Some background information
-Reported by a nameless disciple
Although in this communist country there is typically little freedom of religion and some official persecution, the authorities have decided to some extent to turn a blind eye to the existence of some thirty unregistered house churches in this city. I was able to come and go to minister in the house church freely. The reason for this was my outward appearance. Missionaries who look caucasian are not able to attend the services freely.
My host pastor told me that in his opinion what hinders the Church is not so much persecution from the authorities, but rather discouragement from lack of results when sharing the gospel with the lost. The people in this area of the world are steeped in the practice of ancestor worship, and culturally are loathe to stop “honoring” their deceased ancestors.
This is the very purpose of The Elijah Challenge—training disciples of Jesus Christ to demonstrate to the lost through miraculous signs that our God is the only true God and that Jesus is the only way to Him. When the trained disciples share the gospel with the lost, they will be able to demonstrate that it is indeed true by healing the sick.
I observed in these disciples a level of love and zeal for the Lord that I do not often see in countries where there is freedom of religion or where persecution of Christians is negligible. They have paid a price for their faith not required of Christians in the west. They have put their hope in the reward to be given to them when Christ is revealed, and do not focus on comfort and material prosperity in this life. I warned them that when political and religious freedom comes to them someday, they must be careful not to lose their zeal and become complacent like their counterparts in “free” countries.
At the Training in this busy city the Lord confirmed the teaching by healing those with infirmities as the disciples laid hands on them.
Incurable lupus healed in Jesus’ name
A brother was in a hospital dying of a form of lupus. Since there was no treatment available to cure him of this disease which caused his immune system to attack his own body, he was given powerful drugs simply to help lessen the pain and the symptoms. When we visited him in his hospital ward, he had little strength and discomfort in his lungs along with difficulty in breathing.
We laid hands on him and ministered to him in the name of Jesus Christ. Then we helped in to get up from his bed and to walk around in the 10-bed ward. He felt stronger and better, so we led him out of the ward into the halls and corridors of the big hospital. We walked all the way to the opposite end of the hospital until we had to turn around and go back. He was able to breathe again. Upon entering the ward he returned to his bed and sat down. This was supposed to be a man who was dying and had no hope.
On May 13 we received the report: “The patient (with Red Lupus) that you visited at the hospital was healed from the lupus. One week after you ministered to him, the doctor examined him again and could not find any lupus in his body. So they allowed him to leave the hospital and go home.”
A believer who was a dentist suffered from non-functioning kidneys. Because of this he needed kidney dialysis three times a week. He was trusting the Lord either to heal him or to provide kidney transplantation through a donor.
Before dinner at his home, we laid hands on him with authority in the name of Jesus Christ. At that moment he felt something move in the area of his kidneys as well as warmth. On his next visit to the hospital for dialysis, tests showed that his non-functioning kidneys were now functioning at a level of 50%.
A pastor and his wife had come from a distant city in the south for the Training. The wife had cancer in her face and suffered from pain and discomfort. By the end of the Training when they returned to their home in the south, her condition had greatly improved and she felt much better.
The Evangelistic Healing Services
A crowd of mostly believers, overflowing out the back door, filled the house church. Their adoration for the Lord was evident during the praise and worship at the start of the meeting.
I first preached the gospel from Mark 2 where Jesus Christ demonstrated to a houseful of people that He had authority to forgive sin by healing a paralytic. Then we prayed to the Lord and asked Him to do the same through His trained disciples who had been trained to heal the sick. After prayer, the disciples laid hands on the infirm as they had been taught.
The testimonies of miraculous healing came quickly. Several infirm people testified that they had been healed or were much better. One older man had been piggybacked to the meeting by a younger man—likely his son who had to carry his father up 4-5 flights of stairs. The man had suffered from a severe stroke and both legs were limp and to me clearly useless. During the meeting he would break out sobbing for no apparent reason as some stroke victims do. But during the demonstration after some co-workers ministered to him for some time, he actually stood up and began to take a few steps.
The mute speak
A young man had recently come to the Lord and been set free from severe demonic oppression. But he was still unable to speak, and looking at him I could tell he was not quite in his right mind. During the time of ministry, trained believers ministered to him just as Jesus ministered to a deaf and dumb man in Mark 7:33. The young man began to speak with a soft voice, giving praise to the Lord. And it appeared that his mind had been restored.
Through the miracles as testified by the people that evening, the Lord proved that He had authority to forgive sin and save sinners from condemnation in hell. This was the very first time that such an approach to evangelism had been used in the city.
At the second evangelistic meeting the following evening, I preached the gospel from John 14:6. The people would know that Jesus Christ is in fact the only way to the Father by the miraculous healings He would perform in accordance with John 14:11 (“…at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves”). We then prayed according to John 14:12 (“those who believe in Him will do the works that He did”). After prayer we ministered healing-at-a-distance in Jesus’ name to the infirm who were present. Immediately about seven people gathered at the front to testify that the Lord had healed them, thus demonstrating that He had authority to forgive sin.
When I challenged the people to repent and to believe in Jesus, nearly everyone in the meeting raised their hands. Afterwards, more infirm people were healed as the trained disciples laid hands on them one-on-one.
Testimonies in the immediate aftermath of the Training
A leader who runs a Bible School immediately took the Powerpoint file of the Training Presentation and used it to teach his students. Eight people were healed during the class demonstration.
A pastor and his wife who had flown in from the south to attend the Training reported that many infirm people—on one occasion, everyinfirm person—were healed at meetings they conducted after returning home. Even a stroke victim had been healed by the Lord through them.
The leaders and believers who attended the Training are now equipped to heal the sick effectively as proof that the gospel is true.
Our host pastor, a leader in the city, wrote us later: “It was just sheer delight for me to serve the Lord with you. Many have received blessings from this Training. Many, including me, have applied what they learned from the Lord through you in their local congregations and have seen people healed, in many cases instantly. A few have ministered to unbelievers and led them to Christ successfully. Some are planning to do so in the days ahead.”