Lord, we need a very big field!
It was late in 2015, in Ghana, and CfaN’s West African team were on the hunt for a piece of land. Preparations for the upcoming Gospel Campaign had been going well. In fact, there was so much interest and excitement that we were doing something we had never done before. We were running two full preparation teams in two cities, at the same time. The cities were Ashaiman and Tema, adjoining metropoles brimming with people. Many of them were fighting extreme poverty, and living conditions were tough. Families eked out a living, staying in shantytowns, with the bare minimum of municipal services.
We needed a very big piece of ground indeed, something that could accommodate hundreds of thousands of people, given the enormous amount of attention that the event was getting already. But as days stretched into weeks, no suitable place could be found. We wanted to hold the Gospel Campaign somewhere central, somewhere people could catch a bus to, or walk to – not somewhere on the outskirts of town, far away. Surely there must be something, somewhere? “Lord,” we prayed, “please make the right piece of land available to us, for your work.”
At last, John Darku, our African Campaign Director, had a possible solution. It was one of those “good news, bad news” situations. The good news was that he had found a huge piece of land in the perfect spot, right in the middle between the two towns. The bad news was that the field was currently a dumping ground, literally a waste-dump. And it was notorious as one of the most dangerous places in all of Ghana. It was so dangerous that the police and the military refused to go there.
Can the Lord use this terrible place?
Our team went to have a look. The smell of burning rubber hung heavy in the air. Smoke from fires burning all kinds of waste stung their nostrils and made their eyes water. Mounds of garbage were stacked everywhere, and over these stinking hills, destitute people climbed, looking for anything usable. Goats wandered everywhere, eating whatever they could find. And on one side of the field, a deep ditch had become a flowing river of raw sewage.
It was difficult to imagine a more hopeless place than this. How on earth could we make this awful place safe and usable for our Gospel Campaign? The obstacles were literally stacked high before us. CfaN had never taken on anything like this before.
But the simple truth was that the population density in this area was so great, shacks built tightly together in every direction, that there was no other ground big enough for our purpose. The burden of the decision was on our technical team. They were the ones who would have to face this giant and bring it down. And you know what? They didn’t hesitate. These fearless men of God said, “We will find a way.”
God will make a way, where it seems there is no way.
How does God make a way? Most of the time, He does it using our hands, our feet, our voices. Sure enough, as the team got to work, a plan formed. Bulldozers were hired, and they began clearing the land. In the background, other team members negotiated with people who had been living on the refuse dump, and compensated them generously, so that we could level some shacks. Piles of refuse were removed. Wood chips and sawdust were brought in by the truckload to make the swampy areas dry. Finally, the tech team built a wooden bridge that would allow people to safely cross the polluted stream.
Never before had our team had to work so hard to prepare for an event. As the final mounds of garbage were carted away, and the stage and sound system were erected, we felt like we truly knew what it meant to “possess the promised land”! As we looked around at this clear, empty field, ready and waiting for the event to start, we knew we had already seen the first miracle of the campaign.
You reap what you sow
After all that effort, would the people come? Would ordinary folk from Ashaiman and Tema dare to come to this area, infamous for gangs and all kinds of crime? The CfaN team had prepared the ground, but only God can bring in the harvest.
And then the second miracle began. On the very first night, 90,000 people streamed in. More came the next night, and more the night after. We saw wonderful healings – a woman who had been paralyzed on her left side after a stroke received total healing, and a young boy who had been left paralyzed and partially blind after an illness ran on the platform without even a limp. As word of these and many other miracles spread through the region, the crowds continued to grow. Over 710,000 people attended the meetings in total, with 300,000 in one night alone. It was breathtaking.
Just as our team had resurrected this forgotten, filthy, scary part of town, so we were seeing the resurrection power of Jesus radically transforming lives in front of our eyes. Over the four days, 381,610 people filled in decision cards, indicating that they had decided to follow Jesus.
This is Holy Ground
Long before the campaign took place, we had planned to record a worship album during the Ashaiman/Tema campaign. We invited well-known worship leaders Roy Fields and Hope Darst to join us, and they accepted the invitation. Of course, we had no idea back then of the challenges that we would face, and of what this particular place would come to signify to us. Can you imagine the joy in my heart as we began to lift our voices to God? Instead of the smoke of garbage being burnt, the sweet incense of worship was offered to heaven.
In this forgotten, discarded place, hundreds of thousands of people were lifting their hands and their song to the Lord.
What a beautiful act of transformation. What a perfect picture of the way God works. He takes what has been discarded and left behind – the dying, the filthy, the unclean – and He transforms it all through the blood of Jesus. What was broken becomes whole. What was diseased becomes healthy. What was lost is found. What was a place of horror, becomes holy ground.
This, my dear friends, is why we do what we do, and why we go where the Lord sends us. His mercy, His grace, His salvation and healing, are not confined to the musty pages of an old Bible on someone’s shelf. They are the living story that He is writing right now, and you are a very important part of it.
Please keep sending us!
Today, please prayerfully ask the Lord how He wants you to partner with this ministry. I challenge you to renew your commitment to the Great Commission, to be a warrior on the frontlines of this battle with eternal outcomes. Please consider becoming a Monthly Partner, to help us in our planning of future Gospel Campaigns. If you are unable to make that commitment, then please consider giving to support our upcoming evangelistic campaigns in Kenya.
We long to see all of Africa transformed into Holy Ground. Let’s be Jesus’s hands and feet together.
Together with you in Jesus,