April 2015 Update from our host Van Peng:
“We, the participants in the 2014 Elijah Challenge Training in Yangon, had a one-day gathering on March 25, 2015. We had wonderful fellowship, sharing and testifying of the miraculous healings that the trainees have done in various places after the Training in 2014.”
Myanmar (formerly known as Burma)
The Elijah Challenge Training in Yangon the capital of Myanmar was extremely fruitful. Exactly 72 disciples, many of them pastors and evangelists, participated. Such teaching with the goal of effective evangelism—the training accompanied by many miraculous healings—had not yet been heard in this Southeast Asian nation on this scale.
The first day of The Elijah Challenge Training
In the Chin Baptist Church with our host Pastor Van Peng, we began The Elijah Challenge Training for the servants of God who had come together from various regions. Among them were Baptists, Methodists, and Pentecostals. The population of Myanmar is roughly 90% Buddhist, while the remainder is divided among Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and animists. It is a relatively poor country.
Brother Alan Tan of Malaysia, who already has a ministry in Myanmar, invited us and opened the door for us to teach Elijah Challenge here. Below Alan in the blue shirt is addressing the participants. All the way on the right is Rev. Van Peng, our Burmese host.Although in the past the servants of God here had seen superstar, one-man-show evangelists come and go (along with the miracles), they themselves had never been taught how to heal the sick as Jesus did for the purpose of confirming the truth of the gospel to the lost. Many of them had never heard what was taught earlier this morning. At the end of each session the Lord was gracious to confirm his Word as the participants came forward to apply what had just been taught. Several testified that their pain had disappeared. One man with pain in both knees who mounted the stage only with some difficulty ran up and down the aisle smiling and pain-free after hands were laid on him.
With the Lord’s help his servants took to the training like ducks to water. And the challenge before them within the thick curtain of Buddhism there is great. But our God is the only true God, and He will reveal His unmatched awesome power through His trained servants to those who walk in that darkness. The harvest will eventually be great.
The second day
On the morning of the second day of the Training we had people with hearing loss come forward to be healed according to the model of Jesus in Scripture where he inserted his fingers into deaf ears. Approximately eight participants came up to the stage to be healed. Others then came up to minister healing to them as they had been taught. As they issued authoritative commands, the Lord’s healing power was released. Every one of those who came forward for healing testified that the Lord had restored their hearing.
In the afternoon we taught the servants of God how to minister healing at a distance as Jesus did in Luke 7. Approximately ten participants came up to the stage with their mobile phones and ministered with authority to people with infirmities on the other end of the line. Every one of them received testimonies from the person being ministered to at the other end. Half of the reports were from people who had heart conditions whose symptoms of the disease had disappeared at a distance immediately. One person’s toothache vanished. Another was healed from stomach pain. There was much excitement among these Burmese servants of God who had never before personally witnessed such things happening at a distance as they ministered with authority alone. They had now been given a powerful weapon for preaching the gospel effectively and fruitfully in the Buddhist stronghold of Myanmar.
On the third day was the evangelistic healing service. We preached from Mark 2 where Jesus healed the paralytic miraculously to prove that he had authority to forgive sin. Following the preaching we asked the infirm to come forward to be healed in the name of Jesus Christ. The miracles would prove to everyone that Jesus was the Son of God who could forgive sins and grant eternal life.
First we led the trained servants of God to minister healing with power and authority to those infirm people on the stage who did not know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. As far as we could see every one of them testified that Jesus had healed them of their various infirmities after the disciples laid hands on them. It was dramatic even for us to see the Lord move with such power through his servants. I reminded everyone present that all the miracles proved that Jesus had authority to forgive sin and grant eternal life.
When we asked who wanted to believe on Jesus Christ, a harvest of eight precious Buddhist souls came forward to confess Jesus Christ. There was much rejoicing among the believers.
After that we asked infirm believers to come forward to be healed. Many surged forward to be healed by the servants of God who laid hands on them in Jesus’ name. And many were miraculously healed and came to us to give their testimony publicly. One after another after another came up to us to tell the people what Jesus had done for them. It was an amazing meeting for us.
One woman, a believer, had come to the meeting in a desperate and miserable condition. She had confessed that she was like the hopeless woman in Mark 5 who had suffered from bleeding for long twelve years even after spending all she had on medical treatment. When she came up to the stage for healing along with the many others, she could not even stand up straight but her upper body was completely bent over toward the floor with her arms dangling. A chair was brought for her to sit on.
She told our team member Effie Remmel that her “whole body” was in terrible pain, and her contorted face clearly showed it. She was completely beside herself, frequently wiping her face with a handkerchief even though she wasn’t perspiring. Effie then led a small contingent of trained believers in laying hands on her and issuing authoritative commands for her to be set free and healed. By the end of the service the woman had returned to her seat, completely healed and talking with an grateful smile. She was able to stand up and walk normally. The difference in her condition was literally night and day.
A young Buddhist woman had been brought to the meeting by a believing couple from about an hour’s drive away. She was weak and subdued because she had difficulty breathing due to her heart condition. Effie and I laid hands on her heart and rebuked the disease in Jesus’ name. Her face brightened up immediately and she said that she could breathe normally. I had her walk briskly down the aisle and back to us. She returned to us smiling, saying that she was breathing normally and felt fine. Just moments earlier this would have been impossible for her.
The consensus among the 72 servants of God some of whom shared their feelings at the very end before the people is that this could be a turning point for the gospel in the spiritual darkness of Myanmar. They have been trained to do what Jesus commanded his disciples when he sent them out: “heal the sick and tell them, ‘the kingdom of God is near you’” (Luke 10:9). Powerful weapons for the effective and fruitful preaching of the gospel—power and authority—have been restored to them.
Yangon, the capital of Myanmar, was formerly ruled by the British and some of the structures from the colonial era are still standing. The commercial district of downtown Yangon is one of the most crowded place we have ever experienced anywhere, especially in the evenings when bustling throngs fill every square inch of the sidewalks and cars are bumper to bumper. Myanmar is ruled by the military (although some changes appear to be on the horizon), and the country is somewhat insulated and thus isolated from the rest of the world.