Some diary notes: God is doing amazing things in the earth today through his people. Christians, filled with faith, are making remarkable contributions to the advancement of the kingdom of God. In recent days, The Lord proved those two facts to me again.
In late Summer I traveled to Almaty, Kazakhstan with a fellow Arabic speaking minister, whom I have known for decades, to teach in a Pentecostal Bible school and to minister in Russian and Kazakh speaking services. Once there I found myself recalling the hundreds of ministers I met through the decades who never owned a car, but on foot or on bicycle made their way over mountain passes and through valleys in order to preach to hundreds or handfuls of God’s choicen servants that were scattered within villages that dotted the hillsides. Similar to banishment to the Siberian plains long ago, this Central Asian region was used initially by early Russian government officials as a place to imprison political dissidents. It was too far away from the major cities for escapees to return easily.
I was hosted by two individuals. The one was the national leader of his Pentecostal denomination; the other, a brother who has started more than 130 independent Kazakh speaking churches. These fellowships, particularly the ones connected to the latter host, encompass the territories of China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and other provinces of Central Asia. I attended the Central Asian World Prayer Conference at the largest Pentecostal fellowship in the city. Leaders from Russia, Ukraine and all the countries of Central Asia appeared and provided regional reports of God’s divine operations in their regions. More than 600 Apostles/Pastor/leaders encouraged the saints and led the attendees in intercession for various districts.
The Full Gospel message is not strongly established in all the Pentecostal denominations of this region. Even still, God did pour out his Spirit mightily during our visit. I had been asked to spend 5 hours a day training students on ‘how to plant home-churches in Muslim provinces’. Several of them were Muslim-background believers. The truths I shared with them were formed during the many years I was in church-planting ministry among Muslims on the Arabian continent and in the Black Sea region. The student’s eyes were opened to the likelihood of manifestations of God’s power as they labored, and to the probability of persecution for bearing the name of Jesus in a Communistic/Islamic environment.
The church services were filled with exuberant worshippers. Men and women were hungry for the milk and meat of God’s word. In the Russian speaking service, the redemptive work of Christ was clearly described by me. Many tears were shed. Several were saved. Scores came forward to be baptized with the Holy Ghost. God answered the cry of their heart, with many being filled and speaking in other tongues as smiles appeared on their faces. While I was in a hallway speaking with some saints afterward, I heard the Pastor mention my name. He was telling congregants that I would lay hands on a few of them and pray for their healing. About 20 got in line. Ministering with my interpreter, I laid hands on the first one, she screamed ‘I’m healed’: 100 more jumped out of their seats and got in the prayer line. Every kind of infirmity and disease came through the line. One by one God destroyed yokes of sickness. That meeting ran over into the afternoon Kazakh church service where I was scheduled already to preach a Holy Spirit rally/miracle service.
Suffice it to say by day’s end I was exhausted. All in all, it was a great joy to be with them in worship. At other times, too, there were periods of refreshment and encouragement for me. One of them was when one Kazakh student told me of the dream that brought her to the saving knowledge of Jesus. She said that she had been born into a Muslim home. While her mother was slowly dying a number of years ago, she, the daughter, had a dream that she was in the midst of a body of water. On her left side was a boat in which Muhammad stood beckoning her to come. On the other side of her was a ship with the words ‘Christianity’ inscribed on it. On it, Jesus stood therein motioning for her to come aboard. She said that she swam to Jesus and never looked back. Since that day Jesus has been her Lord. She immediately shared the dream with her Russian speaking boyfriend. He converted immediately, and now they are on track to preach to Muslims in rural Kazakstan. Much more can be said, but the King of Kings yet reigns. Pray for World Ministry Fellowship members as they labor around the world.