In those days, progressive educators believed monthly cultural assemblies were going to expand our tiny minds and give us a bigger worldview- Right! We had a lady who wrangled snakes, a guy who sang To Dream The Impossible Dream like he was Andrea Bocelli, and a mildly inebriated gentleman who attempted to hypnotize the entire student body-somewhat sucessfully I might add-thus proving how weak minded we all really were! Less than revelational, these assemblies were simply a great escape from 4th period Physics! I do also recall that they were carefully choreographed so that any overtime cut directly into the lunch hour! While my experiences in school assemblies were perhaps less than life-changing, that is not always the case...
Hot, humid, dirty... long days, bad food, endless travel... zero privacy... this decribes what Mike and his team lovingly call "Cowboy Evangelism." They love it! Town to town, village to village -the team moves day by day. A city square or field will become their backdrop and the outdoors their auditorium. Upon arrival, a day of Netcasting and inviting leads into an evening film, music and the gospel --this cycle being repeated with each new morning. However, sometimes, they are invited to do school assemblies => ...
A new campaign had started in June, 2006! At the leading of the Spirit of God, the team was launching out to a new island. Bohol is the 10th largest island in the Philippines and aside from its pristine white-sandy beaches and the Chocolate Hills, it is known to be a stronghold for the NPA (New Peoples Army) one of the many rebel groups contributing to unrest in the Philippine Islands today. Permission was given to hold outdoor meetings on Bohol with the proviso that a police team would go along and each night present an anti-drug abuse message in conjunction with the meetings. Being proponents of an anti-drug abuse position, this posed no problem whatsoever!
After much fruit in several barangays (organized communities), the team was ready to head for the more remote villages in the mountains. Being a stronghold for the NPA, the police graciously granted them permission to go on alone. Moving through mountain villages by way of rutted roads that run rivers in the rainy season, mid-week found them set up in a field on a basketball court.
The singing had drawn them-just over 100. The promise of something different or special enticed them to come away from the day to day. They were sitting on chairs supplied by the Barangay association and were listening, curious, seeking, ... perhaps hearing for very the first time...The sky shone with stars--not a cloud in sight. It was obvious the LORD was working. As the Gospel went out, MP drew near to an invitation. Mike, on the sidelines, praying for speaker and crowd alike, noticed a tiny cloud move toward them and settle directly above the b-ball court. It hovered over the listeners. And just at the most inopportune moment, a light drizzle began to fall. The crowd evaporated with the cloud. The service, a bust. Mike was deeply disturbed,
As I thought about what happened that night,
it took my breath away to think that we had been taken unawares. I realized that
the cloud was demonic-it was spiritual attack! Then a thought hit me,'If the
devil can bring a cloud to scatter a crowd, God can bring a cloud tokeep a
The team pressed on in one of the most grueling evangelistic campaigns they have seen yet! The road was difficult and while there were successes, it was obvious that Bohol is going to be tough! Having broken in successfully, the team moved back to the island of Negros for more meetings. A marvelous door had been flung open there--you guessed it--a school assembly and on the NORSU satellite campus.
It was ROTC day. No less than 2000 college students rescued from class were gathered with half a dozen army officers on a dusty parade ground. In the middle of the day, they stood with the sun beating down. Mike described it...
As I stood there looking at those young people
trying to shield themselves from the sun, I thought, 'They will never listen to
me under these conditions!
'It was then that the LORD said, 'Pray for a cloud.'
Immediately I said, 'Alright LORD, I will.'
Then the LORD said, 'Pray publicly for all to hear.'
Again I said, 'Alright LORD, I will.'
Of course you know all of this happens in an instant! Before he could think about it, or rationalize his way out of it, or change his mind the soloist, Y, finished her number and he was on.) What happened next is best in his own words...
Immediately i stood up and asked the young
people,'Are you hot?'
They all yelled back in one accord,
'Shall I pray and ask God to send a cloud
to shade you from the sun?'
Again they shouted back, "YES!'
So... I bowed my head and out loud I said,
'Lord, these young people are hot. Would you please send a cloud to shade them
from the sun so they will be able to concentrate on Your Word?
They had 30 precious minutes. Immediately he started to preach-credibility hanging by a thread! In a moment, it dawned on all of them that they were suddenly sitting in the shade. Looking up, they saw the cloud. An audible, "W-H-O-A!!" followed by a hushed silence was all that came from the crowd until the invitation. No less shocked than the crowd was Mike's 15 member evangelistic team who were at that point wondering what he had been thinking!!! As you can imagine, for the next 30 minutes he had everybody's attention and the Gospel went out in power! At one point, the sun peeped through and Mike looked at the team and said, "You are not praying." Whoosh, their heads dropped and they prayed. The shade remained the entire time! When the invitation was made, 800 students answered, 800 rescued, 800 delivered.
Having doubts? Well, I want to mention here that there are witnesses (2000 + 6 + 15 + 1!)
This is how I know God still answers prayer!
I do however wonder... what has become of the FAITH to ask?
A permanent team is stationed on Bohol now. Won't you please remember them in prayer?