Towering over the flat horizon in the distance rears a huge statue of St. Francis with his hands open with palms facing forward. He is displaying what is known as “stigmata” on his hands. The image is worshiped by many in the town called Canindé in the state of Ceará in Brazil’s northeast region. Francis was known to be a very godly man in his time, and he would undoubtedly be dismayed if he knew that today in Canindé he is being worshiped as a deity.
The gargantuan idol above gives us light on the deep idolatry prevalent in this region.
Woman with hypercardia
On January 19 we began The Elijah Challenge Training in Canindé. At the end of the session held in an outdoor sports arena with perhaps 350 people in attendance, I asked for someone with a heart condition to come forward for healing. A woman in her mid-thirties came forward. She had abnormally rapid heart beat and was under medication. Four women came forward and laid hands on her heart as they commanded her heart to be healed and restored in the name of Jesus Christ.
On three afternoons in January 2016 following Elijah Challenge Training sessions each morning, pairs of disciples went from house to house and door to door in Canindé to “heal the sick and tell them, ‘the kingdom of God has come near to you.’ ” (Luke 10:9)
Over three days the teams visited over 1,100 homes. In some of the homes visited, miraculous healings took place as the trained disciples ministered with the Lord’s power and authority. After the miracles the gospel was shared to those present, and hearts were opened to Jesus Christ because they had already witnessed the evidence for the gospel.
No superstar evangelist in huge stadium, but instead nameless & faceless disciples going house to house
Some of the miracles which took place in the homes were quite unusual. We heard testimonies of paralytics amazed to feel the healing power of Jesus flowing into their bodies and suddenly being miraculously healed, able to move about freely. We heard of blind eyes being opened in the name of Jesus as trained disciples laid hands on them. One woman who had received them into her home had been totally blind in one eye. When our trained team member (a teenage girl) laid her hand on that eye in Jesus’ name, the woman suddenly screamed and cried out, “I can see! I can see!” What is truly unusual is that these things took place not in the open-air crusade of a superstar evangelist, but in the setting of a small home through nameless and faceless believers.
Below is the testimony of team member Effie Remmel.
“When we first came to the house during the door-to-door Visitation of God, we noticed a darkness over the household. We found out that the problem stemmed from drinking. We didn’t get many details of the family’s troubles except that the alcoholic’s elderly mother was very angry with him. His adult son had become despondent, feeling that the situation was hopeless. When I spoke with the man, he said that he wanted to get rid of the problem, but was helpless to stop drinking.
I rebuked the spirit of addiction to alcohol in the man and commanded it to leave him in Jesus’ name. After I ministered to him, he was moved to tears and told us that God had sent us to visit his home. We invited the whole family to the evangelistic service to be held in a local church later that evening.
Three of them—the man, his adult son, and his son’s wife—came to the service in the church. During the service the man and his son rededicated their lives to God. It was so wonderful seeing father and son hugging each other once again. The son’s wife gave her heart to the Lord.
The man told us that he had stopped drinking, and that his elderly mother had calmed down. It was such a joyous time—so very different from the sadness that had prevailed so long within the family.
At the evangelistic meeting in the evening there was an elderly gentleman who for about 12 years was unable to walk without a cane or crutch. Both of his legs and feet were disabled. A local disciple named Victor and I prayed over him again and again. Finally he was able to walk on his own. Without his cane he walked slowly to the back of the church sanctuary and then out the door! Everyone at the meeting clapped heartily. He was not a believer but told Victor he’d be back to church.“
Touched miraculously at a distance of 1,800 miles
At the final training session on Saturday morning, the trained disciples gathered to minister to those who had come needing healing. While the disciples were healing the sick in Jesus’ name and people were testifying of being healed by the Lord, a mother and daughter couple seated at the meeting received a text message from another daughter who was in Sao Paulo about 1,800 miles away. The message was to the effect she was not well at all. She had a heart condition and was feeling terrible at the moment.
At that time Lucille was leading the disciples minister to the sick over the microphone from the platform at the front. Completely unaware of the situation of the daughter far away in Sao Paulo, over her mic she rebuked heart disease and commanded healing in Jesus’ name for anyone with a heart condition at the meeting. At that moment the mother and daughter couple agreed with Lucille and “declared” that the daughter down in Sao Paulo was healed.
Within moments they received another text message from the daughter down in Sao Paulo. She was suddenly feeling fine and normal!
In the evening we held an evangelistic event where the miraculous healings through the trained believers would provide the evidence to the lost that Jesus is in fact the only way to the Father (John 14:6 & 11-12).
Trained disciples stood in line at the front and ministered healing to those who came forward (below).
One of the first of several testimonies was from a man who had been shot with an exploding shell. Doctors had been unable to remove the bullet lodged deep in his shoulder. Whenever he moved his shoulder he would feel pain and discomfort. But as believers laid hands on his shoulder, he could move freely without feeling any discomfort whatsoever. That and several other testimonies that evening provided strong evidence that only Jesus could save—and certainly not St. Francis. Below people whom the Lord healed are testifying of what the Lord did.
Summary of this Visitation of God event
- Total visits in the homes: 1135
- Number of people healed: 162
- Number of decisions for Jesus Christ: 139
This Visitation of God event, attended by hundreds of believers from at least five different states, is just the beginning of what we believe will turn out to be an explosion of the gospel in the very dark and idolatrous region of Canindé. Those leaders who came from faraway states in Brazil informed us that they will take the Training back home with them to apply in the preaching of the gospel and to train still other believers. One excited servant of God from the city of Belo Horizonte told us that her ministry will never ever be the same. We received from pastors and leaders many unusually enthusiastic words of encouragement and endorsement with regard to The Elijah Challenge Training.