The Nigeria meetings were organized by Elijah Challenge Africa Coordinator Emmanuel Abdullahi
Lagos is the largest city in Nigeria. The Elijah Challenge Basic Training was hosted by Pastor Anyanka, who along with her husband Chris lead Holy Ghost Fire Encounter Ministries in the area of Festac right on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Other pastors and ministers who were members of the local Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) were present.
Hosts Pastor Anyanka & Rev. Chris Anyanka
Holy Ghost Fire Encounter Ministries
It was a delight to train the servants of God. In this area of Lagos—and perhaps more generally in Africa where people already believe in the reality of the supernatural through the existence of witchcraft, idolatry, and ancestor worship—I was told that the attitude of the people is “seeing is believing.” They demand to see the visible power of God before they will believe in Him. But the Church here is weak in the area of producing such demonstrations of God’s existence. There is little visible demonstration of God’s power in terms of healing the sick and casting out demons to show the lost that the Lord is the true God.
Thus the servants of God were extremely attentive as they absorbed the teaching from Scripture. I showed them the clear difference between pentecostal/charismatic tradition regarding healing and how Jesus and his disciples healed the sick. They could see it for themselves from Scripture. But the real clincher was the demonstration of healing at the end of the first session. As the servants of God laid hands on the infirm, they testified they were healed. In particular, there were two men who came forward with “moving objects” in their bodies. One in particular was in obvious pain and discomfort as he struggled to the front. These moving objects are generally caused by demons, perhaps sent through a curse invoked by a sorcerer.
Three brothers laid hands on him and sharply rebuked the demons and pain and commanded them to go in the name of Jesus Christ. The moving objects disappeared as well as the pain. Everyone rejoiced witnessing the miracle. And it was so surprisingly simple…and in accordance with Scripture. The servants of God here are determined to use this talent which the Lord has entrusted to them.
In the open-air Crusade later in the evening, the servants of God were lined up at the front ready for war after the gospel had been presented to the people. The people with infirmities came forward. The brethren laid hands on them and made short work of the infirmities and demons. In a few minutes, there was a line of people snaking up to the platform waiting their turn to testify what the Lord had done for them. The very last testimony came from a sister who testified that she had been experiencing problems with her memory and with intellectual tasks. She reported excitedly and convincingly that the Lord had restored her mind and memory.
One of many testimonies of miraculous healing
By healing the sick through His disciples, Jesus proved that He had authority to forgive sin and to save from condemnation in hell.
After testimonies I gave the microphone to our Africa Coordinator Emmanuel Abdullahi. He challenged the people to give their lives in Jesus. Fourteen people came forward and repented of their sins, putting their faith in Jesus.
Some guest pastors and leaders at the Crusade
On the following two days the Training continued in the mornings and the open-air Crusades in the evenings. Coordinator Emmanuel Abdullahi preached on the second evening. At each Crusade meeting the Lord was faithful to use the trained servants of God to heal the infirm and cast out demons quickly. Among the healings was a man with a partial stroke who was restored, and a man whose body pain from sugar diabetes disappeared. On the third evening we challenged any idolater or witchdoctor present at the meeting to pray to his god or use his power to heal the infirm. No one accepted the challenge. So we called on the name of the God of Elijah to send the fire of healing through the trained servants of God to prove that only He was the true God. When they laid hands on the infirm, many of them were healed quickly and filled the platform to testify of what God had done for them. Many of those healed were children. One elderly woman who hobbled forward painfully on a cane had problems with her eyes. Later she was seen testifying on the platform. Her eyes were healed and she was walking without her cane. Many children gave their lives to Jesus Christ. They will be servants of God in the next generation.
Rejoicing in the goodness of God
The trained servants of God are now prepared to launch out on their own to proclaim the kingdom of God in the spirit and power of Elijah.
At the Sunday morning service of the Holy Ghost Fire Encounter Ministries with Pastor Anyanka, I taught the congregation briefly. To demonstrate the authority to heal that the Lord has given to His people for sharing the gospel to the lost (Luke 9:1-2 & 10:9), I had the people lay hands on those with pain in their bodies. All of them testified on the platform that their pains had gone. Finally, together we ministered healing-at-a-distance to all in the congregation who had infirmities as Jesus did in Luke 7. Between twenty-five and thirty people raised their hands to signify that the Lord had healed them. I encouraged the congregation to take this very same authority to the lost to heal the sick and to proclaim the Kingdom of God.
Many more were healed at the Sunday morning Thanksgiving service
Just before we left Lagos, our Africa Coordinator Emmanuel Abdullahi told us that a certain lady pastor had attended the Training. On the following Sunday she held a healing service in her church, applying what she had learned at the Training. Infirm people were healed instantly when she laid hands on them.
We were told by Rev. Anyanka who hosted me in Lagos on behalf of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) that on our next trip to Lagos, PFN wants to hold a much larger Training event where many more servants of God can train with The Elijah Challenge.
Report from the Lagos Hosts
“The Elijah Challenge in conjunction with Holy Ghost Fire Encounter Ministries held Basic Training for Healing Ministration. This program took place from 13th to 15th November 2008 at Holy Ghost Fire encounter ministry in Tedi town, Lagos, Nigeria.
There were two sections for the programme, a morning and an evening section. The morning was for ministers from different churches and members of Pentecostal fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) WHILE THE EVENING SECTION WAS FOR EVERYONE Including THE SICK. The morning section was mainly for training how to heal the sick by Brother William. He taught that it is not by simply praying for the sick but by rebuking and commanding the sickness to go out of the infirm person and come back no more as demonstrated by our Lord Jesus in all His healing encounters. Every minister present was trained to exercise the healing power of our Lord Jesus which was demonstrated during the Crusade.
THE CRUSADE: This crusade started at 5:30 pm every evening for three days. It was opened with the Zion Voices of the Holy Ghost Fire Encounter Ministry with beautiful and inspirational songs. During the crusade, every trained minister was expected to come and demonstrate what was been taught. This brought a lot of testimonies from the people. The people were very happy seeing these great miracles.
Zion Voices of the Holy Ghost Fire Encounter Ministry
After these great three days of the crusade, the people came to thank God on Sunday, 16th November 2008 for what they had witnessed. During this Thanksgiving Service many more were healed. And since then until now there are still lots of testimonies and healing going on in the church. We thank God for this great opportunity which we are still practicing up to date. Brother William went further to visit the Bale (king) of Tedi Land and offered prayers for him and his family before going back to USA.”
Rev. Chris Anyanka
Warri, Delta State
The Lord graciously anointed us to train His servants on the first day of the Basic Training here held at TEC Coordinator Pastor Joshua Oghoghoreva’s Christ Doers Church.
Elijah Challenge Coordinator Pastor Joshua Oghoghoreva
The servants of God were effectively equipped to heal the sick as they proclaim the Kingdom of God to hardened idol-worshipers and the followers of witchcraft. They were hungry and attentive and devoured the teaching from Scripture. Most of all, they were unusually enthusiastic and grateful to the Lord for what they had received. Such power and authority to perform miracles are absolutely necessary for preaching the gospel here in the great spiritual darkness of Africa. During the demonstrations of healing in the sessions when they applied what was taught, every infirm person on whom they laid hands was healed or physically touched by the Lord. One man had had hearing loss for some days. His hearing was restored during the demonstration on the second day of the Training.
Trainees instructed to heal the infirm during demonstrations
Basic Training at Christ Doers Church
Training for Kingdom of God Special Forces
The very powerful spirit of witchcraft in Africa is a spiritual giant—a “Goliath”—which is feared by the Church. They have never been taught how to fight and kill this powerful giant. We have been given the opportunity to train God’s servants how to defeat this giant and set free multitudes from bondage to witchcraft through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
During the evening open-air evangelistic outreaches, the Lord was gracious to heal the sick through the trained servants of God. Among other testimonies, there were reports of a blind eye being restored. A young girl who suffered from epilepsy reported that she felt an entity leave her body when Rachel, the wife of our host Pastor Joshua, ministered to her with authority. It was a spirit of epilepsy that had left her in the name of Jesus Christ, the type that the disciples tried to cast out in Matthew 17.14-16. A woman with a painful ulcer in her heart who had been looking forward to the outreach for a week testified that the Lord had healed her. Because of the miracles and the preaching of the gospel, souls repented and put their faith in Jesus Christ.
The seed we have planted here by training the servants of God will grow and become very fruitful. In the land of witchcraft and idolatry which is Africa, the training is treasured by the servants of God. They will snatch it up and use it successfully and effectively. In addition to training them how to heal the sick and cast out demons for the proclamation of the kingdom of God, we also taught them how to overcome the works of the flesh and to walk in holiness. “Without holiness no one can see the Lord,” even though they can prophesy, cast out demons, and perform many miracles in the name of the Lord.
One visiting pastor from Kenya, Ben Okello who has signed on as Elijah Challenge Coordinator for Kenya, testified that his church grew from 60 to 300 within about two years after being trained in The Elijah Challenge by American missionary Butch Berner from Zambia. Prior to that his congregation had plateaued at 60 people for six years.
TEC Coordinator Pastor Alfred & Bride
Feedback from host Pastor Joshua afterwards
“My people are applying the teachings and some have healed sicknesses; a woman even healed her daughter of Lymonia disease as she laid hands on her in the name of Jesus. Another woman was healed of dangerous itching in her body.”
Oshiri, Enugu State
In Oshiri we had the opportunity to meet with African Elijah Challenge Coordinators, including Pastor Ben Okello from Kenya, and to train them. They will be the ones charged with the responsibility of proclaiming the Kingdom of God here in the spirit and power of Elijah and to raise up many “Elishas” after them.
The Basic Training for the servants of God was held at a local Presbyterian Church.
Site of The Elijah Challenge Basic Training in Oshiri
The front yard of the Presbyterian Church
Basic Training session in the Church
The rear of the Church
In the evangelistic outreach that we held in the village market square, I proclaimed the Lord as the one true God over the idols that are worshipped by many there. I told the people how the prophet Elijah had challenged the prophets of the false god Baal on Mt. Carmel thousands of years ago. In the same way, I challenged the idol-worshippers and witchdoctors to heal the infirm people who had gathered. In doing this I was giving an example to the African servants of God to follow so that they will dare to minister in the spirit and power of Elijah on their own in similar contexts.
TEC Africa Coordinator Emmanuel Abdullahi (center) opening the Crusade
Brother William issuing the “Elijah Challenge” to the witchdoctors
As usual, no one dared step forward to accept the “Elijah Challenge.” So we servants of the Lord prayed to the God of Heaven before the crowd, asking Him to send the fire of healing on the infirm so that everyone would know that He is God. After that we commanded the diseases and demons to go in Jesus’ name, both from a distance as well as through the one-on-one laying on of hands. Many people climbed up the makeshift platform to testify that the Lord had healed them, more than we had time for.
Elijah Challenge-trained servants of God ready for war: to heal the sick to demonstrate to the lost that our God is the only true God
Brother William leading the attack against the works of the devil
Above & below: people who are healed come up to the platform to testify
After the testimonies our Africa Coordinator Emmanuel Abdullahi challenged the people to repent and follow Jesus Christ. Approximately a hundred people or less gathered at the front.
The following Sunday something unusual happened involving Pastor Elizabeth, the local pastor who had hosted the Training and Outreach. Pastor Elizabeth’s husband had backslidden terribly and in bitterness tried to destroy her ministry. He hired two prominent and influential witchdoctors to speak out against her and her church. As a result, the community shut down the services, even to point of imposing a monetary fine on Elizabeth’s mother when she dared to show up at church on one occasion. For eleven months there had been no services at the church.
But on Sunday morning following the Outreach, the two witchdoctors came to Pastor Elizabeth and asked for her forgiveness for what they had done. People from the community came separately and independently also to apologize to her. The church was opened for the morning service. Along with the souls who had decided to put their faith in Jesus at the Outreach, there were more people outside than could fit inside the packed church!
With Pastor Elizabeth (second from left) and other Elijah Challenge ministers at her father’s home
William meets with the King of Oshiri
Olomu, South Ughelli, Delta State
I was formally introduced to the King (Ohworode) of Olomu Kingdom who rules over the fifteen communities of Olomu comprising three to four hundred thousand inhabitants. At the palace where he received me, he came into the room wearing his royal raiment bearing a scepter and took his place on his throne. As an American whose only contact with royalty is limited to reading Old Testament accounts of Israelite kings, it was an honor indeed. The King is a born-again follower of Jesus Christ.
I began the meetings on Sunday morning before a packed house in a large church.
The very brief Training from Scripture was new to the people. At the end of the service we demonstrated the teaching to the people. I called up all those who had headaches. Many streamed forward to the front. Then I called forward believers to lay hands on them in the name of Jesus. After that many came up to me one by one to testify publicly that the Lord had healed them. The people had never seen anything like it.
The next morning I did a more formal Training session for servants of God, held in the king’s palace. The king and queen were sitting in the front row. It went slowly because of the necessity of a translation, but the Lord helped me. At the end of the teaching I had time only to do a single demonstration. When I asked who needed healing, the Queen stood up among others. She had a headache and itch throughout her body. I laid hands on her forehead and rebuked the pain in the name of Jesus, and it left. Then I had two sisters come up to lay hands on her body to rebuke the itch. It moved into her hands. They rebuked it once more, and the itch was gone.
During the two evenings, we held open-air outreaches. The first evening, it was raining when we arrived at the venue. The local brethren felt that it had been “programmed,” that is, by local witch doctors. We were tempted to cancel the meeting and tell the small group of people who had come to go home. But by faith we decided to go ahead with the meeting. And as we did so the rain tapered off.
The kingdom of God was preached during the two evenings of the open-air outreach, the trained servants of God laid hands on the infirm and several testified that the Lord had healed them. On the second evening, I shared how the Old Testament prophet Elijah had challenged the servants of Baal in I Kings. I told the crowd that we would issue the same challenge to determine if the Lord is the true God or the idols that some of the so-called “Christians” worshipped. The one who answered with healing “fire” to heal the infirm in the crowd would be the true God.
Like Elijah, I first asked any witch doctor or idol-worshipper to attempt to heal the sick people using their witchcraft or by calling on their idol. Unlike the servants of Baal in the Old Testament, no one dared to step forward to use his power or to call upon his god. And so I stepped forward and called on the name of the Lord, asking Him to send the fire of healing that the people would know that He is God and that He was calling them back to Him. After calling on the Lord we healed the infirm in the name of Jesus Christ using the authority that Christ gave to His disciples (Luke 9:1-2). Several came forward to testify that the Lord Jesus had healed them. It was reported that a tumor in the body of one woman had disappeared. After this some men in the crowd decided to repent of their idolatry to turn back to the Lord. We prayed that the Lord would now bless and heal the land.