Over the span of three weeks, 52 people prayed for salvation. In addition, the Holy Spirit ministered prophetically in a manner similar to what we read of Agabus (Acts 11:28; 21:10-11). (Our notes indicated a specific count of 27 utterances, but team notes were twice vague on unrecorded numbers. All words were verified accurate by their recipients and many were videoed.) Another 348 received healing, although numerous others were never counted on three occasions. The final tally may have approached 400. And yes, while I’m acutely aware that most Western Christians will never accept such things, try to remember that American Christianity, along with its prejudices, is only a small segment of today’s Christian population, and that most of the Spirit’s ongoing supernatural wonders still occur where the Kingdom of God continues to advance.
In addition to presenting summary figures, I (Dr. Michael Lanier) would like to conclude our ministry posts with a personal touch. While I don’t feel the need to belabor the more supernatural points, I’d like to take a moment to tell you something of a most moving experience.
I witnessed something I’m afraid I’ll never be able to adequately describe. You’ll need to use your imagination on this one. Somewhere between Zambesi and the end of the world, our vehicle pulled over to a roadside taxi stop so we might greet some of our fellow sojourners from Kabompo. They were waiting for a connecting ride and would soon join us in Zambesi. (Picture a gathering of people patiently waiting on the side of the road for a bus—a metal entity on wheels that has no apparent concept of time or schedule—in the heart of a vast African savanna. And they were waiting without complaint.) Before we could depart our car, everyone, in complete unison, broke into spontaneous song and dance, praising God for His greatness. How difficult it was to hold back our tears. Minutes later, a small bus carrying more church members pulled to a stop about one quarter of a mile behind us. As the bus unloaded and we were recognized in the distance, its travelers immediately raced down the highway—running like a herd of wildebeests—ready to join in the celebration. Soon, everyone was singing and dancing amid the euphoria that only African believers can generate. What beauty! How wonderful it was to experience such joy in such a wonderful people. How infectious! I freely admit, they were not the only ones dancing at the taxi stop.
Jesus told us we will always have the poor among us, but truly the term “poor” is relative. To try to describe the material poverty of the places we visited would be futile. Even so, material poverty means little from an African perspective. Children playing in dirt roads with nothing more than a toy car made from wound wire and pushed with a stick, or young men playing soccer with a ball made from bound plastic bags, is an everyday thing. No one seems aware of their material poverty. Their richness is something quite different.
I’ve traveled far and wide over my 24 years of doing mission-evangelism and I can say without doubt, African believers are truly rich in ways westerners often fail to comprehend. In truth, they may know little about Christian doctrine, and many don’t have access to a bible, but they know how to celebrate life more than anyone I know. Imagine watching competing congregations singing and dancing their expressions of adoration under a big-top tent illumined by nothing more than a single solar charged light. Now, still with song in ear, step away from the tent and add to your imagination the majesty of our God’s starry overhead display in the black of night. Yes, African Christians are truly rich—and they are blessed!
May we never tire from serving such a wonderful people.
Dr. Michael Lanier, Executive Director