Rev. Bonnke began to hold crusades in a stadium in Gaberones, Botswana, with only one small fellowship cooperating. His disappointment can be imagined when only one hundred people came to the first meeting. He nevertheless preached as if the place were full. To his complete amazement, after only a few minutes, a man in the congregation jumped to his feet and disrupted the proceedings by shouting out, “I’ve just been healed!” This was repeated five times over as others shouted out the same words, resulting in an outburst of joyous praise.
The news that God was doing miracles in the stadium soon spread across the city; and by the final meeting, for the first time in his short ministry, Reinhard preached to a packed stadium. Thousands streamed forward for forgiveness of their sins, hundreds were healed, and thousands more were baptized in the Holy Spirit—and this was just the beginning. On a return visit to the country of Botswana twelve years later, the leader of a large denomination reported that eighty percent of his current pastors were converts from that first crusade in Gaberones!
Evangelist Bonnke and his team expected the miraculous power of God to be demonstrated during the crusades. I saw firsthand the supernatural power of God outpoured during crusades and at Fire Conferences. During the crusades, I watched Reinhard stretch forth his hands toward the tens of thousands of people before him, asking the Lord to heal the sick like never before.
After he had prayed for miracles, you would hear people shouting in their native tongue, “I have been healed!” Then, Reinhard and his team would arrange for people to come to the stage to express their testimonies of healing. I heard testimonies of blind eyes opening, the lame walking and the deaf hearing.
During the Abuja, Nigeria crusade, I decided to walk around the perimeter of the audience while Reinhard was preaching to them. It took nearly 45 minutes to just walk around the crowd! While I was walking around the audience, I eventually stood so far back that you could barely see the stage. Yet, you could feel the power of God!
The people came expecting to be saved and healed, and God did not disappoint them. Over the years, I have stood amazed: We in the West have more and do less, while others have less and do more! During the Synergize 2014 Conference in Orlando, Florida, Dr. George Wood, former Assemblies of God Superintendent, said, “We are going to have to believe in divine healing again, because our health insurance has become so expensive.” Of course, the point he was making is that often we do not depend upon the Lord, but rather upon the skills of people for our success.
Reinhard said, “When you do business with people, you need money. When you do business with God, you need faith. Faith is the currency of the Kingdom of God.
Evangelist Bonnke preached with excitement and passion. The audience was deeply moved by his heart and words expressed to them. I thought I had a burden for reaching the lost until I heard him talk about his burden for the lost! His words and expression reminded me of the Apostle Paul wishing to be cursed if that would mean the salvation of the Jews. It is rare indeed to find a Christian who loves the lost so much, he would be willing to be lost himself if it meant the salvation of the masses. Reinhard had a way of saying it and meaning it that moved your heart
Open-air crusades became the order of the day, as hundreds of thousands flocked to every meeting. In one crusade held in Lagos, Nigeria, 1,600,000 people came to a single meeting, with a total of six million attending the five days of services. The ministry team moved from East Africa to West Africa and back again as the two, now separate, technical and support teams organized events on opposite sides of the continent of Africa. Since the beginning of this evangelistic ministry, Reinhard Bonnke preached face to face to multiplied millions of people in Africa alone; and of that vast number, over 75 million responded to the call of salvation by filling out decision cards and were ushered into the church follow-up program.
Reinhard was a masterful communicator and an excellent author. Here are a few of his notable quotes:
If you are doing nothing, God doesn’t need to give you any help in doing nothing. Go out and do something impossible for Jesus, and then God will help you.
Don’t plan with what is in your pocket; plan with what is in God’s pocket
Anyone can believe when God is already moving. But real faith is when you step out when it seems that God is not moving.
I don’t want to play with marbles when God told me to move mountains!
The Gospel is like water; no man invented it, yet no man can live without it.
You must desire the fire, and claim your flame!
Those who forever seek the will of God are overrun by those who do it.