Evangelism, Pitfalls, And Practices
International evangelism is not like holding typical Sunday morning church services but is really like a Holy Spirit spiritual invasion with lots of spiritual warfare involved. In my experience, there are no salvations, miracles or healings without a spiritual fight. The man or woman of God needs to be ready for anything. You don’t get ready on the field, you arrive ready.
In the early 90’s we were in a remote village outside La Ceiba, Honduras conducting teaching seminars in the mornings and preaching in the evenings. Morning services are great for topical teachings for church members and leaders while evening services are more evangelistic. I make sure to get people saved and filled with the Holy Spirit. We also make sure to pray for the sick and flow in the Holy Spirit in whatever direction He desires. Sometimes it’s in healing, prophesy, apostolic impartations, or casting out demons. The flow is up to him.
The territory was surrounded by large banana plantations. Bananas historically are one of the top export crops in Honduras employing over 5 percent of the population. The small team that was with me was great. The first night in the country, we stayed in a bang-up hotel with all the amenities of home. We had a first class dinner, and everyone was in prayerful excitement of the days ahead. For most this was their first mission’s trip.
HOLY SPIRIT SPIRITUAL INVASIONS
I don’t really like to use the term mission’s trip because it comes preloaded with many wrong ideas. Mission trips can consist of nothing more than good religious activities that have no spiritual punch. I’m all for good works, they have their place. To me, however, international evangelism is not like holding typical Sunday morning church services but is really like a Holy Spirit spiritual invasion with lots of spiritual warfare involved. In my experience, there are no salvations, miracles or healings without a spiritual fight. The man or woman of God needs to be ready for anything. You don’t get ready on the field, you arrive ready.
Not every territory is the same, what worked in one area may not work in another this is why you need to be led by the Holy Spirit, prayed up and ready to face whatever demonic opposition there may be. I have seen good people travel overseas on “mission trips” get taken out early, some from sickness and others from witchcraft hitting their minds and shutting them down, some even tapping into the demonic assignment and turning on me. When the warfare is on what’s in a person will come out every time. This is one reason why you should know those that labor among you and prayerfully guard one another. There are some places you just can’t bring some including pastors that are used to predetermined church conditions where they are used to being in charge. The harvest fields are not like your home church. There are lions and tigers and bears oh my. For those that do make it there is no better training ground than taking the Gospel of the Kingdom into the nations. It’s on the field that you develop apostolic grit and fortitude.
Early the next morning after an early breakfast, we loaded up in the pickup on our way to the jungle. On the way it started raining and by the grace of God we had some black plastic those in the back could cover themselves. This didn’t discourage this team as they seemed to sing from one end of the rain storm all the way to the other end. Several hours later we arrived at our destination an old banana processing plant equipped with outdoor showers, outdoor bathrooms, and outdoor cooking facilities. Come to think of it, it was pretty much outdoor everything except for a few small wooden buildings where we could sleep. This was frontier ministry, and we liked it.
My wife Rhonda was staying in the room with me. There was a cot that someone was using to change baby diapers thoroughly equipped with that familiar smell that goes along with changing baby diapers. Rhonda jumped in and took care of that while I checked on everyone else. Later that evening we had a meeting with the local pastors, some food, fellowship and prayer as we made plans to launch the meetings the next day. The next morning I had a first.
MARKING FIRST EXPERIENCES
I like to make a mental note of “first experiences.” Early in the morning an old man entered our camp on a small horse his legs almost reaching the ground. Draped over his horse on each side were two metal jugs looking to be around 20 lbs each. They were filled with fresh goat’s milk. He offered us a drink. Never having anything other than cold cow’s milk we took a bold move and stepped out of the boat onto some uncharted taste testing waters. Warm goat’s milk tasted just like you think it would. It was awful. We started the day meetings with prayer and launched the morning meetings. We had good attendance and everything was good.
The night services drew all kinds. There were the hungry, the thirsty, the curious, the sick, the demon-possessed, and, of course, those with critical religious spirits. We also had a few intoxicated rowdies. It didn’t matter because the Holy Spirit was convicting sin and healing the sick. We saw outstanding moves of the Holy Spirit as people were slain by the Spirit, laying on the floor shaking under the anointing and confessing their sins and coming to Christ. This was God saying hello. People were saved, healed, baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues, and even demons came out of many. These kind of “power displays” reminds me of the Apostle Paul when he said, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). That same Holy Spirit that was in Paul’s ministry is the same Holy Spirit in your ministry. Precious lives were being impacted and changed right before our eyes.
In some of the night services drunken men would attend. Being out in remote areas there is not much for people to do so some of them will come down out of the mountains to the crusade meetings just out of curiosity. My son-in-law, Pastor Franklin Wheelock, was in charge of overseeing crowd control and ushering. During one of the services he asked me how to handle those that came in drunk. I told him they could come into the service just sit them in the back of the building. The building was really nothing more than an open air pole barn with a metal roof used to box bananas. It made for a great place to hold services. As long as they behaved themselves they could stay but if they caused any disturbance usher them out of the building.
One night during the campaign I saw Franklin usher one particular drunken man out of the service. It was at that part of the service when the preaching was over and I was laying hands on people and praying for those that had come forward. I didn’t think much about it until later that night because he was just following my instructions.
After the service was over we jumped in an old red pickup truck on our way back to the place where we were staying. One of the pastors was driving. I was in the front passenger seat and Pastor Franklin and my wife Rhonda were in the second row bench seat. The back of our truck was loaded with passengers that had jumped aboard heading in the same direction as us. In Central America there is no rule for just how many can get in the back of a pickup truck. There is a saying, “There is always room for one more.” We were following that rule that night. To my surprise one of the men on the back of the truck looked really familiar, it was the same rowdy intoxicated trouble maker that was taken out of the service. “Franklin, is that the man you escorted out of the service?” I asked. Turning around to scan those in tow he said, “Yes.” I couldn’t believe it. The very man that was asked to leave the service was catching a ride with us.
Looking at the pastor that was driving I asked, “Pastor, do you know that man?” “Yes,” he said grasping the wheel with both hands. “That’s my father.” To my great surprise we had thrown the pastor’s father out of the meeting.
“That’s your father?” I responded in shock. “Yes. He’s backslidden and sometimes he gets drunk and comes to church and causes problems. I was glad to see you ask him to leave. Maybe now he will behave when he comes back to church.” The next day was even more powerful than the first. And, yes, the pastor’s father attended and he was sober this time. Spiritual life and frontier ministry is filled with excitement.
(c) Apostle Jonas Clark
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