Sunday the 24th of March marked the beginning of the second week of mission work in Pakhribas, East Nepal. By mid-day, a slow but steady stream of pastors and church leaders began to trickle in to register for the 3 day leadership conference. Around noon came a knock at the missionarys’ door. They had been requested to pray for a pastor that was having sciatic nerve pain from his lower back to the tip of his left foot. The condition was so severe that the man was forced to wear a special belt. They responded and moments later, the pastor was completely healed. (The same pastor then invited 2 members from his congregation that were in need of healing; one of which also needed healing from similar nerve damage. Both were healed during the course of the conference.) As the first session was about to begin, a lady stepped forward asking for prayer for a throat condition that threatened to prevent her from attending the meeting. Michael and Tom prayed for her and she was instantly healed to which she testified before all in attendance. Michael then taught on various methods of collecting information when preparing to write a sermon (hermeneutics) and Tom followed with a discussion on the art of sermon preparation (homiletics).
Monday started early with Tom leading a second seminar on preparing a sermon. Michael presented his second session later in the morning. Following lunch, and after a Hindu man prayed to accept Jesus as Lord, Tom spoke again. When it was Michael’s turn, the Lord led him to alter plans and briefly teach on signs and wonders. After prophesying over 2 people, he then opened the meeting for a time of healing. The response was the immediate formation of a healing line that stretched to the back of the church. Approximately 40 individuals were prayed for over the course of the next 2 and ½ hours, with needs mirroring those witnessed during Saturday’s service. The results were similar to those of Saturday’s service: around 85% completely healed; 10% partially healed; and 5% were not healed at the time. Two individuals that did not receive their healings deserve notation. One was a leper. As the men prayed for his healing, the Spirit showed Michael that the man was consulting a witchdoctor. When asked if this was correct, the man admitted the matter was true. He was then sternly rebuked, told of God’s desire for him to repent, and advised to counsel with the hosting church’s pastor. (Unfortunately, Michael was left with the impression the man would not follow through.) The second was a man that had developed partial paralysis due to experiencing extreme cold conditions while on the mountain. In this case, the Spirit privately divulged to the man he was holding anger and resentment within his heart; that he needed to repent. He admitted as much and then prayed his issues would be resolved. At the end of the night, Michael and Tom literally stumbled their way home along the rocky road to their temporary home, too exhausted to pray for another soul.
There is another event that should be mentioned; a manifestation of a demonic encounter. One woman that sought relief from chest pains and who did not receive that relief, came forth a second time for prayer. Michael announced that if anyone there sensed he or she should pray for the lady, for them to do so. A pastor stood and began to rebuke a spirit that had been troubling the woman. Immediately, she began to sway and shake violently; rolling back her eyes. This went on for several minutes until exhausted, the woman returned to her spot on the floor and laid down. The men learned afterward that before coming to Christ, the woman had spent her life as a witchdoctor. (Understand the encounter as you will, be it oppression or possession, the reality was that one who professed to be a sister in Christ was in trouble.) Relief would not come until the next day.
Tuesday marked the final day of the conference. At noon, following the completion of 2 workshops, the 3 days of seminars came to its completion. It was announced that following lunch, Michael and Tom would pray for anyone in need of healing. When they returned to the church, perhaps a dozen were waiting for prayer. But over the next 2 and ½ hours, others trickled in, including some area Hindus. Overall, approximately 20 people were prayed over and all 20 were healed. At least 2 events warrant additional mention.
One man, a Hindu and brother of a church elder, came for prayer for a urinary problem. He couldn’t pass his urine. Michael asked, “If Jesus heals you, will you accept Him as your God?” He said he would. Michael then told him to go to the toilet and then return with his report. The man did as he was told and reported he was healed. But when asked if he would now accept Jesus as his God, he declined. Michael pressed him and asked him “What Hindu god has ever healed you.” He responded “None.” But still he refused. Like his mother who’d been healed the night before, he was in a “dilemma” according to the translator. (He knew he would likely be disowned by his family if he were to come to Christ.) How sad it is to witness a mother and son healed, and yet neither could respond to the Gospel message.
A second report also warrants mention. The woman that manifested a demonic presence the day before was again present for prayer. In particular, Tom was troubled for her and was unshaken in his bid to see her set free from Satan’s grasp. After more prayer, still nothing had changed. So while Michael continued to pray for others, Tom set himself to intercede. After some time had passed, he led the sister in a prayer she was to voice; that renounced Satan, her past practices, and in praise to God for His grace and forgiveness. Immediately, her countenance changed visibly. Her joy and freedom were evident. Praise God!
Wednesday was for the most part, a day of rest. Aside from frequent quiet times in a few out of the way places along some of the most scenic views one could want, only a single event is worth noting. About a dozen church members invited the 2 missionaries to a home fellowship. Michael brought the lesson and then began to prophesy over the owner of the house. The lady interrupted to relate a story to the translator but when he began to share the that story with the missionaries, Michael stopped him. “I don’t want to know yet” he said. “You tell her what the Lord has revealed to me and then you can share her words.” With that, he began to relate the pain she had experienced for a long time regarding a particular matter she had been praying intensely for. He then described her loneliness, feelings that she had gotten nowhere with God, and more. Then the translator voiced what the woman had shared minutes earlier. Both Michael and the lady had spoken the same words. The difference came in the Lord’s promise to resolve the issue in a way she did not yet understand; that He’d already set His answer in motion. The sister burst into joy, relating how the word had given her great encouragement. The event clearly displayed the love and power of the mighty God Christian’s serve.
Thursday marked the beginning of a 10 day journey to visit a number of communities where the men would preach the Gospel and heal the sick. The newly expanded team that now included a youth and praise group, mounted (literally mounted) a Land Rover for their journey to Arkhaule Jitpur; 3 hours away. Six rode in the front cab, 4 in the back benched area, and 3 travelled on the luggage rack atop. As the team made its way along the winding mountain road, traversing some of the most beautiful land God ever created, it stopped at a small shop that crested 2 valleys nestled within a range of mountains. Michael and Tom had been asked to pray for a man who’d lost the use of his right hand. The man’s hand was drawn, with fingers curled and a limp wrist. The man was unable to control his fingers and had no feeling, even when pinched. After praying for the man and seeing no immediate success, the men prayed for 3 women who were healed. Then, returning to the man, they discovered he was regaining feeling and some movement. Later in the day, the team received a phone call and was told the man was able to grasp objects. Full recovery would come later.
Friday morning was given to outdoor evangelism in the Jitpur Bazar. The Nepali youth presented a presentation that included a dance, a Gospel message, tracts, and invitation to receive Jesus Christ. Eleven observers were born from above that day. Then the Nepali hosts asked Michael and Tom if they would like to pray for healing. Without fully understanding, they responded “Yes.” When prayers for healing were announced, the 2 men found themselves hard pressed by the crowd; with their backs to a wall—literally. Even so, 7 people were prayed for; 6 of which were Hindus. A Christian lady was first to receive prayer and made completely well. When it came time for the other 6, they were asked if they would receive Jesus Christ if He healed them. All 6 said “yes,” but reneged once they were healed. (In truth, most were only partially healed.) Apparently, even wonders have their limit when it comes to reaching hearts that are more at home with familial traditions than worshipping the one true God. Michael sensed that one individual was in league with practicing spiritism, but chose for the moment to say nothing. The local pastor, knowing the woman, later referred to her as “antichrist.” When asked why, he seemed to confirm Michael’s suspicions as he told of past wicked deeds she’d done to lead astray 2 recent converts and their families.
After lunch at the church, 2 events should be mentioned. First, as head of the IPICM ministry, the pastor presented Michael with a letter requesting financial aid for erecting a new church; to be presented to churches in America upon his return. Then Michael spoke a prophetic word to the pastor. Very specific, the Lord repeatedly asked the pastor, “Do you remember when . . . ?” Beginning with his call to ministry, the Lord reminded him of the many stages they’d traveled together, including specific discussions they’d had, times of trial, dealings with government officials, brothers in leadership who were shown to have false motives, and more. The man wept as God spoke in ways that reminded him of their journey together. In the end, he was reassured of God’s ongoing presence and continued blessings to come. Next, the pastor asked Michael and Tom to pray for a man who could not attend the evening or next day service. They agreed and the man was prayed over and delivered from a neck and shoulder problem he’d suffered for years as the result of a fall. But full healing did not come until it was discerned by Tom that the man had an emotional struggle. Michael then referenced the man’s reluctance to serve and have fellowship with members of the church, as well as some anger issues in his heart over past matters. With the things of his heart laid bare, the man prayed for forgiveness and his healing was then instantly made complete.
Saturday, March 30th, was the Nepali Christian day of worship—Easter on a Saturday. Tom brought the message and a time of healing followed. At least 20 people were prayed for with all but the last couple having their prayers answered. As in other places, all manner of afflictions were healed.
With ministry in Jitpur complete, the team mounted their Range Rover and traveled further up the mountain to the village of Nigale. As the day grew late, the team rested in the church. Arjun, the principle interpreter, had a DVD of Martin Luther in English, so everyone who spoke English gathered around his computer and the little group rejoiced over something as simple as a night at the movies.
The events that took place in the tiny 20’ x 40’ mud and bamboo Pentecostal church the next morning would eclipse everything the team had experienced to date. The healings and salvations among believers and Hindus would astonish everyone.