Tuesday, January 29, 2008
So, at the last crusade. We pull up, and notice how packed out the crowd is compared to previous nights. Later, we found out that there were around 110,000 people there. As Todd was preaching, people were being miraculously healed in the crowd- there was a young girl, maybe in her teens, that was crippled and blind, completely healed. She was walking back and forth across the stage, and learning how to ununciate. A tumor melted off. Another blind saw. He kept going through praise reports, and it was making the very large crowd very hungry for God, and one of the fences started swaying under the pressure. The security guards could not keep the people away, so both staircases up to the platform were mobbed. All the guys went below before this, and were waiting at the fences with interpreters to start praying. While we were waiting, people were crying out for a touch from us- just a touch. It was a humbling experience, to know that God had anointed us so heavily, and their faith was so great, that there was no way they could not be healed. We finally got started with prayer at around 11:30 or so, and the fences swayed under the pressure as I reached my hands over and started praying. There were so many thousands, that I did not have time to check for healing after every prayer. The only super obvious instantaneous healings were the ones I can write as testimonies, even though I know that the vast majority were healed, by the spirit. One of the old deaf guys I prayed for- I pulled my hands away, and this look of pure bliss came over his face, and I shouted to God and kept praying for people. By that time, Rosie had fought her way through the crowd and made it to the fence, (lots of people had gotten past and were tugging on our clothes to turn around and pray, too) and started helping ease the crowd a bit- most of the women wouldn't come down off the platform. She was praying for a little boy that was deaf, and she plugged his ears with her fingers, and prayed "I cast out the deaf and dumb spirit---" and the boy looked up with shock of a new experience, and Rosie ended her prayer and moved on. She says, the look on the boy's face was priceless.
We had to leave before we could finish- a lot of people were still there begging for prayer. As they told us we had to leave immediately, as I was walking out, I was surrounded by people and stopped several times. I would pray and bless, quickly, as many as I could- partly because their faith shook me, partly because I needed them to move away. :)
Today, we went to a very, very poor village, where the houses are made of leaves and twigs. We brought fifteen thousand dollars worth of rice, and handed one bag out to each family, which would feed them for a month. It was great to focus on what Jesus preached- taking care of the poor. It's not all about the miracles and the wonders- it's about loving these people with food, as well. We're about to have our final meeting, and recap. Tomorrow morning, we get on the bus back to hyderabad, where we have a few hours before we hop on a plane, for the travel home (which only takes a few hours by a watch, but is actually over 35 hours... ugh)
We love you guys. We can't wait to come home, we are excited to see you all and share with you our experiences. We just want a red robin cheeseburger, a milkshake, and to smell some air that doesnt smell like poo baking on a sidewalk or a pile of trash fermenting over months. And maybe a soft bed and Bailey. The smell is starting to wear us down...
Thank you for your prayers and support. We love you all very much.
OW. We just got done with the third crusade(please share this e-mail with everyone you can). God moved through Rosemary and I more than I have ever seen in my life. It was the greatest single evening of miracles I have ever seen. We didn't even watch the stage or what Todd was doing, we were so busy praying for people. I must have prayed for over 400 guys. Here are some of the things that happened(all conversation was through an interpreter):
A deaf man, totally, in both ears- I prayed for him, and we tested his hearing from behind him, and he got this confused look on his face- and I asked if he could hear, and he said yes. I raised up his hands and told him to shout "Jesu Cristo" which is Jesus Christ in their own language. Since he used to be deaf, he couldn't really ununciate it very well, but he immediately started walking away, completely healed, with a crazy smile on his face.
Another deaf man, in both ears. I prayed for him, and tested his hearing- he said he could hear, just a little bit. I prayed again, and he said he could hear fully.Another deaf man, in one ear. I prayed for him, and his ear popped open.
A man with so much pain in his shoulders, he could not raise them. I prayed for him, and asked if he felt anything- and he said the pain lessened. I asked him to raise his hands, and he said no- it will hurt too much. I told him to raise his hands in faith, and his hands immediately shot up over his head, and he started bobbling his head crazily (the indian way of nodding/saying yes) and he said there was no pain, he was completely healed.
Lots and lots and lots of people came up for "body pain" and most were completely healed
A man with a tumor under his right breast. I prayed for it, and asked him how he felt. He felt his tumor, and told me it was getting smaller. The spirit told me, that it would be gone by morning, so I told him that, and he believed it and walked off.
Another deaf man, when prayed for, could start hearing, but just a little. The spirit also told me that his hearing would slowly come back and it would be healed by morning. I told him that, and he walked off.
A man with thick glasses, he could not see far distances. I prayed for him, and asked him to test his sight. He looked up at the stage, and focused, and he saw the todd bentley sign clearly, and bobbled his head and shook my hand and walked off.
A man that said he was paralyzed in his arm and down came to me. His hand was balled up into a weird shape, and I prayed for it. After the prayer, I asked him to move his fingers, and he did so. He could fully open his hands, but he still seemed to be complaining, and pointing at the crook of his arm. I prayed for that, and he started to pump his arm back and forth. He still seemed to be insistant on more prayer, but I had to move on (there were about 80,000 people there we think- we will verify that number later) because we were being mobbed- People were pushing up crippled on the stage and kicking and shoving to get to us.
Lots and lots of younger men with migraines and trouble reading and deaf and dumb spirits- the curse of dumbness, holding them back from achieving a new level of excellence and moving into the job market. One of the men with a migraine that had been there for 6 months had all of the pain leave his body. Lots of the guys wanted blessing for their education. I loved seeing their passion for trying to overcome their poverty stricken nation and the spirit of laziness that permeates this country.
A few people I prayed for did not get healed, and a few people had partial healings (and some of those, the spirit told me they would be healed in time). But for the most part, the first hour of prayer, pretty much every single person was healed of their affliction. The corporate anointing of healing was on that place, and on Rosie and I. We asked Todd for an impartation earlier in the day, in the middle of the lobby- we were so hungry for the anointing, and it made such a huge difference. That man has so much anointing, it's crazy.
Earlier today, we took the bus an hour out of town to an orphanege for retarted children that were abandoned. We purchased some toys for the kids, and went through and prayed for them and just talked to them. there was also a section of that orphanege for abandonded older folks, and we prayed for them and talked with them. Harvey and I were walking through one room praying for people, and an old indian guy rolled over, and in a totally american accent said, "Hey, how are you doing?" Harvey and I both turned to look, shocked. Then he saw a mostly empty water bottle in my hand and asked me for fresh water, and I poured the last of my water into his cup. He didn't really say anything else, but it was just such a shocker... haha.
After that, we went to a small village, where we only had about 1hr and 15 minutes to minister. We went to a school and met a classroom of kids, and then walked through the streets and found an interpreter, and our little team of five people led two families to Christ. The first family was devout hindu, and the second family was a polytheist- believed in all of the indian gods. We explained to them, Jesus is the only living God, and the only one that loves them. It was powerful and anointed, and we blessed them. When we got back on the bus to go, our videographer was doing an interview with a woman who had to sell herself several times to have enough money to take care of her kids- they were doing some research into the sex slave trade. Some people blessed her, so she wouldn't haveto sell herself anymore, and then we talked with a local pastor that was combatting the slave trade in his village. We blessed him heavily, because he was buying women's freedom.
So that was our day. Please pray for us. We are casting ourselves at Jesus' feet asking for His presence and relationship, His anointing, His blood. I find that when I ask for Jesus to break my heart, that is when I have the most serious encounters with Him, and all day I was asking for that, to make the crusade the most powerful thing possible. And it was. And tomorrow night, they are expecting quite a few more people... The rioting that happened on the second night was a little worrisome, but tonight was a little better- and God will protect us for the last night. :)
Here are Rosemary's testimonies from the healing crusade:
Every single deaf person I prayed for was healed- about 7 or 8.A totally blind lady recieved her sight- as soon as she opened her eyes, she looked around frantically, and she told everyone the number of fingers the interpreter was holding up multiple times.
A tumor was on a womans stomach, I felt it. After praying, she said it was getting smaller, and I searched for it again and could not find it and/or it was soft like regular tissue.
I prayed for a LOT of people and kept going without checking to see if they were healed, because I was up further in the crowd and surrounded. Thankfully I had a couple of interpreters come and keep everyone away from me, but there was too many people to check each one for healing.
Ricky & Rosemary
Thank you for your continued prayers. We will be needing them, especially for the upcoming 2 more nights of crusades. We are doing crusades every day late into the night, and we need prayers for our physical strength and for souls to completely fill the stadium. Last night's crusade went well. It was the first one, so the stadium was not very full, but there were between 8 and 14 thousand people, and many received Christ. Once word gets out that there are miracles, signs and wonders happening, the multitudes gather. We saw many deaf people receive their sight and speak for the first time. It's a sight that just makes your heart melt. Ricky and I both prayed for crowds of people on the ground.
Tonight there were about 45 thousand people! That was really exciting. Ricky and I were designated as catchers on the stage for the night, and so we got to see some really cool miracles take place. Many deaf people could hear, and there were a couple cripples that were able to walk. One guy walked back and forth across the stage over and over because he was so happy that he was healed. We also witnessed one of the most amazing alter calls that we could have imagined. It's makes your spine tingle to see 40 thousand people waving their hands to receive salvation. I will never forget that.
For our outreach today, we went to a small village going door to door to pray with people. They were all so open to the gospel. We handed out candy to the kids, and gave many households some money. That is were most of the money that was donated to us is going. Most of the people are so hospitable and would invite us into their homes (one room houses) and tell us what they were needing prayer for. We saw some healing, and we prayed with quite a few more for salvation. The strange thing is explaining that Jesus is the only God. They are so open to the idea of Jesus as their healer, but when you try to explain that he is the only one, and that they need to leave behind all their other gods, it is a foreign concept to them. They are so used to worshipping many gods, that Jesus is just one more. We hope that we were able to communicate that to them well.
There are already so many stories that we have to tell, but we can't sit here and type them all out. We are excited to get back and tell our church and families about all the awesome things that are going on here. Once again, thank you for your prayers.
I love you, Dad. Tell Mom and Luke that I love them too. And you'll have to grill me the biggest piece of cow that you can find when we get back. :)Rosemary & Ricky
We had quite an eventful day today. First thing in the morning, during prayer, we finally got to see Todd and hear him talk about where he's been and his vision for this trip; the crusades in particular. He was able to lay hands on everyone and do an impartation for the gifts of faith and healing, which Ricky and I were very excited about that. I was slain in the spirit for the first time as well. It was the best way to start the day.
After breakfast, it was back to the women's conference again for the morning service. We jumped and danced a lot with the kids, and now our legs are really sore. I got some good pictures of Ricky and Harvey both with the kids, jumping around like fools. They had a blast.
For an afternoon outreach, we went to a prison, which is not nearly as bad as it sounds. I was expecting smelly concrete rooms that were dark and dingy, but we got just the opposite. First, after letting in an entire group of foreigners in without searching anyone, we were led out to a well maintained courtyard where all the inmates were sitting quietly. They were all well behaved and very respectful of us. We had a short service and led pretty much everyone to Christ. I am guestimating that there were over 300 men there in the courtyard that prayed the prayer, and then three deaf ears were opened as well. One man who was completely deaf, and a second who was deaf in just one ear. They wanted to continue a healing service, but we had to leave and the guards escorted us out.
Todd preached at the evening service of the women's conference and did quite a few miracles on stage. A few people with broken bones or hip pain, and then one woman who was partially blind got her sight back. I have pictures of that. One woman who came up had been having trouble walking because of an accident she was in 3 years ago. She was healed, and left the stage smiling and praising God. The first woman was was healed, Todd picked out of the crowd before the sermon even started, and he told her that she had a heart problem. It was an irregular heartbeat. Immediately the woman started crying, and Todd began to cast the sickness out of her, and she began to shake, and then convulse, and then scream, and then she just passed out, but was completely healed afterwards. There were alot of other healings as well, but we'll just have to tell you about them.
Anyway, as of tomorrow, right now we have nothing planned. We are going to try to sleep in, and hopefully see some more of the town. Oh, and today we bought two little Indian girl outfits for our baby. They are so cute!
Thank you all for your prayers. We love you!
So yesterday, we continued to pray and work with the womens conference (after the e-mail update). We must have prayed for over 50 women each- mostly for healing, but we did come across some people that were interested in a new mind and focus- casting out the deaf and dumb spirit. This morning, we again went back to the women's conference. During the prayer time, where we again, each prayed for another 50 or more people (at the very minimum) Rosie had a woman come up to her who she had prayed for yesterday, exclaiming that the wrist that Rosemary had prayed for was healed. The spirit really broke loose, and the worship started back up, but Rosemary was caught up in prayer for the sick in the crowd, so she just stayed down there and the women started dancing with her. :) It was incredible. Harvey and the rest of the team was up on the stage dancing around with the little children. It was so beautiful. So many healings were happening- a lady that had not been able to bend over for 3 years was healed, women with menstrual cycle issues were healed, back pain was healed, a tumor was gone.In the afternoon, we went to the local hospital. It took us a while to get in- this is not a christian country, and the hospital is run by the government, but when we did, the spirit was already there. The boys and girls split up to go to the girls and boys wards, and we saw some pretty crazy things. I prayed for a hindu that must have had a stroke- his entire body was bloated like he had been soaking in a river while dead for three days. I prayed for a guy who had no leg. A guy that smashed his leg in a car accident had his pain go away. We all started breaking up and moving around to the different wards, and Harvey and I came across a room with some very sad sights. A woman with a baby that must have been at least two months premature. She was incredibly downtrodden, just staring at her baby. We prayed for her, we also prayed for a girl that was clawing at her throat, half screaming half moaning. When we prayed, she stopped convulsing, she sat up, started smiling, and she was thanking us so much for the prayer. We got a picture of her :) We lost our interpreter along the way, and a little five year old boy was following us around translating a little for us. We ran across a muslim family that wanted to convert to christianity, but the interpreting issues were hindering us- so we distilled the message down to: "Say: I want Jesus" and when we got him to say that, we immediately started praying for Jesus to fill him. It was amazing! We were so thrilled to see people to eager for Jesus in the ward. Another team of guys saw a man with three or four broken ribs mend themselves and uncave. Harvey and I prayed for a man in a coma, and as we were praying his leg started moving, and we prayed more, and his breathing came more easily. We also saw several cases of tiberculosis, dying people, etc... We really wish we could have spent more time there, but after an hour, we were told we had to leave, the bus was going to leave. We were all fairly dissapointed.
On the bus ride back, we had some fun sharing some stories about how we all got engaged. We found several couples that had eerily similar stories to us- the knowledge of marriage within a very short time, no dating history, God's blessing, very short dating periods, etc. All were extremely blessed and in the same exact boat as us. It was so refreshing.
Tonight we go back to the womans conference. Todd still hasn't come with us to preach or pray yet, but we're hopeful he will start getting engaged. He's been here, but he's been relaxing and preparing for the crusades, we guess. We'd really like to see his impartation in us for that gift of faith and anointing.
Love you guys! No pictures this time, didn't have time to load them onto the computer. Time is short, as always...
Ricky & Rosemary.
Here is an update from india, please forward as appropriate.
We barely made it onto our flight. We were sitting there at the check in counter for two and a half hours. We tried to check in, and it couldn't find our reservations. After speaking with a few different people, the manager came out and personally started working on the issue. An hour after we arrived, she came back out and told us our ticket reservation had been cancelled, and she was working on it. The rest of the team got through just fine, except for the Olynicks, so they and us stayed behind as well with us to wait for the issue to be sorted out. Well, the time ticked by, and still nothing. The team was getting wrestless, calling us quite often to ask if we had gotten through yet, as they were boarding. Then we got another call... they were done boarding. We heard the "last boarding call" call over the loudspeakers for our flight, and we were still sitting at the (now empty) check in gate. The manager rushed out, got our bags checked, and two nice Northwest employees rushed us through security, to the international wing, and out to our plane, minutes before we shoved off. And, we had the nicest seats in coach, for the trouble. :) We weren't really scared or anything, we knew that this was God's trip, and no one really messes with God and wins.
We left the ground at around 1pm home time on the 14th, and arrived in hyderabad about 3am on the 16th. our third day of the trip... and we just got there. We went to a hotel, slept for a couple hours, got up, ate some indian food, and hopped on a charter bus for the 6-7 hour ride to the place we would be doing our ministering: Vijayawada.
The ride was incredible- the first sights and sounds of India were... interesting. It feels almost like Mexico City- except, it never gets any better. There is no "good" part of town. It's all poverty, as far as the eye can see, no end in sight. The smell of fermenting garbage and feces permeates the entire country, from what I've been able to smell. Nowhere is a safe haven from the smell, even the hotel rooms are permeated with it. Looking out the window on the bus was... crazy. Seeing people sleeping in piles of rubble, cows meandering around the street eating the piles of trash, (there was trash everywhere, every street, every corner, every building) and the traffic explained briefly: near death experiences every 5 seconds, flavored with noncaring pedestrians and mopeds. There are no traffic laws here. We almost died on that busride a few hundred times, and it almost turned into a game, where the entire bus would cheer when we made it by another bus with less than inches to spare. The bus driver drove like a nascar driver. But the problem was, so was everyone else. And we were on the bus. haha. Someone got some of it on video, and I'm sure it'll be good :)
So we're in Vijayawada now, arrived last night. The indian food is... well, authentic? And, well, we can only eat about half of it for health reasons. And it's near impossible to carry anything yourself around here- I actually was told no, I cannot carry my own bags to my room. They need their tips... heh.
I'm sitting right now in our hotel room, hearing the constant honking and screeching of Indian traffic, and smelling the acrid smell of trash. But it's all worth it- today was the first day of the womens conference, and already the blind are seeing, the deaf and dumb spirit is loosening it's grip on this nation that is cursed with poverty and pure complacancy that permeates this place. Even the homeless on the side of the road just sit there. No one cleans up, no one tries to get ahead around here. Everyone just does what they can to get by, no more, no less. It's evident in the workmanship of their buildings, the power lines, even the streets. Attached are a few pictures we've taken so far. They will help illustrate the stories above so far. Pray for us. We have yet to see a miracle happen before our eyes, and we've been praying for some crippled hands and some blind eyes.
We're expecting it soon. :)