But I asked them to look around the room at the different gathered there. As they looked around, they all agreed it was truly a miracle that they were together.
You see, Angola was locked in civil war for three decades! The division in the country has been monumental and a major stumbling block for their advancement. We could see how God was using these campaigns to bring the country and the Body of Christ back together.
We saw God perform so many miracles to cause the meetings to happen that I could write a book. We were told “No, that is impossible and will never happen in Angola” countless times and yet every time God intervened on our behalf. He sent someone to fix the problem every time. He used bank managers, taxi drivers, pastors, hotel concierges, members of parliament, generals and even the president himself to work things out on our behalf.
Jesus came for the one
Our arrival to Luanda couldn’t have gone much better. There were scores of people welcoming us. We were able to do multiple TV interviews to promote the campaigns. Then we had a dinner for leaders who had helped us over many months. It was very well attended. All the “right” people were there, including multiple members of parliament, ambassadors and almost every major church leader in the country. Things were going great.
Then we got to the field the first night and the crowd was not what I was expecting. There were about 14,000 people standing in a field that could fit one million.
My mind began to race. What did we miss? What did I do wrong? What are our partners going to think? We’ve spent all this money. Oh no! All of this and more flashed through my mind.
By His grace, I was able to cast those thoughts down and do what God had sent me there to do – preach the Gospel! I preached to those 14,000 like they were a million.
What the crowd lacked in size it made up for in an insatiable hunger for God. In response, He began to move. There were so many miracles, we couldn’t get to them all. But as we left the field, I was still battling thoughts of my unmet expectations concerning the size of the crowd. Then the Lord began to deal with me.
Albertina was 12 years old and had never taken a step but walked home that night. Was she not worth all the effort and money? What about Jose who was going to kill himself that night before he stumbled upon the campaign and gave his life to Jesus? Or the 4-year-old boy who had never heard or spoke who said, “Mama” for the first time? Or the countless other people who had been touched by our Lord Jesus?
God wasn’t thinking about what anyone was or wasn’t going to think about me. He wasn’t thinking about the money and He certainly wasn’t thinking about my ego.
He was thinking about the one. He was asking me if I would care about the one as much as He did. Then He showed me that if He can’t trust me with the one, He can’t trust me with millions.
I had been corrected.
“Too many” testimonies!
Pulling onto the FAPA field on the last night of our time in Luanda was bittersweet. I wanted to jump for joy at what God had done in the hearts of the leaders of this country, how He had begun to unify them and how He had set so many of the people free from the clutches of the enemy. On the other hand, I knew that this was my last chance to proclaim the Gospel on this field."
We rejoiced as we saw that the crowd had more than doubled from the previous night. Every night the hunger of the Angolan people was insatiable. God met their hunger with His power. We saw so many miracles every night that we could not get to them all. So, I just began to bring the people whose miracles had been verified on stage in a line so I could shake their hands and bless them. We didn’t have time for everyone to give their testimony so this was the least I could do. The last night was no different. After many people gave their testimony, we lined up 20-30 people onstage whose blind eyes had been opened, whose deaf ears now heard, who had their tumors disappear and many other signs of the power of God.
We do not shrink back!
“But our way is not that of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who believe and by this confident faith preserve the soul.” (Hebrews 10:39 Amp)
This could be our motto and it applies to everyone on the team. When the equipment malfunctions, the sound guys don’t shrink back. They rely on God and move forward until the problem is solved. When the trucks break down in the middle of the driest place on earth, we don’t shrink back. We trust the Lord and fix the problem. When our field permits are taken away ten – yes, ten! – different times, we ask Him what to do and press on. When it looks like we are out of money and we still need a lot, we sow a seed and continue the work – and God sends people with the resources we need or even changes the exchange rate by 50% in our favor. And after all of that and much more, when we show up to the first night and the crowd is not what we were expecting, we don’t go back to the room and cry. We move forward and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, rejoicing that God would allow us to do this work. And by doing this, by not shrinking back to destruction, we don’t just preserve our souls. We preserve the souls of those who choose Jesus – in this case, over 100,000 precious people in Luanda!