After 11 emotionally draining nights of meetings, Evangelist Chris Mikkelson left Pakistan recently with one indelible impression: the Pakistani people are starving for the gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit.
During the crusade, in which more than 28,000 people made decisions for Christ, Mikkelson says he witnessed miraculous physical healings and a powerful presence of God seldom seen in many Western nations in a country where only 1.7 percent of the population calls itself Christian.
“We went into an extremely dark city to do a crusade and every night, it was overwhelming,” says Mikkelson, the founder and president of Chris Mikkelson Evangelistic Ministries who spent several years under the tutelage of Reinhard Bonnke and Daniel Kolenda at Christ for All Nations. “It was incredible that we could go into an open-air setting with speakers that reached more than a half mile away and they could hear us preaching the gospel that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. It was overwhelming to me to go preach a clear gospel message in a place that is so non-Christian and receive the response that we did. There’s no question that God there and with us the whole time.”
Making his second trip to Pakistan–the first was for a leaders’ conference–Mikkelson said he knew how powerful the move of God would be throughout the crusade when, during the first evening’s altar call, people came running forward to the stage. Crusade directors told Mikkelson the first night saw an 85 percent response to come forward and receive Christ.
“There was a cloud of dust rising, and I had never seen that before,” said Mikkelson, whose ministry is only a year and a half old. “Usually when you ask them to come forward, it takes several minutes for them to get there. This was much different. The response came with such force. They literally ran to the altar to get saved. It was absolutely incredible.”
The Supernatural at Work
Crusade directors sent 60 buses to 60 neighboring villages. Mikkelson says most of the buses were packed to capacity, and some even rode on top to reach the crusade.
Aboard one bus was a a crippled woman who had to be carried on and off the bus, and to her seat in front near the stage. She was carried to the stage for prayer, and Mikkelson said the Holy Spirit instantly healed her.
A 10-year-old boy, who suffered a severe injury on his full-time job when a heavy load fell on him, received instant healing from several fractured bones in his arm.
“He and I were doing push-ups. He had no more pain, he was completely healed,” Mikkelson says. “We saw many miracles, including multiple blind people whose eyes were opened, and cripples who started walking. Incredible miracles happened every night.”
Despite their presence in a country known for its hostility toward Christians by radical factions, Mikkelson said he never felt fearful during the 11-day event. Prior to making the trip, a prayer shield was extended over Mikkelson and his team, and they leaned upon Isaiah 54:7 that says, “No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment, you shall condemn” (MEV).
Precautions, however, were taken, and more than 40 armed security guards surrounded the meetings.
One guard who manned the main entrance even hugged Mikkelson after getting saved and receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
“In broken English, he told me, ‘when you were preaching, I feel something,'” Mikkelson said. “When you say come to Jesus, I came to Jesus. And when you say now you can receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, I also receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. That man was not just there to do a job, he was there to receive Christ. I love it.”
Continued Presence of God
Mikkelson’s team conducted five pastors and leaders’ conferences throughout it’s time in Pakistan. Over 1,200 pastors and leaders from throughout the country were trained.
Because the Pakistani government allows for freedom of religion, Mikkelson says he is confident that local pastors will follow up on every decision card collected and give those willing an opportunity for discipleship training. Mikkelson says in villages where no churches currently exist, local pastors will plant churches within a month, whether they’re house churches or in a different building.
There continues to be a hatred for Christians among radical factions in Pakistan, but Mikkelson says God is opening doors there that cannot be shut by man.
“We know that some of them could be in danger for coming to Christ,” he says. “They live in a part of the world where if you say Jesus Christ is the Son of God, it can be taken as blasphemy by some. But the message of the gospel is very clear and they understand what it means when they hear it. We all need to pray for their protection and for the entire nation of Pakistan to come to the saving knowledge of Christ.”