Part 6 - Before you Call, I will Answer
God had given Reinhard Bonnke a vision that “Africa shall be saved, from Cape Town to Cairo!” So, in the mid-80s Peter and the CfaN team knew it was time to expand out of South Africa. It was decided that he would accompany Reinhard on a research trip to West Africa, which was very difficult for South African residents to do in the days of apartheid...
As their flight arrived in Douala, Cameroon just after midnight, Reinhard leaned over to Peter and cautioned, “Peter, I know a German missionary who used to work in Cameroon. He said Douala is a very dangerous place. We mustn’t leave the airport by ourselves, because people get hijacked and murdered for the sake of their luggage, never mind for money.”
Passing through customs, Peter began searching the nearly abandoned arrivals hall for a phone to contact their missionary contact. But all of the phones required coins, and all he possessed was a worthless, outdated banknote. Dismayed, he noticed a more modern phone booth nearby that required a card. He desperately turned to the only person in sight, an old man in a dust coat cleaning the floor, and asked for help. Fortunately, he had a card and agreed to use it for Peter's call. When finished, Peter turned to gratefully offer the man some American dollars, but he was gone.
Peter and Reinhard squeezed their suitcases into the missionary's tiny car and Peter explained his difficulty making the phone call. Upon hearing of the phone card the missionary looked perplexed. "Those phone's don't work," he said. "They’re a big joke, installed by a French company who didn’t even check that they could be linked to our local system..."
Two days' later, it was time to leave Cameroon. Upon arrival at the airport, Peter went straight to the modern phone booths and lifted a handset; it was dead. He walked around to the back and there were the phone wires, all tied together in a big knot and not connected to anything...
Peter remembers, "Reinhard looked at me for a moment, then smiled and said, 'Peter, that man in the dust coat was an angel.'
Until that moment, I could not have said for sure that I believed in angels...But our lives were in danger, we were miraculously helped in an impossible situation, and I have no other explanation to give but that God sent an angel to us that night in Douala – an angel in a dust coat."
- Acts 5:17-29 and 12:1-19 contain two stories of angels at work in the early days of the Church. What are the similarities in these two stories? What are the differences?
- What are the similarities between the two stories in Acts 5 and Acts 12 and the story of Peter and Reinhard at the airport in Cameroon? What are some of the differences?
- The missionary in Cameroon did not believe that Peter had used the modern card phone to contact him that night in the airport. How is this similar to the people's response to Rhoda when she reported seeing the Apostle Peter at the door in Acts 12:11-19?
- Have you ever heard a modern-day story of an angel? Did it have anything in common with the stories in Acts 5 and 12 or with Peter and Reinhard's story? Do you believe that God still uses angels to help people today?
Acts 5 -17-29
17 Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,
18 And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.
19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,
20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
21 And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
22 But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told,
23 Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.
24 Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.
25 Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.
26 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.
27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,
28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.
29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
Acts 12: 1-19
1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.
2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)
4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.
5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.
6 And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.
7 And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.
8 And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.
9 And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.
10 When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.
11 And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.
12 And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.
13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda.
14 And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.
15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.
16 But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.
17 But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place.
18 Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter.
19 And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not, he examined the keepers, and commanded that they should be put to death. And he went down from Judaea to Caesarea, and there abode.