The Crusade was to begin at 5pm that day. Pastor Paul left before dawn to make preparations for the crusade that night. The problem was that each day in Haiti began at about 4:30am with the bleating of the goats and clucking of the chickens outside our window. Our original plan was to spend the days before the crusade in the tent villages, preaching the Gospel and praying for the sick. Pastor Paul didn’t feel that this was a wise plan and had some real concerns about our security in the tent cities, so we abandoned the plan. Now we would simply wait inside the compound for them to come and pick us up before the crusade.
11 hours, in 100+ degree heat, with nothing to do. So we worshiped, we prayed, we ate, we napped, we talked and we STILL had 8 hours.
Needless to say, we were super excited when we got word that we would be picked up in 30 minutes. In the van on the way there, Pastor Paul gave me some instructions about the crusade, making sure that I would give an altar call and giving me a heads up as to the order of service. The band would worship for some time and the people would gather. When they had arrived and we had worshiped, we would preach the Gospel and lead people to Jesus. Afterward we would pray for the sick.
All of them.
On the 30 minute drive to the crusade grounds we saw the clouds and weather gathering for a wicked thunderstorm. Dark storm clouds were overhead and you could see lightning in the distance. We had come a long way and paid a lot of money to get rained out! I called our folks back in Atlanta and asked them to really pray for a weather breakthrough. We arrived at the grounds and there were a few hundred people milling around. It was obvious that they were having some serious problems with the sound system and they would periodically break out tarps to cover the sound equipment as a little rain would come and go. Honestly, it didn’t look good. The sky was pregnant and we were about to get dumped on.
They began to worship with only a couple of the instruments working through the sound system, but the vocalists more than made up for the lack of instruments as they sang with all their heart. People began streaming in from all over the place, quickly filling the soccer field. But the longer they went on playing and worshiping, the more ominous the weather became. As we were worshiping I noticed that I was stressing about the weather and getting worried. I closed my eyes and tried to focus on the Lord, not on the situation. As soon as I did, the Lord spoke to me and reminded me of a word Surprise Sithole had given us 6 months before. As a ministry, we were stepping into a place that the Lord had prepared in advance. It was all pre-arranged. An overwhelming sense of peace flooded over me as the Holy Spirit comforted me.
When I opened my eyes and looked up, I saw a diamond shaped opening in the clouds and rain, RIGHT OVER the soccer field! Rain, clouds and weather surrounded us, but in the center, where we stood, the weather was clear! Right behind the stage was a huge double rainbow! The promise of God; it was all pre-arranged!
THE TASK AT HAND
With the weather crisis averted, it was now time to get back to our task at hand; winning the lost and healing the sick! The worship went on and on. They probably worshiped for two hours. Our team jumped off the platform to worship with the people. We danced, we sang and we enjoyed Jesus. The presence of God in their worship was amazing. In total poverty, these folks completely lost themselves in worshiping the Lord. And while they worshiped, people from all over the neighboring villages and towns kept streaming in. When worship wrapped up about two hours into it, the soccer field was full. I looked and 180 degrees around us was filled with people!
I introduced the team and then began preaching the very simple Gospel of the Kingdom. Through an interpreter, everything takes twice as long and it can take a minute to get into a rhythm, but already Pastor Paul and I had been preaching as a team for many hours, between the Pastor’s Conference and the church services we had done, so it flowed very easily. Many people asked me when I came back what it’s like to preach to a crowd of many thousands and my response is simple, “It’s the same as preaching to a handful of people in a home group.” When you serve God, he’s looking for obedience, not numbers. So the pay is the same, whether you’re helping one person over lunch or preaching to multitudes. This sets you free! You NEVER have to be intimidated with numbers!
We told a few stories of what it looks like when the Kingdom comes to someone’s body, soul and spirit. As far as I could tell, the people were engaged in the testimonies and the message. We encouraged them to lay down their lives and pick up His! We called them to repent, to change the way they think, the Kingdom was at hand! We gave an altar call and many gave their lives to Jesus, including a large group of street kids hanging down at the foot of the stage. Many of these kids were as young as 4-5 years old, but they could understand their need of Jesus and the Kingdom. Many came to the Lord!
FIRE TUNNEL, HAITI STYLE
Now, that many had made Jesus their King and Lord, it was time to pray for the sick! Pastor Paul looked at me and said, “We are going to make a channel. Your team will stand on each side and the people will pass through.” I said, “Oh, a Fire Tunnel!” He just looked at me. I told him, “Never mind, got it!” So we jumped off the stage and with the help of many of his people we formed a “channel” as he would call it (we call them fire tunnels). Before we opened the line, people started reaching out and touching our clothing and putting our hands on them for healing. They were so hungry! Pastor Paul called all the sick and they lined up!
I can’t tell you how many people we prayed for, but it was definitely in the thousands. They started filing through the “channel” and we began to pray. It was total chaos! You read about the “press” in the Bible, when the people would “press” into Jesus and He would touch them or they would touch Him. That’s what it was like. MANY people were reaching out and touching me, manhandling me, mobbing me. No interpreters were needed, if they wanted us to know where it hurt, they simply put our hand on that area or pointed. Some folks would just stand there and look at you like “is that all?” I began to declare their freedom over them in their language, “U Liberte!” We would pray our guts out and then tell them, “You are Free”. This kept the line moving.
After some time, I realized that praying for everyone would be impossible… in the natural. So I told them team over the din of the crowd to simply “get lost” in the Holy Ghost and out of our natural mind. Otherwise we would burn out and not be able to complete the mission. So we pressed into the Holy Ghost and received Grace for the mission! Katie was standing next to me and was gently hugging and kissing all the people on the head as they came through. She probably gave thousands of hugs and kisses!
Many asked me what miracles we saw and truthfully, in a situation like that, we don’t know! The one that stood out was a deaf/mute that came through the prayer line. He looked to be a young man in hid mid-late twenties. All he did was point to his tongue. It was shriveled and I found out later that he had never spoken. I didn’t know he was deaf. I motioned to him to stick out his tongue, which he did. I simply put my thumb on his tongue and said, “Be Loosed!” I then looked him dead in the eye and told him, “Say, Jeze Saywa! (Jesus is King)” He looked right at me and over the din of the crowd LOUDLY said “JEZE SAYWA! JEZE SAYWA! JEZE SAYWA!”
God loosed his tongue!
To be concluded…