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Posts Tagged ‘Kenya’

Introduction

In the 1970s, God swept across California with an outpouring of the Holy Spirit like had not been seen for years. Many of the older generation who had experienced the revivals of the 40s and 50s rejoiced to see the Spirit of God moving again. Their pulpits had grown cold over the years, their altars had been abandoned, and the Church world had settled into the same religious environment that they themselves had revolted from in their generation. The excitement was gone, and church had gone back to its normal sedate self.

But here, finally, was a brand new move of God.  It didn’t come the way they expected, nor to whom they expected – God came to the Hippies, the disaffected youth who were searching for Truth in any way they could find it. But the fire of God was undeniably burning, souls were getting saved again and God was on the move.

I got saved during those early days of the Jesus Movement.  We were so full of the Spirit that nothing else mattered to us. Every night, the lost would pack the church to hear a message of the power of God unto Salvation. The Holy Spirit would descend in such an overwhelming presence that there were times that the air literally shimmered from the glory of God. Lives were immeasurably changed as souls flocked to the altar to give their lives to Jesus Christ.

Night after night, week after week, year after year, we immersed ourselves in the flow of the Holy Ghost. We fully expected that the Lord’s return was surely imminent and we would ride this great wave of revival until He came to catch us up into Heaven for Eternity.

But as things always go, the revival dissipated after about 10 years, even sooner in other places, and we were left wondering what happened. People went back to their different paths of Life, pursued forgotten careers, raised families, and settled once again for a normal, sedate Christian life.

Many of us, however, never let go of the dream that had been kindled in our hearts during those heady days of revival. We never forgot what it was like to feel that power flowing through us during services, and we never let go of the great calling that we knew had been placed on our lives.

Winding the clock ahead 30 years, I’ve watched the Church in America slide into an plastic rendition of what we once had, trying to imitate the excitement of those days with upbeat modern music, Hollywood-like presentations on stage, and “feel good” messages designed to comfort rather than convict.

I now know how those old-timers felt as they watched the holiness and glory drain out of the movement that had been ignited by the old Brush Arbor revivals. I can now understand how they must have cried out to God on worn-out knees to send another outpouring of His Holy Spirit. The glory had departed and they were left with only a slim ray of hope that it would return.

For years, I had been preaching a message of revival on radio and in newspaper columns, but in 2004, I felt the Lord lift the burden and begin to turn my attention overseas. Even though I had little to show for all those years of preaching, it was hard to abandon what I had been doing for so long. I felt as if I had been dropped off in a desert with no direction. But all the while that I was wondering if I had simply been dismissed, God was making other plans.  He sent me to Africa.

I am not an accomplished evangelist, a learned theological scholar, nor a well-trained missionary. In fact, when I first headed to Africa, I had no idea what I was doing. I had no plans, no organization supporting me, and no expectations. I just showed up, believing that the God who had sent me would also show up.

What the Kenya Diaries relates is the beginning of an incredible journey. What started as a step of blind faith has led to a resurgence of hope in the power of God. The excitement that I have felt must have been just like what those old-timers experienced back in 1970 when they saw the Jesus Movement rise up. God had turned to a new people that the established Church had never expected, so that He could bring life in the Gospel back to the Church.  He is doing the same today. America brought the Gospel to Africa, but I believe that Africa will be bringing it back to America.

As you read the Kenya Diaries, I hope you get a sense of the same excitement that I had as I followed the leading of the Spirit in a journey that led into a growing move of God. I have no doubt that this new move of God will result in a blaze of revival that will be so hot that it will be felt around the world.

The Kenya Diaries is the start of that journey.

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We were told that the next place I would minister in was Mboni. I have no idea where Mboni is. Mboni is not on the map. And if there is a hotel there, I’m not sure I’ll want to stay in it.

So we were told instead to go to Machakos and call the pastor for directions from there. Now in Machakos, there is a hotel. A nice one. I’m talking hot showers, real food, A/C and no mosquitos. Richie and I are both ready for a break, and the hotel we found gave that to us – a 4-star hotel for Motel 6 prices. Nice.

But the church? It is 1 hour out into the bush. (groan) So off we go as soon as we can because the people have been there since 10:00 am waiting for us. Really? We had to travel for 2-1/2 hours to get here, check in to the hotel, and then travel for an hour over dirt roads to get to church. Did it not occur to them that we were not going to make it there by 10:00?

Not to worry. Hakuna Matata. They don’t care. No white man, especially a white man from America, has ever come out here to preach the Gospel to them. They will wait.

Needless to say, services were great. Translation was tough because they are not used to an American accent, but they got the message. Especially the part about them being able to change the world.

I had to carefully paint that picture for them first. Here they are, little people, poor, and an hour from anywhere. How can they change the world? But as I explain how God always works, and how even the greatest fire can start with a single match, they begin to realize that the process of revival is not dependent on their abilities, position, power or wealth, but that if they can just start a fire here, God can spread it around the world.

I watch as the realization spreads across their faces. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6). “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise;” (1 Cor. 1:27)

Services the next day were pretty much the same, but this time I ended with a healing/prayer line. I don’t do this often because the message is what is important and often it can get lost in the miracles. But I just had this feeling …

At first, it was just a few. And then they came pouring down to the altar. We in the West do not understand or realize the depth of these people’s needs. Like deep waters that seem placid on the surface but hide currents that run underneath, these simple people have needs that only God can touch.

They fill the front of the church, three lines deep. As it happens so often, everyone who gets in line gets healed. Then I came to an old lady who had pain in her legs. I kneeled down to lay hands on her wrinkled, knobby knees and pray. Bang! She is healed. I know this because, not only did I feel the anointing come down, but when I stood up and asked her if she was healed, she began to dance a jig! I’m guessing that means yes.

There were a couple others with dramatic results, but there was one girl in particular who wanted me to pray for her to serve God. But when I asked her to start praising the Lord, she couldn’t. She was locked up tight. A demonic stronghold had taken hold of her and she couldn’t free herself. I could feel the fury and authority of the Lord rise up within me as I rebuked that foul spirit in the blood of Jesus Christ. You could feel a CRACK! in the room as I claimed power in God and declared victory in the name of Jesus. And just like that, it was gone.

I don’t know what will ultimately happen out here. I believe we opened up a new door for them and exposed them to greater possibilities of faith than they have ever known. They know. They see. They get it. But will they march through that door and claim the promises that God has given them? Will they overcome the constraints of “church” and reach out for revival instead?

I don’t know, but I do know that we have planted a seed of hope, faith, and possibility in them, and they can take it as far as they can have the courage to believe.

They can change the world.

 

 Brother Dale, dale@revivalfire.org

 

 

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We are on the road to Tsavo, the area where man-eating lions once terrorized the railway workers many years ago. Richie is driving while I am writing this because I am way too tired by the time I get back to the hotel to write down our experiences. I have to do it on the road.

We just finished two days out in the bush country outside the town of Kibwezi. There is not much rain out here. A dry and gritty red dirt is everywhere, as are the big, fat Baba trees that have trunks that are ten feet wide with little stubby branches. There’s not much water out here, so the roots of these trees are unbelievably expansive and wide, searching for water in a dry and thirsty land.

The church here is a small mud building about 15×30. The walls are red mud packed into a lattice of sticks with the ever-present corrugated iron roof. Dirt floor, no windows, and a makeshift door – this is not your standard, everyday church like we would expect in America. This is the evidence of desperate faith and a desire to worship God where it is not convenient.

I was here with my two girls 10 years ago, and they still remember. They tell me that I am the only white guy who has ever come out here to bring the gospel. (I have heard that more than a few times before.) So yeah, naturally they remember me, but they also remember the Bibles I gave them and the Four Steps to Revival booklets. Some of them still have a copy after 10 years!

And they remember the message I gave. The pastor tells me that the church has grown and they have come from far to see me. He leans over and says, “They are so thirsty!”

I get choked up at that. All the big evangelists can keep the large auditoriums and huge church services. Let me have these little people out here who are so thirsty that they will walk 10 to 13 hours just to come hear the Word of God because “they are so thirsty”. Are they not the ones that the Lord told us to come to when He said, “Inasmuch as you have done this to the least of these, you have done it unto me”? (Matt. 25:40)

Sometimes I wonder how the Lord is going to turn this into a worldwide revival, but He quickly reminds me that He is God, and that’s what He does! Not my problem. My job is to show up; His job is to take it from there. All I can do is plant the seed in the dirt; He is the one that brings it to life. “Who has despised the day of small things?” (Zech. 4:10)

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek;
He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all that mourn;
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

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Well, we are two days down, and a whole bunch yet to go. So far so good.

Services both yesterday and today were … um … I’m trying to choose between “electrifying” and “wild”. It depends on which side of the Atlantic you are from.

Richie, the young man who is traveling with me, is looking wild-eyed at what he is seeing. He expected the song service to be lively. He has come from a Pentecostal background, his family being intimately involved in the Brownsville revival, so he knows what it is to have the Spirit of God fall on a service. This was much more than he had ever experienced, but he was at least prepared for it.

To the folks here in Africa, it was simply an anointing of the Holy Spirit. This is Africa, and they know how to praise the Lord here with everything they have. And everything they have, they give to their worship in singing, dancing, and praise. To many of us sedate Americans, it would seem wild, but them it is just God.

But it was the closing prayer that Richie was really not prepared for.

After the message was done, instead of praying with the congregation, I handed it over to Pastor Kibedi. (Actually it is now, Archbishop Kibedi. He has grown immensely in God during the last 12 years that I have known him.)

Kibedi started praying … and praying … and praying. As the intensity grew the passion started to rise and spread throughout the entire church. The closing prayer became 45 minutes of fire. People were praying at the top of their lungs, crying and calling out to God with everything in them.

For them, this was transforming; for Richie this was wild! You just don’t see anything like this in America. Too bad for us.

It would be easy to think that this was just “wild fire” – all emotion and bluster – but after 12 years out here, I have learned that while this might be too much for our polished services in America, this is very real for Africans. They deal with God on a very different level than we do.

As the service ended, several answered the call, crying and weeping for individual repentance, rededication, and healing. Their hearts had been deeply broken and affected. God is their Father and they are so softhearted toward God that they cling desperately to their deep, personal relationship with Him.

This is the stuff that I live for. This is the real Gospel at work. Call it crazy; I call it God.

We have a ways to go. Richie will see this many times before we board the plane for home. It may seem wild to him now, but I have a feeling he will look at it more as the supernatural anointing of the Holy Spirit by the time we are done.

And then, like myself, he will have to figure out how to explain what this is like to the folks back home. Good luck on that one, Richie.

Brother Dale

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In ten weeks’ time, Dale and I visited over 10 cities in four different countries, had from one to four services each at 21 different churches, and held 10 women’s meetings!

Our first stop was at Noah’s church in Uganda. Dale, Noah, and Daniel, an evangelist who came along to experience what revival is like in Africa, held crusades in 2 villages, one street crusade, and Sunday services in Noah’s church. In these villages over 400 souls got saved. Both these areas have not had churches established there because of the Muslim influence and witchcraft/demonic activity, but we planted a church in each place that is still thriving. At one of the meetings, a man was supernaturally delivered from a demon possession (he was completely insane, rolling on the ground, eating dirt, with cuts and scars from cutting himself). He got saved and has continued in the newly established village church! It was an incredible deliverance and testimony. When all the people saw this happen, they started bringing all their idols in to be burned. It was just like the Book of Acts! I visited the Ladies of Hope for two days and toured the recently purchased orphanage buildings and the school.

Our next three weeks were in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In Goma, the first city we visited, we held services in six different churches, ministered to three different women’s groups, and visited a refugee camp church. The spiritual oppression is heavy there; you can feel it as soon as you cross the border into this dark country. We battled issues regarding jealousy among pastors, greed, hotel problems, government corruption, and the after effects of a country battered by many wars. While some people we met were only interested in what they could get from us, some pastors took the Four Steps to Revival message to heart and put it immediately into practice. They prayed for the unsaved souls and then went out witnessing to bring them in! We were so encouraged by their hunger and zeal it made the hardships easier to overcome.

We traveled to Bukavu, Congo on a 3 hour boat ride, which was a lot of fun! While in Bukavu, we ministered in two different churches. The Penuel Church was amazing. Our translator was one of the best in both ability and spirit. We spent four days there where I met with three different women’s groups, and Dale did a radio program, a TV broadcast, four revival services and the Sunday service. The Spirit of God moved in some powerful ways during those services. One woman who had been crippled for three years was healed…she made a point of finding Dale two days later to make sure he knew and saw her! Someone in the congregation was baptized in the Holy Spirit right during services! Many other testimonies of having the Lord touch them and feeling the anointing of the Spirit were told to us the last day we were there. They did not want us to leave. What a blessing!
As we crossed the border into Rwanda, you could feel the spiritual oppression lift off us. The people in Rwanda have a lot of issues because of the genocide 20 years ago. While we were there, the 20 year Memorial Service was held for the Genocide victims. We watched the service and heard the speeches on TV. All meetings were cancelled that first day across the whole country.

We had services in Kigali, Gitarama, and Cyangugu for a total of four churches. A woman who was deaf was healed in Pastor Robert’s church. At another church, our translator (and Noah’s brother) Emmanuel was so excited about the message of Revival, that he was getting the rest of his church excited! He was ready to start a fire under his pastor and everyone else! Pastor Isaiah had already taken the Four Steps to Revival message that he heard from Dale last year, and was conducting street crusades in several cities. Isaiah is a famous Gospel singer in Rwanda and he would take some equipment, set up on a corner, and start singing. Crowds would come and at the end of the “free concert” he would preach and souls would get saved!

We had a women’s conference out in one of the villages and about 250 women showed up! I am humbled by the women who endure such oppression with little spiritual nourishment. They were starving to have someone tell them they could endure and overcome and feel the Lord actually loved them.

Our last three weeks were in Nairobi, Kenya. Pastor Daniel was thankful that we came to the slum area that his church was in to preach a message that challenged his congregation. He is ready to organize another conference with many other pastors for this coming fall! Then we travelled to Namanga to preach at Pastor Samuel’s Maasai church for two days. Back in Nairobi, we ministered with Pastor Gideon, who was already on the path to revival. His church already had witnessing groups going out to win the unsaved to Christ. But after hearing Dale preach, he got down on his knees along with his whole congregation to ask for forgiveness and seek God’s power to win more souls! Our last church service was with Pastor Kibedi. During that service, several children were dedicated to the Lord and they had Dale ordain four new pastors.

Altogether, there were a total of 45 services and 12 women’s meetings. Many churches were energized, over 600 souls asked Jesus Christ into their heart, two crippled ladies were healed, many other illnesses were healed, a demoniac was delivered, and a deaf woman was healed. Even before we left some of these cities, we were hearing of more souls getting saved and women gathering together to read Bible and strengthen each other. In the Congo, the Lord showed the pastor that an American and a Ugandan would come together and bring revival in their church. Two weeks later, Dale and Noah were there! At another church in Rwanda, a woman who was a prayer intercessor praying for revival said that Lord told her He was sending someone from America … two weeks before we showed up. This has happened again and again and it just shows how hungry they are for revival and how desperate their need is for someone to come and show them the way.

We have planted seeds of revival everywhere we have gone. I know God is on the move to raise these people up with hope and vision to carry this message forward and to spread it across the land. I’m just so glad that I got to be a part of this to watch the hand of God move.

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One More Service

One more service.  That’s it, and I go home.  Maybe for the last time.

I shouldn’t be so ready to go; its’ been one of the shortest trips I’ve taken and I’ve had more days off than at any other time, but wow, am I ready to get back home.

You never know what will come out of these trips.  Sometimes the anointing falls so heavy that you literally can hardly stand; other times it is so intense that it’s as if the Spirit of God was like a knife cutting through the veil of Eternity.  But often it is just a regular service without all the fanfare.  I am beginning to believe that those “regular” services are the ones that have the most impact because they are the ones you hear back from a year later.

That’s the kind of services we’ve had on this trip.  I’d like to tell all the guys back home about all the supernatural outpourings mingled in with a bunch of miraculous healings and hundreds of souls that got saved … but that didn’t happen on this trip.  But I have a feeling that we will see a lot of miraculous things will happen from the seeds we have planted on this trip.   Just a hunch.

The first week was with the kids, mostly from the university with some high school kids mixed in. They would sit there and stare at me like sponges with eyes wide-open like owls. I couldn’t figure out if they were getting it or not. I shouldn’t have wondered. They got it alright. Many came to me after it was finished to tell me that not only had their whole outlook been changed, but they were going to carry the torch to light the fires of revival back at their homes.   

After the Youth Conference, I preached 3 messages at one church and a quick open-air meeting at another.  It is always the altar call that is the true indicator of how powerful the Spirit of God moved.  I am not always able to feel it – maybe because I’ve been so used to it over the last 10 years – but when you see the whole church on their faces before God, crying out at the top of their lungs, you can pretty much bet that you hit the mark.

That’s how it has been in both churches.  I have one last service where I will show them the prophesies in Joel about this great revival that is coming to this generation. If I can only inspire them and plant a vision in their hearts that will burn and drive them to light the fires of revival wherever they go, then I can go home satisfied in knowing that I have lit the  torch for the Gideon Generation to take into the battle. 

“Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.” (Psalms 71:18)

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It’s the end of the day and I am sitting in a veranda watching the golden sky turn into pastel hues as the African night begins to settle in. The crickets and cicadas are starting up their evening symphony as the birds are ceasing theirs. The temperature is perfect and the air has a soft quality to it. As I sit back in my cane chair, I can imagine what the British colonial masters must have felt like a hundred years ago in this exotic place.

I have just finished my first day in a week long revival conference for the youth of this area in western Kenya.  I was expecting 400 kids, but there were hardly enough here on this first day to fill a small room. Typically for Africa, the first day of any meeting is considered the “travel day” as the people make their way here.  But it doesn’t really matter.  I know that I am supposed to be here even if there is only one attendant.  God is going to do something here, and as usual, He starts with small beginnings so that all the glory goes to Him and not us.  My job is just to show up; God does all the rest.

Some of these kids can’t be much older than 14 or 15 and I can’t help but make a mental comparison with the summer Vacation Bible camps back home.  But there is no comparison here because these kids are not here to play and have fun, but to make a difference in their world. The idea of revival hangs tantalizing before them and they want to hear more.

The messages that I bring are usually delivered to adults and at first I was worried that they would be too serious for these kids, but once I started rolling with the first message, I could tell I had them. Their eyes were shining and they were sitting up hanging on every word.  I have told them that they are the Gideon Generation and God has called them to change the world. They believe me.  It’s as if all of a sudden a brand new vista has opened up to them and the possibility of what God can do through them has become real.  I am trying to implant a vision in their hearts that reaches far beyond the horizon around them; a vision that is big enough to believe that, yes, they really can change the world.

More kids will come tomorrow as we get into the meat of the revival message. I have no idea how big this conference will get, but for now, I know a spark has been lit in these few kids that are here now.  All it takes is for just one of them to grab hold of the reality of this message and turn into the next John the Baptist and the world will change.  And that’s why I am here.

 

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