Biblical terms describing revival impacts of the Spirit vary greatly. They include:
the Spirit was given ‑‑ Numbers 11:17; John 7:39;
the Spirit came upon ‑‑ Judges 3:10; Acts 19:5;
the Spirit took control ‑‑ Judges 6:34; 1 Samuel 11:6; 16:13;
the Spirit poured out ‑‑ Joel 2:28‑28; Acts 10:45;
the Spirit came down ‑‑ Matthew 3:16; Luke 3:22; John 1:33;
the Spirit fell (or came down)‑‑ Acts 10:44; 11:15;
the Spirit received ‑‑ Acts 8:15‑17; 19:2;
baptized in or with the Spirit ‑‑ Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5;
filled with the Spirit ‑‑ Acts 2:4; 9:17; Ephesians 5:18.
The specific nature of these impacts is significant, as is the varied nature of subsequent ministries resulting from these impacts. These impacts of the Spirit empowered people for ministry. That ministry involved a wide range of charismata including anointed preaching and prophecy, healings and miracles, tongues and trouble.
Significant revival impacts of the Spirit of God have continued through history. These may have been overlooked or minimized for reasons such as these:
- Many historians wrote from the perspective of the established government or church, which often opposed and suppressed revivals.
- Strong impacts of the Spirit constantly initiate new movements which threaten the established order, so these movements were opposed and their writings destroyed.
- Revivals may be regarded as heretical, and their leaders killed, as with Jesus, in the early church, and throughout history.
- Accounts of revivals have been systematically destroyed, often burned as heretical.
- Excessive enthusiasm and fanaticism in revivals may bring those movements into disrepute.
- Leaders and adherents of revival movements have often been occupied with more pressing priorities than writing history, such as ensuring their own survival.
However, where such records have survived, mostly after the invention of the printing press, revivals consistently reveal similar patterns to the biblical witness. A brief selection is given here including first person accounts.
Wednesday, 13 August, 1727 – Herrnhut, Saxony
The Spirit of God fell on 300 refugees in Germany in 1727, mostly Morvian exiles given asylum on the estates of Nicholaus von Zinzendorf. One of them wrote that “the thirteenth of August, 1727, was a day of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We saw the hand of God and his wonders, and we were all under the cloud of our fathers baptized with their Spirit. The Holy Ghost came upon us and in those days great signs and wonders took place in our midst. From that time scarcely a day passed but what we beheld his almighty workings amongst us.” (Greenfield 1927:14).
Within 25 years they sent out 100 missionaries, then by 1782 they had 175 missionaries in 27 places, and in their fist 100 years of missions sent out over 1,199 people, including 459 women, all supported by round-the-clock ‘hourly intercessions’. Both John and Charles Wesley were converted through their witness. Their English missionary magazine, Periodical Accounts, inspired William Carey. He threw a copy of the paper on a table at a Baptist meeting, saying, “See what the Moravians have done! Cannot we follow their example and in obedience to our Heavenly Master go out into the world, and preach the Gospel to the heathen?” (Greenfield 1927:19).
January, 1735 ‑ New England, America
Jonathan Edwards reported on a revival movement which developed into the Great Awakening as it spread through the communities of New England and the pioneering settlements in America. Converts to Christianity reached 50,000 out of a total of 250,000 colonists. Early in January, 1735 an unusually powerful move of God=s Spirit brought revival to Northampton, which then spread through New England in the north east of America.
And the work of conversion was carried on in a most astonishing manner, and increased more and more. Souls did, as it were, come by flocks to Jesus Christ. … Those amongst us that had formerly been converted, were greatly enlivened and renewed with fresh and extraordinary incomes of the Spirit of God; though some much more than others, according to the measure of the gift of Christ (Stacy 1842, 1989:12‑13).
Monday, 1 January, 1739 ‑ London
1739 saw astonishing expansion of revival in England. During the evening of 1st January the Wesleys and George Whitefield with 60 others, met in London for prayer and a love feast. The Spirit of God moved powerfully on them all. John Wesley described it:
About three in the morning, as we were continuing instant in prayer, the power of God came mightily upon us, insomuch that many cried out for exceeding joy, and many fell to the ground. As soon as we were recovered a little from that awe and amazement at the presence of his majesty, we broke out with one voice, “We praise Thee, O God, we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord” (Idle 1986:55).
This London Pentecost contributed powerfully to revival, which spread rapidly. In February 1739 Whitefield started preaching to the Kingswood coal miners in the open fields near Bristol because many churches opposed him, accusing him and other evangelicals of >enthusiasm=. In February about 200 attended. By March 20,000 attended. Whitefield invited Wesley to take over then and so in April Wesley reluctantly began his famous open air preaching, which continued for 50 years.
Thursday 8 August, 1745 ‑ Crossweeksung, America
David Brainerd, missionary to the North American Indians from 1743 to his death at 29 in 1747, tells of revival breaking out among Indians at Crossweeksung in August 1745. Concerning 8 August, 1745, he wrote
the power of God seemed to descend on the assembly ‘like a rushing mighty wind’ and with an astonishing energy bore all down before it. I stood amazed at the influence that seized the audience almost universally and could compare it to nothing more aptly than the irresistible force of a mighty torrent… Almost all persons of all ages were bowed down with concern together and scarce was able to withstand the shock of astonishing operation (Howard 1949:216-217).
The ‘Great Awakening’ which had begun a decade previously now impacted Indian settlements with charismatic outpourings of the Holy Spirit, producing both conversions and significant social improvement.
Sunday 25 December, 1781 ‑ Cornwall, England
Forty years after the eighteenth century evangelical revivals began the fires of revival had died out in many places. Concerned leaders called the church to pray. Those prayer meetings included outpourings of the Spirit in revival. On Christmas day 1781, at St. Just Church in Cornwall, at 3.00 a.m. intercessors met to sing and pray. The Spirit was poured out on them and they prayed through until 9.00 a.m. and regathered that Christmas evening. Throughout January and February, the movement continued. By March 1782 they were praying until midnight as the Holy Spirit moved on them. The chapel which George Whitefield had built decades previously in Tottenham Court Road, London, had to be enlarged to seat 5,000 people, the largest church building in the world at that time. Baptist churches in North Hampton, Leicester, and the Midlands, set aside regular nights devoted to prayer for revival. Methodists and Anglicans joined them, and revival spread.
June‑July, 1800 ‑ Kentucky, America
Presbyterian James McGready organised camp meetings in Kentucky, an area nicknamed Rogues Harbour populated with fugitives from justice including murderers, horse thieves, highway robbers, and counterfeiters. On the last day of the first camp meeting, held in June with around 450 people, ‘a mighty effusion of [God=s] Spirit’ came upon the people, ‘and the floor was soon covered with the slain; their screams for mercy pierced the heavens.= At the next camp meeting held in late July 1800 an enormous crowd of 8,000 attended, many from up to 100 miles away. McGready recalled:
The power of God seemed to shake the whole assembly. Toward the close of the sermon, the cries of the distressed arose almost as loud as his voice. After the congregation was dismissed the solemnity increased, till the greater part of the multitude seemed engaged in the most solemn manner. No person seemed to wish to go home ‑ hunger and sleep seemed to affect nobody ‑ eternal things were the vast concern. Here awakening and converting work was to be found in every part of the multitude; and even some things strangely and wonderfully new to me (Christian History, No. 23, p 25).
August, 1801 ‑ Cane Ridge, America (Barton Stone)
Presbyterian minister Barton Stone, organised similar meetings in 1801 in his area at Cane Ridge, Kentucky. A huge crowd of around 12,500 attended in over 125 wagons. At that time Lexington, the largest town in Kentucky, had less than 1,800 citizens. Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist preachers and circuit riders formed preaching teams, speaking simultaneously in different parts of the camp grounds, all aiming for conversions. Methodist James Finley, wrote:
The noise was like the roar of Niagara. The vast sea of human being seemed to be agitated as if by a storm. … At one time I saw at least five hundred swept down in a moment as if a battery of a thousand guns had been opened upon them, and then immediately followed shrieks and shouts that rent the very heavens (Pratney 1994:104).
The Rev. Moses Hoge described it:
The careless fall down, cry out, tremble, and not infrequently are affected with convulsive twitchings … Nothing that imagination can paint, can make a stronger impression upon the mind, than one of those scenes. Sinners dropping down on every hand, shrieking, groaning, crying for mercy, convulsed; professors praying, agonizing, fainting, falling down in distress for sinners or in raptures of joy! … As to the work in general there can be no question but it is of God. The subject of it, for the most part are deeply wounded for their sins, and can give a clear and rational account of their conversion (Christian History, No. 23, p. 26).
These frontier revivals became a new emphasis in American revivalism. They included the ‘saw dust trail’ laid down to settle the dust or soak up wet ground over which penitents moved to the ‘altar’ at the front. Revival early in the nineteenth century not only impacted the American frontier, but also towns and especially colleges. One widespread result in America, as in England, was the formation of missionary societies to train and direct the large numbers of converts filled with missionary zeal.
Wednesday, 10 October, 1821 ‑ Adams, America
Charles Finney had a mighty empowering by God=s Spirit on the night of his conversion on Wednesday 10 October 1821. Convicted by the Spirit that morning, he surrendered to God in the woods. That night he was filled with the Spirit:
I received a mighty baptism of the Holy Spirit. Without any expectation of it, without ever having the thought in my mind that there was any such thing for me, without any memory of ever hearing the thing mentioned by any person in the world, the Holy Spirit descended upon me in a manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul. I could feel the impression, like a wave of electricity, going through and through me. Indeed it seemed to come in waves of liquid love, for I could not express it in any other way. It seemed like the very breath of God. I can remember distinctly that it seemed to fan me, like immense wings.
No words can express the wonderful love that was spread abroad in my heart. I wept aloud with joy and love. I literally bellowed out the unspeakable overflow of my heart. These waves came over me, and over me, and over me, one after another, until I remember crying out, ‘I shall die if these waves continue to pass over me.’ I said, ‘Lord, I cannot bear any more,’ yet I had no fear of death (Wessel 1977:20‑22).
Finney continued for the rest of his life in evangelism and revival. He founded and taught theology at Oberlin College which pioneered co‑education and enrolled both blacks and whites. His Lectures on Revival were widely read and helped to fan revival in America and England.
Sunday, 22 May, 1859 ‑ Natal, South Africa
Revival began among the Zulu and Bantu tribes in South Africa before it spilled over into the Dutch Reformed Church. Tribal people gathered in large numbers on the frontier mission stations and then took revival, African style, into their villages. On Sunday night, 22 May, the Spirit of God fell on a service of the Zulus in Natal so powerfully that they prayed all night. News spread rapidly. This revival among the Zulus of Natal on the east coast ignited missions and tribal churches. It produced deep conviction of sin, immediate repentance and conversions, extraordinary praying and vigorous evangelism.
In April 1860 at a combined missions conference of over 370 leaders of Dutch Reformed, Methodist and Presbyterian leaders meeting at Worcester, South Africa, they discussed revival. Andrew Murray Sr., moved to tears, had to stop speaking. His son, Andrew Murray Jr., now well known through his books, led in prayer so powerfully that many saw that as the beginning of revival in those churches.
October, 1871 ‑ New York
D. L. Moody, converted in 1855, led powerful evangelistic campaigns in America and England. While visiting New York in 1871 to raise funds for churches and orphanages destroyed in the Chicago fire of October that year, in which his home, church sanctuary and the YMCA buildings were destroyed, he had a deep encounter with God. He wrote,
I was crying all the time God would fill me with his Spirit. Well, one day in the city of New York ‑ oh, what a day! ‑ I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say that God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask him to stay his hand. I went to preaching again. The sermons were not different; I did not present any new truths; and yet hundreds were converted. I would not be placed back where I was before that blessed experience for all the world ‑ it would be as the small dust of the balance (Moody 1900:149).
Monday, 31 October 1904 – Loughor, Wales
Evan Roberts, a student at the Methodist Academy in Wales, experienced a deep work of the Spirit at meetings on Thursday 29 September, 1904, after Presbyterian evangelist Seth Joshua closed the 7 a.m. meeting crying out in Welsh, ‘Lord … bend us.’ Roberts agonised in prayer that day. He wrote, “It was the Spirit that put the emphasis for me on >Bend us.= >That is what you need= said the Spirit to me. And as I went out I prayed, O Lord, bend me.” (Evans 1969:70).
Impelled by the Spirit he returned home from college on a week’s leave and spoke nightly from 31 October to increasing crowds as the Spirit moved powerfully on them. From the following week he led teams by invitation across south Wales, sparking the Welsh Revival which reported 70,000 conversions in three months and 100,000 within a year. Crime rates and abortions dropped. Many taverns went bankrupt. Some judges had no cases to try, and police had so little to do in many towns at the height of the revival that they attended the meetings while still on duty.
Friday, 30 June, 1905 ‑ Mukti, India
Pandita Ramabai established a compound for widows and orphan girls during severe famine in her area near Pune (Poona) just south of Bombay, and called it Mukti (Salvation). By 1901 she had 2,000 girls and women and from January 1905 she began teaching about the need for revival. Soon over 500 people met twice daily to pray for revival, mostly women and girls. Thirty of her ladies ministered in teams in the villages. They met daily to pray for the endowment of the Holy Spirit. On Thursday 29 June the Spirit moved strongly on many of the girls. On Friday, 30 June, while Ramabai taught from John 8, the Holy Spirit fell on them all suddenly with great power. Everyone there began to weep and pray aloud, crying out to be baptised with the Holy Spirit and fire. Revival spread through their mission, and into many surrounding areas. Regular school activities gave way to confession, repentance, and great joy with much praise and dancing. Many spoke in tongues (including English!), and were filled with zeal for evangelism and social care.
Saturday, 14 April, 1906 ‑ Azusa Street, Los Angeles
Charles Paraham conducted a Bible College at Topeka, Kansas where on 1 January 1901 Agnes Ozman spoke in tongues when Parham laid hands on her and prayed for her to be baptized in the Spirit. That month Parham and half of the 34 students also spoke in tongues. Those events have been seen as the beginning of Pentecostalism in America.
William Seymour, a Negro Holiness pastor attended Parham’s short term Bible School in Houston, Texas early in 1906, then by April was the leader of The Apostolic Faith Mission at Azusa Street, Los Angeles. Meetings began there on Easter Saturday, 14 April 1906. About 100 attended including blacks and whites. The Spirit of God moved powerfully on that little mission. Many were baptised in the Spirit with speaking in tongues, prophecies, and healings. Its centrifugal influence ignited pentecostal mission across America and overseas.
Sunday, 4 July, 1909 ‑ Valparaiso, Chile
Minnie Abrams, who worked at Mukti in India during the 1905 revival there, sent an account of it in 1907 to Willis Hoover, Methodist missionary in Chile. Those Methodists began praying for revival which burst on them on Sunday 4 July, resulting in their church growing from 300 to 1,000 in two months. Willis Hoover wrote:
Saturday night was an all night of prayer, during which four vain young ladies (three of them were in the choir) fell to the floor under the power of the Spirit. … From that time on the atmosphere seemed charged by the Holy Spirit, and people fell on the floor, or broke out in other tongues, or singing in the Spirit, in a way impossible in their natural condition. (Frodsham 1946:177‑178).
1914 – Belgian Congo, Africa
Africa has seen many powerful revivals, such as the Belgian Congo outpouring with C. T. Studd in 1914. “The whole place was charged as if with an electric current. Men were falling, jumping, laughing, crying, singing, confessing and some shaking terribly,” he reported. “As I led in prayer the Spirit came down in mighty power sweeping the congregation. My whole body trembled with the power. We saw a marvellous sight, people literally filled and drunk with the Spirit” (W.E.C. 1954:12‑15).
Monday, 7 March, 1921 ‑ Lowestoft, England
Douglas Brown, a Baptist minister in South London, saw conversions in his church every Sunday for 15 years to 1921. He felt the Lord convict him about leaving his pastorate for evangelistic mission work. Although reluctant, he finally surrendered. “Then something happened,” he wrote. “I found myself in the loving embrace of Christ for ever and ever; and all power and joy and blessedness rolled in like a deluge” (Griffin 1992:17‑18). After that 2 a.m. encounter, he embarked on itinerant missions commencing on 7 March in Lowestroft, East Anglia, with immediate responses in large numbers. Within eighteen months he addressed over 1700 meetings, and saw revival in his evangelistic ministry in England.
1949 – Hebrides Islands, Scotland
Following the trauma of World War II, spiritual life reached a low ebb in the Scottish Hebrides. Church leaders prayed for revival. They invited evangelist Duncan Campbell to lead meetings. At the close of his first meeting in the Presbyterian church in Barvas the travel weary preacher was invited to join an all night prayer meeting! Thirty people gathered for prayer in a nearby cottage. Duncan Campbell described it:
God was beginning to move, the heavens were opening, we were there on our faces before God. Three o’clock in the morning came, and God swept in. About a dozen men and women lay prostrate on the floor, speechless. Something had happened; we knew that the forces of darkness were going to be driven back, and men were going to be delivered. We left the cottage at 3 am to discover men and women seeking God. I walked along a country road, and found three men on their faces, crying to God for mercy. There was a light in every home, no one seemed to think of sleep (Whittaker 1984:159).
His mission continued for five weeks. Services continued early morning until late at night and into the early hours of the morning. The revival spread to the neighbouring parishes from Barvas with similar scenes of repentance, prayer and preaching. People sensed the awesome presence of God everywhere.
Sunday, 26 September, 1965 ‑ Soe, Timor
Revival burst into unprecedented power in Timor in 1965. This revival spread in the uncertain days following the attempted army coup on 30 September, 1965 in Indonesia. Four days previously a visitation from God had begun in Soe, a mountain town of about 5,000 people in Timor in the Reformed Church on Sunday 26 September. That night, as at Pentecost, people heard the sound of a tornado wind, and flames on the church building prompted police to set off the fire alarm to summon volunteer fire fighters, but the church was not burning. Many were converted that night, many filled with the Spirit including speaking in tongues, some using in English who did not know English. By midnight teams of lay people had been organised to begin spreading the gospel the next day. Eventually, about 90 evangelistic teams were formed which functioned powerfully with spiritual gifts.
The Reformed Church Presbytery on Timor recorded 80,000 conversions from the first year of the revival there, half of those being former communists. They verified that 15,000 people were permanently healed in that year (Koch 1970).
Tuesday, 3 February, 1970 ‑ Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky
A revival broke out in Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, on Tuesday 3 February 1970. God’s Spirit moved on the regular morning chapel commencing at 10 o=clock. Students came weeping to the front to kneel in repentance. Others gave testimonies including confession of sin. They prayed and worshipped spontaneously. The staff cancelled lectures for the day as the auditorium filled with over 1,000 people. Few left for meals. By midnight over 500 still remained praying and worshipping. Several hundred committed their lives to Christ that day. By 6 a.m. next morning 75 students were still praying in the hall, and through the Wednesday it filled again as lectures were again cancelled for the day. The time was filled with praying, singing, confessions and testimonies. Almost half the student body of 1000 formed teams witnessing about the revival. In the first week after the revival began teams of students visited 16 states by invitation and saw several thousand conversions through their witnessing (Coleman 1970).
Sunday, 23 August, 1970 ‑ Solomon Islands
Muri Thompson, a Maori evangelist from New Zealand, visited the Solomon Islands in July and August 1970 where the church had already experienced significant renewal and was praying for revival. During the last two weeks of these meetings the Holy Spirit moved even more powerfully in the meetings. On Sunday morning 23 August on the island of Malaita Muri preached powerfully, then he said, ‘If anyone wants to come forward …’ and immediately the whole congregation of 600 surged forward in repentance. Many saw visions of God, of Jesus on the cross or on his throne, of angels, or of bright light. Some spoke in tongues. Some were healed. Most came into a new experience of God with a deep awareness of the need for humility and being sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
The following Thursday, 27 August, at another village on Malaita when the 2,000 people bowed in prayer, they heard a growing sound. ‘I looked up through an opening in the leaf roof to the heavens from where the sound seemed to be coming. It grew to be roar – then it came to me: surely this is the Holy Spirit coming like a mighty rushing wind. I called the people to realize that God the Holy Spirit was about to descend upon them’ (Griffiths 1997:175). Many people involved in that impact of the Spirit sparked similar revivals throughout the Pacific (Waugh 1998:69-75).
Wednesday 14 March, 1979 ‑ Elcho Island, Australia
Djiniyini Gondarra, Uniting Church minister in the settlement of Galiwin=ku on Elcho Island returned from holidays on the late afternoon Missionary Aviation Fellowship flight on 14 March, 1979. Aboriginal Christians there had been praying earnestly, and met that night in his home for another prayer meeting. He reports,
Suddenly we began to feel God=s Spirit moving in our hearts and the whole form of our prayer suddenly changed and everybody began to pray in the Spirit and in harmony. And there was a great noise going on in the room and we began to ask one another what was going on. Some of us said that God had now visited us and once again established his kingdom among his people who have been bound for so long by the power of evil… In that same evening the word just spread like the flames of fire and reached the whole community in Galiwin=ku. Gelung [his wife] and I couldn=t sleep at all that night because people were just coming for the ministry, bringing the sick to be prayed for, for healing. Others came to bring their problems. Even a husband and wife came to bring their marriage problem, so the Lord touched them and healed their marriage (Gondarra 1991).
Teams from Elcho Island took revival movements throughout Arnhem Land, Northern Territory and Western Australia. At Warburton, then regarded as having one of the highest aboriginal crime rates in Australia, the results of
Sunday 15 May, 1980 ‑ Anaheim, America
John Wimber led the evangelical Vineyard Fellowship at Anaheim from 1977. On Mother’s Day, 15 May, 1980 at the evening service a young man spoke.
That night, after he gave his testimony, Lonnie asked the Holy Spirit to come and the repercussions were incredible. The Spirit of God literally knocked people to the floor and shook them silly. Many people spoke in tongues, prophesied or had visions. Then over the next few months, hundreds and hundreds of people came to Christ as the result of the witness of the individuals who were touched that night, and in the aftermath. The church saw approximately 1,700 converted to Christ in a period of about three months. This evolved into a series of opportunities, beginning in 1980, to minister around the world. Thus the Vineyard renewal ministry and the Vineyard movement were birthed (Vineyard Reflections, May/June 1994).
Thursday 14 June ‑ Brugam, Papua New Guinea
In the Sepik lowlands of northern Papua New Guinea revival touched the South Seas Evangelical Churches at Easter 1984, sparked by Solomon Island pastors. It was characterised by repentance, confession, weeping and great joy. Stolen goods were returned or replaced, and wrongs made right. Australian missionary Ray Overend’s report includes comment on revival beginning at Brugam, the church headquarters, on 14 June:
About 200 people surged forward. Many fell flat on their faces on the ground sobbing aloud. Some were shaking ‑ as spiritual battles raged within. There was quite some noise… The spiritual battles and cries of contrition continued for a long time. Then one after another in a space of about three minutes everybody rose to their feet, singing spontaneously as they rose. They were free. The battle was won. Satan was bound. They had made Christ their King! Their faces looked to heaven as they sang. They were like the faces of angels. The singing was like the singing of heaven. Deafening, but sweet and reverent (Overend 1986:36‑37).
The whole curriculum and approach at the Bible School for the area changed. Instead of having traditional classes and courses, teachers would work with the school all day from prayer times early in the morning through Bible teaching followed by discussion and sharing times during the day to evening worship and ministry. The school became a community, seeking the Lord together. Christians learned to witness and minister in spiritual gifts, praying and responding to the leading of the Spirit. These included discernment of spirits, deliverance, words of knowledge, tongues, prophecy, healing and boldness in evangelism.
Thursday 4 August, 1988 ‑ Kambaidam, Papua New Guinea
Johan van Bruggen, a missionary at the Lutheran Evangelist Training Centre at Kambaidam near Kainantu in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, reported in his circulars on the beginnings of revival which produced powerful evangelism, deliverance where whole villages publicly burned fetishes, and healings and miracles:
What were the highlights of 1988? No doubt the actual outpouring of the Holy Spirit must come first. It happened on August 4 when the Spirit fell on a group of students and staff, with individuals receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit on several occasions later on in the year. The school has never been the same again. As direct results we noticed a desire for holiness, a hunger for God=s Word which was insatiable right up till the end of the school year, and also a tremendous urge to go out and witness. Whenever they had a chance many of our students were in the villages with studies and to lead Sunday services. Prayer life deepened, and during worship services we really felt ourselves to be on holy ground. … We have been almost left speechless by what God is doing now through our students. We realize that we have been led on and are now on the threshold of a revival (Waugh 1998:96).
1988 – Madruga, Cuba
In 1988, revival broke out in a small church in Madruga, Cuba. “People would begin to weep when they entered the church,” said their pastor. More than 60 churches experienced a similar move of the Spirit among the 10 million people of Cuba. The revival produced more than 2,400 house churches. Although open evangelism is still outlawed, teenagers were joining the children and adults to witness boldly in parks, beaches, and other public places, regardless of the risk. There is a “holy and glorious restlessness” amongst the believers, said one pastor. “The once defensive mood and attitude of the church has turned into an offensive one, and Christians are committed to the vision of >Cuba Para Cristo!= ‑ Cuba for Christ!” (Open Doors, Australian Report, September 1993).
1989 – Henan and Anhul, China
The persecuted church in China lives in constant revival. This is merely a sample account.
In 1989 Henan preachers visited North Anhul province and found several thousand believers in the care of an older pastor from Shanghai. At their first night meeting with 1,000 present 30 were baptised in the icy winter. The first baptised was a lady who had convulsions if she went into water. She was healed of that and other ills, and found the water warm. A 12 year old boy deaf and dumb was baptized and spoke, “Mother, Father, the water is not cold ‑ the water is not cold.” An aged lady nearly 90, disabled after an accident in her 20s, was completely healed in the water. By the third and fourth nights over 1,000 were baptised. A young evangelist, Enchuan, 20 years old in 1990, had been leading evangelistic teams since he was 17. He said, “When the church first sent us out to preach the Gospel, after two to three months of ministering we usually saw 20‑30 converts. But now it is not 20. It is 200, 300, and often 600 or more will be converted” (Balcombe 1991).
Dennis Balcombe reported in a newsletter on 27 August 1994: “This year has seen the greatest revival in Chinese history. Some provinces have seen over 100,000 conversions during the first half of this year.
1992 – Buenos Aires, Argentina (Claudio Friedzon)
During the 1980s, Carlos Annacondia, a businessman turned evangelist, won thousands to the Lord in mass crusades accompanied by signs and wonders, healings (including filling of teeth) and deliverances. Churches grew dramatically.
Other pastor/evangelists such as Omar Cabrera and Hector Giminez won hundreds of thousands to the Lord. All of them have powerful ministries in evangelism with many signs and wonders, healings and miracles. Omar and Marfa Cabrera discovered the power of prayer for deliverance, and now lead a church movement of over 90,000 in 120 cities. Hector Giminez, formerly a drug addicted criminal, lead a church which grew to 1000 in a year and now has over 120,000.
Claudio Freidzon, founder of a Buenos Aires church which grew to 4000 people in five years, continues to lead powerful crusades in another wave of revival since 1992. The breakthrough came for him and his wife Betty after seven years of struggling as a pastors with a congregation of seven in a dilapidated building. He reported:
Sometimes pastor friends came to visit and would find me alone in the meeting. I felt like dying: I wished I could disappear. I used to walk among the empty benches and the devil laughed and jumped around me, whispering in my ear: “You’re no good; you’ll never make any progress; it will always be like this.”
And unfortunately I believed him. One day I thought: “This isn’t for me. I’m going to give up the pastorate. I’m going to resume my engineering studies and get myself a job.” But deep down I knew that was not God’s plan.
I went and saw my superintendent for the purpose of handing in my credentials. But before I could tell him, he said, “Claudio, I have something to say to you. God has something to say to you. He has something wonderful for you. You don’t see it, but God is going to use you greatly.’ … He went on: “Look, I started in a very precarious house and had no help from anybody. Sometimes I had nothing to eat and I suffered greatly. But we prayed and God provided for each day and we felt grateful. I knew we were doing God’s will. And when I think of you, Claudio, I know you are going to be useful to God and that you are within his will. I don’t know what your problems are, but keep on. By the way, what brings you here today?”
I put my credentials back in my pocket and said, “Well… , nothing in particular, I thought I would just come and share a moment with you.” There was nothing else I could say. When I got home Betty was weeping and I said, “Betty, we’re going to continue.” I embraced her tightly and we started all over again (Waugh 1998, 106).
Sunday, 2 May, 1993, Brisbane, Australia (Neil Miers)
Pastor Neil Miers preached at Brisbane Christian Outreach Centre on Sunday night 2 May. 1993. Darren Trinder, editor of their magazine A New Way of Living (now Outreach), reported:
Some staggered drunkenly, others had fits of laughter, others lay prostrate on the floor, still more were on their knees while others joined hands in an impromptu dance. Others, although showing no physical signs, praised the Lord anyway, at the same time trying to take it all in. People who had never prayed publicly for others moved among the crowd and laid hands on those present.
“When we first saw it in New Zealand early in April we were sceptical,” said Nance Miers, wife of Christian Outreach Centre International President, Pastor Neil Miers. “I=ve seen the Holy Spirit move like this here and there over the years. But this was different. In the past it seemed to have affected a few individuals, but this time it was a corporate thing.”
Neil Miers himself was physically affected, along with several other senior pastors, early in this Holy Ghost phenomenon. Later he viewed the series of events objectively. “It started in New Zealand and then broke out in New Guinea, and now it’s here. If I know the Holy Ghost, it will break out across the world ‑ wherever people are truly seeking revival. For the moment this is what God is saying to do, and we’re doing it. It’s that simple.”
But despite the informal nature of the events, Pastor Miers, adopting his shepherd role, was careful to monitor the situation. “There are some who are going overboard with it; just like when someone gets drunk on earthly wine for the first time. The next time it happens they’ll understand it a little better” (Waugh 1998, 110-111).
Within two weeks this outpouring of the Spirit touched C.O.C. churches across Australia, from Townsville to Perth. People were overwhelmed. Many found release, healing and anointing amid laughter, tears, shaking or stillness. Many saw visions. Some had open-eyed visions such as seeing the glory of God or angels appearing in the building. Many were ‘drunk in the Spirit’ for days or weeks.
The result? The churches experienced anointed evangelism and mission. The movement now has over 200 centres in Australia and more than 450 centres overseas. It has powerful crusades in many countries, international ‘global care’ relief outreaches, international church-based Ministry Training Institutes, education from pre-school to tertiary including Christian Heritage College offering degrees in education, arts, business, and also in ministry through the Brisbane COC School of Ministries, and has regular teams involved in mission, evangelism and pastoral care.
November, 1993, Boston, America (Mona Johanian)
During November 1993, revival touched the 450 member Christian Teaching and Worship Centre (CTWC) in Woburn, Boston led by Mona Johnian and her husband Paul. Revival broke out in their church after they attended revival meetings led by Rodney Howard‑Browne in Jekyll Island Georgia, in November of 1993. Richard Riss reported:
At first, Mona was not impressed by the various phenomena she observed there, but she was surprised that her own pastor, Bill Ligon of Brunswick, Georgia, fell to the floor when Rodney Howard‑Browne laid his hands upon him. “Bill is the epitome of dignity, a man totally under control,” she said. The first chapter of her book describes a meeting at her church in which revival broke out while Bill Ligon was there as a guest minister. From the Johnians’ church, the revival spread to other churches, including Bath Baptist Church of Bath, Maine, pastored by Greg Foster.
In a video entitled Revival, produced in his church in August of 1994, Paul Johnian said, “We cannot refute the testimony of the Church. … What is taking place here is not an accident. It’s not birthed by man. It’s by the Spirit of God. … The last week in October of 1993, Mona and I went down to Georgia. We belong to a Fellowship of Charismatic and Christian Ministries International, and we went down there for the annual conference. And hands were laid on us. And we were anointed. And I’m just going to be completely honest with you. What I witnessed there in the beginning I did not even understand. I concluded that what was taking place was not of God … because there was too much confusion. … I saw something that I could not comprehend with my finite understanding. And it was only when I searched the Scriptures and asked God to show me and to reveal truth to me that I saw that what was taking place in the Body of Christ was a sovereign move of the Almighty. And I, for one, wanted to humble myself and be a part of the sovereign move of the Almighty. And I came back. I really didn’t sense any change within me. But I came back just believing God that He was going to be doing something different in our congregation (Riss 1996, 31) .
That has now happened in various forms in thousands of churches touched by this current awakening.
Thursday, 20 January, 1994, Toronto, Canada (John Arnott)
John Arnott, senior pastor at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship told how the “Toronto Blessing” – which they call the Father’s blessing – began:
In October 1992, Carol and I started giving our entire mornings to the Lord, spending time worshipping, reading, praying and being with him. For a year and a half we did this, and we fell in love with Jesus all over again. …
We heard about the revival in Argentina, so we travelled there in November 1993 hoping God’s anointing would rub off on us somehow. We were powerfully touched in meetings led by Claudio Freidzon, a leader in the Assemblies of God in Argentina. … We came back from Argentina with a great expectation that God would do something new in our church.
We had a taste of what the Lord had planned for us during our New Year’s Eve service as we brought in 1994. People were prayed for and powerfully touched by God. They were lying all over the floor by the time the meeting ended. We thought, “This is wonderful, Lord. Every now and then you move in power.” But we did not think in terms of sustaining this blessing.
We invited Randy Clark, a casual friend and pastor of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship in St. Louis, Missouri, to speak because we heard that people were being touched powerfully by God when he ministered. We hoped that this anointing would follow him to our church. Yet Randy and I were in fear and trembling, hoping God would show up in power, but uncertain about what would happen. We were not exactly full of faith ‑ but God was faithful anyway.
On January 20, 1994, the Father’s blessing fell on the 120 people attending that Thursday night meeting in our church. Randy gave his testimony, and ministry time began. People fell all over the floor under the power of the Holy Spirit, laughing and crying. We had to stack up all the chairs to make room for everyone. Some people even had to be carried out.
We had been praying for God to move, and our assumption was that we would see more people saved and healed, along with the excitement that these would generate. It never occurred to us that God would throw a massive party where people would laugh, roll, cry and become so empowered that emotional hurts from childhood were just lifted off them. The phenomena may be strange, but the fruit this is producing is extremely good (Waugh 1998, 111-112).
Hundreds of thousands have visited their church since then, most returning to their home churches with a fresh anointing for ministry and evangelism. People were saved and healed, more in the next two years than ever before in that church.
Sunday, 29 May, 1994, Brompton, London (Eleanor Mumford)
The Anglican Church, Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) near Kengsington in London has been powerfully affected by the current awakening and widely reported in the media. The famous Alpha evangelism and renewal course now used worldwide, comes from them.
Eleanor Mumford, assistant pastor of the South‑West London Vineyard and wife of John Mumford (the pastor and the overseer of the Vineyard Churches in Britain), told a group of friends about her recent visit to the Toronto Airport Vineyard in Canada. When she prayed for them the Holy Spirit profoundly affected them.
Nicky Gumbel, Curate of Holy Trinity Brompton, was there. He rushed back from this meeting with his wife, Pippa, to the HTB church office in South Kensington where he was late for a staff meeting. The meeting was ready to adjourn. He apologised, told what had happened, and was then asked to pray the concluding prayer. He prayed for the Holy Spirit to fill everyone in the room.
The church newspaper, HTB in Focus, 12 June 1994, reported the result: “The effect was instantaneous. People fell to the ground again and again. There were remarkable scenes as the Holy Spirit touched all those present in ways few had ever experienced or seen. Staff members walking past the room were also affected. Two hours later some of those present went to tell others in different offices and prayed with them where they found them. They too were powerfully affected by the Holy Spirit ‑ many falling to the ground. Prayer was still continuing after 5 pm” (Riss 1995).
The church leaders invited Eleanor Mumford to preach at Holy Trinity Brompton the next Sunday, 29 May, at both services. After both talks, she prayed for the Holy Spirit to come upon the people. Some wept. Some laughed. Many came forward for prayer and soon lay overwhelmed on the floor.
Cassette tapes of those services circulated in thousands of churches in England. A fresh awakening began to spread through the churches. Nicky Gumbel’s Alpha Course has spread worldwide. Sandy Miller prayed for Stephen Hill just before his evangelistic ministry began at Pensacola. Thousands still pass through “HTB” seeking God, and finding him.
Sunday, 14 August, 1994, Sunderland, England (Ken Gott)
Ken and Lois Gott founders of Sunderland Christian Centre (SCC) in 1987 in the north‑east of England, felt dry and worn out in 1994. Ken Gott and four other Pentecostals visited Holy Trinity Brompton in London. The presence of God among Anglicans humbled and amazed those Pentecostals.
Andy and Jane Fitz‑Gibbon reported that “stereotypes were shattered as Ken and the other Pentecostals received a new baptism in the Spirit at the hands of Bishop David Pytches. The change was so profound in Ken that the members at SCC took up an offering and sent Ken, Lois and their youth leader for a week to Toronto. Like most of us who have made the same pilgrimage, they were profoundly touched, soaking in God for a week, never to be the same again.”
On August 14th, the first Sunday morning back from Toronto, the effect on the church was staggering. Virtually the whole congregation responded to Ken’s appeal to receive the same touch from God that he and Lois had received. They decided to meet again in the evening, although normal meetings had been postponed for the summer recess. The same experience occurred. They gathered again the next evening and the next . . . in fact for two weeks without a night off. Quickly, numbers grew from around a hundred‑and‑fifty to six hundred. Word reached the region and, without advertising, people began the pilgrimage to Sunderland from a radius of around 70 miles.
By September a pattern of nightly meetings (bar Mondays) was established and each night the same overwhelming sense of God was present. That pattern has continued ever since, with monthly leaders’ meeting on a Wednesday or Thursday afternoon (with usually around 300 in attendance) and a daily ‘place’ of prayer being added. The effect on many churches and on thousands of individuals has been profound (Waugh 1998, 122).
The church began two meetings a day with daily afternoon prayer meetings from January 1995. Many former criminals were saved, and crime dropped in the community.
Saturday, 5 November, 1994, Mount Annan, Sydney (Adrian Gray)
Christian Life Centre Mount Annan is an Assembly of God church located on 37 acres of park-like land near Campbelltown in the south west of Sydney. They have been experiencing a sustained outpouring of the Holy Spirit since 5 November 1994. This edited report is by Pastor Brian Shick, a member of the staff at Christian Life Centre Mount Annan, Sydney.
Adrian Gray, the senior Pastor of Christian Life Centre Mount Annan was born again in the mid 1960’s during a period of revival in Campbelltown. This initial experience of the power and work of the Holy Spirit left a distinct impression on his spirit. He believed for and worked towards full-scale revival as a major focus in his relationship with the Lord and in his ministry.
An outstanding prophetic sign occurred a short while before this outpouring took place when a helicopter flying over the church called the fire department reporting our building on fire. Thirteen fire trucks screamed up the church driveway looking for the fire to extinguish, but there was no visible fire. When we realised that it was a spiritual fire that had been seen, great awe came upon the church. This happened at the conclusion of ten days of prayer and fasting for revival.
The arrival of the move of the Holy Spirit on the first weekend of November, 1994, could only be described as sovereign. Randwick Baptist Church, which is in more central Sydney, experienced the same outpouring at exactly the same time. Numbers of churches around the nation experienced a similar occurrence about the same time.
For many months the church had been praying for a visitation of God without perhaps really realising what that meant. An evangelistic crusade with an “end-times emphasis” had been planned for that weekend. The evangelist, recently returned from Toronto, Canada, preached his evangelistic message and called people forward who wanted a fresh touch from God. Immediately over 300 people responded and as the evangelist and pastors prayed the presence of God came. The Father’s heart of love was revealed to the people and as hands were gently laid on them they fell to the floor under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. They lay there for a long time and when they got up there were dozens of amazing testimonies of healing and restoration and life changing transformations. The next day, Sunday, the Holy Spirit came again, and then again on Monday and Tuesday and in every meeting held since that time. The anointing was so strong that many people in those first months would fall to the floor as soon as they came through the door.
Two weeks later on arriving back from Toronto, Adrian and Kathy and the leadership team, convinced that this was of God and the fulfilment of the many prophecies, made a decision to commit the church to revival. Renewal did not just become an appendage to the existing program, it became the entire program. The Holy Spirit is free to move however he wants in any of the services. While most pastors would say that this is the case in their churches, many have actually limited the style of meeting that is characteristic of this current move, to one or two services a week and the other meetings are “normal”.
Because of the numbers of people just visiting, it is hard to actually determine how many people in each service actually belong to the church. There have been approximately 200,000 people pass through the church doors since the outpouring began. The official membership has grown from 300 prior to renewal to 700 at present. With all the services added together, 1,200 people are ministered to per week with many more during conferences.
Sunday, 6 November, 1994, Randwick, Sydney (Greg Beech)
Greg Beech, the minister of Randwick Baptist Church in Sydney, reported:
Many Christians are talking about a significant work of God that is sweeping the church today which has become known as the Toronto Blessing. Hundreds of churches around Australia have already been touched, blessed and changed. Christians are testifying to significant life change, wonderful fruit and a new zeal for God. People are laughing, crying, falling down, experiencing strange body movements. Many who have exhibited these phenomena have never had such experiences before nor, by their own testimony, did they expect to. Services are lasting for hours longer than usual. Many pastors are rejoicing as they observe the spiritual fruit.
At Randwick Baptist Church, some of these phenomena have been present in lesser degrees for about nine years. They occurred spontaneously and without prompting or discussion.
Late in 1993 and the first seven or eight months of 1994 had been a considerable time of change for us involving difficult decisions, change of staff, relational tensions, loss of some members, and a rethink of the church’s vision. The ‘ship’ of the church had slowed and was making a careful, yet sure change, in direction.
The outcome of this process was a greater sense of unity in the church, a growing commitment to corporate prayer, and a desire to get on with the work of the Kingdom. In hindsight, we realise that some of the things we went through were necessary for God to be able to come and move freely among us. Change is never easy and refining is often painful at the time. We are filled with gratitude as we reflect upon how God was working during this time.
We recognise and wish to emphasise that the outpouring was not so much a result of anything we did but was a sovereign movement of God. The outpouring seems to have transferred from the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, and is being transferred to churches around the world. We have been thrilled to learn of other churches in Sydney also being touched.
While we had prayed for the outpouring of the Spirit, it still caught us by surprise! The sheer intensity and broad sweep of the Spirit’s work has been staggering.
At the same time the critics have been quick to respond. Several have published claims that what they believe is the Toronto Blessing is in fact demonic. Another church has arrived at the conclusion that this is a work of hypnotism. Yet others claim it is just a passing fad for the deluded.
The secular media have been intrigued. Newspaper, radio and T.V. have all visited church services to see for themselves. The response of the secular media has been mainly positive. We need to be aware however that the media often seeks sensationalism rather than an accurate portrayal of what is happening.
What are we to make of this extraordinary outpouring? What place should the phenomena have in our church? How can we test it to ensure that it is a true work of God? How should meetings be administered where such phenomena occur? Furthermore, what is the fruit of all these things? It is important that we follow the biblical injunction to test all things, and seek to establish biblical foundations for what we see happening.
The current refreshing is not some kind of new ‘latest and greatest’ programme which has been introduced to revitalize church services. The ‘refreshing’ is not something that pastors introduce to see if new life can be breathed into their church. We believe what we are witnessing is a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. It was with considerable amazement that we stood back and watched God pour out His Spirit in November 1994 at Randwick Baptist Church. We found it difficult to come to terms with the sheer power and intensity of God’s work.
We have pastored this movement, prayed for discernment, discussed, theologized, debated with our critics, searched the Scriptures, and carefully watched and examined the fruit. We are convinced this is a true work of God. However, we acknowledge that any work of God which involves a human element, will encounter sinful tendencies, perhaps demonic attack, and therefore must be carefully dealt with. The conclusions and positions we have reached, both in theology and practice, may well be rejected by other churches. We do not believe that ours is the only orthodox position.
Sunday, 1 January, 1995, Melbourne, Florida (Randy Clark)
Five local churches in Melbourne, Florida, invited Randy Clark as guest speaker at the Tabernacle Church on New Year’s day of 1995. Unusual revival broke out including large numbers falling down, laughter, weeping, and many dramatic physical healings. Thousands flocked to meetings held six days a week. Pastors and musicians from fifteen different congregations hosted the meetings in a new expression of co‑operation and unity. Randy Clark reported:
In 1994 I spent about 150 [days] in renewal meetings. During that time I never was in a meeting which I felt had the potential to become another Toronto type experience. That was until I went to Melbourne, Florida [on] January 1, 1995. Another revival has broken out. Many sovereign things have occurred which indicate this place too will be [the site of] unusual renewal meetings. I shall share some of these.
First, what made me expect something special at these meetings? I never schedule over four days for meetings, but I scheduled fifteen days for this meeting. Why? I believed there were things going on which indicated a major move of the Spirit was imminent. The Black and White ministerial associations merged a few months prior to my going. The charismatic pastors had been meeting together for prayer for six years, and pastors from evangelical and charismatic and pentecostal churches had been meeting and praying together for over two years. There was a unity built which would be able to withstand the pressures of diverse traditions working together in one renewal/revival meeting.
The meetings are held at the Tabernacle, the largest church in the area. It holds 950 comfortably. This was Jamie Buckingham’s church, now pastored by Michael Thompson. The church sanctuary is filled by 6:15 with meetings beginning at 7:00. About 1,200 are crowded into the sanctuary, another 150 fills a small overflow room, and another 200‑300 sit outside watching on a large screen (Waugh 1998, 124-125).
The revival in Melbourne continues with an astounding mixture of white, black, Asiatic, Hispanic, and American Indian people being touched by God, filled with the Spirit and witnessing to others.
The Christian radio station WSCF, FM 92 at Vero Beach, Florida, an hour’s drive south of Melbourne, interviewed Randy Clark on Friday 6 January. The General Manager of the radio station, Jon Hamilton, wrote a report which shows how this revival can break out of churches into the community. Here are some exceprts from the full version in Flashpoints of Revival:
I had agreed to interview a pastor from St. Louis, Randy Clark that morning. … The interview was innocent enough at first. The subject turned to a discussion of the Holy Spirit’s manifest presence in a meeting (as opposed to His presence that dwells within our hearts always). Rather suddenly, something began to happen in the control room.
It began with Gregg. He was seated behind me listening, and for no apparent reason, he began to weep. His weeping turned to shuddering sobs that he attempted to muffle in his hands. It was hard to ignore, and Randy paused mid‑sentence to comment “You can’t see him, but God is really dealing with the fellow behind you right now.” I looked over my shoulder just in time to see Gregg losing control. He stood up, only to crash to the floor directly in front of the console, where he lay shaking for several minutes. … I had always known Gregg to act like a professional, so I knew something was seriously going on. I did my best to recover the interview under the embarrassing circumstances. I thanked the guest and wrapped it up. (And thought of ways to kill Gregg later!)
Before Randy Clark left, we asked him to say a word of prayer. We formed a circle and began to pray for the staff one by one. My eyes were shut, but I heard a thud and opened them to see Bart Mazzarella prostrate on the floor. He had fallen forward on his face. What amazed me most was that Bart was known to be openly sceptical. He simply did not accept such things. Within seconds, another and another staff person went down. Even those that remained standing were clearly shaken.
When they prayed for me, I did not “fall down”. What did happen was an electric sensation shot down my right arm, and my right hand began to tremble uncontrollably. My heart pounded as I became aware of a powerful sense of what can only be called God’s manifest presence.
I thought the atmosphere would abate after a few minutes and return to normal… but instead, our prayers grew more and more intense. The room became charged in a way that I simply cannot describe. After an hour of this, we realized that it was 10:30, the time we normally share our listener’s needs in prayer.
I switched on the mike, and found myself praying that God would touch every listener in a personal way. After prayer, with great hesitation I added “This morning God has really been touching our staff, so we’ve been spending the morning praying together. If you’re in a situation right now where you are facing a desperate need, just drop by our studios this morning and we’ll take a minute to pray with you.” This was the first time we had ever made such an invitation. …
Within a few minutes, a few listeners began to arrive. The first person I prayed with was a tall man who shared with me some tremendous needs he was facing. I told him I would agree with him in prayer. As I prayed for his need, a voice in my head was saying “It’s a shame that you don’t operate in any real spiritual gift or power. Here’s a man who really needs to hear from God and you’ve got nothing worth giving him!” I continued to pray, but I was struggling. I reached up with my right hand to touch his shoulder, when suddenly he shook, and slumped to the floor. (He lay there without moving for over 2 hours.) I was shocked and shaken.
Two others had arrived at this point, and staff members were praying with them. Suddenly they began weeping uncontrollably, and slumped to the floor. This scene was repeated a dozen times in the next few minutes. It didn’t matter who did the praying, whenever we asked the Lord, he immediately responded with a visible power, and the same manifestations occurred. …
Fairly early in all this, we ran out of room. The radio station floor was wall to wall bodies… some weeping, some shaking, some completely still. People reported that it was like heavy lead apron had been placed over them. They were unable to get up. All they could do was worship God.
Fortunately, our offices are inside of the complex at Central Assembly, so when the crowd began to grow, we moved across into the Church, leaving the radio station literally wall to wall with seekers. …
At some point I looked up and saw a local Baptist Pastor walk in the door. I must confess that my first thought was, “Oh Boy…I’m in trouble!” While I knew this brother to be a genuine man of God, nevertheless I was concerned about how a fundamental, no‑nonsense Baptist might take all these goings‑on. (Besides, I didn’t have an explanation to offer!) I walked up to greet him. He just silently surveyed the room, and with a tone of voice just above a whisper said, “This… is…God. For years I’ve prayed for revival… This is God.”
Within minutes more local pastors began to arrive. Lutheran, Independent, Assembly of God… The word of what was happening spread like wildfire. As the pastors arrived, they were cautious at first, but within just minutes, they would often begin to flow in the same ministry. The crowd was growing and pastors began to lay hands on the seekers, where once again the power of God would manifest and the seeker would often collapse to the ground.
It did not seem to matter who did the praying. This was a nameless, faceless, spontaneous move of God. There were no stars, no leaders, and frankly, there was no organization. (It’s hard to plan for something you have no idea might happen!) …
Amazingly, unchurched, unsaved people were showing up. I got a fresh glimpse of the power of radio as person after person told us “I’m not really a part of any church…” A few were sceptical at first, and later found themselves kneeling in profound belief.
Sometimes people would rise up, only to frantically announce to us that they had been healed of some physical problem. One woman’s arthritic hands found relief. Neck pains, jaw problems, stomach disorders and more were all reported to us as healed.
We have received at least a dozen verified, credible, reliable comments from people who told us that when they switched on the radio, they were suddenly, unexpectedly overwhelmed by the presence of God (even when they didn’t hear us say anything). Several told us that the manifest presence of God was so strong in their cars that they were unable to drive, and were forced to pull off the road.
The “falling” aspect of this visitation was the most visible manifestation, but it was not falling that was important. What was important was the fact that people were rising up with more love for God in their hearts than ever before. They were being changed, and their hearts set ablaze. I have lost count of the numbers of people who told me of the change God worked in their life. …
Christian history is full of accounts of those times when God elected to “visit” His people. When He has, entire nations have sometimes been affected. I believe you’ll agree, our nation is ripe for such a revival. For such a time as this, let us look to God with expectancy (Waugh 1998, 125-132).
Sunday, 15 January, 1995, Modesto, California (Glenn & Debbie Berteau)
Glenn and Debbie Berteau, pastors of Calvary Temple Worship Centre in Modesto, California, from January 1994, strongly sensed the Lord would give them revival there. Early in 1994, they challenged their congregation with that vision. After the ‘vision Sunday’, individuals committed themselves to fast on specific days as the congregation became involved in a forty day period of prayer and fasting. In early January 1995, they had a three day fast. The church building remained open for prayer, and people prayed over names on cards left on the altar. Those able to do so met together daily for prayer at noon. Many pastors in the area began meeting each week to pray for the city.
On Sunday 15 January 1995, the church began holding performances of the play, Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames. It was scheduled for three days originally but continued for seven weeks with 28 performances.
Jann Mathies, pastoral secretary of Calvary Temple reported in April:
As of this writing, approximately 81,000 have attended the performance with 90% each night seeing it for the first time. At time of printing, 33,000 decision packets have been handed out, and of that, (confirmed) 20,000 returned with signed decision cards. Over 250 churches have been represented with hundreds of people added to the churches in our city and surrounding communities in less than one month. People come as early as 3:30 pm for a 7 pm performance. There are over 1,000 people waiting to get in at 5 pm, and by 5:30 pm the building is full. Thousands of people have been turned away; some from over 100 miles away. … Husbands and wives are reconciling through salvation; teenagers are bringing their unsaved parents; over 6,000 young people have been saved, including gang members who are laying down gang affiliation and turning in gang paraphernalia. . . . The revival is crossing every age, religion and socio‑economic status. . . . We have many volunteers coming in every day, and through the evening hours to contact 500 to 600 new believers by phone; special classes have also been established so that new believers may be established in the faith (Waugh 1998, 133).
The play became a focus for revival in the area. Some churches closed their evening service so their people could take their unsaved friends there. One result is that many churches in the area began receiving new coverts and finding their people catching the fire of revival in their praying and evangelising.
One church added a third Sunday morning service to accommodate the people. Another church asked their members to give up their seats to visitors. Bible book stores sold more Bibles than usual. A local psychologist reported on deep healings in the lives of many people who attended the drama.
That play continues to be used effectively around the world. For example, churches in Australia have performed the play with hundreds converted in local churches. Hardened unbelievers with no place for church in their lives have been saved and live for God.
Sunday, 22 January, 1995, Brownwood, Texas (Chris Robeson)
Richard Riss gathered these accounts of revival touching colleges across America beginning with Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas.
On January 22, 1995, at Coggin Avenue Baptist Church in Brownwood, Texas, two students from Howard Payne University, a Christian institution, stood up and confessed their sins. As a result of this incident, many others started to confess their own sins before the congregation. On January 26, a similar event took place on the campus of Howard Payne. Word quickly spread to other colleges, and Howard Payne students were soon being invited to other college campuses, which experienced similar revivals. From these schools, more students were invited to still other schools, where there were further revivals. …
One of the first two students from Howard Payne to confess his sins was Chris Robeson. As he testified about his own life and the spiritual condition of his classmates, “People just started streaming down the aisles” in order to pray, confess their sins, and restore seemingly doomed relationships, according to John Avant, pastor of Coggin Avenue Baptist Church. From this time forward, the church began holding three‑and‑a‑half‑hour services. Avant said, “This is not something we’re trying to manufacture. It’s the most wonderful thing we’ve ever experienced.” …
At Howard Payne, revival broke out during a January 26 ‘celebration’ service, as students praised God in song and shared their testimonies. Students then started to schedule all‑night prayer meetings in dormitories. …
Then, on February 13‑15, during five meetings at Howard Payne, Henry Blackaby, a Southern Baptist revival leader ministered at a series of five worship services, attended by guests from up to 200 miles away. On Tuesday, February 14, more than six hundred attended, and students leaders went up to the platform to confess publicly their secret sins. About two hundred stayed afterward to continue praying. One of the students, Andrea Cullins, said, “Once we saw the Spirit move, we didn’t want to leave.” …
After Howard Payne, some of the first schools to be affected were Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Forth Worth, Texas, Beeson School of Divinity in Birmingham, Alabama, Olivet Nazarene University in Kankakee, Ill., The Criswell College in Dallas, Moorehead State University in Moorehead, Ky., Murray State University in Murray, Ky., Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La., Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. In each case, students went forward during long services to repent of pride, lust, bondage to materialism, bitterness, and racism.
These revivals continued throughout and beyond 1995. Details are given in Accounts of a Campus Revival: Wheaton College 1995, edited by Timothy Beougher and Lyle Dorsett (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, 1995).
Friday, 24 March, 1995, Pasadena, California (Che Ahn)
From January of 1995, John Arnott of the Toronto Airport Vineyard and Wes Campbell of New Life Vineyard Fellowship in Kelowna, British Columbia began speaking for two or three days each at Mott Auditorium on the campus of the U. S. Centre for World Mission. By 24 March people gathered for meetings five nights a week, usually going very late.
John Arnott conducted powerful meetings there on Friday‑Sunday 24‑26 March, hosted by Harvest Rock Church, a Vineyard Fellowship. Then the combined churches in the area continued with nightly meetings from Monday 27 March. Later that settled to meetings from Wednesday to Sunday each week. Then Wednesdays were reserved for cell groups and meetings continued from Thursday to Sunday nights.
Che Ahn, senior pastor of Harvest Rock Church wrote in their monthly magazine Wine Press in August 1995:
I am absolutely amazed at what God has done during the past five months. After John Arnott exploded onto the scene with three glorious and unforgettable renewal meetings, he encouraged the pastors of our church to begin nightly protracted meetings. My mind immediately rejected the idea. I thought to myself, “The meetings were great because you were here, but how can we sustain nightly meetings without someone like John Arnott to draw the crowd?”
The answer to my question was an obvious one. Someone greater than John Arnott would show up each night at the meetings ‑ Jesus. And each night since we began March 27, 1995, God has shown up to heal, to save, and to touch thousands of lives. There is no accurate way to measure the impact that the renewal meetings are having in our city. I do believe that we are making church history, and we are in the midst of another move of the Holy Spirit that is sweeping the world. From March 27 to July 27, we have had 99 nightly renewal meetings. We have averaged about 300 people per night, some nights with more that 1200 people and others with a small crowd of 120.
More than 25,000 people have walked through the doors of Mott Auditorium, many of them happy, repeat customers. We have seen more that 300 people come forward to rededicate their lives or give their hearts to Jesus Christ. These statistics don’t come close to representing other evangelistic fruit of those who have attended the meetings. For example, two church members, Justine Bateman and Jeff Eastridge, had an outreach at Arroyo High School and more than 60 young people gave their hearts to the Lord!
We have seen marvellous healings from the hand of the Lord, many of them spontaneous without anyone specifically praying for the healing. I wish I had the time and space to share all the wonderful fruit I have seen at the renewal meetings. Seeing the need to share what God is doing, I felt that we are producing this church newsletter to share these testimonies of lives that have been impacted by God during this current outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Waugh 1998, 133-134).
Sunday, 18 June, 1995, Pensacola, Florida (Steve Hill)
Over 26,000 conversions were registered in the first year of the ‘Pensacola Revival’. Over 100,000 conversions were been registered in the first two years. It still continues.
On Father’s Day, Sunday 18 June 1995, evangelist Steve Hill spoke at Brownsville Assembly of God, near Pensacola, Florida. At the altar call a thousand people streamed forward as the Holy Spirit moved on them. Their pastor, John Kilpatrick, fell down under the power of God and was overwhelmingly impacted for four days.
That morning service, normally finishing at noon, lasted till 4 pm. The evening service continued for another five and a half hours. So the church asked Steve Hill to stay. He cancelled appointments, continued with nightly meetings, and relocated to live there, where he continues to minister in revival.
John Kilpatrick, pastor of the Brownsville Assembly of God Church, reported on their revival in 1997:
The souls who come to Christ, repenting and confessing their sin, the marriages that are restored, the many people who are freed from bondage that has long held them captive ‑ these are the marks of revival and the trophies of God’s glory. No, I am not speaking of a revival that lasted one glorious weekend, one week, one month, or even one year! At this writing, the ‘Brownsville Revival’ has continued unbroken, except for brief holiday breaks, since Father’s Day, June 18, 1995! How? Only God knows. Why? First, because it is God’s good pleasure, and second, perhaps because the soil of our hearts was prepared in prayer long before revival descended on us so suddenly.
On that very normal and ordinary Sunday morning in June of 1995, I was scheduled to minister to my congregation, but I felt weary. I was still trying to adjust to the recent loss of my mother, and my years‑long desire for revival in the church seemed that morning to be so far off. So I asked my friend, Evangelist Steve Hill, to fill the pulpit in my place. Although he was scheduled to speak only in the evening service, Steve agreed to preach the Father’s Day message. We didn’t know it then, but God was at work in every detail of the meeting.
The worship was ordinary (our worship leader, Lindell Cooley, was still ministering on a missions trip to the Ukraine in Russia), and even Brother Hill’s message didn’t seem to ignite any sparks that morning ‑ until the noon hour struck. Then he gave an altar call and suddenly God visited our congregation in a way we had never experienced before. A thousand people came forward for prayer after his message. That was almost half of our congregation! We didn’t know it then, but our lives were about to change in a way we could never have imagined.
We knew better than to hinder such a mighty move of God, so services just continued day after day. We had to adjust with incredible speed. During the first month of the revival, hundreds of people walked the isles to repent of their sins. By the sixth month, thousands had responded to nightly altar calls. By the time we reached the twelfth month, 30,000 had come to the altar to repent of their sins and make Jesus Lord of their lives.
At this writing, 21 months and over 470 revival services later, more than 100,000 people have committed their lives to God in these meetings ‑ only a portion of the 1.6 million visitors who have come from every corner of the earth …
If the prophecy delivered by Dr David Yonggi Cho [given in 1991] years before it came to pass is correct, this revival, which he correctly placed as beginning at Pensacola, Florida, will sweep up the East Coast and across the United States to the West Coast, and America will see an outpouring of God that exceeds any we have previously seen. I am convinced that you, and every believer who longs for more of God, has a part to play in this great awakening from God (Waugh 1998, 137-138).
Pastors, leaders and Christians have been returning to their churches ignited with a new passion for the Lord and for the lost. The awesome presence of God experienced at Pensacola continues to impact thousands from around the world.
Friday, 27 October, 1995, Mexico (David Hogan)
David Hogan, founder of Freedom Ministries, a mission to remote hill tribes in Mexico told in a sermon about the outpouring of the Spirit there. This is part of his account:
I visited an outlying village. It took four hours in a 4 wheel drive and then two hours on foot, uphill ‑ very remote. There’s no radio, no T.V., no outside influences. I’m sitting up there in this little hut on a piece of wood against the bamboo wall on the dirt floor. Chickens are walking around in there. And this pastor walks up to me. He’s a little guy, and he’s trembling. He says, “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, “Man, it’s not my fault. I apologise. I’ve done everything right, like you taught me. I pray everyday. 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.
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, Wednesday, 25 October 1995, 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, Thursday, was even better. It was stronger. I thought we were peaking out on the second day. I got there at eight o’clock in the morning and left a ten 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.
I don’t have words to describe what happened to us when the Holy Spirit fell on us on Friday, 27 October, 1995. 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. 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 Ghost 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 Ghost. 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 lying 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.
“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:1). I saw that river. I actually saw the river, it’s 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.
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 the pastor 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.
Between 150 and 500 people per month are being saved because of it, just through what the North American missionaries are doing (Waugh 1998, 139-144).
Sunday, 24 March, 1996, Smithton, Missouri (Steve Gray)
Like thousands of pastors across America, Steve Gray was discouraged and disappointed. He was even considering leaving the ministry. For twelve years he had pastored the Smithton Community Church in the sleepy little town of Smithton, Missouri, nestled among the wheat. Steve Gray was discouraged and disappointed. He was even considering leaving the ministry. Steve Gray was ready to quit.
Knowing he had to get away from the church for some “R and R,” he chose revival over relaxation. In March 1996, he drove from Missouri to Florida to visit the Brownsville Outpouring at Pensacola that was then in its 37th week. Gray attended the services each night and spent the days in his motel room, praying and seeking God’s face.
During the Tuesday night prayer meeting, while hundreds gathered around the “Pastor’s Banner” to pray for the nation’s shepherds, Gray was praying especially for one pastor, himself. He knew if he continued in the ministry, he had to be restored. After about three days, he felt some recovery and his focus began to change. God was restoring his hope and he found this to be the first signal of his personal revival.
Before this change in focus, Gray didn’t even know what to ask from God. Gray says he came to Brownsville not to “get something” but to “see something,” as Moses went to “see” the burning bush. After several more days, Gray was “seeing” again. One night, in what Gray described as a “perfect atmosphere,” God spoke to him and said, “I want you to have a revival.” The very thought was too much to accept. Smithton, Missouri, is not Pensacola, Florida, and Gray could not imagine himself in the role of revivalist. Then God spoke again, “I didn’t say I want you to be a revival, I said I want you to have a revival.”
On Sunday morning, 17 March 1996, Pastor Kilpatrick shared part of his personal testimony of how revival came to Brownsville. Gray reached the place of faith and could believe “there is a place for me in revival.” He observed Kilpatick as he was “watching, guiding, and pastoring a truly sovereign move of God that was changing the world.” Kilpatrick’s words and example showed Gray that “revival needs to be pastored and can be pastored.”
After Sunday worship, Gray called his wife, Kathy, and said, “I have just been in the best Sunday morning service I have ever been in. Tell our church.” Near the end of his second week in Brownsville, Gray headed for home, repentant and on the road to revival and restoration.
While God was working on Gray, he was also working on the members of Smithton Community Church. For two and one-half years the church had held a Tuesday night prayer meeting, but as God prepared the church for revival, the prayers became more intense. Associate Elder Randy Lohman says there was “lots of brokenness” in the months immediately preceding the outpouring.
As the pastor sought God in Florida, the congregation sought him at home. On Sunday night, March 17, Kathy Gray relayed the pastor’s message about the great Sunday morning service in Brownsville. David Cordes, one of the elders, was deeply convicted. Weeping, he asked the congregation, “Why should our pastor have to travel a thousand miles to be in the best service he has ever been in?” He fell on the floor in repentance. Soon he was followed by several other men in the church, repenting for their lack of support and crying out to God to do the same thing at Smithton that he was doing for the pastor in Florida. God continued his work on Wednesday night as a five year old girl prophesied and said, “It’s coming! It’s coming!” The Lord had seen their brokenness.
When the pastor arrived on Sunday night, the glory fell. To be exact, at 6:12 p.m. on 24 March 1996 God the Holy Ghost arrived in his awesome power at Smithton Community Church. They will never be the same. Immediately they added services to their church schedule. Now, the outpouring has continued for two years with five services every week. Visitors have come from all fifty states and many foreign countries, often in numbers that vastly exceed the population of the town.
Thousands of lives have been changed. Sick bodies have been healed. Visiting pastors have taken the fire back to their congregation. Steve, Kathy, and teams from the church are taking the revival all around the world. As for the future of the revival, Lohman said, “God started it and we are going to let him do what he is doing.”
Move to Kansas. Smithton Community Church (SCC) in the tiny town of Smithton, is relocating to Kansas City to allow the almost-four-year “outpouring” to continue to spread. Weekly revival meetings have been held at the church in Smithton – population around 500 – since March 1996.
Services last for three or more hours, with intense prayer for visitors. Many have testified of healings and renewal of their love for God. Similar revivals have been sparked in other churches as a result of visits to the Smithton church.
Now Steve Gray and his small staff are moving 90 minutes away to take over the former property of Raytown Baptist Church, in suburban Kansas City. The building has seating for 1,400 and other facilities that can better meet the demand for space created by visitors to the Smithton church, who even come from overseas.
The last revival services were be held in Smithton on Thanksgiving weekend, with a transition period leading to the first service at the new church in January, 2000. Gray said that many of SCC’s 300 local members are considering making the move to another part of the state.
“I don’t have any doubt that the glory of God will show because it’s the same people, same staff, same everything. When we go to another city or another country it’s not like nothing happens. Something always happens,” he said. “But maybe the city isn’t ready for this kind of commitment. That’s what this is; it’s a revival in your heart.”
Gray said he was approached out of the blue by the leaders at Raytown Baptist, wondering if he could use their former property. Revival services will be held Fridays and Saturdays at the new church. Other services will focus on the local congregation. The new property is fitted for a TV ministry, which may follow the radio program “Prepare the Way,” started on a Christian station in the city over the summer.
“We feel that we are hopefully getting ready for the next move of God in the United States, which is a great awakening,” said Gray. “We never intended for this to happen, but for whatever reason we feel the lifting and the moving.”
Sources: http://members.aol.com/azusa/index.html from The Remnant International; Daily News Update from Charisma magazine, 29 October, 1999.
Sunday, 28 April, 1996, Hampton, Virginia
Bethel Temple Assembly of God has been experiencing a move of the Holy Spirit since April 1996. Church membership is 2,200. Revival meetings are held Wednesday, Thursday & Friday.
During 1-6 April the drama Heaven’s Gates, Hell’s Flames drew large crowds with nearly 3,000 responding to the altar call for salvation. Later, 75 were baptized in an outdoor baptismal service.
During the week, 22-27 April, several pastors journeyed to Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, to a revival conference.
On Saturday 27th, at a Women’s Ministry Outreach, revival broke out in the parking lot and at a meeting. People rested in the Spirit, and miracles occurred with the prophetic gifting of pastor Don Rogers. He opened the sanctuary for a prayer meeting which extended to midnight.
On 28 April, the Sunday 7.30 am service started and did not end till 3.24 pm which bypassed the 10.30 am service. Church members were repenting, numerous people converted to Christ, and many were delivered of evil spirits. The pastors displayed manifestations similar to those in past historical moves of God. Powerful conviction fell on the people, with many overwhelmed.
Hampton, Virginia is the oldest English speaking settlement in America. Bethel Temple Church is racially diverse: 40% African-American, 50% white, 10% Hispanic and Asian.
In 1996 the Senior Associate Pastor, Don Rogers, had an open vision of the Holy Spirit coming to Hampton. He saw the Spirit of the Lord coming like a storm and it blew into their church. In his vision when this happened it blew out a glass window in the church.
Fourteen months later, on 1 June, 1997, the Sunday service at Bethel Temple was starting. Senior Pastor Ron Johnson was praying and asking God to come “like a pent-up flood”. Suddenly Pastor Johnson looked at his hands and oil was dripping from his hands. The pastor began to tell the congregation of what was happening to his hands. The head usher told the pastor the front window of the church just blew out.
The pastor began telling the congregation of what happened. People ran to the altar. Many publicly repented of sins. God’s manifest presence filled the building. Marriages are being restored, sexually broken people healed, myriad conversions to Christ, and many being filled with the Holy Spirit.
The vision was beginning to be fulfilled. Part of the interpretation of the glass breaking signified the Spirit of the Lord blowing into Bethel church and blowing out. The mission of Bethel church is to proclaim God’s glory to the nation. The breaking of the glass window is a prophetic symbol of God’s power to release the church to carry the gospel to the nations. Also that week, several “signs and wonders” happened. An unexplained earthquake tremor and circular rainbow 360 degrees appeared over the city.
Unity of churches in the Hampton area is growing. Twenty churches gathered for Easter Services this year in the town’s coliseum. According to Pastor Don Rodgers it’s unprecedented to get twenty churches to lay down the most important service of the year. Eleven thousand people attended.
Sunday, 29 September, 1996, Mobile, Alabama (Cecil Turner)
Joel Kilpatrick described revival in Mobile, Alabama:
Cecil Turner was a shy man with a stutter – a pipe-fitter with no Bible college education – when God called him to lead Calvary Assembly of God in Mobile, Alabama, in 1963. Even family members questioned whether or not Turner could pastor the young congregation.
Now, 34 years later, the church literally overflows with people coming to see what’s been happening since Sunday, 29 September, 1996, when God’s presence came in power during the church’s annual “camp meeting.”
“I’ve thought we’d close out a number of times,” Turner says. “But the Holy Spirit says we’re going on.”
The church has been in continuous revival from week to week, meeting Tuesdays for intercessory prayer, and Wednesdays through Fridays for services that draw 250 to 300 people. Sunday mornings draw 400, the maximum number they can pack into the sanctuary.
Some services are exuberant and intense; others so heavy all they can do is “lay on the ground.” Sometimes the Spirit is so strong during praise and worship that they throw open the altars. “We come in each night and never know what’s going to happen,” Cecil says, pausing for a moment. “I like it.”
The church started praying for revival in 1992, says Cecil’s son Kevin, who has been on staff for 11 years. “At times we wondered if revival would happen,” Kevin says. “But we saw the intensity and the hunger growing.”
After five years of prayer and some dry stretches, God came mightily when a travelling evangelist, Wayne Headrick, came to preach. God spoke to Headrick that if they got out of the way, God would make something happen. That “something” keeps on happening.
“It seems like it’s accelerating,” Headrick told the Mobile Register in May 1997. “Each service there’s more . . . anointing and more of the power of God.”
Unchurched people are coming in droves to this church that sits at a 3-way stop on the western city limit of Mobile. “They may not understand it,” says music pastor Kevin Turner, Cecil’s son, “but they want more of it.”
Many come from other denominations: Nazarene, Catholic, Methodist, to name a few. “We agreed from the beginning that this wasn’t an Assembly of God revival – it was for the whole church,” Cecil says.
People are saved in every service – and some 150 were saved in the last two months alone, Kevin says. Some say afterwards that they felt a need to come, and several testify that they were drawn in as if to a beacon. One man pulled into the parking lot, not fully understanding why he was there. The congregation prays regularly that people will be drawn by the Lord’s presence.
The Mobile revival is redefining Calvary’s concept of pastoral leadership, steering them away from man-generated structure and teaching them to encounter God together.
“It’s like God said, ‘I’ve been trying to move. Now get out of the way,’” says Kevin. “It’s liberating for both pastors and the people.”
Kevin, who grew up a pastor’s kid, testifies that the move of God now enveloping their church has brought him to a new level of faith. “I’ve always loved the Lord, but this has changed my life,” Kevin says. “I want to be intimate with him.”
Revival has also redefined his ministry. Kevin and his 10-piece music team keep a greulling schedule, sometimes singing for 3 hours straight. Before revival began, Kevin would lose his voice after a week of services, he says. But he asked God to sustain him, and has gone 10 months with few problems.
Revival has also forced him to be more in tune with the Holy Spirit before leading worship. “I make a song list, but often it gets tossed out,” he says. “Some nights it’s like being held over a cliff. I know God wants to do something, and I’m asking, ‘What is it?’ I’ve had to become comfortable with silence. Sometimes he just says to wait.”
The revival is not personality-driven. Headrick is often gone for weeks at a time, and the river continues to flow. The pastors say the move of God keeps changing colours as God takes the church to different places in him.
Glenn McCall, pastor of Crawford United Methodist church, frequently takes members of his congregation to Calvary for revival services. “[People] are looking for something, and only God can meet that need in their spirit,” he says. “I feel like it’s a nationwide thing. I’ve heard a lot of testimonies from around the country and the world. There’s some phenomenal things happening in the church world.”
McCall believes the fact that Calvary is drawing from other denominations signifies that America is ready for awakening. “I think people are wanting a revival regardless of what the name is on the [church] doorpost. They’re willing to crawl through barriers to get a touch from God,” he says.
Sunday, October 20, 1996, Houston, Texas (R Heard)
Dr R Heard led the Christian Tabernacle in Houston in growth from 250 to 3,000 members. On Sunday October 20, 1996, a move of God exploded in the church.
During the previous year the church had a strong emphasis on knowing Christ intimately. That August of 1996 Hector Giminez from Argentina ministered there with great power and many significant healings. Awareness of the presence and glory of the Lord increased during October, especially with the ministry of an evangelist friend of Richard, Tommy Tenny, who was to speak that morning. Richard was preparing to welcome him and had just read about God’s promise of revival from 2 Chronicles 7:14 when God’s power hit the place even splitting the plexiglas pulpit.
He spoke about it by telephone in November 1996 with Norman Pope of New Wine Ministries in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, who put the transcript of the discussion on the Awakening E-mail. The following account is an edited selection of Richard Heard’s comments:
I felt the presence of the Lord come on me so powerfully I grabbed the podium, the pulpit, to keep from falling, and that was a mistake. Instantly I was hurled a number of feet in a different direction, and the people said it was like someone just threw me across the platform. The pulpit fell over that I had been holding for support, and I was out for an hour and a half. … I could not move. And I saw a manifestation of the glory of God. … There were thick clouds, dark clouds, edged in golden white and the clouds would ‑ there would be bursts of light that would come through that, that would just go through me absolutely like electricity. … There was literally a pulsating feeling of ‑ as though I was being fanned by the presence of the glory of God. … There were angelic manifestations that surrounded the glory and I didn’t know how long I was out. They said later that I was there for an hour and a half.
In the meanwhile, all across the building people, they tell me, were falling under the presence of God. That’s not something that has happened much in our church, but people were stretched out everywhere, and at the altar. We have three services on Sunday and people would enter the hallways that lead to the foyer and then into the auditorium and they would enter the hallways and begin to weep. There was such a glory of God and they would come into the foyer and not stop ‑ they would just go straight to the altar ‑ people stretched out everywhere. … There were all kinds of angelic visitations that people had experienced. And we’ve got professional people in our church ‑ doctors, professors, their bodies were strewn everywhere.
When I felt the glory of God lift, I tried to get up and couldn’t. It was as though every electrical mechanism in my body had short‑circuited. I couldn’t make my hands or my feet respond to what I was trying to tell them to do. It was as though I was paralysed. … And we had one service that day, and the service literally never ended ‑ it went all the way through the day until 2:00 that morning. It had started at 8:30, and we decided to have church the next night, and I didn’t want to be presumptuous, but we went on a nightly basis on that order, just announcing one night at a time, and as we got deeper into the week I could begin to see that God was doing something that was probably going to be more extended. …
There have been numerous healings. The evangelist didn’t speak at all that Sunday. In fact, the entire week he spoke maybe twenty minutes. There’s been a really deep call of God to repentance. People come in and they just fall on their faces. …
We had a great choir. We’re a multi‑ethnic congregation. A Brooklyn Tabernacle kind of sound, if you’re familiar with that. Great worship and praise. Sunday morning there wasn’t a choir member standing on the platform. They were all scattered like logs all over the platform. And we go in ‑ [musicians] begin to play, to lead us into the presence of the Lord, and they play very softly. Because of our background, usually our worship is very strong, very dynamic, a lot of energy. Not any more. It’s like you’re afraid to even lift your voice. …
We’ve cancelled everything that we had planned. We have a lot of outside activities. We have 122 ministries within the church that have helped our church to grow, and these ministries were primarily either for getting people here or holding people once they’ve converted. … I was telling our staff ‑ they were asking, “Are we going to have Christmas musicals and children’s pageants ever?” And we do a big passion play every year that brings in thousands and thousands of people. And I asked them, “Why do we do all of this?” and they said, “Well, we want people to come here so they can encounter God.” I said, “Look at what’s happening. We’ve got people storming in here that we’ve never seen, never heard of, never talked to. And God’s doing it in a way that is so far superior to what we could do that whatever we’ve got going on, we’re cancelling everything.” And that’s literally what we’ve done. … And there hasn’t been a single objection. That’s what amazes me.
I think that this is probably going to end up ‑ whatever this season is that the Holy Spirit is bringing us through in terms of our commitment to Him and the deep searching of our own hearts, it has the feeling at this point like it’s going to ‑ like it’s building toward even a greater evangelistic outpouring. …
There’s a big difference in renewal and revival. I had the same scepticism of the laughter. I was raised in a classical Pentecostal background. I saw that from time to time, but the latest thing ‑ I just ‑ something inside of me just had a difficult time with it. And there are people that are laughing like crazy now, and, I mean, all of this stuff I said that I had reservations about and didn’t particularly care to see ‑ I mean it’s just as though God has said, “This is My Church. It’s not yours.” And I see the reality of it now. I think it’s going to end up turning strongly evangelistic. It has that feeling and a lot of people are coming and being saved each night. There are many being saved, and there’s not even really an altar call made that distinguishes between people that are already saved ‑ that just need renewal and those that need conversion [because] it’s just so intense right now (Waugh 1998, 144-147).
A year later people were still being converted, often 30-40 a week. Richard Heard commented that everywhere in the church the carpet is stained with the tears of people touched by God and repenting.
Sunday, 19 January, 1997, Baltimore, Maryland (Tommy Tenny)
Elizabeth Moll Stalcup interviewed Bart Pierce and Tommy Tenny at Baltimore, as reported in Charisma, July 1998:
When Baltimore pastor Bart Pierce cried out for more of God in January 1997, he had no idea the Holy Spirit would change his life, and his congregation, forever. Bart Pierce will never forget the day the Holy Spirit fell at his church in the rolling suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland. It wasn’t gradual, nor was it subtle. God showed up during the Sunday morning service on January 19, 1997.
Pierce, pastor of Rock Church in Baltimore, and his wife, Coralee, had just returned from a pastors’ retreat in St. Augustine, Florida. Pierce says he went to the retreat with “a desperate, deep hunger for more of God.”
While there, he heard Tommy Tenney recount an event that occurred in a Houston church a few months earlier. Without warning, during the early morning service on 20 October, 1996, God had sovereignly split a Plexiglas pulpit in two before the amazed congregation. Afterward, an unusual movement of repentance broke out at the Houston church.
Tenney, a third-generation travelling evangelist, told the gathered pastors that the drama of the split pulpit was totally eclipsed by the awesome presence of God that filled the sanctuary immediately after the supernatural event. “The revival,” Tenney told them, “was characterized by a deep sense of humility, brokenness and repentance.”
While Tenney spoke, many of the pastors, including Pierce, fell on their faces weeping. Pierce spent much of his time at the retreat prostrated and weeping before the Lord. When it ended, he asked Tenney to come back to Baltimore with him for the weekend. On the 18-hour drive home, Pierce, his wife and Tenney had “an encounter of God as we talked about what God was doing and what we believed,” Pierce says. “We would sit in the car and weep,” recalls Tenney. They reached Baltimore on Saturday night, filled with a hunger for more of the Lord.
The next morning Pierce knew something was up as soon as he got to the church building. “Two of my elders were standing inside the door weeping,” he says. “We started worshiping, then people began standing up all over the building crying out loud.” Some came forward to the altar; others would “start for the altar and crumple in the aisle.”
Even those outside the sanctuary were affected. “Back in the hallways, people were going down under the power of God. We never really got to preach,” Pierce says. Tenney and Pierce were supposed to be leading the service, but both were too overcome by the intense presence of God to do anything but cry.
“There was a deep sense of repentance that grew increasingly more intense,” Pierce recounts. At 4 pm there were still bodies lying all over the church floor. Pierce and Tenney tried several times to speak, but each time they were overwhelmed by tears.
“Finally,” says Pierce, “we told our leadership team, ‘We’re going home to change clothes.’ We were a mess from lying on the floor and weeping.” The two men went home and changed. When they got back to the church at 6 pm, people were still there, and more were coming. That first “service” continued until 2 in the morning.
Monday night, people returned, and the same thing happened. It happened again Tuesday night. “Many people simply crawled under the pews to hide and weep and cry,” remembers Pierce. “At times the crying was so loud, it was eerie.”
Pierce noticed new faces in the congregation. “We didn’t have a clue as to how they knew about the service, because we don’t advertise at all,” he says. When he asked, some of the visitors told amazing stories.
One man said he was driving down the road when God told him, “Go to Rock Church.” Another woman said she was sitting at her kitchen table when she got the same message. She didn’t know what a “Rock Church” was, but she found a listing in the phone book. After the service she tearfully confided that she had been planning to leave her husband the next morning. “God had totally turned her heart,” says Pierce. “She and her husband have been totally restored.”
For the first few weeks, Pierce says, “every ministry at the church was turned upside down.” The church has always been known for its mercy ministries — its homeless shelter for men, its home for women in crisis, its food distribution program, which moves 7 million pounds of food a year, and its ministry to revive Baltimore’s inner city.
But when the revival started, everything took a back seat to what God was doing. Pierce would find his staff lying on the floor in the hallways or hear a thump against the wall and find someone lying on the floor in the next room, crying uncontrollably.
People reported supernatural events in their homes, too. One woman’s unsaved husband had a dream in which everyone spoke Chinese. He came downstairs and found his wife lying on the floor speaking Chinese. His son, who was supposed to be getting ready for school, was lying on the floor in the living room, weeping and crying. That day, the man got saved.
One night a boy from a local gang came forward weeping while Tenney was still preaching. “He came to the front, looked up at me and said, ‘You’ve got to help me, because I just can’t take it anymore,’” Tenney recalls. “This type of brokenness is what draws God’s presence,” he says. “God will never turn away from a broken heart and a contrite spirit.”
Pierce agrees. He believes the congregation has “opened the heavens somehow by our crying for him. He has become our pleasure.” Both he and Tenney say they have “turned to seek his face, from seeking his hands,” meaning they are seeking to know God intimately rather than seeking him for his benefits.
“We don’t have any agenda,” says Pierce. “We come in and begin to worship, and his manifest presence comes in. It is overwhelming. Sometimes there is nothing any of us can do. We have turned from trying to control the meeting to letting him be the object of why we have come.”
Tenney calls it “presence evangelism.” He explains, “We understand ‘program evangelism,’ where you pass out tracts or put on an evangelistic play or host Alpha classes. John Wimber helped us understand ‘power evangelism,’ where people encounter the power of God as you pray for the needs in their lives.
“But what happened in Houston and what is happening in Baltimore we call ‘presence evangelism.’ The presence of God becomes incredibly strong to where people are literally overwhelmed. They are drawn to his presence. They aren’t drawn by the preaching; they aren’t drawn by the music; they are drawn by the presence of God. It is hard to talk about without weeping.”
The church doesn’t keep figures on the numbers of people who have come to faith in Jesus since the revival started because they encourage people to go back to their home churches. Many pastors bring their people to the services in Baltimore because they know that Rock Church won’t steal their flock.
In contrast to the Toronto Blessing services that have drawn people by the thousands from all over the world to the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship in Canada, most of the people who have come to the Baltimore revival services have been from the local area, including pastors from other churches. “On any given night we have 12 to 20 pastors from the Baltimore area,” Pierce says.
Still, some do come long distances. One night they looked out and saw 47 Koreans who had chartered a plane to come. Another time a group from Iceland was there. They have had visitors from Britain, Germany, the Ukraine and all across America.
Before Easter, the church put on a play about heaven and hell called Eternity. Crowds filled the 3,000-seat sanctuary. Some nights several hundred people had to be turned away because there was no more room. And during one two-day period, more than 700 came forward to give their lives to Christ. The church originally planned to host the play for two weeks, but they continued an extra week because of the tremendous response.
Tenney believes there is “a connection between what the Rock Church has traditionally done” — meaning the church’s strong ministries to hurting people outside the church — and the way the heavens have opened in Baltimore.
Today, services in Baltimore are quieter and gentler than they were during the first few months of revival. But the worship music is powerful, and the singing draws the congregation to Jesus. Most of the songs were written by people in the church after the revival began.
After an hour or so of worship, Tommy Tenney takes the microphone and begins to preach. He asks the audience to worship Jesus in a way they never have before — to worship Him the way Mary did when she broke the alabaster jar, poured the ointment on Jesus’ feet and wiped His feet with her hair.
As Tenney continues to speak, people begin to cry, most quietly, but some more openly. He invites people to come forward. Almost everyone does. “Just for one night in your life, worship Him,” Tenney encourages them. “He wants to manifest himself to his people. For once in your life set aside what you want from God, and give him the glory.”
Those looking for dramatic supernatural displays won’t find them here. But they will feel the intense presence of God. The impact of the revival is seen in the lives that have been changed for eternity. There have been physical healings, healed marriages, burned-out people empowered to follow God, prodigals returned and hundreds of people who have found Jesus for the first time.
“It is not for us to point the way to a lost world. It is for us to lead the way. If the church will begin to walk in humility and repentance, then the world will see his glory.”
June, 1997 – Kawana Waters, Queensland (Peter Barr)
Australian Evangelist Jeff Beacham describes a weekend at Kawana Waters, Queensland, which has been experiencing revival blessing since June 1997:
For the last few days I have been ministering at Living Waters Christian Centre, a church that is moving greatly in revival. Revival began here in June 1997 with a visit from Darrell Stott and a team from Seattle, USA. Darrell returned here in September and stayed until Easter 1998. Since October 1997 they have been having extended meetings, sometimes up to 12 meetings a week.
At one point, they were having 3000 come through for several weeks in a row. However, they do have a wise pastor, Peter Barr, who is committed to revival but understands that good pastoring and discipleship need to be maintained and developed if this church is going to get to where it is destined to be.
They have guest speakers in every second week or so including some prominent international, national and local speakers that have a heart for revival. People from many parts of Australia have been coming, with awesome testimonies of healing, restoration, reconciliations, re‑direction of lives and salvations. Many have testified of a fresh encounter with God and a new personal intimacy with Him.
There is certainly no lack of life here. It is not just emotional hype, but a genuine excitement for the things of God and it is a joy to preach to this very responsive audience. The church was full for the first two nights. On Friday night the power of God hit the young people in a big way. I called every one under the age of 25 to the front. Time after time they were all flattened to the floor, all together and without any one touching them.
Saturday night was a youth rally and young people came from all over the district. There was bedlam as the leader was introducing me with most of the kids talking or walking around. But by the time I was giving my challenge to them to rise up and be Champions of the Truth, God’s word must have been going straight to their hearts because there was not a sound, and we saw a huge altar call in response.
Many visitors came to the services on Sunday, some from as far away as Toowoomba, a large rural city two and a half hours drive from here. Several of the young people publicly testified today about how their lives had been changed and that this weekend had made them more happy and excited about God than they had ever been before. One man in his fifties sent this testimony: “Not only did I have a good time but my life has been forever changed. I realize that you are only the messenger and do not seek earthly rewards but, it is good to know of and sometimes see the results of the Holy Spirit moving through you.”
I believe that this church will accomplish much for the Kingdom of God. They have a vision to be a thousand strong by the year 2000, and to extend their building to be twice the size that it is now. There is a tremendous enthusiasm, and a great anticipation and excitement about the future. They know where they are going and many will want to go with them.
Thursday, 10 July, 1997, Caloundra, Queensland (Ken Kilah)
Pastor Ken Kilah, senior pastor at Caloundra Baptist Church on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland reports on a move of God in the church and at Caloundra Christian College:
Since February 1995 the Caloundra Baptist Church has experienced several waves of the Spirit as he has sovereignly moved on the congregation. At times people would fall in their seats as the Spirit moved in power. Since that time the church has consistently made altar calls at the end of services with various manifestations occurring.
These manifestations increased during and after a ‘Catch the Fire’ conference in October 1996. Guy Chevreaux was the guest speaker. Many people were touched by the power of God and testified to healings, refreshing, release from fears and a whole lot more.
On Thursday 10 July, 1997, the Holy Spirit unexpectedly came upon students in a Year 7 class at the Caloundra Christian College. The College is a ministry of the Caloundra Baptist Church.
Students began shaking, and falling to the floor. The teacher, well aware of what was occurring took several of the students from class to the prayer room in the church where they were prayed for and cared for by church staff.
This caused a strong reaction from certain parents who protested by collecting a petition asking the school to stop what was happening or they would remove their students from the school. The church and school responded by saying we believed that this was God at work.
A letter sent to the entire parent body explaining this position. This letter reaches the local press which carried front page articles in the weekend papers. During the next week the TV channels ran news and current affairs reports on the school and the views of opponents. Some of the major newspapers also ran magazine and news reports, and radio stations called for interviews.
Ultimately some parents did respond by withdrawing 30 children from the 371 enrolled. However, new enrolments occurred and schools across the country sent encouraging reports.
The most encouraging result has been to see the lives of children changed. The children were not afraid of what God is doing and continues to do in their lives. They were the ones who praised God for his grace towards them, and so do all at the Caloundra Baptist Church and school.
Sunday 12 October, 1997, Greenville, Alabama (Ken Owen)
Ken Owen, Senior Pastor of First Assembly of God Greenville, South Carolina, reports:
In April 1995 a first wave of revival began to crest over the congregation at First Assembly of God, Greenville, South Carolina. Nightly meetings were held for a month with Ed Nelson. Since then a number of waves have rolled in, building into what is now a tsunami of revival.
In August, 1997, the tide began to significantly deepen. I called Ed – a director of a mission work to unreached peoples – to return immediately. On October 11, 1997, Ed returned to us from Asia. The Sunday morning service flowed like a mighty river — hundreds came forward to repent of sins. The meeting carried on through the day till 4:00 pm. With an hour break, it began again at 5:00 pm with a large prayer meeting and evening service. Since then there has been no let up, only an increase.
More than two thousand people have repented of sins, converts being baptized weekly. Many miracles and healings are accompanying the revival.
People from a variety of church backgrounds and denominations are driving to the meetings from several cities and states as momentum continues to strengthen. There has been almost no promotion of the revival, but word-of-mouth has brought thousands of people to the meetings.
November, 1997 – Pilbara, Western Australia (Craig Siggins)
The closure of a pub through lack of customers is big news in Australia. This is what drew the media to a small town called Nullagine in the far north of Western Australia. But the media didn’t know quite how to report the religious revival that is keeping people out of the pubs‑as well as the jails and hospitals. Aboriginal church worker Craig Siggins wrote this account of the spiritual awakening that is changing Aboriginal communities in Western Australia.
“Kuurti yarrarni kuwarri ngangka mungkangka” (“Holy Spirit, we welcome you in this place tonight”) is the first line of a song being sung at many Aboriginal communities around the Pilbara. It was composed by Len “Nyaparu” Brooks, also known as Kurutakurru, one of the many leaders God has raised up among the Martu Wangka, Nyangumarta and other peoples of the Pilbara.
A spiritual awakening took place in many communities last year, in 1997. Things started at Warralong, where many became Christians and were baptised after being influenced by three Christian Aboriginal leaders. Then just before Christmas, Kurutakurru joined two other leaders at Nullagine, and many from Nullagine and other communities became Christians and came across to the dam at Newman to be baptised.
Many communities started having meetings almost every night and prayer meetings every day. Leaders travelled to different communities for the meetings and to encourage people, sometimes holding meetings at night after a funeral service when hundreds of people were gathered. Some meetings went on for eight hours or more as people shared in song, testimony, prayer, Bible reading and preaching.
When Franklin Graham visited Perth in early February, over 200 Martu people travelled the 1150 km for his meetings. It was like one long church service all the way there and back. Everyone was bursting to sing and witness to the people in Perth.
When we got back there were more meetings and baptisms, even from communities that had previously rejected Christianity. Old people, Aboriginal elders, were turning to Christ and being baptised. Four hundred people gathered at the Coongan River near Marble Bar for three days of meetings, with many more being baptised.
Our Easter Convention, 1998, was a wonderful time of celebrating Jesus. Over 1000 people came, including many new Christians from communities that had never come before. The meetings went nearly non-stop over the Easter period. Singing is a prominent feature of the revival. There is a real sense of joy that comes out in song. Many new songs have been written and many old songs translated into Martu Wangka, Nyangurnartu and other languages. Everywhere you go you bear kids singing and tapes playing songs of the revival.
So many people were becoming Christians and giving up the grog that the pub in Nuilagine lost a lot of its business and went into receivership. The story made news around Australia. Nyaparu Landy and I were interviewed on Perth radio! A Current Affair went to Nuilagine. Police, hospitals and others have noticed a decrease in alcohol related incidents. The media has begun to take notice.
Amazingly, a simultaneous and apparently quite separate revival began at about the same time among the Pintubi people and others across the border in the Northern Territory. A team from Kiwirrkura, just on the WA side of the border, travelled across the desert and joined up with the Pilbara meetings, arriving early for our Easter Convention held in a wide dry river bed near Newman. More than 1000 people from different communities and Christian traditions came together to celebrate.
Why the revival? It is nothing more or less more than a work of the Holy Spirit. It has similarities to the revival that spread to many Aboriginal communities in the early ’80s, which reached the Pilbara but never really took hold. Like that revival, people have had dreams and visions. Recently Mitchell, a leader from Punmu, got up and read from Acts 2 about Joel’s prophecy and said it was being fulfilled. Not long ago, people told me they had seen a cross in the sky one morning. And like the ‘80s revival, it is the Aboriginal people taking the Wangka Kunyjunyu (Good News) to their own people in their own way and their own language.
The revival has not stopped. The Martu people themselves are reaching out to other Martu people. Neilie Bidu from Yandeyarra came back, fired up from hearing Franklin Graham, to reach out to his own community. He began a small prayer meeting and then invited Kurutakurru and other leaders from Warralong and Punmu to help him. So they went to Warralong and many there became Christians. Yandeyarra people in turn have reached out to Banjima people near Tom Price. Other communities have also been reached, including some that were closed to Christianity. Some of these communities had turned away Crusade teams from the 1981 revival. Now they have turned to the Lord.
Aboriginal leaders empowered by the Holy Spirit are leading the revival. These leaders would like to see the revival reaching the wider Kartiya (non‑Aboriginal) society. But for these shy desert people to reach out to Kartiya in these days of Mabo, Wik and the struggle for reconciliation will only be by the hand of God.
But there have also been some excesses and difficulties in the revival. Some still struggle with alcoholism and some have gone back to the drink. Many are new Christians with little knowledge of Christianity. Even the leaders are in the main untrained. Some are illiterate. And other groups have come in with different ideas and practices that have caused division even within families and have led to much debate and argument, some of it bitter. One is a legalistic group that stresses the keeping of the 10 commandments, especially the fourth (keeping the Sabbath). Another is a fairly extreme charismatic group.
Then there are issues of a more cultural nature. Some couples who have become Christians are married the wrong way in a tribal (though not biblical) sense, including some leaders. What to do? What to do about some of the tribal laws and ceremonies? Reject them all? Keep some? These are big issues to be worked through.
We are encouraging the leaders to read the Bible for themselves and to come to solid biblical conclusions as they struggle through these issues with the help of the Holy Spirit, but it will take time. Pray for the people and the revival!
Adapted from Alive magazine, June 1998 and Vision magazine, July 1998.
Pentecost Sunday, 31 May, 1998, St Helens, Tasmania, Australia (Stuart Lumsden)
Pastor Stuart Lumsden is the pastor of St. Helens Christian Fellowship in the town of St. Helens, 3,000 population, on the east coast of Tasmania. He wrote this article two months after revival began in their church at the end of May, 1998.
Here is a brief report as to what happened on 31 May, Pentecost Sunday, in St. Helens Christian Fellowship. We had Ronnie Fynn, a South African Zulu evangelist, doing a two day ministry, which had been planned during the previous six months. Through prayer and fasting (we were in the latter days of a 40 day corporate fast), the expectancy of what God would do was very high. During the meetings, it was obvious that we had moved to another level in the praise and worship, especially in the areas of clapping and shouting.
We really sensed we had broken through by the end of Sunday’s meeting. Ronnie had shared from Isaiah 40:31, pointing out that the word ‘wait’ means ‘expect’ God to be God. This word increased the faith level of the people. As we were closing (well, we thought we were closing), Ronnie was sensing the Lord speaking to him and taking him back to the revivals in South Africa of the mid-seventies, in which he was involved. He saw the same signs that God was about to do something significant and so he was waiting to share that with me, and really felt the urgency as I was beginning to close the meeting. In my heart I felt the same, although at that point I was unaware of what Ronnie was experiencing. I called him over, and as soon as he shared it with me, he asked me, “What are we gonna do?” I said “Go for it!”
A word of knowledge came, that as a church we were to go out into the town and get all the sick and infirm who would come. At that moment it was like great boldness fell on the church, as in Acts 1:8 ‘You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.’
With that, the presence of God was tangible. It was as if heaven had opened up; awesome, but also very gentle. The love of God filled the house. Not long after that, folk started to return with the sick and infirm. Incidentally, all these people that came, were not born again.
The first lady who came had been diagnosed with breast cancer and was experiencing a lot of pain, especially at night. We prayed for her and not much seemed to happen, although by faith we declared the word of healing over her. She had a brother in the church, and their relationship had been strained over the years. The brother went and asked her for forgiveness, and the moment he did, she felt the presence of God all over her, a warm tingly feeling, and now testifies that although the lumps are still there, the pain has gone.
Another lady, a Sister at the local hospital, had a bad car accident a few years ago. She has suffered migraine headaches and energy drain and dizzy spells ever since. We prayed for her and she now testifies to feeling great. Even her countenance has changed; no headaches, dizzy spells or fatigue since Sunday.
Another lady who, together with her husband, are well known and well loved in the local community for their work with children and within the local school, was brought in for healing. She has been in callipers and on crutches since contracting polio at the age of ten years. She is now in her fifties. After she was prayed for, she raised her hands above her shoulders, something which she has not been able to do before without severe pain, she also walked without the aid of her crutches, hands above her head, for several metres around the church. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. The children particularly were moved with the compassion of God and gathered around her, embracing her and loving her. She testified later that she had never felt so loved in her life. I told her how much she loved children and had given herself for them, and how today she had experienced the true love of God for her, that being a significant reality she had not experienced before.
My daughter, Asha, (12 years old), had a vision that the heavens were opened up, and God dropped a mustard seed into our midst. The seed represented an impartation of faith into the body, and I encouraged everyone to partake of it that they would have their own personal burning bush experience. Another child, Rose (12 years old), spoke prophetically and declared with tears and weeping that ‘Revival has begun’. All in all it was an amazing day, and the meeting which started at the usual time of 10 a.m. didn’t end until 5.30 p.m.
In the ensuing three weeks, we had meetings every night, with attendance ranging around 180 ‑ 200 people during the first two weeks, with many travelling from all parts of the State. Again, to this date we have witnessed 48 conversions, that is, first time decisions. We’ve seen numerous miraculous healings, such as curvature of the spine being straightened, ulcers instantly healed; a gentleman with a history of kidney disease testified to being healed, this being evidenced by his constantly yellow eyes becoming white overnight. One man, testified that a constant ringing in his ears, which been there for many years, stopped after prayer for healing. We have witnessed several instant healings from back pain.
Another lady, unsaved, received prayer for severe kidney disorder and a stomach ulcer, and was at the time in severe pain from this disorder. She immediately experienced quite a measure of healing, then accepted Jesus as her Lord and Saviour. She testified, the following day, that the pain had returned, however, she stood on the Word and claimed her healing, and had the best night’s sleep she has had in years, and did not need to use her painkillers. She was clearly very much at ease and not in any pain whatsoever. Further testimony concerning this lady is that she is attending church in Hobart and has already been instrumental in bringing another lady to the Lord.
A husband and wife, unsaved, who attended one of the meetings, came forward for prayer as the man was suffering from a severe muscular degenerative disease. Doctors told him that he would be in a wheelchair in a couple of months. He had a fused neck, no feeling in his hands or legs of feet and was in constant pain. As we prayed for him, God flooded him with fire, he felt hot all over, his neck was freed and he received feeling in his hands and feet and legs, and was jumping up and down as the pain was released from him. They returned the next night, came forward again for more prayer, and he again experienced intense heat throughout his body as God touched him. They stood together and received Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
On another evening, an elderly couple came. The lady, in her seventies, has had two strokes and could barely walk even with the aid of crutches and her husband’s help. As we prayed for her healing, Ronnie told her to follow him. She began to walk, without her crutches, and as she shuffled you could see her freeing up, she was almost scurrying around after Ronnie. We were told later, that at home, she was actually raising her legs higher and lifting her knees above her hips. This couple also, accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
Only a few nights ago, a lady in well-advanced stages of cancer came forward for healing. As we prayed for her, Ronnie testified to seeing a ‘lump’ leaving her body, she also testified to a ‘warmth’ flooding through her. She has since testified to being relieved of much discomfort, sleeping better and has turned her heart back to the Lord.
We have seen in numerous families, the hearts of the fathers being turned to the children; testimonies of deep reconciliation and forgiveness between fathers and sons. We have witnessed deliverance of addictions, rejection, secret sin being exposed with repentance following.
We have been very encouraged by testimonies from pastors and visitors from other churches. Many have experienced personal breakthroughs and have seen God begin to move amazingly among the people in their churches. Praise God!
August, 1998 – Kimberleys, Western Auswtralia (Max Wiltshire)
Robert McQuillan reported in The Evangel:
An enthusiastic Max Wiltshire, Australian Aboriginal Outreach (AAO) coordinator, shared briefly at the Assemblies of God Western Australia state conference some of the > exciting things God is doing in the Kimberley region in the north of Western Australia in 1998.
A number of Aboriginal leaders had accompanied him to the conference, including Kenny Boomer who received his ministry credential. Pastor Wiltshire also acknowledged the role Western Australia Women’s Ministries had played in supplying a bus for the work.
“Fire is falling in the Kimberleys,” he reported. “Thousands are being powerfully touched by God in salvation, healing and release. And in many other ways too, some of which are unbelievable. Hundreds of people are falling out – not with each other, but ‘falling out’ under the anointing.”
Affectionately known by Aboriginals as ‘the man in the big hat,’ the AAO coordinator went on to add that so much has happened since their outstanding Christmas meetings. He reported:
The Kimberleys are ablaze. The fire of God in the hearts of his people burns brighter than ever, new churches have been started, others have doubled in size – one leaping from 10 percent of the community to 90 percent in just a few weeks. Further afield in the Pilbara area the move of God has been so intense that the local hotel went into receivership.
his move has seen the number of Christians doubled in the area over the last twelve months, which means our conventions are climbing toward a thousand people in the evening meetings. Are the manifestations still occurring as at first in this move of God? Yes, in fact the increase that > we are seeing is in direct relationship to the outstanding manifestations of the Spirit.
But – what manifestations are we talking about? The usual? Yes, laughing, shaking, rolling, crying, running and so on continue. However, if these are the normal, what are the outstanding ones? In truth, some would make you cry in awe and wonder. Such as seeing people falling under the power of the Spirit as they give their offering to the Lord. As they have come to the front and put their offering in the containers, they ‘fall out’ there and then as the blessing of giving overcomes them.
After a recent crusade, one Aboriginal lady handed a ministry offering to the speaker on behalf of the church, and fell at his feet, again under the power and blessing of giving.
We have also seen folks falling out in the opening prayer as the very name of Jesus is mentioned. They just fall from the seats to the floor, not knowing they are meant to wait until the altar call before they let the Lord touch them. Back up singers are unable to stand, also people bringing items are unable to finish them because the anointing is so great.
Actually, it’s a case of the mores! We need more buses to pick up more people to receive more of the blessing! Transporting Aboriginals to > services is a cultural thing. It shows you care and that the meetings are very important. Provide transport and they’ll be there with open hearts.
Sunday, 25 October, 1998, Vancouver, Canada (Charles Ndifon)
David Culley reports from Glad Tidings Assembly in Vancouver, Canada.
“And it shall come to pass in the last days that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh …” We are seeing it! For the past months Glad Tidings in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada has been experiencing the same renewal that is happening all over the world. Yesterday, we crossed over into full blown revival. The morning service started much like any other. The worship was anointed as usual, and we had a visiting revival minister as we often had before. The thing that was different was the sea of turbans and saris in the building. Vancouver is a multi-national city with a large Sikh population, and over 200 had come to our morning meeting.
Our guest minister, Charles Ndifon from Nigeria and New York, had been in Victoria, British Columbia, for some meetings a few weeks ago, and a young Sikh woman, who had been invited by her Christian husband was healed of blindness and deafness. She went back and brought her favourite uncle, Charnjit, who was dying of cancer, and he left the meeting healed and saved.
Since then Charnjit has been witnessing to all his relatives, and when Charles Ndifon came to our church in Vancouver, this man invited his whole extended family. Yesterday, after watching many people be healed of athsma (as an example of how simple it is for God to heal anything), and a 90 year old woman receive a new ear-drum, about 200 Sikhs came forward to give their hearts to God. And it’s real. They had already heard the Gospel from Charnjit, and to make sure, the altar call was translated into Punjabi. After the service, the people were so excited to have found Jesus, and to be so accepted by these white people. At the evening service another 104 Punjab Sikh people responded to the altar call.
We saw many miracles. A 14 year old boy born blind saw his mother for the first time, deaf ears were opened, cancers were healed. But the greatest miracle of all was that God now seems to be bringing in the Sikh population that we have been so unable to reach for all this time.
Bob Brasset from Victoria, Canada, writes about the move of the Holy Spirit in British Columbia:
The outpourings continue. In fact, it seems to be getting stronger. We now meet four nights a week. The response of the pastors in the area is simply an overwhelming gratitude for the goodness of God for deigning to visit us in such an awesome way. There is an amazing, astounding hunger in North America right now. People know that we are on the edge of not only revival but a genuine Awakening: perhaps the greatest since the day of Pentecost. This Awakening, I feel, will be characterized by the very kabod glorious presence of God coming and abiding in a room, a church and even a city, or a whole region (as in Charles Finney’s revivals).
The worship in our services now continues and flows for 1½ to 2 hours, unabated with spontaneous songs of the Lord from worship team and congregation. Bodies lie on the floor, prostrate in worship. People report seeing angels. Visions, mighty, inspiring ones, are plenteous. Healings happen during the preaching of the word or worship without anyone praying or laying on hands. We are not advertising this. People are just coming. Salvations are happening in each service – even when we don’t give specific calls. We now have reported healings of fibromylagia, diabetes, cancer, chronic pain, ears opening, many necks and backs healed and severe allergies gone.
Sunday, 14 March, 1999, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia (Ian Turton)
Pastor Ian Turton of River Christian Church in Kingston, Hobart, reported in April, 1999 on their series of miracle meetings:
We have been hearing about what God has been doing overseas filling people’s teeth with gold, silver and platinum, and even braces turning to gold. At River Christian Church in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia we have been believing the Lord for miracles, signs & wonders like we have never seen before for a while now. He led us into a time of intense warfare for a few months and then began to put on our hearts the real desire to see the miracles happen and that souls would be added because of what He is doing like in Acts 4 where the disciples asked the Lord to give them boldness to preach the gospel by stretching forth His healing power and that signs & wonders be done in the name of Jesus.
On Sunday night, 14th March, 1999, we asked all present to lay hands on their mouths and we prayed that the Lord would fill the teeth with gold. By Monday night we were amazed as we actually saw fillings change into gold before our eyes. Personally gold fillings appeared in my mouth, my wife also and others are getting blown away by their fillings changing before their eyes. God is awesome. …
We had a couple of crew from the USS Carl Vincent in port for a few days visit come to some of the meetings. One of them received gold fillings, praise the Lord. What a thing to carry back on board. We prayed that revival would break out onboard that warship. …
Jeannette (my wife) was ministering in Richmond at a ladies night (when) … a whole bunch of them including the pastor’s wife saw their teeth turn to gold. Some of the ladies when they returned home prayed for their husbands who in turn received gold fillings. The pastor apparently didn’t believe what had happened but when the pastor’s wife prayed for him he received gold. One lady had just had her teeth refilled at the dentist last week with white porcelain. They were gold also. She was a little put out by it at first!
This is our first – gold dust appeared on people’s faces. One unsaved guy had it and got saved. He shared that his wife has been coming along and has been gloriously healed and her life completely changed, as has his mother in law. His other unsaved family members are coming along and in his own words ‘they are next’.
Thanks especially for your prayer; it is so very much needed. Alas there are the knockers and sceptics but let me assure you we have seen more lives changed, more healings and more salvations in the last four weeks then in many previous years.
The church continues to experience God’s powerful presence, and from mid-1999 Ian Turton began leading and speaking at meetings around Australia and beyond where similar healings and manifestations have continued.
July, 1999 –Tacoma, Washington (Bill Wolfson)
Aggressive fasting is fuelling hunger for God at a Tacoma, Washington, church that has baptized more than 700 new converts during 90 weeks of revival. During the first year of the move of God at Bethel Church, members fasted a total of 165 days. The church sets 40 days at the start of each year and four days at the beginning of each month for fasting.
“This radical fasting is not normative, and we do not recommend it to others,” said pastor Bill Wolfson, who completed a 70-day liquids-only fast. “But it is what God has for us. Fasting causes unbelief to come out of our lives.”
Prostitutes and gang members are among those who have come to Christ at the four-nights-a-week services, which can often last for hours. One man was even reportedly raised from the dead through prayer after CPR failed to revive him. “I can only conclude that he was miraculously revived,” said retired paramedic Cornelius Winesberry Jr., who attended the man.
The revival began at the church – recently renamed Church for All Nations, to mark its renewed commitment to interracial outreach – after Wolfson travelled to an Illinois church to witness the Smithton-like revival happening there.
Source: News Update from Charisma magazine, Friday, October 15, 1999.
July, 1999 –Caldwell, Texas (Deon Hockey)
Caldwell, approximately an hour north of Houston, has experienced revival also.
Revival has hit a small Assemblies of God church in Caldwell. The church has been having nightly services, drawing people from all across the area. All sorts of physical healings are reported, including eyes and backs healed. Deon Hockey was the visiting speaker and because of what is happening there, has cancelled his future engagements and will stay for the time being.
The presence of God is so strong that people are being frozen-like against the walls of the church for an hour or more. Praise and worship has continued for two hours at a time. Someone will run to the altar and get on their face before God, and twenty others will follow. The power of God will cause twenty or so people to fall out on the floor all at once.
People from all around the area are coming to the church. When asked how they found out about it, they’ll say they heard of someone being healed which drew them. We are entering into a period of time in the church of signs and wonders. These will be signs that God is still alive. God still heals. God still speaks. God still loves his children. And God still cares.
Church services continued nightly at First Assembly of God.
Source: Awakening List via email@example.com, 16 July, 1999 (Guido Kuwas)
Tuesday, 27 July, 1999, Mornington Island, Queensland, Australia
The following account, adapted from reports Brian Pickering and Jesse Padayache, gives details of a powerful move of God that has occurred among Aboriginal communities on Mornington Island, Arakun and Weipa in the Gulf of Carpentaria, North Queensland, as well as on Psalm Island north east of Townsville.
Mornington Island was a pretty awful place, noted for its drunkenness and violence. Iranale Tadulala, a Fijian Pastor was posted there five years ago. About two years ago, an angel appeared to him and told him that there was to be a revival on Mornington Island and he was to facilitate it. However it would not be easy.
He began a 40 day fast from 1st June until 11th July, 1999. A colleague visited Mornington Island when Iranale was 28 days into his fast and was deeply challenged just being with the man. He was so committed, close to tears all the time.
During the fast one of the scriptures impressed on him was the similarity between the city of Pergamum (Rev 2:12-17) and Mornington Island. So much awful stuff kept on happening there that it had to be something like Satan’s throne. And, just like Pergamum, a good Christian man had been martyred there in the early days of the Mission. At the end of his 40 day fast he believed he had to go out to the site of the killing and fast there a further seven days. This was a rather harrowing experience and he was conscious of doing battle with cosmic forces throughout.
At the conclusion of the fast (only days after the national prayer gathering at Uluru in July), they planned meetings at Mornington Island which began on 27th July. At the end of the first meeting 100 stayed behind for prayer and counselling. By the end of the crusade there had been 300 conversions (25% of the population) and they were still going on with 500 reported by September.
Five other pastors helped with this marvellous happening. Two are Fijians from Palm Island and Weipa. The pastor from Aurukun and a white pastor from Townsville are also involved as is an Indian South African from Brisbane. They are working on discipleship, want Bibles, and are already getting phone calls from surrounding areas asking them to go there, but are saying: “When God says it is right!”
One of the team leaders was Pastor Jesse Padayache, the South African Indian. He has ministered in Australia for many years. His wife Cookie was healed miraculously through prayer from a tumour on the brain. They have x-rays showing total healing.
In February and May, Jesse had spoken at revival meetings in Palm Island north east of Townsville, among the tribes there, where there has been much drunkeness. Many were converted, delivered and set free from addiction to alcohol, tobacco and fornication. A man, angry with Jesse because his de-facto wife was converted in February and wanted to get married, was later converted. He asked Jesse to marry them during the meetings in May. Now money formerly spent on addictions is spend on food, clothes and shelter and many people are prospering for the first time.
News of the revival meetings on Palm Island reached Mornington Island. In Mornington Island, alcohol abuse has been extreme. Drunkenness was everywhere. The place was littered with piles of beer cans. About 10 people attended the services.
On the first night, Tuesday, 27 July, 1999, the team was casting out demons till midnight.
People were healed – the deaf, cripples, back pain, diabetes, blood pressure, heart diseases. Many committed their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ and were freed from generational curses. A report from the pastors says: “Spirits of suicide, alcoholism were driven out and old curses of sorcery and witchcraft were broken.”
On the second night, Wednesday, an angry lady with a beer can came in abusing Jesse and the team for casting out spirits. She yelled, “Me and my beer, we live together. Don’t listen to this man.” But the people wanted to be delivered because of the changes they saw in their friends. Many were healed and delivered. Two healed people threw away their crutches. A lady with a stroke was healed and freed from her wheelchair. The drunk lady saw the healings and eventually wanted prayer. She gave her life to Jesus and became instantly sober. She said, “Pastor, I don’t want this stupid habit” and gave her six pack of beer to the pastor.
Their report tells of a young boy, born disabled – dumb, deaf and unable to walk – was healed, running around. His first word was “Mom”. A woman with a stroke who could not speak and could hardly walk is walking around testifying about what God had done for her. A woman came to the meeting with a walking frame, but left the frame and walked home without it when the Lord healed her.
They have a Women’s Refuge which is usually chock-a-block on Thursday and Friday nights. It had one customer! Around midnight one night, a man called his family together and spoke of what God had been doing in bringing the whole family to the Lord, saying, “Everyone is welcome in this home, but from now on there never to be any alcohol in this house.”
A white policeman came to a meeting, drawn to what Aborigines were experiencing but feeling too ashamed to go forward. Next day, a pastor found him sitting in a corner, spoke to him about his shame, took him home and led him to the Lord. The pub shut an hour early, with no customers. Next day there was no one at the women’s shelter – they didn’t need that sort of help any more!
Many leaders in the community were saved, and the sale of beer dropped dramatically. Around 500 in that community of 1200 became Christians. Now former enemies are reconciled. Revival has brought reconciliation between blacks and whites also. Community leaders encouraged people to kick the demon drink out and give themselves to God.
A young man, lying in bed at home heard the loud speakers, and so came to the meetings to give his life to God. On Sunday the church was packed with people standing outside to listen. Many were healed in the morning, and many more on Sunday night.
Large numbers, formerly in de-facto relationships, have now married. The pastor has been busy performing marriages. Within weeks, beer consumption dropped by over 9,000 cans a week.
On the Monday they started classes for believers. More were converted then also. A drunk man came from the pub to the believers class, seeking God. The believers also follow up each other, because they all know who is involved.
When Jesse passed through Weipa on his way to Arakun in the gulf of north west Queensland in August, he met an aboriginal lady from a community of 400 people in Mapoon, north of Weipa. Her 34 year old son, looking wild, saliva dripping, and shaking, had been in a psychotic state receiving treatment for six years. He’d been separated from his de-facto wife and children for that time. The pastor saw them at the shopping centre so invited them to his place for healing prayer. The son was frightened of the pastors, staring with wild eyes. They bound spirits and cast them out. When he went back to the hospital he was pronounced totally healed. He now lives with his family and got married.
The mother asked for prayer also. She had asthma, a heart moniter, sugar diabetes, and a huge lump like a rock melon on her stomach. The lump disappeared, and the arthritis, asthma, diabetes and blood pressure were all healed immediately, medically verified. Later she came back to Weipa for meetings with a bus load of people, all seeking God because of those healings. Most of that bus load were saved, and now a church as been started in Marpoon. The previous church had been destroyed in the 1960s, and the people there had hated the gospel, till now.
Jesse caught the small plane from Weipa to Arakun. Many were drunk there. People ignored or hated the church, regarding Christianity as a religion for whites. Only about 6 members went to the church.
One the first night of meetings at Arakun, about 50 came into the hall with another 40 people sitting around outside listening. Noisy dogs came in. An old man, deaf in his left ear and partially deaf in his right ear was totally healed. Three weeks earlier, in a dream he had seen the dark skinned Jesse pray for his healing, and he knew he would be healed at that meeting. Then, nearly all in the hall and some from outside gave their lives to Christ that first night. Many were healed, including a man lame in his right leg.
Word spread fast. Everyone knows what is happening in the community. The next night the church was packed. Crowds stood around outside. By the end of the meetings, 170 aboriginals had given their lives to Christ for the first time. Many were healed including people blind or partially blind and deaf. Great joy filled the community. Many were delivered from alcohol addiction.
One of the council officers in the building next door told the community leaders that Jesse and the pastor needed to go on casting out demons because so many people were being delivered of drunkenness and diseases.
Demons associated with suicide came out of a man who had tried to kill himself four times. Now he is whole. Everyone talked about the changes in the atmosphere of the community. Then he returned to his de-facto wife and was married. His witness brought large numbers to the Lord.
Back again at Weipa for meetings, the same things kept happening. A young white lady in her twenties was delivered with loud cries and healed on the second night of the meetings in Weipa, to the surprise of the aboriginals who thought only aboriginals had demons. The news spread like wildfire, and many more came for salvation, deliverance and healing.
The bus load from Mapoon north of Weipa – brought by the lady and her son who had been healed at the pastor’s home previously – returned full of saved, healed and delivered people, determined to start their church in their community.
Just as revival on Elcho Island in 1979-1980 sparked revival across Arnhem Land, and teams went out to many aboriginal communities, so this revival is touching many communities in north Queensland. Pray for the mighty had of God to bring powerful revival to the land.
Revivals into the 21 Century
The year 2000 dawned with increasing reports of revival movements among the world’s 6 billion people. The previous forty years saw the world’s population double. What will the next 40 years bring?
Amid growing reports of social and physical upheavals, terrorism, the awful threat of nuclear holocaust, and the increase of epidemics of fatal diseases, reports of revivals continue to grow. Independent churches in Africa, house churches in China, and grassroots communities in Latin America all experience amazing revival, amid persecutions. Now revival reports continue to spread in the West also. We too can cry out to God for mercy and revival as we humble ourselves, pray, repent and seek God.
This past century began with many thousands of prayer groups seeking God. Revivals broke out across the globe, the best known being the mighty Welsh revival of 1904-5 which sparked so many other revival movements. A year later prayer groups in Los Angeles saw the disturbing and powerful Azusa Street revival break out. Both these revivals impacted countless lives in quite different ways. Both issued in Spirit-filled evangelism and mission which spread around the globe.
The Welsh revival impacted 100,000 people for God. Azusa Street touched thousands more from a little meeting in an old barn crowded when they had 500 people. Yet the 500 million Pentecostal and charismatic movement in the world now usually acknowledges it’s roots in that revival.
Now a single crusade with Reinhard Bonnke may reach more than 500,000 people in Africa. David Yonggi Cho’s church in Seoul, Korea, has over 800,000 and has impacted thousands more and planted other huge churches. Over 100,000 people have encountered God recently in Toronto and more than 100,000 have made commitments to God in Pensacola.
Like the rippling waves from a boulder dropped into a pond, these waves of revival have spread worldwide. And we have heard only a little of the amazing accounts of revival movements in China, Africa, Latin America, India or the island nations!
God said, “I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.” The year 2000 and another millennium are now set to see that fulfilled more than ever before in history.
Unprecedented revival continues in China especially in house churches, in Africa especially in independent church movements, in Latin America especially in evangelical/pentecostal churches such as currently in Argentina, and in proliferating revival movements throughout the world. All of these now involve powerful charismatic impacts of the Spirit of God and increasing awareness and use of the charismata.
Renewal and evangelism have increased throughout the nineties, even in the West. Focal points for renewal and revival have included Toronto in Canada, Brompton in London, Sunderland in England, and Pensacola in America. However, reports continue to multiply of renewed churches, empowered evangelism, and significant social involvement (such as crime rates significantly reduced in Sunderland and Pensacola). David Barrett’s global research indicates that pentecostal/charismatic membership has grown from small beginnings early this century to over 460 million by 1995 and over 500 million now (Synan 1997: 281; Hollenweger 1998:42).
In Australia, the 1991 National Church Life Survey indicated that two thirds of church attenders were involved with or sympathetic to charismatic/pentecostal Christianity. Charismatic congregations, whether denominational, independent or Pentecostal, continue to multiply, evagelise actively, and many have significant social caring programs.
These indicators suggest a massive shift in global Christianity, which increasingly acknowledges and rediscovers charisma in revival. It holds enormous promise for “the reshaping of religion in the twenty-first century” (Cox 1995). Charisma in revival offers a paradigm in which differing denominational perspectives on charismatic Spirit movements may find common ground in evangelism, equipping of Christians for ministry, and in social reform.
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The story continues – see 21st Century Revivals in the South Pacific
See also individual accounts in Blogs Contents