I have probably started four blogs so far trying to encapsulate the experiences of being in Lagos, Nigeria for Reinhard Bonnke’s Farewell Crusade, and I just don’t know where to start. Many of you gave towards my trip, and I want to say “Thank you thank you thank you!” from the bottom of my heart! This trip was a step into promises God gave me as a young girl, and I relished every minute! So, for you, I will write my personal highlights, and later I will publish the blogs regarding the event overall. Grab a snack and open your heart to the Holy Spirit as you read!
Since the first day I saw a televised snippet of a Reinhard Bonnke crusade in Africa, I have not been able to get the images out of my head—-thousands and thousands of precious people hungry to know God, standing for hours in crusades after having walked hours or days, receiving Jesus and being transformed and full of joy and expectation of the new life God gave them and the life hereafter. I was twelve or thirteen when I saw my first bit of a crusade on Christian television. From that day, and for all these years since, I have prayed for Africa. Nigeria was one of those countries I prayed for since my teen years. My earnest desire was to go one day.
Just touching down into Lagos, and exiting the airplane, my heart began to burst. Tears welled up in my eyes. What an amazing God! He was giving me the gift of seeing the people for whom I had prayed for so many years. I got to stand on Nigerian soil, smell Nigerian air, and look into the eyes of a people God gave me a love for, yet I had never met. He is such a generous God!! This trip was a gift!
Then there were the crowds–just like the ones burned into my mind, and the ones I have watched via YouTube– and I was standing among them in the hot Nigerian sun waiting to hear the simple, yet powerful Gospel being preached by the ministry team of Christ for All Nations. I worshiped and danced with the locals as we praised God on the soggy, sand-covered crusade grounds. I bowed my face into that same soil as I heard the 600k+ voices singing “Agnus Dei” and we all declared “Worthy is the Lamb”! It was a Revelation chapters 4 and 5 scene. Then came the preaching of the Gospel. The simple message, that we have all sinned and become separated from God, but that God wanted to bridge that gap we created, and He did so by sending His Son, Jesus to pay the penalty of our sin–through death on a cross, and through His death, His shed blood, and His resurrection, we are free from the bondage of sin if we receive Jesus’ payment for our sin. The door to the heart of God swung wide open for us, and now we are adopted as sons and daughters, with a promise of life forever with God–never to have a moment without Him. Even knowing how the message goes, I couldn’t wait to hear the ending! The invitation! God didn’t give His invitation just to the rich, or powerful, the good, or the lovely. He invited all of us! He died for all of us!! I would stand in the presence of thousands of people who would hear the Gospel and for the first time in their life give their hearts to God and be set free from the torments of sin, and the fear of evil, the guilt and shame of their mistakes. They would instead receive hope, deliverance, healing, and a brand new life. It was a joyous occasion every day of the crusade!
Then there was the moment I knew I was there for. Daniel Kolenda was preaching on the Blood of Jesus. He began to break the curses of witchcraft, of superstition, of diseases, and illness, of sin, and things began happening. Wandering to the front of the crowd, and standing in front of the stage came a young woman, possessed by demons, thrashing and yelling as Daniel continued to pray and declare victory. My heart went out to her immediately. I felt God tell me to “go and love her like a mother and set her free”. Christ for all Nations trains pastors and local leaders to do the ministry in the crusades, so I hesitated to make a move so as to not interrupt protocol. It wasn’t long before a crowd gathered around this young woman, and many began praying for her and casting the demons out. She fell to the ground, and many cloistered around her for quite a long time. It looked like there was already plenty of prayer ministry, and no space for me to enter the group, so I waited. A half hour passed, and the woman was still thrashing and screaming as the last of the demons tried desperately to keep their home in her. I noticed there were only three people gathered around her then, and I noticed that the young woman was tired as she sat in the wet sand, being puppeted by the demons inside of her. I heard God again, “go, love her like a mother, and set her free.” So I rushed to the woman’s side. I first picked up her hand and held it in mine and began to stroke it.
“It’s okay, Baby, God is setting you free. You can let this thing go, it doesn’t belong to you.” I said. Others were still praying for her and commanding the devils out, and I moved in closer and put my arms around her and hugged her close. I stroked her hair and kissed her forehead, and began to speak peace to her body. She was still wrestling the demons inside and began to choke. She grabbed my hand and put it on her throat saying, “They are choking me!” I and the others around her took authority over the demons attempting to choke her, and I layed her head against my chest and told her to rest. She began to vomit, and she pulled away to spit on the ground. When she was done, I pulled her in close again, stroked her hair, and loved her. It was just a few minutes more, and she was totally free. Peace overtook her body, her eyes no longer held a wild gaze, but were tender and full of gratitude for what Jesus had just done for her. I felt a love her as if she were my own daughter, and I held her and kissed her head.
The crusade had ended some time ago as we all sat in the sand ministering to this woman, and I had to leave to catch the bus that brought me to the crusade grounds. I had to leave. I prayed with her, blessed her, and left her to the ministry of local pastors as I headed to my bus. I cried the rest of the way to the hotel in gratitude again of the mercy and compassion of God who loves us enough to see us free, and allows a mama from Alaska to be part of His plans and purposes.
This, along with meeting people from all over the world who came to be part of this crusade filled my happy tank to the highest level, and then burst. Thank you for your prayers for me, for your encouragement, and for your generous gifts that carried me there and then safely home again. You get to share the blessings I received.