Visitação de Deus (“Visitation of God”) in Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo – January 2009


After the Elijah Challenge Training, 400 disciples go door-to-door praying and healing the sick in Catholic town


Reports: The Elijah Challenge in Brazil


São Paulo is a state in Brazilthe largest country in South America in terms of area, population, and economy. It has the fifth largest population in the world.

 

Visitação de Deus (“Visitation of God”) in Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo

Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo, a town of about 50,000 people, has a history of hostility towards the evangelical gospel of Jesus Christ. Historically, the Catholic Church forbids its people to read the Bible, a privilege set aside only for the priests. Over the years since it was officially founded 139 years ago, Santa Cruz has witnessed public Bible burnings by Catholic priests. On at least one occasion the Bibles were given to the people by an evangelical missionary.


Pastor Jonathan Ferreira of the Valley of Blessing


In January 2009 a group of about 400 disciples, spanning from students to retirees, gathered from different cities and states of Brazil under the leadership of Pastor Jonathan Ferreira, founder of the ministry “Valley of Blessing” and an elder statesman with apostolic authority in Brazil. They came at the invitation of local churches. During the training, they would launch an invasion called “Visitation of God.” They would go door-to-door in Santa Cruz, offering to pray for people in their homes. Openly preaching the gospel to them in such a situation would not yet be appropriate, even while prayer of course would be. But in Jesus’ name the disciples would heal the sick in the homes they visited. The miraculous healings would demonstrate that the kingdom of God was near them. This would be in accordance with Scripture.

Luke 10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. …5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. …9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’


The Training

I put the 400 trainees through the initial session of boot camp. Never before had I seen such a large group of on-fire, sold-out disciples of Jesus Christ under one roof. They had come together from various cities under the covering of Pastor Jonathan Ferreira. The spiritual atmosphere was highly charged with these believers chomping at the bit like racehorses at the starting gate. All they needed was to be taught about their weapon—the authority Christ gives to His disciples to heal the sick—and exactly how to use it to perform miracles of healing to demonstrate to the lost that the kingdom is near.


Some of the disciples during Boot Camp


At the end of the session, we did a demonstration of healing. The infirm and the disciples filled the platform; they could not wait to lay hands on them and exercise their authority. The Lord was gracious, and several testified that the Lord had healed them. In particular, a Catholic woman had come to the session as an invited guest. She had been in an accident, and walked gingerly only with the help of a cane. By the end of the ministry—there was some last second help from me in moving the mountain from the edge of the cliff into the sea—she was literally all thumbs up, walking normally without her cane. The saints were pumped up and ready to launch their door-to-door invasion of Santa Cruz later that day after lunch. Twenty-nine teams would be sent out.

The next morning as I entered the packed auditorium for the second day of training, the disciples were already on the stage testifying excitedly of what the Lord had done through them the afternoon of the previous day when they went from home to home in the town proclaiming the kingdom of God. People had been healed in their homes and repented of their sins, putting their faith in Jesus Christ.

 

Above & below: Some disciples (among many) testifying of the miraculous healings which took place when they went from home to home for the “Visitation of God”

The 400 disciples being trained with The Elijah Challenge


One testimony was outstanding. A group of them visited a family whose 15-year-old boy had been deaf since birth. One of the disciples began to cry out to the Lord, asking Him to heal the boy. But one of the sisters who attended the Training knew that in Scripture the Lord never directly commanded His disciples to pray to the Him or to the Father to heal the sick. Rather, the Lord commanded them to heal the sick using the authority he had given them. This sister in the past had suffered from fear and doubt when it came to ministering to the infirm. But yesterday she applied what had been taught from Scripture.

As Jesus did in Mark 7:33, she put her fingers into the boy’s ears and commanded them to be opened in Jesus’ name. The boy signaled that he was beginning to hear! She continued to minister. Finally they decided to test the boy’s hearing by having him face away from them as they spoke to him. But since the boy did not know how to speak, he could not repeat after them. So the boy’s mother stood behind him and clapped loudly. The boy was visibly startled at the clapping, indicating that he could hear! The young man had been born deaf.

Another testimony involved a man who had such severe stuttering that he could not even say his name to the disciples. They laid hands on him and he was delivered and could speak normally. Immediately he decided to follow Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior.

On the last day of Training when I went up to the stage to teach, I asked how many of them had actually healed the sick as they had gone from door to door in the town. A sea of hands went up! Something unusual had happened in Santa Cruz through these disciples.

 

A sea of hands went up when I asked how many had been used by the Lord to heal the sick as they went door-to-door in the name of Jesus
This photo enlarged


Through five afternoons of visitation, it was reported that hundreds upon hundreds of miraculous healings had taken place in different homes as the 29 teams brought a “Visitation of God” to 6,000 homes in Santa Cruz. Indeed, the Lord had visited these homes through His disciples. The kingdom of God had come near to them (Luke 10:9).


The evangelistic healing service for the public

The meeting was held in the open-air under a large covered basketball court overflowing with people on all sides. I was surprised at the size of the crowd. Many of them were from the thirty-nine local churches participating in the “Visitation of God.” There was excitement in the air.




In view of the witchcraft and New Age beliefs so popular in Brazil, I told the people that we would do what Elijah did thousands of years ago on Mt. Carmel to prove to the worshipers of the false god Baal that the LORD is in fact the true God. We would ask the God of Elijah to send the fire of healing to perform miracles on the many infirm people who had come to be healed. The miraculous healings would prove that:

  • our God is the only true God who created all things and who is holy and who hates sin.
  • our God is a just God who will judge sinners and condemn them to eternal punishment in hell.
  • our God is a God of love who sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross to bear our sins.
  • if we repent of our sins and truly acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord andSavior and are baptized, our sins are forgiven and we have eternal life.
  • Jesus is the only way to the Father.

Then I sent the trained disciples into battle. The infirm came forward. The disciples laid hands on them and exercised the authority over disease and demons given to them by the Lord Jesus Christ. The victory was swift. People were healed quickly. One by one they climbed up the platform to testify. There were many testimonies. Some were weeping in gratitude to the Lord.


Above: trained disciples heal the infirm

Many who are healed come up to the platform one-by-one to testify


Clearly, witchcraft and New Age beliefs cannot perform miracles of this kind with such power and authority. I challenged the people to repent of their sins and to follow Jesus Christ. Hands went up from among the crowd. I instructed them to be discipled and to follow Jesus obediently and to serve Him faithfully for eternal life.

There was much rejoicing by the people who had witnessed God answering our prayers by sending healing fire from heaven, just as He had done for the prophet Elijah thousands of years ago. The spirit and power of Elijah are now being restored to the Church!

On the following evening another Evangelistic Healing Crusade was held in the local Sports Arena before a crowd that filled the seats. I preached Jesus Christ as the truth, the life, and only way to Father for repentant sinners. This would be demonstrated by the miraculous works (John 14:11) that would be done in the name of Jesus Christ. The trained disciples came forward, followed by those with infirmities. The servants of God made short work of the infirmities (John 14:12), and many testified of being healed.

Several in the crowd were given grace unto repentance and followed Christ as Lord and Savior.

In July 2009 Pastor Jonathan will be conducting another “Visitation of God,” this time in the small town of Astorga just outside of Maringá in the state of Paraná. Spiritually, it is a very needy area. The Elijah Challenge is being invited to train the disciples there to proclaim the kingdom of God in the spirit and power of Elijah—just as the prophet did at Mt. Carmel before the Baal-worshiping Israelities.


Elijah Challenge Trainer

Conclusion

What I saw with the “Visitation of God” could be the most effective method of evangelism that I have yet seen anywhere in the world. (What is being done in India by TEC Coordinator Pastor Joshua Gowda and in the Philippines by TEC Coordinator Pastor Carl Henderson are to varying degrees similar and are also highly effective.) I will share this scriptural approach everywhere I teach The Elijah Challenge.

Luke 10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. …5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. …9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’

It was the first time that The Elijah Challenge was incorporated into the “Visitation of God” in Brazil and the combination produced unusual results:

Where there was no unity among the thirty-nine host churches previously, there is now a measure of unity in Christ.

The Lord used the trained “ordinary” disciples to perform very many miraculous healings as they went from door-to-door visiting the overwhelmingly majority Catholics of the town. Estimates of the number of miraculous healings which took place during the five afternoons of visitation to 6,000 homes plus the two evening meetings ranged into the hundreds. One leader even estimated that one thousand people had been healed. It is not difficult to see that this method of using volunteer armies of nameless disciples of Christ to do the work of evangelism and discipleship is far more effective than renting expensive Crusade venues and depending on superstar, one-man-show evangelists. For one thing, those in attendance at Crusades are mostly believers. But unbelievers can be visited and reached in their homes anywhere by trained faceless disciples.

Souls have been born-again into the kingdom of God in their homes through the visitation. These born-again Catholics will be discipled in homes and not in evangelical churches so as not to arouse jealousy and persecution from the Catholic priests in a town which has witnessed periodic Bible burnings in the last century.

The local pastors will train more and more of their people with The Elijah Challenge and continue to send out teams to visit the homes of 94% Catholic Santa Cruz until they have completed the Great Commission there.

The Lord did an extraordinary thing in Santa Cruz, something likely never before done anywhere in the history of Brazil. It can be a model for evangelism in other countries of the world as well, with modifications adapted to suit local conditions. It can be used in Musl__m, Hindu, and Buddhist countries, not to mention of course the United States—a “Christian” country.


For the very first time, 39 churches and their leaders 
in 
Santa Cruz worked together in unity

 

Received in January 2010 from Pastor Jonathan

“The Visitation of God has been for all of us a new time, for hundreds of lives have been transformed. Many have received healing, deliverance and many others have been converted.

This has happened in all cities where it has been held to Visit: Ourinhos-SP, SP-Piraju, Ivaiporã-PR, Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo-SP, Astorga-PR and now Cornelio Procopio. In addition, more than three thousand participants have had experiences very strong, that few are aware, because they are personal. We can say that our lives were never the same after attending the Visitation of God.”


The original message in Portuguese

“A Visitação de Deus tem sido para todos nós um novo momento, pois centenas de vidas têm sido transformadas. Muitas têm recebido cura, libertação e muitas outras tem se convertido.

Isso tem acontecido em todas as cidades onde tem sido realizada a visitação: Ourinhos-SP, Piraju-SP, Ivaiporã-PR, Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo-SP, Astorga-PR e agora em Cornélio Procópio. Além disso, os mais de três mil participantes têm tido experiências muito fortes, que poucos ficam sabendo, por serem pessoais. Podemos afirmar que as nossas vidas nunca mais foram às mesmas depois de participarmos da Visitação de Deus.”


Visitação de Deus

 

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