The Elijah Challenge in Indonesia, July – August 2005

 

Papua

The complete Papua report with photos

 

Papua – the most primitive region of Indonesia


Sunday morning, July 24

I arrived here in the town of Manokwari early yesterday afternoon. Geographically, Papua is at the very eastern end of Indonesia, not far from Australia. By contrast, the tsunami-stricken area of Aceh is at the very opposite western end of Indonesia close to Malaysia. The distance from Papua to Aceh is roughly 3,000 miles, similar to that between Los Angeles and New York.

The principal sponsor of our meetings was a Christian businesnesswoman named Nellie Gan (and her mother, Mrs. Ganadi) who was raised in Papua but years ago moved away to settle in faraway Jakarta. She is an on site intercessor who attends Abbalove Church in Jakarta where already twice we have held our Seminar and Crusade.

Upon my arrival in Manokwari, known as the “City of the Gospel” because it was the gateway through which many years ago missionaries first entered Papua, Nellie reported to me that the “Gospel” here had essentially lost its power. The approach of visiting evangelists and pastors who want to hold meetings here is typically to drop money into the hands of the local leaders. This quite naturally has engendered a very unhealthy attitude in some local pastors and leaders in which Crusades and Conferences are primarily money-making opportunities. Even more shockingly, they think it permissible to employ the services of a witch doctor to get a larger crowd to come to the meeting so that more people can hear the gospel and “get saved!” In the prevailing Christian culture of Manokwari, moreover, there are men who fail at a secular pursuit and so by default study to be a preacher or pastor. Ministry for them might be simply a respectable stepping-stone to a higher calling such as government service as a member of the Indonesian House of Representatives. This is what can happens in an area when the gospel for some reason has been reduced to a form of godliness lacking the power thereof. (Of course not all leaders here fit that mold.)

In terms of denominations, mainline Protestant churches here hold the majority, followed by the Pentecostals. I think the Catholics come in third. Isl–m is a minority here, though not a small one. The overall winner, and I say this only half-jokingly, may be witchcraft. It’s a situation sadly reminiscent of what I saw in Africa.

In this prevailing spiritual environment it was a challenge for Sister Nellie to meet with the leaders and interest them in attending our Seminar and Crusade. We would not drop money into their laps or engage in any unbiblical practices often associated with such meetings. I believe the Lord has called me here to bring restoration to His Church here in Manokwari.

Last night at our first Training session the 500-seat hall was less than half-filled. (A couple of weddings in town and the anniversary celebration of a big Indonesian Church denomination conflicted with the session.) Nevertheless the Lord was faithful to anoint me to minister and to teach. Before going into the teaching on healing, I touched on some of the unscriptural attitudes prevailing in the leaders that surely grieve the Holy Spirit. At the end of the session we did a demonstration of the believer’s authority over disease and demons to show the people that the teaching is indeed from the word of God. Quite a few infirm people were healed and came up to testify of what the Lord had done as we believers exercised our authority over disease and demons in Christ’s. The results were a bit unusual for a training session and nearly approached what we usually see in an actual evangelistic Crusade where the miracles are normally more in number and greater in magnitude.

One dramatic deliverance was that of a recent convert to Christ from Hinduism. He was suffering from demonic attack from his stomach up to his head and had even been taken to a Musl__m practitioner of witchcraft for help. (This of course simply made things worse.) The entire assembly of believers joined together in one spirit to rebuke the demons and to command them to leave. After several minutes of “hand-to-hand combat” with the demons accompanied by manifestations in the man, he felt his body released and set free from the torment.


Tuesday July 26, 2005

The servants of the Lord who attended the training were extremely built up by the teaching. Our host Mrs. Ganadi commented that she has hosted many well-known Indonesian pastors who came and preached wonderfully, but none did the work of actually equipping the saints to do the work of ministryin the way that was accomplished at the training. They had never heard anything like it even though it is soundly supported in the New Testament. Among them were Brother Ulis who serves in Campus Crusade here and an instructor at a local theological Seminary. Perhaps the main enemy stronghold here is witchcraft and related beliefs. The Church for the most part has been unable to demonstrate the superiority of God’s power over the power of witchcraft, and so it remains a very powerful lure and stumbling block to people here. Missionaries sent to preach the the gospel to outlying tribes are known to go in fear of being attacked by the powers of darkness. But through the meetings the spirit and power of Elijah is being restored to the Church of Jesus Christ here. Among other things, the spirit of Elijah proclaims to the world from Mt. Carmel: “My God is the true God, and I will demonstrate it to you right now.”

At the two evangelistic healing Crusades, the Lord multiplied his signs and wonders through the disciples trained in the Seminar. Each evening I proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ clearly and concisely. Then I would ask the trained believers to join me at the front to demonstrate that the gospel was indeed the absolute truth, that there is no way to the Father except through Jesus Christ. But before we ministered in Jesus’ name, I followed the prophet Elijah’s example at Mr. Carmel and asked if there were any who wanted to attempt to heal the sick using the power of witchcraft or the power of another god. There were no takers. So we the servants of the Most High called on the name of our God. Together from the front of the hall we exercised our authority over diseases and demons given by the Lord and ministered “mass” healing to those in their seats who needed physical healing. The Lord heard our prayer, and each evening many were healed. Those who were healed stood up and came forward to the front to give public testimony of what Jesus had done for them. At the second meeting about thirty people lined the entire width of the hall to testify. The miraculous healings were diverse. Among the more notable that I could recall: a woman who had paralysis on the right side of her body was able to move about quite normally. A young man with a speech defect was able to speak normally. The lump on a woman’s back disappeared. An older man who could not get up to walk because he would simply fall down was able to walk normally. A younger man was healed of his infirmity and announced excitedly that he was renouncing his trust in witchcraft to follow Christ and was going to throw out all his associated charms and fetishes. There were many other testimonies.

I seized upon the testimonies as tangible proof that Jesus Christ has authority to forgive man’s sin and is the only way to Heaven. It was clear to the people that no other god or gods could perform such miracles in the way that Jesus had just done through His disciple. I challenged the people to repent and follow Him. Each evening precious souls, seeing the incontrovertible evidence that our God is the true God, streamed forward to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

The important thing to me is not exactly how many came forward to follow Jesus at the two meetings. What is far more significant is that the servants of the Lord who were trained are now going to preach the gospel in the same way. They have been delivered from the spirit of fear and powerlessness; the spirit that the Lord gave to his prophet Elijah has been restored to them. This is the beginning of the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ in Papua.


Surabaya, East Java

August 2, 2005

We have completed our two evangelistic healing Crusades here in Surabaya.

In each Crusade meeting, I proclaimed Jesus Christ as the only way to the Father since He alone has authority to forgive sin. Each evening the Lord has done miraculous healings to confirm the gospel as we believers exercised our authority over disease and demons in Christ’s name. Yesterday evening a man came to the meeting with a crack in his tibia (lower shin bone). Movement of his lower leg would caused unimaginably excruciating pain. During the time of healing ministry, he laid his hand on the leg as all the believers with one voice commanded the sick to be healed in the name of Jesus Christ. He was the first to raise his hand when I asked who had been healed, the first to walk up to the front, and also the first to testify. The Lord had healed him. There was no more pain and he could run in place! There were other testimonies as well during the two evenings. Each evening precious souls decided to accept Christ as Lord and Savior after hearing the gospel and witnessing the confirming miracles.

Afterwards I told them that the miracles had happened even though neither Benny Hinn nor Reinhard Bonnke nor Morris Cerullo had been present to minister. The Lord had used just them—the local body of Christ—to do the miracles. I told them we are in the end times when the Lord will use nameless and faceless disciples to do the miracles that today are attributed only to the famous anointed evangelists. I believe the Lord wants His people to stop running after them, and to look instead to Christ as He is present in His people, in His body, in “ordinary” disciples of Christ. I believe He will receive greater glory in that way. I encouraged the people to continue to preach the gospel in the way they had seen it done in the Crusades.

The work here has just begun. Many pastors here are complacent and ” settled in” and not that interested in such a radical ministry. Those who attended the Crusade meetings were mostly believers who had come for another “healing service.” They are still not used to the idea of bringing unsaved and infirm friends and neighbors to the Crusade to hear the gospel and witness the confirming miracles. The idea of using miracles as an evangelistic weapon is new to the body of Christ. For the most part, the Church sees miraculous healings as mainly blessings for infirm believers. However, we are in the end times and the Lord is restoring His power to the Church to be used to fulfill the Great Commission—preaching the gospel to every creature and discipling all nations.

The Church of Jesus Christ needs a paradigm shift to see this clearly.


Nias

August 11, 2005

Nias is a predominantly Christian island hit by the earthquakes that devastated Aceh in Northern Sumatra in December 2004.

Buildings reduced to rubble by the earthquake…the property of a faithful
Chinese believer who was paralyzed after his home collapsed over him


A sizable number of people here suffered great loss in the earthquake of December 2004. Many still refuse to sleep in their homes at night, preferring instead to sleep outside in a tent provided by one of the aid organizations. Between 80 and 90 percent of the churches in Nias are destroyed or unusable. The ones left intact are mostly Roman Catholic Churches which were apparently better constructed. In the two Protestant churches in the area of Gunung Sitoli (the capital of Nias) where we held meetings, we met outdoors next to their destroyed church building. Last Sunday morning and evening in Gunung Sitoli I taught and preached at the same Pentecostal Church. The pastor of the church was very enthusiastic about the Elijah challenge approach to preaching the gospel to the lost Christians of Nias. I believe the Lord will use him powerfully. At both meetings the Lord confirmed His word with many miraculous healings as the trained believers ministered in the name of Jesus Christ. In accordance with the spiritual darkness covering Nias, the miracles appeared to be greater and more numerous than, say, the ones we saw in the sprawling metropolis of Surabaya in East Java.

 

Believers meet outside under canopy
after church building is destroyed by earthquake


However, even more grace was in store for us in Gomo, a remote and backward area nearly five hours south of Gunung Sitoli over an extremely poor road. Gomo reminded me in some ways of primitive Batu Ampar in West Borneo (Kalimantan Barat) where Lucille and I spent seven years in pioneer work not long after the beginning of our ministry many years ago in Indonesia. According to tradition, the Nias tribe originated long ago in the Gomo area as descendants of a local deity. Apparently the Nias tribe has never managed to shed its idolatrous beliefs and practices even though they have been heavily christianized. As I wrote previously, smoking, drunkenness, sexual sin, illegal betting, and witchcraft are rampant among them. I am under the impression that perhaps most of the pastors and servants of the Lord are not yet born again. When we arrived in Gomo last Monday after the hot and exhausting trip down from Gunung Sitoli, I had the distinction of being the first westerner ever to minister in Gomo.

Later that evening as I was preaching the gospel in a small meeting, one of our team members happened to be sitting outside. At some point—it may have been during the time of ministry when the Lord healed an elderly woman who had suffered from incurable pain in her stomach for years—the team member saw a ball of fire streaking by. He recognized it as a manifestation of a curse sent by a witchdoctor to harm us. Such a thing happened to us many years ago in Indonesia when we were sharing the gospel in the open air in West Borneo. That was also the work of an unhappy sorcerer. In neither incident did any harm even come close to us. Our God is far greater than any other god.

Later that evening in the home where we were staying—quite a primitive one by western standards, even Surabaya standards—there was some commotion. The “bathroom” facilities are located outside the house in the back, in a dark and dank, extremely uninviting place. A medium-sized poisonous snake was spied slithering there across the entrance of the two “bathrooms.” They looked for the snake, but they could not find it. Our host said he had never seen such a snake in the back of his house for all the many years that he had lived there. We concluded that the snake was sent by the same source who had sent the ball of fire earlier that evening. (We reported a similar incident involving a poisonous snake in Uganda earlier this year in February when we were holding meetings in Africa.) Understandably, some of the sisters on our team refused to take a bath that evening. All of this in a single evening in a supposedly “Christian” area!

The next morning I held a Seminar for the people. It was held in a Catholic Church still intact after the earthquake. Between 150 and 200 people came, some coming on foot from kilometers away. Some were pastors and leaders. I first preached a message of repentance from the sin so rampant within the church. I told them that we could serve the Lord and preach the gospel with great power and still not be saved (Matthew 7:21-23). I invited them to pray a prayer of repentance with me, and many did. Only after that did I teach them about the end time model of evangelism involving healing the sick in the manner that Jesus did. I needed an interpreter to translate my Indonesian into the Nias dialect. Toward the end of the teaching, I did a demonstration of healing as I usually do. An elderly man stepped forward very gingerly with a limp caused by chronic pain above his left knee. I laid my hand on him in the name of Jesus and commanded the pain to go and his leg to be healed. Then I told him to walk across the front of the hall. As he did, the limp was gone. He lifted his left leg and with gusto shook it vigorously before the people to show that the Lord had completely healed him!

 

Seminar held in intact Catholic Church


Apparently the people had never seen such a thing, for many stood up to marvel. I explained to them that this was simply a manifestation of the authority over disease that the Lord has given to every believer to prove the truth of the gospel to the lost. I asked those needing healing to come forward, and many did. When I asked for others to come up to minister healing to them as they had just been trained, there were not enough people. So I had the remaining infirm people to lay hands on themselves as I led everyone in exercising their authority over the infirmities in the name of Jesus Christ. Many were instantly healed in this way as they raised their hands after I asked who had been healed. I took several testimonies from those who had been healed, and the name of Jesus Christ was greatly glorified among His people. There was much rejoicing in the Lord’s miraculous works and the authority He had given to His people.

At the end of the meeting I challenged and encouraged the people to take the gospel with the same power to the “Christian” people of Gomo. Please pray that this spiritual breakthrough will continue in Gomo; that the restoration of the Church in Nias will continue through the local servants of God. May they now begin to challenge the witchdoctors as Elijah challenged the servants of Baal on Mt. Carmel. May the Church be purified from idolatry.


Malang, East Java

Saturday, August 13

This morning we completed our training with the gracious help of the Lord. During the session the believers ministered to those with vision and hearing problems. I would say the majority of them came up the platform to testify that the Lord had touched them. Most testified of noticeable improvement in their eyesight or hearing. One elderly gentlemen could tell the time on a wall clock at the back of the sanctuary 100 feet away, something I could barely do myself!

More were healed during the mass healing at the very end of the session, including one man whose chest had been injured in an accident on the way to the training session earlier in the morning.


Saturday evening, August 13

Over a thousand people packed the church and many miracles took place as His servants exercised their authority over disease and demons. After all the testimonies of miraculous healings which proved that Jesus is the only way to the Father, a group of about ten people, I believe mostly Musl__ms, came forward up to the platform to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

 

The crowd on the first night of the Crusade

Sunday, August 14

Our final Crusade meeting earlier this evening in Malang was glorious, praise the name of the Lord. Another full crowd like last night…several miracles were done in the name of Jesus Christ through mass healing through the believers, including a stroke victim getting up to walk on his own, growths/lumps vanishing. When I gave the invitation to accept Jesus Christ based on the gospel which I had just shared and the confirming miraculous healings, about fifteen precious souls, mostly Musl__ms, came forward to accept Him.

After that, the trained believers ministered individually to the remaining people who had not yet been healed during the mass healing while I left Malang to return back to Surabaya.

May the believers in Malang continue with what they have received during these past three days. May they multiply it within the churches. May they use it to fulfill the Great Commission in Malang in the coming years.

 

Above: Several who were healed during the mass healing give their testimonies

Precious souls (several are Musl__ms) accept Christ as Lord and Savior on the second night of the Crusade after hearing the gospel and witnessing the miraculous healings


Semarang, Central Java

Monday, August 15

This evening’s training at the Bethany Church led by Pastor and Mrs. Sebaja was by one estimate attended by over 600 believers. At the demonstration at the end of the session the miracles of healing were relatively quick and numerous as the believers exercised their authority over infirmities. One Javanese woman’s poor eyesight was restored.

The teaching for them was new and eye-opening, even though it is two thousand years old and clearly set forth in Scripture. The eyes of the Church in this area have been closed by the enemy for a very long time, and I believe is one reason why the Church has failed to complete the Great Commission after two millennia. Because of the failure of the Church to move consistently and scripturally in the supernatural as the Kingdom of God is preached, the West has largely become post-Christian and Isl–m, Hinduism, Buddhism, and witchcraft have yet to give up their hold on most nations in the 1040 Window.


Tuesday, August 16

At the Evangelistic Healing Crusade the following evening, the Lord moved with power to heal after I shared the gospel from John 14 with the people.

In particular, there was a Musl__m woman seated next to me on the front row who had brought her young son. He was deaf and dumb from birth.

Before the ministry to the infirm, I told the people that the miracles they would see would be the proof that Jesus is the only way to the Father, and that the miracles would be done through the believers at the meeting:

John 14:11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

During the ensuing time of mass healing, various people were healed and came forward to testify what the Lord had done for them as we believers exercised our authority in the name of Jesus Christ. After that the trained believers ministered individually to those who had not yet been healed. During that time one brother had ministered to the young deaf and dumb boy and was bringing him up to the platform. The Lord had opened up his ears and he could hear and he was beginning to speak!

Another slightly older boy from another Musl__m family was brought to the meeting also unable to hear or speak from birth. As a trained believer ministered to him, he began to hear for the first time in his life. (We are still waiting for his speech to be restored more fully.)

When I gave the altar call to the people to accept Jesus Christ as Savior based on the evidence of the miracles done in His name, the Musl__m woman and her boy were the first to come up to the stage. A handful of others followed her up.


Wednesday, August 17

I began the sharing by telling the people—mostly believers—that we would witness miraculous healings later in the meeting. However, it would not be a “visitation of God.” Such events are out-of-the-ordinary and rare and cannot be orchestrated by men. Rather, what we were to see was to be something “ordinary” in the life of the Church. I explained to the people that when the gospel is preached boldly, the Lord will perform miracles to confirm the truth of the gospel. And obviously we can schedule the proclamation of the Kingdom of God anytime we choose. I added that the miracles would take place not because I happened to be ministering, but because the gospel of Jesus Christ was going to preached to the lost. Another words, it was something that they could do on their own whenever they chose after I left town.

After that I preached the gospel from Isaiah 53:4-5…

Isaiah 53.4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Jesus had power to heal the sick because he was nailed to the cross to forgive our sins. The one with authority to forgive sin also has authority to heal diseases, which are ultimately the consequence of sin. Conversely, the one who has power to heal infirmities proves that he also has authority to forgive sin, save from hell, and grant eternal life.

Then we prayed and asked the Lord to heal the sick. I and the trained believers assembled at my side exercised our corporate authority over disease and demons by commanding them to leave the people in the name of Jesus Christ.

Immediately a handful of people came up to the front to testify that they had been healed. An elderly gentleman who was totally blind had been brought to the meeting. Everyone in the hall had noticed him sitting at the first row. During the “mass healing” he began to see! Later in the meeting during the individual ministry of healing, his vision continued to improve and he could make out the plaid pattern on the shirt of the man ministering to him.

An elderly woman stood up from her seat immediately after the mass healing. The debilitating pain in her hips had vanished. She walked back and forth on the platform effortlessly. The Lord had healed her. There were other testimonies of God’s healing grace as well.

A younger man had suffered from a stroke and came to the meeting totally blind. The trained believers ministered to him and the Lord opened his eyes. He could see the steps leading up to the stage and could discern the tie that I wore.

This is what happens when the Church boldly preaches the gospel and heals the sick as Christ commanded his disciples when he sent them out in Luke 9 and Luke 10.

Last night the deaf could hear and tonight the blind began to see. Praise the Lord for His wonderful grace.

May the Church here will take up the baton and make these miracles commonplace as they preach the gospel to the lost during these end times in order to fulfill the Great Commission here in Indonesia.

1 Kings 10:27 The king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stones…

 

 

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