The team arrived in Nigeria with great excitement. It has been said that it’s our home away from home, and we feel the same. We have come every year since 1998 when Vinesong was first invited to the Redeemed Christian Church’s first Holy Ghost Congress in a suburb of Lagos called Lekki. The event attracted local and international attention and CNN estimated that about 7 million people attended the gathering (we think that’s a bit evang-elastic!). As phenomenal as Lekki 98 was, it was the birth of something even greater. The Holy Ghost Congress that started as a one night event has grown into a week long conference, garnerning the presence of many local and international attendees.
Each year, Pastor Adeboye asks Pastor John to write a congress song based on the theme and this year was no exception. The Great Turnaround seemed so fitting – not only for Nigeria and it’s people, but also for the whole world. We are praying for God to move among the nations during this tumultuous time in our history.
At the start of our tour Daniel received scripture from the Lord in Isaiah 40:1-5 that says,
Isaiah 40:1-5 (NKJV)
1 “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!”
Says your God.
2 “Speak [a]comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her,
That her warfare is ended,
That her iniquity is pardoned;
For she has received from the Lord’s hand
Double for all her sins.”
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make straight [b]in the desert
A highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made [c]straight
And the rough places smooth;
5 The glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Nigeria is a nation that has so much to offer to the world. In every country we visit, Nigerians hold prominent positions in society from doctors, to lawers, to executives and more. God has blessed this nation with an incredible gift of stamina in prayer, intercession, worship, giving, and never giving up.
We have noticed in our meetings that there is a great desire for comfort from the Holy Spirit. So many are discouraged by the politicians and their lies and unscrupulous behaviour. This corruption has led to major inflation – carrying the catastrophic consequences of price hikes and salary drops. Over 65% of Nigeria lives in absolute destitution and total poverty. There is a longing among the people for a breakthrough in their government and the political mentality. People are beginning to show desperation for change, and not only in the government systems, but also in their families and society as a whole.
As we sat in traffic, looking out on the roads, we witnessed the full magnitude of the road rage around the city. It is quite normal in Lagos to sit in traffic for a few hours and to see a fight or two, but on one particular day, we watched 7 incidents that ranged from argument to nearly fateful. Daniel asked the Lord to show him what the solution is for all this anger and frustration. When the Lord gave us Zechariah 4:6, He confirmed that it will not be by the strength of man, but by the power of His Spirit.
As the tour commenced, we ministered in various churches for the three week period leading up to the Holy Ghost Congress.
We experienced a phenomena only seen before sporadically in our ministry. Many, many children, most under the age of 13, were coming to Christ every night in the most glorious way! Depending on the size of the meetings, anywhere from 2 to 27 children came forward so serious, so sincere, and so ready to receive Jesus. What a joy! We are sure there was a resounding sound of rejoicing in Heaven! Parents were so encouraged and also came forward to thank the Lord for the miracles they had witnessed.
We have seen that children of Christian parents are so targeted by the enemy. Many fall away because their faith was never really theirs to begin with – only the faith of their parents. We were so happy to see how these little ones came of their own personal conviction by the Holy Spirit.
As the tour continued we were also pleased at how well the new Congress song was received. This year, for the first time, the arrangement was done completely within the team. The song ‘The Great Turnaround’ speaks of a change that is in the air and old things that have have passed away to make way for something new. Turning mourning into dancing and sorrow into joy. Nothing is impossible with our God for He is the God of the Great Turnaround!
Congress was once again a miraculous event, with testimonies abounding. It is a checkpoint for us as a team each year, and we always look forward to it. Despite the 8-12 hours we spend each day for the whole week, we always end up more refreshed than we began. The theme for the program this year was so timely, and we are each individually and, as a team, collectively believing God for a Great Turnaround! Pastor John flew in for the event, so it was wonderful for the team to see him again after more than 6 weeks apart. He taught on the Saturday morning about worshipping in spirit and in truth.
It was a blessed time of rest and a wonderful time of teaching. You can watch Pastor John’s teaching below, and keep checking back on our YouTube channel over the next week for our ministries at congress.