THOMAS' TRAVELS - APRIL 2011
The challenge began as soon as we arrived in Dar-es-Salaam at 11:30 p.m. Ten minutes after we left the airport on the way to the hotel the front left tyre of the van we were riding in had a puncture. So there we were at midnight changing the tyre. Providentially there were some young men standing around, and one of them had a car jack. We saw the hand of God in this, because we thought it was better to have the puncture at this place rather than the next day when we would be out in the country on the highway. The next day we bought a new tyre before driving on to Tanga.
All the churches in Tanga except the Roman Catholics and Seventh Day Adventists participated in the campaign. It was a 15-day endeavor, because a team from the U.S. had started with meetings on the same grounds five days before our arrival. This worked out to everyone's advantage because it meant sharing the cost of the sound system and the platform. At first I wondered if the people would be too exhausted to carry on for a second week, but the average attendance remained at about 2500 per night. What kept it going? The preaching of the Word and the awesome miracles and signs and wonders. Nightly, hundreds of people responded to the call for salvation and many more came to be healed of their afflictions. There were many demonic manifestations, in fact as soon as we began to pray for the sick the manifestations began. This was Body ministry: I prayed, the pastors prayed, the believers prayed. As the organizers explained to me, in areas where folk Islam is widespread, there are many people who are victims of curses and other afflictions. The deliverance tent to which these people were taken was full every night, and there were many shrieks and outcries. What battles!
On a Sunday morning, I spoke in a small church of 25 people that is just being planted; there also, the power of God was present to heal the sick. Three women came forward for prayer and each testified to being healed.
Among the people who were healed at the open air meetings was a young man who was mute. His mother had brought him to the platform to testify how he had not been able to speak, and God had healed him during the prayer for the sick. The young man was able to answer me when I spoke with him. A woman who had not been able to walk properly for five years testified that she had been healed. A young girl who said that she could not see without the use of her glasses for more than two minutes at a time found that she had not needed them for thirty minutes. Two women came to the meeting to mock the service and found themselves flat on the ground. A girl with a twisted right arm and right leg testified that she was healed. There were more miracles taking place than we had time to hear the testimonies for.
These things were" not done in a corner". The national Christian newspaper Jibu published a lot of pictures with their detailed write-up of the meetings under the headline 'Tanga now in the hands of Jesus'. One of the pictures showed me talking to the young man who had been mute. On the front page they had the picture of the young Muslim woman being carried to the deliverance tent.
The meetings were recorded and broadcast nightly on Christian radio to a potential audience of close to one million, according to one of the organizers, Jotham Mwakimage. Terry Steenburg, Martin DeJong, and Dr Nicku Mordi took their turns with me in preaching, and they also taught in the pastors' seminars in the mornings. The numbers went for 85 to 120.
Please pray for the churches in Tanga. The hard task of follow-up and discipling has already begun. Also we have begun to plan for 'Arise Kilimanjaro June 2012'. I am told that in that region there are places where the spiritual darkness is greater than in Tanga. We are confident that with thousands of people praying and standing with us, we will see a great harvest.
EQUATORIAL GUINEA: April 15-28
Please be very much in prayer for my visit to this small country off the West Coast of Africa. It will be mainly a time for training leaders and also some evangelistic ministry.
Thank you for caring and sharing in this ministry. You are indeed a vital part of it.
Bill with his interpreter
Terry Steenberg addressing the audience
Part of the audience in Tanga