The Elijah Challenge in Taiwan
For five days at the end of June and the beginning of July 2011, the seed of the gospel was planted in the hearts over 2,000 children by 100 missionary teachers in ten public elementary schools in southern Taiwan. It was amazing, given the overwhelming presence of idolatry and Buddhism there.
The Lord had given our hosts Mission Harmony and Operation Care of Dallas great favor with ten elementary schools. During the last week of formal classes the 100 missionaries from the USA were invited to every classroom to teach English using Bible material all day long for four days. (It would be similar to what children would get in Summer Bible Camp or Sunday School.) And every afternoon in each school all the children would gather for an assembly where they would be taught gospel songs and listen to messages, similar to a church worship service.
According to our host John Wen of Mission Harmony, part of the reason for this unusual opportunity was the openness of the parents to what we were doing—coming all the way from America at our own expense to teach English for free to their children. Moreover, despite the prevalence of idolatry here, it seemed at that moment to have little strength to oppose us.
After teaching and spending the day with her classroom of precious fifth graders at Ligang Elementary School, Lucille could only think back to what took place thirty-some years ago in Batu Ampar, Indonesia when we were missionaries. We had opened up the front room of our house for a classroom for the village kids. There she taught them how to read. One 14-year-old boy was illiterate. She used materials from Scripture to teach them to read (in their native language of Indonesian).
Today those illiterate barefoot children are pastors, pastors’ wives, and successful business people who finance the work of the kingdom of God. The 14-year-old boy now has a Master’s Degree in theology and is a pastor. As Lucille taught and loved on the children, she could only think of what some of these little ones will be in twenty or thirty years. Indeed the seed of the gospel sowed in fertile hearts is so immeasurably powerful.
2,000-plus children raise their hands to accept Jesus
On the last day, Friday, we were privileged to see the 2,000-plus elementary school children raise their hands to accept Jesus Christ as Operation Care Founder Susie Jennings shared with them. That day had been set aside for a big open-air assembly where the missionary teachers washed the feet of their students. Teachers in Chinese culture hold a position of high respect and authority, and especially do not wash the feet of their students. It was a wonderful picture of the love which Jesus’ showed for His disciples before He went to the cross to bear our sins.
Lucille witnessed how touched were her children when she shared about the love of God through Jesus Christ. During one of the afternoon assemblies at the Ligang Elementary School where she was assigned she told the two hundred-some gathered children about the Prodigal Son. They listened quietly, awestruck by the love of the father—a kind of love of which they had never heard before, especially since Chinese culture emphasizes performance.
Above – Lucille & her fifth-graders
Isa & Lucille
Afternoon school assembly at Ligang Elementary
Over 2,000 children from all ten schools coming to the final Assembly on Friday morning
Some of the tents set up for the Friday morning assembly
Lucille’s students at the Friday morning assembly with their regular teacher, Jack
The Elijah Challenge Training
The Lord’s grace was very evident during the Elijah Challenge Training sessions. At the end of second session an older man, the husband of a lady pastor from Taipei, hobbled forward to be healed. He suffered from pain in his upper thigh/hip area which was especially bad when climbing stairs. Two brothers came forward to minister to him. Gerhard is a German expatriate who has lived in Taiwan for twenty years. Eric is a graduate of Oral Roberts University as well as Rhema Bible School in Oklahoma. They laid hands on the gentleman and authoritatively commanded his leg to be healed in Jesus’ name. Then I asked him to walk. He took some steps and a slightly amazed grin appeared on his face. The limp was gone. He walked back and forth easily and normally. I asked him to climb the steps to the platform and he glided up effortlessly. The Lord had graciously confirmed His word before His disciples.
Then five more people experiencing pain in their bodies came forward to be healed. Disciples came forward from their seats to lay hands on them. Afterwards, each of the five testified that the Lord had healed them. One woman had been unable to raise her arm. But as she testified she was lifting it up and down effortlessly.
Then I encouraged the disciples to use what the Lord had given them to preach the gospel in Ligang. There are 112 idol temples, but only four churches in Ligang. This is a reflection on the lack of power in the Church’s evangelism. Now that they have been trained to use the very powerful weapons given to them by the Lord, they must use them to fulfill the Great Commission. There will be a mass movement of Buddhists to Jesus Christ here only when the Church obeys the Lord’s commands to “heal the sick and tell them, ‘the kingdom of God is near you.'”
Later that evening after the meeting while we were preparing for bed in the retreat center, we were called to minister to a young lady who was on the Mission Harmony team. She was staying in a big dormitory room just across the courtyard from us. She was seeing spirits and was suffering from severe pain in the back of her head. We got dressed and went to the dormitory room where she and about a dozen other young women were staying. We laid hands on her and rebuked the spirits and the pain in Jesus’ name. She was healed and set free.
There is darkness here which can only be dispelled by the gospel and the authority the Lord has given to His people.
The climactic evangelistic healing services
Following three nights of teaching The Elijah Challenge Basic Training in Ligang, we led the first of two evangelistic healing services in the open-air at a local elementary school. After preaching the gospel, we had the infirm come forward to be healed as confirmation of Jesus’ authority to forgive sins. The trained disciples ministered to them as they had been trained to do, but the results were not what we expected. There was spiritual resistance coming from somewhere. Although some people were healed and testified, it was difficult. The miracles were not as prompt and powerful and as numerous as we had expected based on his past experience. We found out that a Buddhist was in the meeting and had been performing his chanting “prayers”, obviously to impede what we were doing. After the meeting, a young woman was dramatically delivered from powerful tormenting demons. All in all, however, it was a rather disappointing Thursday evening for us.
Lucille’s evangelistic meeting that same evening took place in the city of Donggang, about an hour away. She, on the other hand, reported that as far as she could tell, every person who came forward in her meeting testified of being healed. Some of those present were Indonesian women who had been purchased as brides by local Taiwanese men. (She saw similarly good results during both her Thursday and Friday evenings.)
Yesterday afternoon following his disappointment, we sought the Lord earnestly, asking Him not to allow the presence of the demonic forces which had hindered the ministry the evening before. He prayed that the Lord would be gracious to display His healing power in a highly visible way at the second and final evangelistic meeting that evening. At the meeting, we then preached the gospel from John 14 with great clarity and boldness—proclaiming that the Lord would perform powerful miraculous healings to demonstrate that Jesus Christ was the only way to the Father and that every other way leads to eternal torment in the lake of fire.
Then came the moment of decision. After prayer, we had the trained disciples once again lay hands on those who came forward for healing. This time the Lord revealed His healing power with ferocity. The infirmities were dispatched quickly in Jesus’ name. People came up and waited their turn to testify what the Lord had done. One gentlemen who had a hole in his heart was dramatically healed. One woman who could barely lift her left arm and dress herself was so surprised when she could move her arm freely in every direction. She even bent her arm way behind her back and exclaimed that she could now wash her back!
That evening the Lord gave His forces an impressive victory over the powers of darkness which had frustrated us the night before. Everyone was now encouraged to serve the Lord with all their heart. The Lord had clearly demonstrated to all present that Jesus is the ONLY WAY to eternal life, and that all other paths lead to condemnation in hell.
YouTube video from Taiwan
Please click on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARkskxgZ10I to view a short video from this trip. The portion showing The Elijah Challenge meetings begins at 2:40 of the video.