On my recent and first trip to Nepal I saw the blind see, the deaf hear and the lame walk. I saw dozens of work weary women receive restored knees and backs; I saw healing touch a boy with cerebral palsy, movement restored to a stroke victim, gastric problems healed and demonic oppression lifted. I asked myself why we did not see this level of healing in New Zealand even as I rejoiced to see more than 80% of those we prayed for receive healing in the name of Jesus. We also saw approximately 1300 people commit to belief in Jesus and receive salvation.
My journey to Nepal and beyond started some two years ago. As Pastor at New Plymouth Central Baptist I received news that one of our women in the congregation had received a diagnosis for a life threatening cancer. Of course we would pray and organise pastoral support and care. A week later I heard of another woman under similar diagnosis. And in the next few weeks the number grew to four. My reaction moved from just care and compassion to a growing anger at the impact of Genesis 3 sin on good people amongst us and our own sense of helplessness in the face of it.
I was reading in John 11 at that time. In the story of the death and raising of Lazarus I realised, with the help of a good commentator, that the words “moved with compassion” barely began to describe how Jesus felt. What the original language conveyed was ‘moved with anger’ at Satan and sin. I knew that feeling. Only Jesus was not helpless in the face of it. I shared it with the church and declared that we would and should seek the Lord to know more of his healing power.
To that end we invited John Fergusson to bring to us his School of Healing, both in January and again in March of 2014. We dared to believe that we would see more of God’s healing power. John had more experience of this than we did and we asked him to share of his experience and insight. He also invited any that would like to do so to join him on a missions trip to Nepal where he went twice each year and had done so for the last eight years. He described a much wider experience of God’s healing in Nepal than he was seeing in New Zealand.
We saw some more healing during the year that followed the schools but not enough. Of the four women diagnosed with cancer and one other condition three were successfully treated medically and one went to be with the Lord. For the three healed we could not say that God had intervened because we saw no evidence of that directly other than through medical processes. We praised God for those successful treatments. But we so wanted to also to see the direct miraculous hand of God. Six congregation members signed up to go with John to Nepal in November of 2014 to make up a missions team of 12 persons. The focus of the mission was a partnership with the local churches in evangelism and healing…
Nepal is one of the poorer countries of the world. Nepal’s citizens experience a full range of diseases and injury that comes from poverty, minimal infrastructure and back breaking subsistence labour. In a traditional three day crusade meeting context amongst villages in Western Nepal we saw attendance grow each day from 2500 to 9000 as word spread that Jesus was present to save and to heal. Some 1300, mostly Hindus, responded to the invitation for salvation. The invitation for healing in Jesus name also produced immense interest.
And they came. Men and women with gastro problems evidenced by continued pain and excruciatingly tight abdominal muscles, lumps of various causes, migraines, limb injuries, blindness, deafness, demonic oppression…
God was faithful. The same scenarios can be told over and over so allow me to recount some unusual ones both from the crusade meetings and from the schools of healing that we held in two other centres.
We also ran into a lot of overt demonic oppression. In the presence of an active Holy Spirit they manifested. We were able to deal with these by the Holy Spirit. One particular incident taught me a lot.*
These are extracts from my diary of that mission
The first person to approach me seeking healing was an old looking woman who pointed to her back and her knees. The young teenage translator explained she could no longer crouch to work as years of this kind of labour had ruined her knees and her back.
My mind raced in true strategic western reasoning. The problem was the nature of her work, which was what needed fixing. Why would I pray for her back and knees when the nature of her working life could be and should be changed? On and on went my mind seeking solutions for this woman and others like her.
Then the Lord spoke so clearly into my spirit. “Martien, that’s all well and good, but what are you going to do for this woman standing in front of you?” Gently but firmly he brought me back on track. So with the authority He grants us I said to the woman “Jesus is the only healer and in his name I now command your back to be healed and made whole, to your knees also I now say be healed.”
She looked at me quite blankly as the interpretation was made. Even after that she just looked puzzled. Taking her by the hands I asked her to crouch with me. She did. Going down had never really been the problem. Then we rose using only those knee and back muscles and as we did a huge smile broke out on her face.
God had healed and restored both back and knees. Immediately there was a line of about 20-30 women all with worn bodies, broken knees and broken backs. Expectation was suddenly very high, faith unquestionable and God was faithful.
They were all healed. They could go back to those rice fields, they could again provide for their families. Me, I was awed and stopped analysing – it was just too busy to think too much as people pressed around seeking the Lord’s touch.
A young man came with one deaf ear, his right ear. We commanded the ear to hear again in Jesus name. We tested it. His ear was healed.
I was asked to come and pray for a woman who had no hearing in her left ear. I first tested her by blocking off the good right ear and proved she could not hear in her left ear. I commanded healing of the ear and the healing and clearing of the infection.
We stood for about a minute with my hands on her ear. Then covering her good right ear firmly asked whether she could hear me. Yes; but still a little muffled.
Covering her right ear again I spoke the name of Jesus into her left ear. Saying several times, “Hear this – Jesus is the healer.” She did hear and was fully healed. We tested it and her husband tested it and with a big smile she said “Jesus has healed me.” Amen to that!
A young man with pains and tightness across his stomach. Assuming the pain symptomatic of a problem I took authority over the cause and commanded the symptomatic pain to go in Jesus name as evidence of the healing. On one side the pain disappeared completely and the other it remained in a lesser state. So we prayed again and it continued to diminish. We gave thanks for a complete healing.
Probably two dozen more young men with the same complaint and God healed them. God is good.
A very moving, poignant moment when a woman, probably in her early 20s, stood in front of me with her face set in sadness. She explained that her menstrual cycle was completely inconsistent in timing and she had constant related pain. She had been like this for 5 years. This meant no children (she was married).
I was awed that she had pushed past her sense of shame (based on community values) and the cultural inappropriateness of talking to a man of intimate woman’s problems.
So urgent was her need that she had come to talk to me. She reminded me of a woman who pursued Jesus just to touch his garment. I felt so privileged to stand in Jesus place, with his authority, to meet her need.
I commanded in Jesus name that wholeness and normality be restored to her body and that she be freed from pain as immediate evidence of God’s hand on her body.
The pain cleared and she knew it. The proof of her full healing would come in the next few weeks.
A woman came with problems with no short sightedness in her eyes. Difficult if you are harvesting with a very sharp sickle. We commanded her eyes to see again properly and she said “I see” and she did and could see and focus on the short distance.
A young boy was presented by his father because his eyes would not work together to focus and both eyes moved at random when he tried to look at something. They came right with a command to heal and I had the joy of looking him in the eye and holding his gaze as he held mine.
There was a man who three years before had had a stroke. He had pain in his head and all down the left hand side of his body. He could walk dragging his left foot and his left arm hung limply.
I spoke healing to the brain and to the pain in Jesus name. The pain left his body, his foot was released to walk again although he needed to practice that. He began to move his arm and gradually lifted it over his head and moved it into increased circles and flexing as full use was restored to it
A woman came with a painful growth on one toe and under authority in Jesus name if faded from sight in front of our eyes – she was healed.
A woman approached me asking for prayer for a lump on the side of her throat and a pain down her right side of her body. We sought to minister to this but nothing changed and we had to let her go.
There was sadness on her face. I went afterwards again to where she sat at the back of the church and again sought to minister healing to her to no avail. I then sensed by the Holy Spirit that this was a spiritual issue and when I raised that point she began to shake and to wail.
A clear manifestation of a demonic spirit. In Jesus name I ordered the Spirit to be silent and it settled down. From other women around we found out that she had been a believer for only one month, that she was not married but the child with her was hers.
I discerned that the physical and spiritual were linked in some way. The Holy Spirit said to me “Look at her dress” I did and realised that this woman was a lot less modestly dressed in a community of woman who were very modest in their attire.
All the pointers were that the woman still worked in the sex industry and she was not yet able to let go of her livelihood which supported her and her child. This proved to be so and we had to leave her in the care of her church community to address this question so that she would feel able to embrace the Lord’s offer to be free.
The rest of the team had similar experiences. The question of why this doesn’t happen like this in New Zealand became a real one for me. I have come to a conclusion about this.
Only God is omnipresent. The devil is not. He has to roam backward and forward across the face of the earth. This means he rules as “prince of this world” through other fallen angels (demons / evil spirits). We saw this overtly in Nepal.
Satan is evil but he is not stupid. In Nepal the demons do not hesitate to reveal themselves, scaring people into the hands of witch doctors / shamans and Hindu priests creating a deeper bondage.
In the West the demonic serves Satan better by acting covertly and denying the existence of the spiritual. This does not mean that the demonic is less present. These powers just have different names and strategies.
I come back from Nepal prepared to name powerful demonic forces over our land. They are Rationalism, Individualism, Secularism and Intellectualism amongst others. We are all far more subject to them than we are prepared to acknowledge. Our need to analyse, understand, diagnose and know, are symptomatic of this submission to reason (rationalism) that prevails in our society.
Naming them as demons is itself a first step to breaking their hold on us. I believe it is these demons that undermine faith, encourage doubt, and means we see less healing and less of the miraculous. You will feel foolish in New Zealand even speaking of demons because “rational” people do not do so.
Remember Jesus didn’t hesitate and he dealt to them. I listened in to a fellow believer seeking to pray for healing for a sick friend. There were endless questions about the condition, help that had been sourced so far, medications and treatments ordered. On and on it went.
Why? It is our need to diagnose, analyse, research. Yet none of this makes one jot of difference to God’s capacity or willingness to heal. It is rationalism again. God knows already and he is the only one that needs to know, we should just obey and trust.