The ‘Lost’ Years of Jesus in India

The ‘Lost’ Years of Jesus in India
The Bible’s silence concerning the 18 years of Jesus’ life between the ages of 12 to 30, has caused a number of speculations about this period in the life of Jesus Christ by New Agers and Buddhists and Hindus [whom they refer to as Issa]. Of these, the most notable is the idea that Jesus travelled widely [between India and Tibet] where he studied with  Buddhist and Hindu teachers. He is apparently buried in Kashmir, having survived His crucifixion.

Claims made by New Agers
In his book, ‘Jesus Lived In India’, Holger Kersten claims that Buddhism had a significant influence on the life and teachings of Jesus during this period. While his work is regarded as ‘scholarly’ in New Age circles, Kersten asserts that Jesus lived the life of a Buddhist, practiced Buddhism and that Jesus taught Buddhist ideals to His disciples, something that, according to Kersten, “can be discerned in His Sermon on the Mount”! Kersten furthermore avers that “many of the teachings of Jesus – things like Karma and reincarnation – have been edited out of the modern Bible by the Church who are intent on keeping Christ in their doctrinal top pockets in order to constrain the entire Western culture within the narrow teachings of blind faith, organised religion and original sin!” (sic).

Of course, if any of this were actually true, it would utterly destroy the Christian faith – as then God would not be the Creator of everything (Eph 3:9), the Scriptures would not be the revealed Word of God (2 Tim 3:16), and Jesus would not be the Saviour of mankind (1 John 4:14).

Exposing satan’s strategies
Throughout the history of the world, satan has consistently employed three stratagems in his assault upon the Christian faith. He has focussed his attack upon:

Scripture: satan has worked to dispute the historicity, the authority, the veracity, the accuracy as well as the authenticity of the Bible as the revealed Word of God
Christ: satan has schemed to challenge the person, the incarnation, the life, the teaching as well as the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ
Gospel: satan has tried every ploy to twist God’s plan of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

Counterfeit assumptions
When Jesus is presented as nothing more than just another ‘sage’ whose teachings were strongly influenced by His Eastern masters, we are able to spot every one of satan’s devious wiles at work. What attempts to pass for ‘scholarly’ investigation into the life of Jesus, instead fails as a feeble effort by the god of this age (2 Cor 4:4) to assail the magisterium of the Bible, strip Jesus of His Divinity, and to adulterate the Gospel. There are several arguments that refute the idea that Jesus spent His ‘lost years’ travelling widely and especially into India where ‘He came under the influence’ of and in fact, ‘adopted a Buddhist lifestyle’, that He somehow ‘survived His crucifixion and now lies buried in Kashmir in India’. Very briefly they include:
1. Scripture: it has been shown that the Bible is the best-attested manuscript from ancient history that we have in our possession with +24 000 manuscripts available for us to study.

To quote a source that can hardly be regarded as sympathetic to the Christian cause (Time Magazine): “After more than two centuries of facing the heaviest guns that could be brought to bear, the Bible has survived, and is perhaps better for the siege. Even on the critics’ own terms – historical fact – the Scriptures seem more acceptable now than they did when the rationalists began the attack.”

   In short, we can trust the Bible to be the revealed Word of God: not only is the historical authenticity of the Bible beyond objective dispute, but its explanatory power has no equal.

Proof of the truth
2. Christ: concerning the life of Christ, the Bible says nothing about Jesus travelling outside of Israel. Instead, it describes the ‘lost years’ of His life with one verse: “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men” Luke 2:52. This covers roughly the time between the ages of 12 and 30, after which Jesus began His public ministry. Since the writers of the Gospels had been with Christ and had direct access to His history, we can assume that they would have mentioned something as important as Jesus travelling outside of Israel during those years. And they did not. Moreover, historical logic argues against such a claim: Jesus was not known as a world traveller, but rather as “the Carpenter” Mark 6:3, and “the carpenter’s Son” Matt 13:55.

Biblical and logical thought
Furthermore, the New Testament records that Jesus the Christ fulfilled a score of Old Testament prophecies concerning His birth, life, death and Resurrection, none of which mention any journey to the East. Rather, the East came to Him when the Magi, after spotting a star in the East, travelled to Jerusalem “to behold the King of the Jews” Luke 2:1-2. “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19. The only journey to the East mentioned in the Bible is the one included in Christ’s Great Commission to take the Gospel to all nations (Matt 28:18-20).

Disproving New Age and Buddhist theories about Jesus
3.Gospel: perhaps the most compelling argument against the idea of ‘Jesus the Indian Buddhist’, is the fact that the pantheistic tenets espoused by Buddhism  simply do not square with the message of the Gospel of grace taught throughout the Scriptures (Old and New Testaments) and that are fully expressed in Jesus the Christ. This fact is especially significant if one considers that the Gospel represents the most coherent but also the only satisfactory response to the human condition!

Contradictory teachings
Pantheism is the idea held by most Hindus, many Buddhists and New Age religions which says that ‘God is all in all’. In other words, pantheism holds that God pervades all things, contains all things, subsumes all things, and is found within all things.

Two incompatible belief systems
Pantheism fails as a coherent world-and-life view on several counts: because of this view of the ‘oneness of God and reality’, it teaches that all forms of individuality are ‘mere illusions caused by the mind’. But if that is the case, then so too the very claim itself is an illusion! In this we see that pantheism refutes itself as a world-and-life view on just this one count! Biblical theism on the other hand, recognises objective reality, something that is absolutely necessary in order to qualify all truth claims as well as value judgements to be meaningful.

As a religion of immanent moralism and because it disavows any objective reality, Buddhism is simply not able to advance any basis for its moral teaching – it simply cannot tell you why it teaches whatever it teaches! And the only response that it is able to offer its proponents when they fail to live up to its standards of morality (and man can always only fail whatever standard it sets for himself – it does not matter how low he sets the bar), is… “try again!”

OK, but what if I fail? “Try harder!” But what if I still fail? “Try even harder!” is the only remedy that Buddhism (and in fact, every worldview apart from Biblical theism) is able to offer its adherents! And of course, then there is the consequent guilt of failure which all other worldviews still have to deal with.

The bottom line
The Gospel of Jesus Christ on the other hand recognises that man is just not able to measure up to any standard of ‘good’ that he is able to set for himself, and certainly not up to God’s perfect standard of ‘good’! He cannot just pull himself up by his bootstraps and ‘save his life’.

For that he needs none other than God Himself to reach out and rescue him from his desperate condition! “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

The bottom line is this: man is born into sin and lives in rebellion against God. Mankind has tried everything to avoid submitting to God, through Christ, and as such, will try find any excuse not to believe and follow. No matter how people may try to discredit the Word of God, and the person of Jesus Christ with outrageous theories, they will fail – because Jesus Christ is God, and the God of the Bible is the only living God who reigns forever.

by André Immelman

Unanswered Prayer

Unanswered Prayer
Don’t lose hope! God has promised to answer when we persevere. You pray for something for years and then you wake up one day, breathe a big sigh and say to yourself: “This is crazy. Nothing is happening. God must not be listening.”

Congratulations. If this has been your experience you are not alone. You’ve been enrolled in the School of Persevering Prayer, and it’s not a one-semester class. It’s a lifelong journey designed to stretch your faith, develop your character, purify your motives, test your patience and increase your capacity to know and experience God’s amazing love.

The Lord hears your prayers
I’ve been in this class for a long time, and I don’t always make the grade. This past week, in fact, I was whining about God’s delays. For many months I’ve been bringing the same request to the Lord, yet the answer seems impossibly distant. My faith wavers from calm assurance to frustrated doubt. In my weakest moments I panic and say stupid things to my wife such as, “Honey, I’m giving up and getting a job parking cars!”

Yet when I bring my complaint to the Lord He always reassures me. This week He took me to Isaiah 62:6-7: “On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; all day and all night they will never keep silent. You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes…”

The work of God takes time
There’s no way around the fact that prayer requires persistence. Jesus told a parable about an unrighteous judge who granted a poor widow’s petition because she badgered him night and day (see Luke 18:1-8). Jesus asked: “Will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night?” (v7). Whatever request you have brought to the Lord, and regardless of how many times you have reminded Him of it, keep these points in mind as you trust Him for an answer:
Most people in the Bible who asked God for big things waited a long time to receive their answers. Abraham turned grey waiting for his promised heir – and he is called the father of our Faith. Joshua and his remnant company wandered in the wilderness 40 years before they possessed Canaan. Hannah endured taunts from Peninnah and insults from Eli while she prayed for years for a son. Prayer is not magic. Our job is to ask, not to dictate or control. Let patience have its perfect work. We will eventually reap if we don’t grow weary.

Authentic prayer is a holy process
Prayer is often compared to birth. When God gives you a promise, you essentially become pregnant with it. If you plan to carry this promise to full-term, you must travail.     Surely this is what the Apostle Paul experienced when he told the Galatians he would be “in labour” until Christ was formed in them (Gal 4:19).

We often think of the prayer of faith as triggering instant answers, but this was not the case with Paul. While God can certainly answer immediately, even with fire from Heaven, frequently He calls us to carry a promise until we are mature enough to handle the answer.

You are not alone in your prayers
You have a Helper who is praying for you. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us, Paul wrote, “with groanings too deep for words” Rom 8:26. He is praying the perfect Will of God, and we are invited to agree with Him. This kind of gut-wrenching prayer is messy; it is not formal or sophisticated; when we truly pray in the Holy Ghost we surrender our agendas and let Him pray through us. And this takes us deeper with God.

Have you ever been around a woman in her ninth month of pregnancy? She is often in a state of agitation – so ready to give birth, but weary of the strain. I know many Christians today who are in this same uncomfortable stage of spiritual travail. They’ve held onto promises for a long time. Some are in despair because the gestation period has been so long.

Keep asking, seeking, knocking
Jesus said: “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” Matt 7:8. The verbs used are Greek present imperatives, meaning constant asking, seeking and knocking. Prevailing prayer requires persistence, but when we feel too weak to press forward in faith the Spirit provides the extra push.
You may be asking for the salvation of a wayward child, the funding of a ministry, the reconciliation of a relationship, the recovery of a business, the reviving of a stagnant church or the healing of a sick loved one. Keep on knocking. Don’t give up. You’re closer than ever to a breakthrough

by J. Lee Grady

Norway Shooting: The Untold Story

Norway Shooting: The Untold Story
When the story broke that a crazed Marxist, Islam-hating, gunman had unleashed a slew of bullets on unsuspecting youth in Norway, the world drew its breath in shock. Coupled with the bombing of the government’s headquarters in Oslo, the twin attacks reminded the world that the war on terror is not over, and that if we do not address people’s xenophobic hatred and inherent ‘sin’ problem, we will continue to endure the malevolent actions of intolerant lunatics. Disturbingly, the liberal media (as always) attempted to immediately  attribute the motivation of the attack to ‘religious fundamentalism’ and more specifically, to Christianity.

The problem with pseudo-believers
As soon as the slightest details emerged of the killer, the media juggernaut jumped into action, framing the massacre as a “Christian vs Muslim” anti-immigration plot. And…the ever gullible public just lapped up the opinion of the news media – with true, committed, born-again Christians taking the rap once again for the actions of irresponsible, illegitimate pseudo-Christians like Anders Behring Breivik.

The massacre is not about Christianity, rather irresponsible reporting
The Norway massacre story is not about Christianity but is a very sad manifestation of how undiagnosed and untreated mental malady can develop and wreak untold harm at an unimaginable scale.

The lawyer representing Anders Behring Breivik has claimed that his client is most likely insane. If so – the story becomes immediately less interesting. In the battle of faith, the link of a massacre, reminiscent of the Crusades to Christianity, is a vital lever for present day God scoffers and mockers.

Analyse and investigate the info
As a journalist and media critic, I am always amazed (and appalled) at the lack of journalistic integrity and thorough investigation conducted by news houses.

32 year old Breivik had posted on his Facebook page that he was a ‘Christian’ (though there is no indication on his Facebook how seriously he took his faith, or if he even subscribes to Biblical values). In his extensive 1 500 page manifesto, Breivik expressly states he is not a religious man. In the manifesto, written in English and reportedly posted on the Internet hours before the killing, Breivik reveals that he had been planning the attacks for years.

He writes extensively in the manifesto of his reverence for the Knights Templar,  “a defensive military organisation who only seek to protect the peoples of Europe and our Christian culture”. More importantly, Breivik  writes on page 1307: “If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God then you are a religious Christian.
Myself and many more like me do not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God. We do however believe in Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform. This makes us Christian.”

What the Word says
An incident such as the Norway attacks illustrates yet again, the need for Christians to be educated in articulating their faith and the principles by which we live and are judged (according to the Bible).

Do not let the world mislabel your faith. Find out the facts, analyse what you read, know what your Bible says and be prepared to give a reason for the hope you have (1 Pet 3:15). Don’t accept sub-standard, biased reporting!

by Jackie Georgiou

PS Harold and Maud Weitsz

PS Harold and Maud Weitsz
It is not often that you meet a couple who dwell in the presence of God and speak the truth with razor sharp accuracy and anointing. Pastor Harold Weitsz is truly a prophet for our times who spends hours in prayer and fellowship with the Lord each day. Anyone who has spent even a few moments with him will attest to his God-given gift of discernment and prophecy to speak a word in season!

His wife Maud, is one of the most approachable, wise and strong, yet gentle women I have ever met. They have over 25 years in ministry and are not just the pastors of Little Falls Christian Centre (in Roodepoort) but also apostolic leaders to the nations. JOY! was privileged to host this couple at our offices…

Harold, you had a 17 year career in broadcasting before becoming a pastor, tell us about this change in direction?
I have a degree in Psychology, but spent many years working in radio (in Gauteng) under the pseudo name of Harold West. One Saturday morning after finishing in the studio, I walked into a Reinhard Bonnke crusade and witnessed hundreds of people being delivered from all sorts of addictions. I knew that the Lord was calling me into full-time ministry.

Right there and then my broadcasting career died and a passion to minister the Word of God was birthed in my spirit. I was raised in a traditional church and knew of God, but at the age of 33 I was invited to a Pentecostal church and my life was radically changed. I discovered my Lord and Saviour and a brand new way of living. Within weeks I knew that I had to prepare for full-time ministry and together with my wife, we set out to equip ourselves for the work of the Lord. I realised later that all my years of broadcasting and learning English as an ‘Afrikaner Boy’ was in preparation for the ministry that I stand in today.

As a pastor, you have endured hardship, enjoyed victory, and experienced the reality of God. What key events stand out for you?
Because of the prophetic call of God in my life, I was led by dreams and visions right from the beginning of my ministry. I can only praise the Lord for His amazing guidance because it caused me to avoid so many pitfalls and mistakes. I do not recall real hardships, but I do remember many victories through the years. I ascribe the success of our ministry to the hours of prayer that I put in, as an individual, with my wife and with the church.

I knew from the beginning that I would never succeed without a solid prayer foundation. Most of the visions that the Lord has given me, have been centred around leadership. Through dreams I have received warnings about people who are heading for danger, guidance in the appointments of leaders and prophetic dreams for my children. It is often difficult when I have to impart these dream-visions, for I know that the recipients will not always receive the word joyfully. Pride is very destructive and every person has to guard against it.

How do you cope with disappointment when you see leaders fail, or false teachers lead people astray?
As a young Christian it was very disheartening to see leaders fall morally. I really encourage young Christians to get into the Word of God and intensely study the Bible. The reason many people stumble is because of a lack of knowledge [Hosea 4:6].  I learned early on to trust in the Lord and keep my eyes on Him; by His grace we are still running strong. I encourage people to follow after the Lord and not a man, as we are all imperfect and make mistakes.

You have a particular anointing as a Prophet. Can you explain this? 
Coming out of a traditional church, I had never heard of the prophetic ministry functioning in our present day and age. I had just read of it in the Bible. When I surrendered my life to the Lord in a Pentecostal Church, I found myself having prophetic dreams and visions. The Word of God confirmed it when I sought guidance from the Lord as to these strange experiences and I realised it was still happening today. In 1 Corinthians 12-14, the Apostle Paul deals with the nine Gifts of the Holy Spirit. These gifts are there to build up and edify the Church, but in Ephesians 4:11 he speaks of the ministry roles of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers.

We cannot exclude any of these ministry roles or we deprive the Body of Christ of the various offices that are needed to equip and bless the Church of Jesus Christ. God is restoring both the gifts of the Spirit and the ministry offices in these last days.

Each year you fast for 21 days and pray about the year ahead. What word did God give you for 2011?
For about 16 years the Lord has led our ministry to do a 21-day Daniel fast. Addictions and bondages are broken, vision for the New Year is received, marriages and relationships are healed etc. The spiritual impact has transformed many lives. Before the fast, in our New Years’ service each year I trust the Lord for a prophetic word for our church and nation. This year the Lord revealed to me that there was going to be worldwide shakings. I told the people to watch the news as the Lord would be stirring up the nations and there would be an increase of catastrophic events. All these happenings would draw people closer to Him. Well, thus far we have seen the devastating tsunamis in Japan, earthquakes in New Zealand and other nations, desperate financial dilemmas as nations suffer economic collapse. About five years ago, in a New Year’s Eve service, I told the church to prepare and get out of debt as there was going to be a worldwide financial collapse of banks, markets, insurance companies etc. It was a very tough word and one that I did not enjoy bringing, but at the same time we rejoiced that the Lord had forewarned us. Together with our team we immediately prepared our congregation with special seminars to help them become debt free. Two years later the catastrophic recession broke out in the USA and the domino affect was felt all over Europe and into the East.  For those interested in our annual fast, the church and our teachings/New year messages, see

What are your thoughts about Christianity in South Africa today?
I believe that South Africa is ‘ripe for harvest’ but it is only going to be birthed through prayer. There is too little emphasis on prayer in the churches nationwide and we need to see more leaders on their knees, leading their congregations in prayer, holiness and the fear of the Lord. It is wrong to see a handful of intercessors trying to lead prayer meetings and not the head pastors. I cannot expect my church to pray if I do not set the example. We as pastors must lead our flock and they will follow. In Israel the shepherd walks ahead and the sheep follow because they know they are being led to green pastures and life-giving waters. Jesus taught us this principle in His Word. 

What advice can you give to Christians who desire to experience the Lord in a real, living way, and to hear His voice?
In one of my books, ‘Prophetic Prayer Journey’ I write on how to be led by the Spirit of God and pray prophetic prayers. All prayers must be God-directed, Word based and Holy Spirit inspired. When our prayers become laser-focused, we discover that our circumstances change, we change and our quality of life changes. God is waiting for us in the ‘secret place of the Most High’ so that He can impart His treasures to us, but we have got to make the first move.

Maud, did you ever see yourself in ministry?
At the age of six while attending a convent, I was so impressed by the commitment of the nuns, that I told my parents I wanted to be a nun and work in China. I always felt the Lord tugging at my heart for ministry. My husband often commented in our early years that I should have been a pastor’s wife (when I would address issues and counsel people) and guess what – God fulfilled his confession because he became a pastor! We often joke about it. Although I never had much knowledge of the Word, there was a deep hunger and together Harold and I found our calling.

Little Falls Christian Centre has a unique set up, in that your elders and their wives work alongside…
Whenever Harold and I look for a leader, we always consider his wife as well. I believe that both are called and therefore compliment each other. Through the years we have employed both husbands and wives into full-time positions. In our 25 years of ministry with couples working together, we have not experienced any serious problems or seen a divorce among the leadership in the church. I totally ascribe this to the emphasis we put on prayer and the strong bond of unity between us.

Your children are also in ministry. Why do you think they have stayed close to the Lord, when so many other kids who grow up in church under their pastor-parents leave when they are adults?
All of our children have been involved in the music ministry through the years and two are in full-time ministry. I really encourage parents in the ministry to never give up on their children no matter how hard. In Proverbs 22:6 the Father promises us that we are to direct our children onto the right path and when they are older, they will not leave it. We live and lead by example and as parents have always tried to protect our children in the ministry.

As a prominent couple, you are in the public eye. How do you cope with the pressure and responsibility of living blameless lives?
Although we are so often in the public eye, we have managed to live very private lives. Harold is an introvert and spends most of his time in his study. Whenever we have free time, we visit with our four children and their spouses and eight grand-children who are our greatest treasure. Whenever possible, Harold and I get away to the ‘bushveld’ and his hobby is wildlife photography. We have learned to use these special times to relax.

You are a lecturer in the Bible School. What advice can you share with readers who battle to follow/embrace the Old Testament and find it at odds with the message of the New Testament?
I have been teaching the Old Testament for over 20 years and never fail to draw great inspiration from it. God in the Old Testament is often misunderstood because of a lack of (people’s) knowledge. He loves us so much that from the beginning of time and the fall of man, He planned to send Jesus to die for our sins. Jesus of the New Testament was present as Saviour throughout the Old and only when one studies it, do we see Him revealed in every chapter.

What advice can you offer to other pastors and ministry leaders?
If I were to give any advice to lead pastors and their wives I would tell them to be humble, stay open and objective and always maintain the heart of a servant. I see too many pastor couples being lifted up with pride. We cannot lead by example if we cannot serve by example.

You and Harold celebrate your 40th wedding anniversary this year. In a world of broken families, this is a wonderful achievement!
By all standards this is a rarity in the days we are living in with its high divorce rate even among church leaders. Our marriage truly came together after we received the Lord – we knew it was for life and we made it work. There is no such thing as incompatibility, in fact that is the very reason people are drawn to each other, because they find in the other what they are lacking in themselves. Harold and I are complete opposites yet we have made room for our differences. What he lacks I have, and what I lack he has. We recognise the different giftings in each other and through the years, this has really enriched our relationship.

interview by Jackie Georgiou

Reinhard Bonnke: Public Enemy #1

I had scheduled an outreach to Kano, Nigeria and the crusades were to begin two days after we landed. As we arrived, John Darku, the crusade director, looked worried. He took me to one side. “Reinhard,” he said, “you cannot go into the terminal. There are snipers who have sworn to kill you.” I looked at the terminal and could see armed soldiers standing by the windows. “You are sure of this?” I asked. “Yes.” He replied gravely.

Death threats and snipers
I thought John might have been overreacting. I had preached under death threats before, but I felt terribly responsible for the guests joining us from America and Europe. They were coming to witness the largest crowds in history at a Christ for all Nations Crusade. What had I brought them into?
“The snipers will have to get past soldiers,” I suggested.
 “It can be done, but some of the soldiers are Muslim and they might have radical sympathies.” John replied. “The government has arranged to process your passport confidentially; airport authorities want you to leave through a secret entrance.” The three of us were quickly put into separate vehicles. We left the airport property and began driving an erratic route through the back streets. It was nearly dark when we arrived at our rented house. By telephone and two-way radio, my team monitored the arrivals of all our American and European guests. Group by group, they found their way to their accommodation without incident.

An angry Muslim mob
I listened to local radio news of Muslim unrest concerning our visit. I thought that underneath all the arguments, they were really upset that many Muslims would turn to Christ in our meetings, as they had done a year earlier in Kaduna. We prayed about it, committing ourselves and everyone associated with the crusade into the hands of God.
I laid down in the darkness, but sleep would not come. “Lord, has my zeal for reaching Nigeria blinded me? Have I been unwise? I’ve brought these innocent people into danger. Protect them, Lord,” I prayed.

A blood-washed Africa
I had been zealous for Nigeria. It was home to more people than any other African nation and is one of the ten most populated countries on the planet. Half the population are Muslim and are concentrated in the North. Christian evangelism among Muslims there is forbidden, but in order to follow God’s vision of blood-washed Africa, I knew that sooner or later Christ for All Nations would have to penetrate Muslim strongholds in the Northern part of Africa, including Sudan, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Chad and Egypt.
For that reason, the Northern part of Nigeria represented a test case for us. It was home to the kind of fanatical Muslim resistance we would eventually meet as we pushed further north.

A test of faith
It is my belief that God arranged for the boy David to face a lion and a bear before he took on Goliath. In that spirit, we held our first Nigerian crusade in 1985 in the Southern city. It was a wonderful crusade, and we followed up in the four years with a series of meetings in several other Nigerian cities. Near the end of 1989, we ventured onto the country’s great central plateau to the city of Jos.

Religious tension in a holy city
The meeting went well. But we could feel the religious tension rising as our team stood poised, looking northward toward the city of Kano. It was a Muslim holy city, a walled fortress in ancient times, built by slaves. We would go forward with caution. My team members were in agreement that we should test the waters once more. We would first try a crusade in a lesser Muslim stronghold before entering Kano; in 1990, we scheduled a crusade in Kaduna.

A breakthrough in Kaduna
The population of Kaduna was nearly 70% Muslim. This was a huge step of faith that resulted in the greatest breakthrough we had ever seen! The size of the crowd that greeted us in Kaduna took our breath away. For the first time in my life I looked upon a crowd of a half-million souls. All of my earlier thinking about using the world’s largest tent, seating 34 000, was made completely useless by this mass of humanity.

Hundreds of thousands saved
It seemed significant to me that we first saw this happen on disputed Muslim ground. Our team felt a huge responsibility to deliver a clear message to every lost soul in attendance. Our technicians had already put strategies in place to bring my voice effectively to such a crowd. We brought generators and even set up a small weather station to monitor humidity, wind, pollen, ozone and any atmospheric conditions that might affect the hearing of the Word.
This information was constantly updated into a computer that would adjust the speaker relay system across the 25 acre crusade field. Everything worked fantastically. God broke through. We saw miracles of healing to verify the preaching. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims came to the Lord! I told my staff to schedule a meeting for the coming year in Kano. As planning went forward, I enthusiastically invited partners and friends from Europe and America to join us.

Kano: a city enraged
The next morning in Kano, after devotions, I told the men that I would like to drive through the city as I normally do. I wanted to see the people of Kano for myself. When I preach in a new place I need to smell the air. I need to see local activities. It helps me to get a feel for the city. We got a car and Peter and Brent went with me. As we drove, I noticed many more mosques than churches in Kano. During our tour we drove past the local Emir’s place (a Muslim political leader of a specific region).
Outside of his palace we saw a crowd of thousands of young men dressed in white robes. They had blocked the road, but as we drove slowly up to them, they parted like the Red Sea to let us pass through. Many of them bent down and looked intently into the car as we moved through the crowd. I noticed that all the young men seemed to be very angry, but we passed through without incident. At noon we arrived back at our house. Our host met us, wringing his hands. “Kano is burning,” he said. “A Muslim mob has gone on a rampage.” We looked back toward the city and could see columns of smoke rising. Reports came to us that the young men we had seen at the Emir’s palace had just come from a mosque where a mullah had told them, “Bonnke must not be allowed to preach in the holy city of Kano.”

A Divine intervention
How had they missed us? Had the Holy Spirit simply blinded their eyes? If one of those young men had recognised my face, we would have been dragged from the car and killed on the spot. The city was covered with our crusade posters. The next morning, John Darku arrived at our house with a senior Air Force officer. The officer said, “The governor has declared a state of emergency. You must pack your things and leave now.” “Where will we go?” we asked. “I have arranged to take you to another place,” John said. “The airport is teeming with rioters. They are trying to cut off your escape route. You have been seen in this neighbourhood. It won’t be safe.” We arrived at the home of a local businessman who must have been a brave fellow to allow us to stay that night.

Cancelling the crusade
From the roof of the house, we could see the reflection of fires flickering across the night sky. Explosions could be heard as petrol stations were set on fire. Occasional gunfire rattled through the darkness. The entire city was being ransacked in a mad search for me. That night on the news we heard that the government had closed the airspace over Kano. I ordered that the crusade for the next day would not go on.

Immediate evacuation
The officer from the Air Force base came to the compound. He told us that the army was clearing the airport, trying to secure it so that we could leave. They would provide for an emergency air evacuation. “They are like ants,” he said. “They are swarming wherever they go. If they find this location they will soon come pouring over the property.” I asked that all of our guests from America and Europe be allowed to leave first. The military officer disagreed. He persuaded me that since I was the target of this violence, I needed to go. If it became known that I had gone, the mob might calm down.
As we waited for word from the airport, I took a walk around the grounds. A feeling of grief came over me. All of the events in Kano became glaringly real. Christians were dying because I had come to town. Yet, it was much more than that – Kano was burning, because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “If the world hates you,” Jesus said in John 15:18, “know that it hated Me before it hated you.”

Willing to die
“Peter,” I said, “if that mob shows up before they get the airport secure, I will give myself up to them. I want you to know that. I will identify myself, Reinhard Bonnke, an evangelist for the Lord Jesus Christ, and go out to them. That might save the others. My life is His.”
At this time, Winfred Wentland, the foreman of my crusade facilities crew, approached me. His wife, Gabrielle stood beside him. Winfred is a focused and intense man, a former German soldier and Gaby, is his match. If ever two people could see through the smoke of Kano to the real fire – the mission of saving souls – it was this pair.

A brave couple
They had been with me for 12 years in Africa. “Gaby and I believe we are supposed to stay here and bring the equipment home,” Winfred said. His words hit me like bullets. Given the way events had spiralled out of control, it was out of the question. I looked at Gaby, in her ninth month of pregnancy. I simply could not believe my ears. “Equipment can be replaced, Winfred,” I said. “You and your family cannot be replaced..” “Reinhard,” he continued, “Gaby and I and the children have prayed together about this. We have heard from God and He has given us perfect peace. Look at us; we are in peace. Whether we live or die, God is going to see us through.”  I began to pray, “Lord, the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. But right now, I don’t want to believe that.”
At this time, at the home where my team waited, the Air Force officer arrived to tell us that buses were approaching to take us to the airport. I had known from the start that I would not ask Winfred to disobey anything he had heard from God. I called the two of them to join me for a time of prayer. I laid my hands on them and prayed for God’s protection to surround them. I specially prayed for Gaby and the child in her womb. I asked God to assign His angels to guide and protect them until they arrived again at their home in Lagos.

A call to martyrdom
As I finished the prayer, I felt saddened. I truly feared that I had seen them for the last time. Christians were being hunted down and killed in the streets of Kano. Winfred would now travel those streets pulling a large red trailer with J-E-S-U-S spelled out in block letters on the enemy’s flag. To me, it seemed to be a call to martyrdom.

Military intervention
That day, in order to begin to control the city again, the local police and military announced a ‘shoot on site’ curfew from 6pm until 6am. When the curfew was in place that evening, our evacuation began. Soon we were flying away, breathing easier aboard those rescue jets. I thought of Winfred and his family left behind.
How would they face the outcome of their decision to obey the Lord? They would face Kano the way any of us would have – one moment at a time. Borrowing no anxiety from the future, they would simply put one foot in front of the other until they arrived – either at their earthly or Heavenly home. At 6am the next day, the curfew was lifted, and the worst violence of all erupted. Apparently my leaving the city had not appeased anyone. Their blood lust was not yet satisfied. On Friday morning, five soldiers came to the hotel to escort Winfred through the streets. As Winfred gave them their assignments, they began the process of dismantling the platform and sound stations. Suddenly, a huge explosion rocked the area. The mob was approaching. They forced Winfred into his car and ordered him to take them to their barracks to get more soldiers.

A journey of imminent death
The next morning, a military vehicle led the way as Winfred’s blood red trailer bearing Jesus’ Name began its journey through the smoke and debris of Kano. To their right and left as they passed, they saw dead bodies in the streets. Hundreds had been killed.
In spite of the ‘shoot on site’ curfew, crowds of zealots could be seen roaming the streets; apparently the curfew had been overwhelmed by the sheer number of people willing to violate it. The soldiers were too afraid to try to enforce it. But to Winfred, it was as if the crowd had been made blind. No one cried out with recognition, or, if they did recognise it, like the lions in the den with Daniel, their mouths had been miraculously shut.

A miraculous escape
They came to a military roadblock. After a few words, the barriers were lifted. They came to another with the same results. Every few blocks they found a barricade. They travelled on and on like people for whom the rough way had been made smooth. To them it seemed as if the waters of the Red Sea were parting so they could pass through on dry ground!
When they arrived back home in Lagos, they were received by an emotional staff that had assumed they were dead.
In the history of Christ for all Nations, Kano became our greatest setback. According to popular belief, Bonnke had brought violence to Kano. Did he truly serve the Prince of Peace? Our tremendous momentum in Nigeria was stopped in its tracks.

Millions saved as a result
For years, it appeared that satan had won in Kano. But, how could anyone have guessed that the eight long years of our banishment would build an irresistible appetite among the people for our return? Who would have anticipated that through the violence of Kano, God would gather in 2000, 1.6 million souls to hear the Gospel in a single meeting? And that 3.5 million would accept Jesus in the six days of preaching?
The Kano seed is still bearing fruit, and not only in Nigeria. We have documented more than 34 million salvations worldwide in the last three and a half years. By the time you read this article, that number will be totally out of date! 