For 18 long months, the IPICM team planned its ministry to the Nepali people and the time finally arrived. Following 2 plane changes and a combined 36 hours of travel, Dr. Michael Lanier and Tom Stoy arrived in Kathmandu on Wednesday the 20th of March. The 2 days spent in Nepal’s capitol city were certainly filled with sights and sounds that all but defied description. For example, neither adventurer ever considered the possibility that a 2 lane road could actually support 3 lanes of intense, zig-zag traffic. Motorcycles, mini-vans and yes, even rickshaws, blazed their own unique paths! Even a seasoned Jamaican taxi driver couldn’t contend. (It was better to close one’s eyes and pray his guardian angel could keep up.) And then there were the Buddhist temples with all their cute little monkeys and their monkey “mess.” And of course there was the Hindu bazaar with the 12 year old goddess. Yep. But after 2 days of sightseeing and making a few curio purchases, Michael and Tom were ready to begin the next leg of their adventure.
Fly eastward along the southern slope of the Himalaya mountain range and when you finally arrive at Biratnagar—the second largest city in Nepal—turn left and drive 4 hours until you come to the foothills of the world’s tallest mountains. The team’s destination was the small farming community of Pakhribas, nestled deep within the rolling mountains of East Nepal. It was here that the real joy of ministry was to begin.
Saturday is the day of worship for Nepali Christians, so on the morning following the men’s arrival, the first official day of ministry began. Tom preached the message to which 2 Hindus responded. But because the team was told they should finish the service by 12:30—and that was the time when Tom’s sermon concluded due to a multiplicity of announcements and other matters—there appeared to be no opportunity to pray for the people. However, a single individual came forward for prayer for her aching body. As the Spirit moved in healing, those looking on thronged forward for their own healing needs. (It was at this time—1:30 in the early morning Texas time—that Michael’s sister, Judy McReynolds, awoke from her sleep to intercede for the team. Little could she have known what was to happen 12 time zones away.) The time of healing began when Michael announced “There is someone in this section (the ladies area of the room) that needs healing in the knees. Come forward and God will heal you.” Seven women responded and all 7 were healed. For the next 2 hours, Michael and Tom prayed for approximately 20 souls having maladies too vast to detail for the moment. Should you list every possible affliction from A to Z and head to toe—regardless of technical diagnoses—you would certainly happen upon many of the afflictions that were cured that day. Headache, neck and throat, ear, eye, teeth, shoulder, fever, joint pain, heart, lung, chest pain, an assortment of internal organs, nerve, knee, hand and foot, toe, and more—all would be prayed for that day. Let it be emphatically declared: God heals today the same as He did in biblical times and the people of Pakhribas would learn this truth for themselves.
The team never simply accepted a healing had taken place at face value. Michael and Tom sought proof. Every recipient of a healing was asked to do something to demonstrate he or she had received a verifiable healing. “Do something you couldn’t do before” was the expression heard frequently throughout the afternoon. On that first day of ministry, it was estimated that 85% of those prayed over were completely healed; 10% partially healed; and 5% were not healed. Of course, some may have been healed in the hours that followed. (When Jesus healed the 10 lepers, it was “as they went.” Paul’s own healing at the time of his conversion came “in that hour.”)
One need not pray long prayers to witness God’s healings. In most cases, hands were laid on individuals. Sometimes a simple word of healing would be spoken as the affliction was commanded to depart. Regardless, many prayers took no longer than 1 to 3 minutes. Some certainly required longer and several people were prayed for a second time when their healing was only partial following the initial prayer.
As fascinating as this time of ministry was, still greater things would take place over the next couple of days as Michael and Tom were the chief speakers at a 3 day pastor and leadership conference. The account of the leper, the demoniac, healings of multiple Hindus who came for Christian prayer, along with other accounts, will find their way into the next post.
Please note that internet service will probably be lacking for the next 10 days as the team will be traveling by car, local bus, and by foot from village to village, conducting services in local churches and bazaars. Please be patient and stay tuned. Above all, please pray for Michael, Tom, and the local Nepali team.