Arrival in Isiro
We soon saw and experienced the splintered state of the church here. It was very traditional and certainly not the golden lampstand that gives off a bright light. To be honest, the desperate need was for a supply of the oil of the Holy Spirit, and how we prayed that God would pour it out abundantly.
The constant barrage of harassment from local authorities was unbelievable. Trumped up charges on every side – taxes for everything you could imagine and not imagine. It is very hard to know what is genuine. But we rejoice, for, just as Daniel could have easily been eaten alive in the lions’ den, we too could have been devoured; but it is our God who shuts the mouth of the lions.
On arrival we were met by a brass band and people waving palm branches.
One of the important duties upon arrival in a city is to visit the city authorities. Whilst visiting the immigration office, I was met by Chris. “Do you remember me?” he asked. “I was your driver in Kisangani when Shireen bought me a Bible. She wrote my name in it and I still have it today”. Chris worked in the immigration department and knowing him helped speed matters along. It was also a joy to meet the District Commissioner, who had been in Bunia at our 2003 meetings. God was opening doors here for us.
Once again Shireen was featured on the radio with a daily program just after the main news. The Word of God concerning being a disciple went out far and wide. She taught on foundational truths such as daily devotion, reading the Bible every day, believing the promises, prayer and casting all of one’s cares upon Him. The Word was well received.
The morning seminar with the church leaders started with a strong presence of God speaking to every heart. Without Him we can do nothing. Look unto Jesus, follow Jesus, and be filled with the Spirit of God and Christ. I gave a passionate call to every believer to begin winning the lost for Jesus. I was reminded of Corrie ten Boom’s story how one of her young boys had led a team to rescue one hundred Jewish babies in an orphanage who were going to be murdered by Hitler’s troops. The boy was ecstatic that he had been able to do something as meaningful as rescue lives. Corrie pointed out that was good, but, there was one thing greater – winning souls for Jesus. “No”, said Pete, “That is not my job, that is the Pastor’s job”. Corrie told him that, one day, he would see she was right. Soon afterwards, Pete was arrested and put in a prison to be executed. He wrote a long letter Corrie saying how he was so glad that he could tell all the other boys in the prison about Jesus, and how he had already led many boys to the Lord. He now saw how important this work was. But sadly, he waited until the last week of his life to find out. We have our entire lives ahead of us let us get active for God’s Kingdom!
The crusade opened in the blazing heat, with many sheltering under the limited shade. As the sun dropped low, the sun of righteousness arose with healing in His wings. People in awful darkness were rescued, prostitutes called on the name of Jesus, even a murderer came forward – all confessing what they had done. The Holy Spirit placed His finger on the hearts of many. The response was mainly from rough, young people who do not, as a rule, go to church; but more than that, they do not even know God, and had never before heard the Truth of the Gospel. When they did, their hearts opened in surrender.
God visited the crusade field. Lights went on in the hearts of most that attended, eyes opened and people saw. It was as if a window had been opened and fresh air blew in. The response to follow Jesus was remarkable. People came forward and cried out to the Lord. Then, during the prayers for the sick, the Lord did a flood of miracles. Shireen had noticed a mother carrying a young girl on her back wrapped in a sheet. Having compassion on her, Shireen invited the mother to bring the young girl to the back of the stage, where she could sit down on a chair and be away from the press of the crowd. We went down and laid hands on the young girl. It was very moving moment; tears rolled down her cheeks as we prayed. She was unable to sit up on her own, so her mother had to hold her up. We went back to the stage and, after a few moments, the girl came up onto the stage with her mother. She was walking and moving to the music! The mother told us that her daughter had not walked since 2010. When I asked the crowd, “Do you know this situation?” a third of the hands shot up. They knew about this little girl, and had seen that Jesus is alive and heals, even today.
Then there was a little boy who had a tumour that affected his eye – it simply vanished after prayer. He can now see. Others limped in and walked out. One man had a hand that could not open – in Jesus’ name, it opened. Others, with general illness, now felt well. Stomach problems, neck problems were all healed in the name that is above every name. Isiro saw firsthand that Jesus is alive.
On the final Sunday, the stadium was filled with many young people, youngsters who would not normally attend church; there were Muslims as well as Catholics, who had been cautioned not to attend. They all came to hear the Good News that Jesus saves! It penetrated even the hardest hearts, so that the altar call area was once more packed.