Nepal: Deaf-mute boy miraculously healed by Jesus.
The boy who could not read, is now studying the Word of God. The boy who could not hear, is listening to teachings and growing in his faith. The boy who could not talk, is now proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ among those who have never heard.
In Nepal, a majoriy Hindu country in the Himalayas with 266 unreached people groups, Christians form only 1% of the population.
In 2017, the Nepali government passed a law that effectively outlaws conversion to Christianity, evangelization, and harming ‘religious sentiment.’ But the more governments try to hinder the growth of the church, the faster it seems to grow, often with miracles. Take the story of 18 year old Tilak, a deaf-mute teenager.
One day Pastor Biju, a church planter affiliated with The Timothy Initiative, stopped to pray with him. As the pastor prayed for deliverance and healing he witnessed a bewildered look on Tilak’s face. Something amazing happened to the deaf-mute boy. Tears streamed down his face, as he discovered that he could hear and speak for the first time in his life. A miraculous healing had just taken place.
Tilak rushed to his mother, who heaved sobs of joy and relief. Her boy was healed, and it was all because of Jesus. The entire family surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ that day.
Tilak and his family became eager to learn more about the God, so they began attending the very first church planted among their people. Now Tilak’s voice was able to join others in worship. As he listened to the teachings of Jesus, he was awed by the miracle that he could hear and understand what was shared.
Then a third miracle happened in Tilak’s life. When he opened God’s Word, he instantly was able to read, without any prior instruction. The symbols on the pages of Scripture came alive and he was given his own Bible to take home.
Tilak, the boy who could not read, is now studying the Word of God. Tilak, the boy who could not hear, is listening to teachings and growing in his faith. Tilak, the boy who could not talk, is now proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ among those who have never heard.
Source: The Timothy Initiative. Joel News, # 1115 , February 25, 2019
God’s Surprises summarises key events in 20 countries. It’s a brief summary of information in my books Journey into Mission (most detail) and Journey into Ministry and Mission (condensed autobiography).
CONTENTS OF GOD’S SURPRISES – Chapters: 1 Australia, 2 PNG, 3 Canada:Toronto, 4 USA: Pensacola, 5 Brazil, 6 Ghana, 7 Kenya, 8 China, 9 Nepal, 10 India, 11 Sri Lanka, 12 Myanmar/Burma, 13 Malaysia, 14 Thailand, 15 Philippines, 16 Solomon Islands, 17 Vanuatu, 18 Fiji, 19 Germany, 20 Israel
“Can I take some bread home?” asked a tattooed young man at our communion service in the slums of Nairobi in Kenya, East Africa. God’s Spirit had prompted me to buy a few loaves of bread, bottles of drink and plastic glasses for the congregation.
We shared real drink and two loaves of bread together among 30 people in their corrugated iron shed where I was the guest preacher.
“It’s your bread,” I answered. “You decide.” He quickly shoved a handful of bread into his pocket. Then most of the others did the same. Two weeks later, Frank, the young pastor, emailed me: “I’ve visited the slum homes of those people and they are still eating that bread. It’s still fresh.” Apparently God multiplied it.
Frank and his wife Linda then offered free bread and drink each Saturday for hungry, skinny slum people, usually catering for about 50 people. Sometimes many more turned up but they always had plenty. Apparently God kept multiplying it as needed.
A young pastor in Ghana in West Africa invited me to hold meetings there. So I arrived with three others from Brisbane during our college break in July, forgetting it was monsoon time in Ghana. We flew into a deluge of rain on the Monday. Our hosts planned night meetings in the market from Tuesday, with morning teaching in a local church.
“Can we hold the night rallies in the church?” I suggested.
“Oh, no,” they said. “Only church people go there. Meetings in the market attract the crowds.”
“What about the rain?” I asked.
“God sent you, so he’ll do something,” they responded, full of faith.
We drove for over an hour in pouring rain from Accra, the capital, to the town of Suhum in the hills for our first meeting on Tuesday night. The heavy rain had flooded the power station there so the whole town was in darkness. We prayed earnestly, asking God to take over.
Within 15 minutes the rain stopped, the town lit up with power, and we began. Those excited Africans sang and danced for over two hours, attracting hundreds to the service. All that week we had clear skies and large crowds. Church teams prayed for hundreds of people. Many were saved. Many were healed. One man testified, “I came to this meeting blind, but while you were singing I found I could see.”
Heavy monsoon rains began again the day after our meetings ended.
A friend of mine worked with the United Nations in Nepal. He loved to help and support pastors and leaders there. We visited him many times and I spoke at pastors and leaders meetings in Kathmandu, in West Nepal and in East Nepal. Some of those pastors walked for two or three days across the high ranges just to attend.
Their churches are saturated in prayer. I prayed in their “Power House”, the upstairs prayer rooms of their church in Kathmandu. Those small upper rooms, open 24 hours a day, had many people going there to fast and pray, sometimes for many days.
We saw God’s Spirit move beautifully and powerfully in those meetings. Many were filled with the Spirit and healed. I heard a young man from one of their church bands praying eloquently in beautiful English – but he cannot speak English. They pray for one another with strong faith, expecting God to save, heal, deliver and anoint them.
The dedication of those Christians impressed me. Most of them have been imprisoned for their faith many times. One young pastor conducted a Christian wedding which infuriated relatives so they complained to the police and he spent a month in prison for disturbing the peace. Our host had been severely beaten while in prison. Two young evangelists were shot to death when we were there. They had returned from Bible College in India and were accused of spying. God gives those Christians amazing peace and joy amid the persecution, just as in the Book of The Acts.
Our team visited Grace Bible College in New Delhi founded by Dr Paul Pilai. Paul had stayed in our home in Brisbane when he visited Australia. He was converted after a young Christian girl prayed for his healing while he was very ill in hospital and he recovered miraculously.
He told us how his students and teams started new churches in villages and towns. They often faced angry opposition. One fanatical group burned their meeting tent and attacked them, hitting them with clubs, trying to kill them. They broke Paul’s arm and burned the tent. Suddenly some handsome Indian men surrounded Paul’s team and miraculously moved them away to a safe place nearby. The team could see their burning tent in the distance. Those angels told Paul that God would send him back there. A few years later they were invited back and started a church there in a home.
Grace Bible College, the largest in India with around 600 students, trains people to evangelize and plant churches, especially among unreached peoples. Their graduates often face persecution and some have been martyrs. What a humbling privilege it was to pray with the staff there and speak to the crowded hall full of such committed students.
I taught on revival at a seminary in Manilla in the sweltering heat of the Philippines. An assignment I gave my M.Th. students was to report on revival and miracles. One pastor, who was also a police inspector, reported that a church he visited sent groups of young people to sing and speak at hospitals and nursing homes.
One of those teams held monthly meetings in a mental hospital. The staff said that their patients may not understand much, but those patients did enjoy the singing. Over 40 came to the first meeting. The team offered to pray for anyone who would like prayer. They prayed personally for 26 people. The next month when the team returned, all those 26 had been discharged and sent home.
I visited China with a student from college. His parents worked there. The woman pastor-evangelist of a house church invited us to her church in a high-rise unit. The young man who met us at the gate could speak English.
He feared that the security guard might ask awkward questions, but as we walked in around 7pm, the guard had his back to us, talking to someone else. When we left after midnight, the guard was gone, probably sleeping.
Around 30 people sat on the floor and sang softly in worship. We spoke and then found that no one would leave until we had prayed for them personally. That took a while! They were happy to slip away one-by-one, just as they had come. Most were new Christians who believed because a Christian prayed for their healing. They believed in prayer and miracles just as in the Book of The Acts. Their simple, strong faith and humility moved and challenged me deeply.
We visited Elcho Island in the north where revival broke out and spread through Aboriginal communities all across northern Australia. We invited a team from Elcho Island for a Pentecost weekend in Brisbane. Two dozen came! They told us about the revival and prayed for people after each meeting that weekend, just sitting on the carpeted platform floor, aboriginal style.
That revival began after aborigines on Elcho Island prayed desperately for revival amid increasing crime, drink and drugs. The night their pastor, Djiniyini Gondarra (photo), returned from a holiday they met for Bible Study and prayer in his home. God’s Spirit fell on them as they united for the closing prayer. That prayer and ministry went all night. People were filled with the Spirit, discovered many spiritual gifts, and saw healings and reconciliations. Everywhere their teams went they saw God moving on the people in local revivals.
South Pacific Islands
Many revival movements have swept the South Pacific islands. I saw some. God’s Spirit fell on the Law School of the University of the South Pacific just after Easter 2002. The Law School is in Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. Many law students were saved and transformed at their open-air rally.
Those committed students went on missions to other South Pacific nations and to Australia. Now they are lawyers and leaders. A president of their Christian Fellowship became a Member of Parliament in Fiji.
Some of those teams came with me to Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. God has been moving there in unusual ways for a hundred years. Vanuatu people first evangelized the island, one becoming a martyr. A wife of the highest ranking chief returned to life after she died and told them that she had seen God and they should leave their heathen ways and become Christians. Many revival teams have served God there in local revivals. Large numbers repent, are filled with the Spirit, and receive many spiritual gifts including revelations, words of knowledge about hidden magic or sins, and deliverance and healings.
God poured out his Spirit on children and youth in the Western Solomon Islands from Easter 2003. They loved to sing and pray daily in the church after school. God gave them visions, revelations, words of knowledge about hidden sins and bad relationships and they received many other spiritual gifts such as healings and speaking and singing what God revealed.
God revealed to a young boy the name of a man who stole a chain saw from the timber mill. A church member had been wrongly accused of that crime and sacked. He was reinstated after the man who stole it was confronted and confessed.
A mother asked me what it meant when her young boy had a vision of Jesus with one foot in heaven and one foot on the earth. I immediately remembered Matthew 28:18 – All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
We saw God touch around 1,000 youths at a National Christian Youth Convention in 2006. One night at the convention they responded, running to the front of the open-air meeting. For half-an-hour their worship team sang “He is Lord” while we prayed for them. They fell like dominoes. Many testified to healings, visions and revelations. One young man returned to his village that night and found his mother ill, so laid hands on her and prayed for her. She was healed. His brother then asked for prayer and he too was healed. The young man had never done that before. A whole group from the Kariki Islands, further west, saw revival begin in their islands on their return. God moved powerfully in every meeting they held and in their personal prayers.
I discovered that we Westerners are often too busy to pray, too worldly to listen to God, too proud to repent, and too unbelieving to see revival. We Christians – called by the name of Christ – need to take God’s promise seriously:
If my people who are called by name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
You can do that right now – at your computer or with your phone. You could take time right now to pray and seek God, to pray and obey.
Mark gives a vigorous, concise account of Jesus. The narrative moves swiftly. A brief prologue leads immediately into Jesus’ ministry as he appears proclaiming and demonstrating the kingdom of God. Kingdom life fills the pages.
Central to that drama is the cross. Mark has been described as a passion narrative with an introduction. Jesus is introduced as the Son of God in the first verse. Chapters 1‑8 reveal the mystery of the Son of God seen in Jesus’ three year ministry based in Galilee.
Then the drama shifts in chapter 8 with Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. Jesus immediately predicts his death and prepares his disciples for it (8:31; 9:30‑31; 10:32‑34). The Messiah must sacrifice his life. The way of the Son of Man is the way of the cross. Chapters 11‑16 describe that final week in Jerusalem.
This book follows the story of Jesus using lectionary readings from the year of Mark (Year B). The readings include passages from other gospels as well, especially John.
Relational Bible studies
These relational Bible studies help you explore and live kingdom life: to love God with your whole being and to love others. At best, our love for God and for one another is but a small reflection of God’s love for us. These studies can help that love to grow. Choose the sections most suitable to you or your group.
You can use this book for both personal and group study:
Personal study, which may be in preparation for a group session or just for your own interest, will involve reading the Bible passages and thinking about the questions for yourself. You may want to keep a note book or journal of your insights or discoveries. If these readings are used in your church on Sundays you may want to reflect on the study after the Sunday and also read the next study in preparation for the following Sunday. You may have a friend, or friends, with whom you would like to discuss some of the issues, and these studies give you plenty of ideas for doing that as well.
Group study involves you with others. These studies invite you to relate together at the beginning, to respond to the Bible material in personal ways and to reflect on its meaning in your own lives and circumstances.
The studies help you share your ideas and discoveries as you study the Bible together. These relational studies invite you to interact at both a content and a personal level. You can share your pilgrimage with others. You journey together. You support and encourage one another.
The New International Version as well as the Revised Standard Version were used in writing these studies, so it will be helpful for group leaders to refer to those in preparing for each study. Any versions of the Bible can be used with the studies, of course, and comparison of different translations and study notes often adds helpful insights.
Your group will be able to move more freely through each study if you all read the passages at home first. That will make you familiar with the Bible material so that you can then interact on it together in the group. The gospel reading is the focus. The other readings are referred to during the study and can be included that way.
A rough time guide for each study would be to allow about 15 minutes for the Relate section, about 30 minutes for the Respond section and another 15 minutes for the Reflect section. Sometimes you will go longer than that, especially at the end. Allow adequate time to conclude in prayer together or in other appropriate ways.
If you have a group of more than five or six people, you will usually gain more from these studies by working in small sub‑groups of about three to five. This can be done in many ways. One good way is to begin in the whole group for the Relate section, read the scripture together in the whole group, and then move into small sub‑groups for the rest of the study.
Sometimes you may want to start in small sub‑groups of two or three, then study the Response section together in the whole group, and finish by following the Reflect section in smaller groups.
Jesus was wholly obedient in different ways at different times as a child, a student, a carpenter, a teaching rabbi, a healer, a sacrifice. We can obey in our different situations.
The Great Commission is a call to obey everything Jesus commanded. That’s not easy! But Jesus reminded us that he now has all authority in heaven and on earth and he is with us to the end of the age:
‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:18-20)
This book is about learning to obey Jesus as we love God who loves us totally. Jesus said, “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15, 23). The greatest commandments of all are to love God and love others. …
We encourage Christians, especially leaders, to obey what Jesus told us to do. All Christians love to speak and sing about Jesus but we may not follow his instructions. So I wrote a mission book about how Jesus trained his followers: Jesus the Model for Short Term Supernatural Mission.It’s the first in my Great Commission Series and this is the second book in that series.
Jesus taught his followers to do what he did. He commanded them to love one another as he loved us. He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God, to heal the sick and to cast out unclean spirits. I hope this book will help you do what Jesus told us to do.
Jesus said that all the commandments could be summed up in two: loving God and loving others.
‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it:
‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 22:37-40).
Jesus described our neighbour as anyone, especially those in need. He said that we would keep his commandments because we loved him.
Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. (John 14:23)
God our loving Father expects us to believe in Jesus, his Son, to trust him and to obey his teaching and instructions.
And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment (1 John 3:23).
What is obedience?
Jesus told a parable about two sons whose father told them to work in his vineyard (Matthew 21:28-32). One son said he would go but he did not. The other son said he would not go but changed his mind and went. The one who said ‘No’ but then went was more obedient than the one who said ‘Yes’ but didn’t go. The story shows how we can repent, change our mind and obey.
Jesus’ parable of the two sons encourages us to repent, turn around, and obey even if previously we did not. Often we may feel guilty that we are not obeying Jesus fully and wholeheartedly. When we pray we may remember how we disobeyed or were half-hearted or reluctant to obey. We can repent, and obey.
Some of Jesus commands seem hard for us to obey: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you; whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me; carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; sell your possessions, and give alms; those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples (Luke 6:27-28; 9:23; 10:4; 12:33; 14:33). And that’s just a few of his instructions!
We’re not all called to be Saint Francis or Mother Teresa. But we are called to follow Jesus – and that’s a challenge. Jesus’ instructions can shape our attitudes and actions. We may live it out in different ways in different places, but his commands will always guide us as we are led by his Spirit. Jesus was wholly obedient in different ways at different times as a child, a student, a carpenter, a teaching rabbi, a healer, a sacrifice. We can obey in our different situations.
Our obedience springs from love and flows strong in God’s love. We love Him because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).
Jesus reveals himself to those who obey him in love: “The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who [really] loves Me; and whoever [really] loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I [too] will love them and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to them. [I will let Myself be clearly seen by them and make Myself real to them.]” (John 14:21 Amplified)
Each Study Guide in these Blogs refers to a paperback and eBook Study Guide for each of these seven subjects.
These Study Guides are adapted from former Distance Education materials produced by Citipointe Ministry College, the School of Ministries of Christian Heritage College in Brisbane, Australia. Now they are adapted into these books for your benefit. The current courses use different and updated materials as part of internet resources for students.
For information about current courses, contact the Principal,
Signs and wonders occur throughout the Old and New Testaments. They express the magnificent creativity and sovereignty of the Lord, described in the Bible. They are also expressions of the power, goodness, mercy, grace, compassion, and love of the Lord, and show the nature of our omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God.
Signs and wonders point to the One and True Living God, and also demonstrate that this Living God is a Personal God who is very interested in people, both individually and corporately. This same God described in the Bible is very much alive and active today just as he was then.
Our hope is that through this subject you will encounter God and be transformed in this encounter. We pray that you will be challenged and stirred up to move in faith and obedience to God who can empower you with his Holy Spirit to do what Jesus did and even greater works (John 14:12). As you learn to move in God’s power and in ways that are naturally supernatural and supernaturally natural, may you become more Christ-like in your personal life, ministry, and vocation in this world. And may you be an instrument in advancing the Kingdom of God on earth as you become filled with passion and clothed with power from on high.
We especially thank Cecilia Estillore Oliver, a medical doctor and B.Min. graduate, for her work in helping to compile and write this Study Guide. Cecilia prepared and compiled the information in this Study Guide from materials gathered and arranged by Geoff Waugh for the degree programs of Citipointe Ministry College, the School of Ministries of Christian Heritage College in Brisbane, Australia, and made available here with permission of the college. This book reproduces the content of that former Study Guide, adapted here for general use.
Much of the material is developed and adapted from the course at Fuller Theological Seminary conducted by John Wimber in 1984, titled MC510: Signs and Wonders and Church Growth, used with permission.
Reproduced from the Signs and Wonders Study Guide Appendix
A student we prayed for one morning in class went to her doctor that afternoon for a final check before having a growth removed from her womb. That afternoon her doctor could find no trace of the growth after checking with three ultrasound machines, so he cancelled the scheduled operation.
“My class at college laid hands on me and prayed for me,” she explained to her doctor. “I believe God healed me, and that’s why you can’t find the growth any more.”
“I don’t know if God healed you,” he responded. “But I do know that you don’t need an operation.”
Our class studied this Signs and Wonders subject. We usually began each class with prayer, and that day our prayer included praying for specific needs such as that woman’s health. One of those praying in class was Cecilia, a medical doctor. She prayed with strong faith, joining us in laying hands on the ‘patient’ student, knowing that God heals through prayer as well as through medicine. What rich resources we have for ministry – right there in the group.
I love hearing medical people pray for healing. They have medical skills as well as faith in God. A nurse in one of our week night meetings prayed for another lady who had severe back pain.
“L4, be healed in Jesus’ name,” the nurse commanded as she prayed with her hand on the woman’s back. It takes medical knowledge plus the revelation of a ‘word of knowledge’ to be able to pray like that. All pain immediately left the lady being prayed for. Apparently the problem was in the Lumbar 4 (L4) section of her spine.
Many people are not healed so quickly. Perhaps most are not healed so quickly in our materialistic Western society. There are many reasons for that, including our Western scepticism, lack of compassion or faith, and our sinfulness such as jealousy, competition or failing to forgive others freely as God has forgiven us.
We all can learn more together about effective ministry. That learning is enhanced and expanded rapidly when we share our experiences and learning together. The ‘teacher’ usually shares from his or her experiences, but others can do also. So the more that our ministry education fosters mutuality, the more we can learn from one another.
We call this open education, or open ministry education. It is open to everyone and everyone can be involved. It is not just for leaders. Our leaders can help us, but their main job is to equip the saints for the work of ministry for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). We can do these things in classes, small groups, seminars, training courses and home or church groups.
Dr Rodney and Adonica Howard-Brown are pastors and revival evangelists.
Critics focus on the rip-roaring style of his revivalist “camp meetings”, but this US-based South African evangelist says all he’s interested in is God touching people’s lives.
The Holy Spirit wants to touch the lives of real people.
I don’t spend much time wondering about God’s ability
to do what he said he could do. I just trust him.
On previous visits to Australia, Rodney Howard-Browne has attracted both crowds and controversy. But vigorous debate about his methods and the “phenomena” seen at his meetings has not kept thousands away. … The US-based South African evangelist spoke with Rob Buckingham about spiritual power, the simplicity of faith, and how it feels to be surprised by God.
Buckingham: Things took off for you number of years ago. Can you tell us what took place at that time?
Howard-Browne: We’d moved to America in December ‘87 and travelled wherever the doors opened. One pastor in upstate New York asked us to have two meetings a day and invited the whole congregation. So in April 1989 we went to [a town called] Clifton Park to a church with about 250 members.
I was amazed to see people so hungry for the things of God. On the Monday morning 60 people came to the morning service. This was amazing, especially in America at that time – there had been some major set backs with different major ministries crumbling, and people were disillusioned. Next day we had 100 people at the service – nearly a third of the church coming out on a Tuesday morning!
While I was teaching, just like I normally do, the praises of God just filled the room, and people started falling out of their seats. It looked like someone was sitting in the balcony and shooting people with an invisible gun. Some were crying, some were laughing, others were rolling on the floor. It took a little getting used to.
The presence of God literally filled that place. We saw an outbreak of a revival that now, this April, is nine years old. It’s gone around the world, touched the lives of millions of people, an it hasn’t subsided or stopped. It’s been a great adventure.
Buckingham: What are your reflections now on what took place back then?
Howard-Browne: I see it as an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It’s not like we weren’t expecting it. We were crying out to God to come and move; we just didn’t know how or when it was going to happen. So when it happened the way it did it totally took us by surprise.
Buckingham: Is there any change in what took place then compared to what’s happening now?
Howard-Browne: It’s just multiplied many times over. In the beginning it was 100 people and now it’s thousands. Whether we’ve been in China or Japan, Holland, Germany, Russia or the islands of the sea, it’s the same. People are the same and they have the same needs. The Holy Spirit wants to touch the lives of real people. There are many religions in the world, but religions will leave you empty because it’s man’s vain attempt to reach God. But Christianity is God reaching man through the person of Jesus Christ.
Buckingham: There are reports of physical healings at your meetings. Do these happen in every country?
Howard-Browne: It happens everywhere. We look at it this way. When people come to a meeting where the Holy Spirit is moving, whatever their needs are God will touch them at that point. Healing is just one of these. People come with cancer, arthritis, different diseases, and the presence of god touches them. Some are healed in their seat without even having hands laid on them, and it’s only later they find out that they’ve been healed.
Dolly, a little Alaskan native lady, came to our meetings in a wheelchair. She’d had arthritis for 18 years, the last five confined to a wheelchair and the final two years bedridden. She came as a last resort, asking God to please touch her. We laid hands on her, but we didn’t really pray that she’s be able to get out of the wheelchair, just that she’d get some joy and that God would touch her. I said, “Lady, what do you want to do?” She responded, “I want to get out of this chair.” So I said, “Well then, go ahead.” Then she climbed out of the chair and walked around the building and was totally healed of crippling arthritis. This happened back in 1991 and we’ve seen her subsequently. She’s still totally healed with no trace of arthritis in her body.
Buckingham: That’s physical healing. What about emotional healing? People can carry a lot of baggage around inside.
Howard-Browne: There are many examples. One is about a woman in North Dakota who was raped by a so-called friend. She contracted two venereal diseases, the worst the doctor said he’d seen. He told her that she’d never be able to have children.
This woman came to the meeting pretty traumatized – this had only happened weeks before. The power of God touched her, she fell on the floor and as she was lying there she felt like there was a fireman standing over her with a big fire hose washing her clean. For about two-and-a-half hours she felt this water washing her clean. When she got up she could remember the rape but it was like it happened to somebody else. God had totally removed the hurt from her. When she went back to the doctor there was no trace of the diseases. That was over five years ago. Today she’s married to one of the pastors of the church. They’ve had children with nothing wrong.
Buckingham: What about other stories?
Howard-Browne: An executive-type lady came to a meeting with a lot of deep hurt in her heart. About 20 years ago she’d had an abortion, and every time she was around things of God she felt guilty and condemned with thoughts like “God’s never going to bless you because of what you did.”
We prayed for her and she was overcome, lying there filled with joy. Laughing hysterically. Later she told us it was as if she was taken up to heaven to see a little girl dancing around, with Jesus standing to the side. The little girl said, “Look Jesus, Mummy’s laughing”. When that happened, she said it felt like a hand reached down inside her and pulled out all the hurt. When she got up from the floor she didn’t feel guilty any more. She knew that God had forgiven her and everything was all right.
Buckingham: Are these incidents isolated events?
Howard-Browne: No. People are healed from depression, a lot from fear, even from wanting to commit suicide. There’s so much pressure on people today. People feel like they can’t make it. So they come to the meetings. God touches them and sets them free. It’s wonderful to see.
Buckingham: Australians are quite different from Americans, and you minister in America a lot. How do you respond to that difference in your meetings when you come to Australia?
Howard-Browne: Because I’m a South African, I think it’s probably easier for me to respond than it would be for an American. I find the Aussies very direct, which I like. There’s no airs or graces, nobody’s pretending. I think maybe that’s why we’ve had such a great response in Australia.
Buckingham: You travel extensively around the world. That must be draining on you. How do you handle the pace?
Howard-Browne: Actually, I find the travel exhilarating, so that by the time I get to a new place I’m refreshed. We travel 46 weeks of the year, and it’s awesome to see people’s lives touched and changed. That’s the thing that’s refreshing. When we get tired, we try to take a break for two or three days.
Buckingham: Rodney, how do you describe your own relationship with God?
Howard-Browne: I would describe my relationship as very, very simple. I don’t understand some people when they always want to complicate God. I just see him as God – nothing is impossible to him. I have a very childlike faith that God honours his word. I don’t spend much time arguing about it or wondering about his ability to do what he said he could do. I just trust him.
Buckingham: How does your relationship with God impact your life personally?
Howard-Browne: Well, because nothing is impossible for him, I always want to believe him for big things. When you think that he made the heavens and the earth, then everything we come up with after that is really so small. I just think sometimes people make everything so difficult when there’s nothing too hard for God.
Buckingham: What about your relationship with others? How does your faith impact that?
Howard-Browne: I want God to do for them what he’s done for me. I’m not anything special or different. I’m just an ordinary person. But I know that if he can do great things for me, he can do great things for them.
Buckingham: How does your faith impact your care for the world around you?
Howard-Browne: When I see a need, my wife has to calm me down; she says, “You can’t do everything.” God leads you into areas where you can minister effectively to touch the needs of people. We all want to reach out and feed the poor or help those less fortunate than we are, yet because I’m busy doing what I’m doing, I can’t do it. So I try to find other ministries and get behind them. I don’t have to do what they’re doing: I just finance and support them.
Buckingham: What can people expect at your meetings this year?
Howard-Browne: Pretty much like two years ago, we’re going to focus on he person of Jesus – people being touched by the Lord and coming back to their “first love”.
Buckingham: What do you mean by “first love”?
Howard-Browne: “First love” is the love you have when you first give your life to Christ – the joy that you’ve just met him, that he’s set you free from sin, that all the guilt and condemnation is gone. It’s like a young guy and a girl; when they first fall in love, they’re just beside themselves.
It’s so easy as a child of God to get caught up in the daily grind, trying to please God, caught up in rituals and traditions. You end up losing that joy and peace. Revival is about people falling in love with Jesus all over again.
Anything can happen when people come back to their first love.
This is an edited version of an interview conducted by Rob Buckingham for use in On Being ALIVE and his weekly radio program “Rob Buckingham and Friends”. It was originally broadcast on 3MP on 29 March, 1998.
Reprinted with permission from On Being ALIVE Magazine, No. 4, May 1998, pages 30-34.
(c) 2011, 2nd edition. Reproduction allowed with copyright included in text.