This is one of my favorite Kingdom Encounters...
"As one failure followed another, I found myself getting increasingly frustrated. It is one thing to fail in front of strangers, but to fail in the midst of the very people I was training was almost too much to bear."...
By the mid to late 90‘s, Charles Bello and I were doing equipping seminars and leading teams in North America, Asia, and Western Europe. We were primarily instructing people in power ministry: prophetic ministry, healing, and deliverance. In 2004, we were asked by a German Vineyard pastor and dear friend, Reinhard Rehberg, to help him lead a team of Germans and Swiss on a short term mission trip to Romania.
We settled on a plan to experiment with a different format and conduct a “mobile school of power evangelism” which would equip both the mission team and the Romanian churches we were working with. Instead of simply doing seminars in the churches, we decided to do equipping workshops in the mornings throughout the week and then couple the German and Swiss participants with the Romanian church members in the afternoons to practice what they learned. Our curriculum involved teaching about the kingdom of God, praying for the sick, and sharing prophetic insight with strangers.
On one of our first days in Iasi, Romania after a morning of teaching on kingdom ministry, we took the teams out in public to practice what we’d learned in private. Some of the teams made their way to the local hospital; other teams went to the shopping mall, the downtown area, and the outlying gypsy villages. I took my team to one of the many local parks.
Our approach was fairly simple and straightforward: we looked around and if anyone caught our interest, we asked God to give us insight into something in their lives that He would like us to speak into or something He would want us to share with them. Then we politely and prayerfully moved toward that person to share the insight we’d received. Sometimes we would simply frame our conversation with this: “We are followers of Jesus, and we are trying to learn how to hear God’s voice, and this is what we think we are hearing from God for you...” Then those we were speaking with would have the opportunity to tell us if we were on the right track or not. More times than not, this led to some very interesting conversations about God. Other times we simply approached people, introduced ourselves as Christians, and asked if there was anything we could pray for. If it was obvious that they were sick, we asked if we could pray for healing. Whenever anyone accepted our request for prayer, we always asked that God pour out His love and affection at that moment.
On this particular day, we were not having much success. Our prophetic insight seemed to be off the mark. Either we were mistaken in what we believed God was saying or we were not being very effective in sharing in a way that would invite conversation. As one failure followed another, I found myself getting increasingly frustrated. It is one thing to fail in front of strangers, but to fail in the midst of the very people I was training was almost too much to bear. I found my mind was growing dark with thoughts such as, “What are you doing here? This really sucks. You need to go back to the United States. This is a waste of time.” I was ready to call it quits and give up for the day. It is not unusual for negative thoughts such as these to bombard our minds, trying to distract us from pressing into God and believing that His kingdom will come.
During this thought process, I saw an older couple with a younger lady in a park, sitting down by a tree. We had about twenty minutes before we had to get back to the church for dinner, so I said, “Guys, let’s try this one more time. Let’s go over to that family over there.”
Everyone agreed and we walked to them. As we were walking up, I experienced a sharp pain shoot up my left side. I had learned that these kinds of sympathetic pains are sometimes indications of God’s desire to heal. Through one of the interpreters, I asked the family if any of them had a pain in their left side. The young girl indicated that she did, so we explained that we were followers of Jesus and sometimes God reveals things to us for other people. We believed God had showed us the pain because He wanted to heal her. We asked if we could pray for her and she said yes.
As we prayed, the presence of God came upon her body and the pain completely left. We explained the gospel to her and in the ensuing conversation she surrendered her life to Jesus. She then introduced us to the others with her: her mom and dad. The three of them had been kicked out of their home, and they were living in the park. She told us her dad was very ill, but we couldn’t understand the nature of his illness. He was very weak and shaking, very sickly looking and he seemed to have Parkinson’s disease. Being filled with compassion for this man, I asked for permission to pray for him.
Initially, the man didn’t want anything to do with us, even though his daughter had just been healed and given her life to the Lord. He didn’t want to engage in any kind of conversation. I kept persisting and smiling, trying to talk with him. I even tried giving him and his wife American candies I had in my pocket.
I was trying everything—even bribery with candy! Finally, he agreed to let me pray for him. I asked him to stand. As soon as he did, he immediately fell to the ground. It wasn’t because of any great power being released. It was because this man was so sick that he couldn’t even stand for more than a few seconds, so I kneeled down next to him and, through the interpreter, I asked what was going on in his body. He said from the waist down he couldn’t feel anything and from the waist up he was in pain. We began to pray and ask that God would release His healing presence.
After a few short moments of praying, he began to weep. He said he felt blood flowing through his legs. The numbness was leaving his legs, and the pain was also leaving. I said, “Do something you couldn’t do before.”
The man stood up, and all the trembling he’d had before had completely stopped, and his countenance changed. He was standing strong. Again, I repeated my instruction. I said, “Do something more that you couldn’t do before!”
He began to run in place. Then, his pace quickened and he took off in a sprint. He ran around the park, even running up and down a large flight of stairs. After he circled the park, he returned to us panting.
He told us he was sixty-seven years old. I said, “I’m thirty, and I don’t think I could do what you just did!” We led the man to Christ while the rest of the team prayed for his wife who was deaf in one ear. Her hearing returned as a result of their prayers.
After we led the man to Christ, he immediately
took off in a run. He kept running and running and running. It was such a powerful encounter, and we had almost given up because we hadn’t seen any progress. I am so thankful we didn’t throw in the towel in our discouragement. We saw three salvations, a deaf ear opened, a pain in the left side healed, and a very sick man healed by the power of God and running all over the place. Not a bad deal for a couple hours in the park!
When we got back to the church that evening, we began to share testimonies of what happened. Several of the Romanians who were with us kept saying, “Today we saw a real miracle.” They were smiling from ear to ear.
The next day, some of the team went back to check on the family. They saw the daughter and the mother in the park. The team members asked where the father was. They said, “Ever since you prayed for him, all he does is run and run and run.” It was like the man had turned into Forrest Gump—he just kept running and running and running!
That week in Romania was full of similar stories. Many, but not all, that we prayed for experienced some kind of tangible presence of peace or love, and at times others would begin to visibly shake or tremble. There were many instances when people were healed from their physical conditions, including deaf ears, blind eyes, and tumors. We would always follow the demonstrations of the love and power of God with a simple presentation of the Gospel. In that one week in Romania we saw around one hundred people surrender their lives to God, mostly through the prayers of newly-trained German, Swiss and Romanian disciples. We found it much easier to explain the truth of the gospel with people who had just experienced the loving presence of God. Proclamation and demonstration are a powerful combination.
Brian Blount - From the Sanctuary to the Streets - Kindle Edition.