Christians Praying Through the Night
5.30 pm: We set off for the campaign site. It was amazing to see how many people were heading in the same direction. A whole family on a motorcycle passed us – the daughter sitting in front of her father and behind them the mother with a baby. The motorcycle was fit for the scrapheap, they were not wearing helmets and the safety for the baby was an absolute disaster. However, I have rarely seen anyone in Germany beaming with happiness like they were. We overtook church buses plastered with “Bonnke posters” and packed to the brim with people; some cars even had people travelling in the boot. Our driver tried to steer the bus through the crowds. We drove past food stalls run by street traders and book stalls with loudspeakers blasting out praise and worship songs, drowning out the sounds of the people.
At the approach to the backstage area, the crowd formed a passage for the convoy to drive through. Perhaps this is what a marathon runner feels like over the last few metres before the winning post as he hears the crowds cheering him on. Here the people were cheering in praise of Jesus.
Because there are so many guests, places had been reserved for us on the stage and off to the side. This evening I was able to sit on the platform. From up there you have a good view right across the site. The praise and worship team had been singing for an hour and it was incredible to see how many thousands of people were here – and crowds more were still coming onto the field. I had to give an interview on the stage and stand with my back to the campaign visitors. It was exciting and almost a little embarrassing in front of all those people but I don’t think they paid much attention to it anyway. Then Daniel Kolenda preached. Great man, powerful message. Thousands were converted that night – probably as many as the total membership over the past 100 years of the association of churches to which I belong. And this was just the first night – there are four more to come. Those in charge told us that more people would come along over the next few days. I heard what they said but could not really believe it. After the message, prayer was made for healing and people streamed forward to testify to their healing. Cripples can walk, blind people can see, the dumb can speak. It was too much for me; I can’t get over the large number of people here and am glad that I have a couple more days to take it all in.
As the meeting continued, one thing became increasingly clear to me. People are converted here not just because the gospel is preached so clearly and not because Daniel Kolenda preaches with authority but also because so many Christians here are praying. I remember the hall where one million people meet every month to pray and the many churches that we passed, where people were praying. Our travelling companion said that the people here are more aware of the spiritual world, pray far more and hold meetings more frequently. I understood why we achieve so little in evangelistic campaigns in Germany.
Two hours after the meeting was over and after a meal at the lodge, we went back to our hotel. There were candles outside the huts, many families were still sitting around a table and talking. Some people were already asleep on benches. It looked peaceful and idyllic. Is that the effect that the evening has had on the town or on me?
We passed close to a large church. The church was full and the Christians were praying through the night.