and ask him what's going on. He was was standing next to me and Edouard and simply says, “Oh No!” I hear Edouard’s wife scream, “JOHN!”

Edouard turns to us and says, “John has died.”


Anonymous said...

Is that the end of the story?

Anonymous said...