Hong Day 2—City and Village Visits
This is my sixth time in Africa and without a doubt this is the hottest. But not even the hot weather could keep me down today.
We we’re up at 5:30 and quickly on our way to Hong. We arrived to an enthusiastic greeting, as we were met at the city border by pastors, church workers and believers from the city. A few hundred meters before we arrived at City Hall, a band of young people marched before our convoy playing music.
We first arrived at an impromptu outdoor staging area. Hundreds gathered in the scorching heat. Their faces were beaming with joy as they anticipated what God is going to do. I am humbled at their expectations and part of me wants to run. I felt as if I had nothing to say and their faith is unwarranted.
But thanks be to God that this never depended on me in the first place. As soon as I opened my mouth I felt the passion for souls to be free return. I told them that Yeshua has come to bring freedom, salvation and healing. Then I shared with them that after 2000; Israelis are taking the gospel from Israel to the nations. Moti, one the leaders at our congregation in the Tel Aviv, prayed over them in Hebrew.
From there we went to meet the “king of the city,” (yes, every city has a king in Nigeria). It is a tribal, ceremonial position, but highly respected. I met this man on our first journey here a year-and-a-half ago. Oh, did I mention that he is Muslim? With all the unrest in the north between Muslims and Christians (because of radical Islam’s influence), it is amazing to meet Muslims here that are not hostile at all. In fact, this man publicly declared that God had answered his prayer in bringing me back to Hong to hold a gospel campaign. It didn’t make since to me either! Why would a Muslim be praying for an evangelist to come to his city to preach Yeshua. Well, I didn’t argue with him. In truth, when we come into a city, not only do we bring the gospel, but we infuse tens of thousands of dollars into the local economy, so even the Muslims receive us as a blessing from God. Of course we pray that they come to the meetings and meet the true and living God.
Our next stop was a village just north of Hong. Their reception was even more amazing. When our convoy stopped, villagers poured into a church building. I am going to guess that there was about 800 people inside, but that didn’t include those pressing against the windows outside.
I don’t know if I have ever preached in a hotter environment. Sweat was pouring down our faces, but for the people, it was just another day. And thank God that it was just as hot in the Spirit!
Before I left they asked me to bless the land. I sang the Aaronic benediction from Numbers 6 and prayed for blessing. I have no doubt that people were set free by the anointing. It was such a powerful moment. I am sure we will hear testimonies.
We were quickly loaded back in the car and then drove frantically back to through Hong, through mammoth sized pot holes, swerving from side to side, with motorcyclists weaving in and out, because they wanted to keep up with the caravan. The rest of the team was in another car and I couldn’t imagine what they were going through having never been in this type of environment before. I found out later that their air conditioner broke and they were pressed together like sardines. But what a great attitude they all had.
Then suddenly our air-conditioner broke, as if it said, “It’s hot, I have been working all day and I am taking a break.” I felt like a prisoner in my suit and longed for the local dress that men wear here (see pictures). At this point I was so hot, dripping with sweat, speeding down a dirt road on our way to the last gathering—I just started to laugh. There was nothing else to do.
When we finally arrived at the church, we were greeted by a cheering crowd. After sharing briefly we were taken to a church building no bigger than a hut. On the ground were a few benches. We were told that this church was the first church in the region. It was birthed by the first missionary to Hong over 60 years ago. His name was Shal Holma (sounds like Shaloma) and he was ordained in 1948, the year of Israel’s birth. As the Jewish people began to bear fruit, so to did this evangelist, whose name resembles the Hebrew word for peace.
Next to the small church hut was a much larger building that had accommodated the growth of new believers. And next to that was the frame of a much larger structure that will replace the second one, as this church is growing.
We arrived at the hotel three hours late and famished. The team was really tested today, but they are wonderful.
Day 3 Before the First Meeting
Friends, we will be leaving for the first outreach meeting in a few minutes. If yesterday was any indication of what tonight will be like, it will be amazing! Well, they just knocked on my door. Time to go. Bless you all!