Late Twentieth Century 1975

April—Gaberone, Botswana – Reinhard Bonnke

Reinhard Bonnke

Reinhard Bonnke

German missionary to Africa, Reinhard Bonnke, founded Christ For All Nations (CFAN), which now ministers to millions. Converted at nine, he had missionary zeal. As a teenager Reinhard saw Johannesburg in South Africa in a vision of a map of Africa. At 19 he headed off to the Bible College of Wales to train as a missionary, even though he couldn’t speak English. Three months later he was preaching in English! There he learned practical principles of living by faith. After a short pastorate in Germany, where he married Anna, they left for missionary service in Africa. Working as traditional missionaries from 1967 to 1974 in Maseru, the capital of the small landlocked country of Lesotho, they saw meager results.

Near the end of that time Reinhard’s interpreter broke down during his message at a healing meeting one Sunday morning and sank weeping to the floor because of God’s awesome Presence. Waiting for the interpreter to recover, Reinhard “heard” the Lord speak “words” that amazed him: My words in your mouth are just as powerful as My words in My own mouth.

The “voice” repeated the sentence. He “saw” it like a movie from Scripture—Jesus told the disciples to speak in faith and it would happen. “I suddenly realized that the power was not in the mouth—the power was in the Word, ” said Reinhard.

Then, when the interpreter had recovered enough to speak, as he was preaching, Reinhard “heard” the Spirit say, “Call those who are completely blind and speak the word of authority.”

He did. About six blind people stood. He boldly proclaimed, “Now I am going to speak with the authority of God, and you are going to see a white man standing before you. Your eyes are going to open.”

He shouted, “In the name of Jesus, blind eyes open!” It shocked everyone as his voice resonated loudly against the bare brick walls.

Then a woman’s voice shrieked, “I can see! I can see!” She had been totally blind for years. The other blind people also saw. The place erupted in excited cheers. A woman handed her crippled boy through the milling crowd to Reinhard, who sensed the power of God on the boy and watched amazed as the boy’s crippled legs shook and straightened. That boy was healed. The meeting went on for hours as people screamed, shouted, danced, and sang.

At the end of 1974, Reinhard relocated to Johannesburg and established Christ For All Nations. Early in January, when he was ill, he had a vision of Jesus similar to Joshua’s vision (see Josh. 5:13–15). He wrote:

I was very sick. I didn’t think I would make it. I went to doctors. Nothing helped. I was crying to God: “Lord what are you doing? What is your plan?” One afternoon I retired to my study. A thirst for prayer came over me and I was hardly on my knees when I saw a most wonderful vision. I saw the son of God stand in front of me in full armour, like a general. The armour was shining like the sun and burning like fire. It was tremendous and I realised that the Lord of Hosts had come. I threw myself at His feet. I laughed and I cried…I don’t know for how long, but when I got up I was perfectly healed (Steele 1984, 55).

When Reinhard flew to Gaberone in Botswana to buy time on the radio, the Lord told him to hire the 10,000-seater sports stadium for a crusade. The local Pentecostal pastor who helped prepare for the crusade felt apprehensive. He had only 40 in his congregation!

The crusade in April 1974 with Reinhard’s evangelist friend, Pastor Ngidi, started in a hall that could seat 800. On the first night 100 attended. Healings happened every night, and people fell to the floor, overwhelmed. That was new to Reinhard.

By the end of the first week 2,000 people were packed into the hall. So they moved into the stadium! Thousands attended. People were saved and healed every night, and over 500 people were baptized in water within two weeks.

One night in the stadium, the Holy Spirit urged Reinhard to pray for people to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. So he asked an African coworker to give a message on the Holy Spirit. About 1,000 people responded to the call to be baptized in the Spirit. As soon as they raised their hands, they all fell on the ground, shouting and praising God in new languages. Reinhard was amazed. He had never seen anything like that before. It continued to happen in his crusades.

Eventually Reinhard used an enormous tent that could seat 30,000 people. Some Christ For All Nations crusades in Africa have reached huge open-air crowds of 600,000 to 800,000 people. Always hundreds or thousands are saved, healed, and delivered as the power of God moves on the people.

© Geoff Waugh. Used by permission.