The Nigerian Outpouring
In 1999 after nine years of forced absence from Nigeria, Reinhard Bonnke and the Christ for all Nations team were invited back into the country by president-elect Olusegun Obasanjo. In October, the country welcomed Evangelist Bonnke back to Benin City. This open door to Nigeria triggered what is arguably one of the greatest periods of recorded salvations in the history of the Christian Church.
1999 Benin City, Nigeria
Hours before the campaign begins, hundreds of thousands begin to gather
The anticipation and excitement in the hearts of the team were only a small reflection of the outburst of joy and enthusiasm that greeted them on their arrival in Benin City, the capital of Edo State. Thousands of people had trekked miles to the airport to welcome the visiting evangelistic team. As the cars drove into town to be officially greeted by the Deputy State Governor Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, the numbers swelled with thousands more joining the impromptu cavalcade along the way. The Deputy Governor welcomed Evangelist Bonnke to the city on behalf of the State Governor, The Honourable Mr. Lucky Egbonidion.
The series of meetings, scheduled to begin on Tuesday evening, began on time with an amazing spectacle. Despite the ever-present threat of dark rain clouds, people streamed to the Garrick School Park to witness the beginning of the event and hear the message of the Gospel, until a huge crowd numbering over 300,000 spread out across the whole area. The sound of their praises to God literally thundered across the whole area until Evangelist Bonnke stood to preach the Word of God, and the great crowd became strangely quiet as their attention was riveted by what he was saying.
Every now and then a tumultuous roar would roll across the field as the crowd agreed with a point, or they would burst into spontaneous laughter.
Despite flooding in Benin City people continued gathering to hear the Gospel
As the Deputy Governor officially opened the Campaign, he looked out across the vast multitude and stated for all to hear, 'This is the largest gathering of human beings ever to take place in Edo State.' The next morning, local newspaper headlines read, 'Bonnke's Campaign rolls on, Pulls record Crowd.'
By the Saturday meeting, the gathering increased to 500,000 people in a single service, packing the huge field to capacity using every conceivable vantage point from which to hear and see. After the preaching of the Gospel, Evangelist Bonnke prayed a general prayer over the whole gathering for healing in Jesus' name. Immediately after the prayer was over, people pressed forward to testify about what had just happened, and the great crowd's attention remained riveted on the platform as person after person gave glory to God for wonderful miracles of healing. One amazing example was a young girl by the name of Sarah Obilego. Deaf and dumb since birth, she started shouting that she could hear. Excited relatives brought her forward to give her testimony.
Mr. Lucky Esegudu, who had been totally blinded in his right eye after an unfortunate accident five years before, demonstrated to the huge assembly that he could see perfectly with that eye after the Lord had healed him.
The meetings continued nightly with record crowds attending each day despite the constant threat of rain and on occasion, actual downpours.
Almost two million people attended over the six-day event in a city with a population of just 800,000! 396,000 decision cards for salvation were received!
Each morning, Evangelist Bonnke and members of the CfaN ministry team taught and motivated an assembly of 5,000 leaders at the Fire Conference. This Campaign launched an era of phenomenal salvations and church growth in Africa unparalleled in the continent's history.
2000 1.6 Million in a single meeting
Over 60,000 attended the Fire Conference for church workers
Lagos, Nigeria was not just another event, nor even a milestone Campaign in the history of CfaN; it was world history in the making.
For when, if ever, have 1.6 million people gathered into one place to hear the Gospel? When in human history have 1.3 million people simultaneously cried out to God in new tongues? Who but God alone had heard the worship of such a multitude until that moment? When have nearly 4 million books been given away at one time? When before, in a single week and a single city, have over 3.4 million souls recorded decisions to follow Christ?
On Saturday, over a million voices lifted their tongues in praise with a heavenly sound too deep, too vibrant to be just splashing rain, too sibilant to be a mighty waterfall, too powerful to be a mountain stream, too fresh to be the pounding sea. It was like the voice of Jesus in Revelation 1:15, '...His voice as the sound of many waters.' Surely John's vision of the Lord in Revelation 1 must also be a description of the church, for we are His body and our voices are His voice!
Through it all, the Lord performed the most wonderful miracles, not least of which was the organisation of such a crowd. An astonishing 230,000 counsellors and ushers were trained. Witch doctors confessed Jesus, wheelchairs were held aloft, crutches bristled above the crowd like scattered stubble. Logically impossible, even more so in Nigeria, the crowd arrived, rejoiced, and left without disaster. By the end of the week, 3,461,171 salvations were recorded. How heaven rejoiced!
Over 1.6 Million people attended the meeting on the final night
At the close of the final night of the Fire Conference, Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke received the following prophetic word:
Thus says the Lord: 'I will not go back on my promise for Africa to be saved. I will bless Nigeria with my mercy. I will fill this nation with my glory, the north and the south, the east and the west. Nigeria shall shine in my glory. And I will make you ambassadors to carry my flame to the ends of the earth.'
2003 The Year of Double Harvest
In 2003, CfaN intensified its evangelistic efforts, almost doubling the number of campaigns in Nigeria. This was the year of the 'Double Harvest!'
Ten awesome outpourings of God's love and grace engulfed the nation as more than 7.5 million souls embraced the saving power of Jesus Christ. God strongly demonstrated His healing virtue, His delivering freedom and unifying anointing among the churches.
|15 Jan||Ado Ekiti||1,634,431|
|5 Feb||Ondo Town||1,042,024|
We saw a total of 7,571,987 salvations in this year of "double harvest". The Good News was proclaimed. Blind eyes were opened. The broken hearted healed. Prisoners set free from darkness. Praise Jesus!
2007 The Next Generation Begins
Evangelist Daniel Kolenda preaching in Agbor, Nigeria
In 2007 a young Evangelist joined CfaN and started preaching before Reinhard would in some of the campaigns. Reinhard commented "I saw this young man preaching and knew that he had the heart of the Evangelist." This young man, Daniel Kolenda, would continue preaching at the campaigns and would over the following years start taking a forefront role. Reinhard would preach one or two meetings and Daniel would preach the remainder, till eventually Reinhard decided to leave a few of the campaigns to Daniel entirely. The same crowds turned out for Daniel as turned out for Reinhard. The harvest and salvations would continue.
By the end of 2011 we had recorded 60,862,305 salvations in Nigeria!! Truly this was a decade of God's outpouring on this amazing nation and these amazing people. We give God ALL the glory for what He has done in Nigeria and we pray that the move of God would continue in that nation. In 2012 we felt God telling us that our time in Nigeria was coming to a close and we felt led to journey West to Burkina Faso, Liberia and Sierra Leone.