What follows is a more detailed (or even journalled account of the daily events from recent Hope Festival in Sorong, Indonesia 30 June to 3 July 2010.
The platform, loudspeakers, the open field and hundreds of counsellors stood believing for a flood of salvations. Then, during the opening worship music, a clap of thunder and then came the rain. It persisted for the entire evening. Many people found cover in the nearby grandstands. Others remained on the field, dancing and praising God in the rain, ankle-deep in water. We continued. I preached a powerful message as the rain continued to pour down upon us. As I preached, it looked as though the field in front of me turned into a rice patty, filled with water.
I also prayed for the sick but there was no time for testimonies as them rain persisted.
Our Hope Festivals have never been rained out before. Still, it is a risk that we must take.
May the Lord provide us with excellent weather the next three nights.
Our morning Fire Festival for Pastors and church workers started today. We spoke about the Believers’ responsibility as soul-winners. We then provided practical training on the message of the soul-winner for them to be more effective communicators of the gospel. We also began encouraging them in faith and in the Holy Spirit which will be the focus in Friday’s sessions.
The open-air meeting Thursday evening started slowly, but after dark, more than 3500 people had gathered and heard the gospel preached. The message rang out without interruption tonight and hundreds of people responded to God’s offer of salvation. The counsellors did an excellent job connecting with them.
One interesting note is that there were many unbelievers present. The Hope Festival field is next to a road. That road was filled with more than 2000 people. They remanded in position throughout the preaching. They were not followers of Jesus and wanted to remain unnoticed. But they were hungry for what Jesus gives.
One woman with cancer in the uterus declared that the pain and them swelling had completely disappeared and that it was Jesus who healed her. Another woman came carrying a small child. She had fallen one week before and sprained her ankle and had great pain when walking but the foot returned to it’s proper position and the pain is reportedly gone. And still, one more lady came to tell that she had received Christ that night and had also been healed of a serious migraine headache. She was tearfully happy.
Jesus is working in Sorong, and I can hardly wait for tomorrow!
Woman who had a tumor on her uterus which was removed in Jakarta. She also had surgery for appendicitis. Both surgeries were successful but left her with terrible pain and fevers. She told us she was a teacher but unable to work for more than a year because the pain was so great. She came forward to tell everyone how Jesus had healed her that night! The pain was gone.
A man suffered with the effects of a stroke for more than three years. It left him paralyzed on the right side and bedridden for two years. Jesus healed him completely! He came forward with great excitement, even dancing on the platform with me! He was throwing punches into the air like an amateur boxer. The paralysis was gone! I asked him who it was that gave his healing, “JESUS!”, he shouted!
Attendance was about the same as the previous night. Before praying for the sick, I preached on the adulterous woman in John, chapter 8. It is a powerful gospel message that would wake any condemned soul to faith in Christ. And it certainly happened tonight as we saw many people receive Jesus; believing on Him to forgive their sins and a new lease on life.
The pastors and church worker seminar went well this morning. It is always a joy to speak about the Holy Spirit. We need Him more than ever!
Due to the rain Wednesday night, we have scheduled a special Saturday morning meeting at 8:30am on the open field. It will be a shorter meeting, but powerful.
Also, Saturday will be our last day here in Sorong.
A Saturday morning meeting was scheduled on the field because the rain kept people away Wednesday morning. Since we lost one meeting, we add one meeting and try again to win at least one more person to Jesus. We simply wanted to reach as many people as possible. The gathering was small, but the message of salvation rang out as we spoke about the cross of Christ.
Our morning Fire Festival also experienced low attendance with 60 people, but the Holy Spirit ignited their lives, making them ready for service. I feel absolutely no shame in the attendance because the Holy Spirit has honored us with His presence. The message I delivered was about the fire of God, and the fire truly followed. Faith and fire flowed together like a mighty river.
Attendance held steady in the evening meeting and the gospel of life continued to bear fruit. It is always amazing to see so many people stepping forward to make a decision for Christ. Many people were listening in the darkness along the road rather than sitting in the light-flooded area on the sport field. And when Jesus came calling them, they bravely stepped out of darkness and into His light; quickly finding themselves in front of the platform and standing in the stage lighting. Many prayed with such repentance and sincerity that I could hear people crying over their sins as they prayed.
The call to repentance is bitter-sweet. It is the soul getting a new taste for life as a person decides to leave their diet of sin and take in the righteousness of God through Christ. What was once their favorite food has proven to be sugary junk food. In contrast, the food of Christ is the best tasting and most nourishing food any soul could have. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
Man who claimed he could not hear since 2001 heard perfectly. Another had kidney pain so severe that he was previously hospitalized and could not stand up because of the intense pain. Jesus healed him and he demonstrated his flexibility without pain. Many more such healings followed one after the other.
In all, around 800 people recorded a decision for Christ. I always pray for more, but when a man starts digging, sometimes there are stones lying below the surface. Progress is slow but necessary. …so we continue digging; we continue working and rejoice over the wonderful work of God in Sorong and also knowing that there will be an even greater harvest of souls in the days ahead.
We are currently in the planning process for our next campaign! I hope you will be a part of it.
Jason Betler is the founding evangelist of The Nations Hope, and an ordained minister of The Foursquare Church. A "dad joke" enthusiast, Jason and his wife Angelique reside with their three children in San Jose, California.
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