Peter Youngren and World Impact Ministries came to Kenya to conduct a Gospel campaign that followed in the steps of Jesus; no matter how irrational the approach. Whether a political leader, who was perhaps vilified by the people, or a person at the lowest rung of society, all were welcomed to join this Gospel outreach and receive God’s unconditional love. God’s hand of favor was never more evident on this approach than this outreach to Kenya.
Kisumu, Kenya was the location of World Impact Ministries great Gospel Festival. The meeting took place on a huge open field in the center of the city. Kisumu is located in the western part of Kenya, and was at the center of the ethnic violence in 2007/2008 when the election controversy erupted and the country was filled with riots and post election violence. News agencies reported several hundred people killed, many thousands more injured and untold thousands displaced from their homes. While the violence has since been stopped, the emotional scars of the people of Kenya, particularly Kisumu, were still very fresh.
Peter had opportunity to meet one on one with Kenya’s Prime Minister, Raila Amolo Odinga, in his personal home. Prime Minister Odinga was the “runner up” in the last election, whom many international oversight committees say was the rightful winner of the election. As Peter prayed with Prime Minister Odinga, God’s presence was very real, touching the heart of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister later called to thank Peter, and share how touched he was by Jesus during their time together.
It was also of considerable importance when the Vice President of Kenya, Stephene Kalonzo Musyoka, joined the meetings to address the people. Again, Peter prayed for the Vice President, and shared God’s unmerited love for him. Peter says, “From the very first meeting I had with then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, years ago, I learned that all politicians are real people with real needs, and open to receive help from Jesus.” While some might conclude that these two political meetings were of no use, we find it mirrors the approach Jesus took during His time here on earth.
As Peter arrived in Kisumu, news agents from most every news agency in Kisumu descended on the conference room where the press conference was planned. Why national secular press agents found great interest in a Gospel event is in itself very irrational, but yet another sign of God’s hand of favor on this event.
During the press conference, Peter was peppered with questions relating to the violence, ethnic divisions and political corruption in Kenya the past year. Peter never left the message of Jesus Christ, and shared that the single greatest agent of change on earth today is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Social agendas, while important and needed, can never replace the power of a New Creation life in Jesus. Thieves, drunkards, cheaters, etc. become contributing members of society through Jesus. Peter said, “The cross of Jesus tore down every wall of separation between people groups. Of course, for the cross to take effect we have to preach it, and that is what I am here to do in Kisumu.”
Another signature approach Peter has developed with tremendous success is an approach of friendship to people of other religions. Day one of the Gospel Festival in Kisumu saw Peter share dinner with religious leaders from Islam, Christianity and Hinduism. Pastors are always surprised when Peter takes this approach. It is uncommon, even irrational, for a “healing evangelist” to take time on the first day of the campaign to meet with leaders from different religions, but Peter sticks to Jesus’ irrational and non religious approach. At the dinner Peter shared in a loving manner that Jesus took away the sins of the world and that all can receive Him. The message was very well received, and Gospel seeds were planted in the lives of each of those present, Muslim and Hindu leaders alike.
The Gospel Festival was an astounding display of God’s love revealed for mankind. The Lord gave Peter a powerful message of simplicity that hit home with resounding power. “What is your worth?”, Peter asked the massive crowd packed on the field. “You are worth what someone is willing to pay for you,” Peter continued, the crowd intently hanging on every word. “God paid His only Son, Jesus, for you.” This profound revelation sent a stir through the crowd. People who just a year ago faced death and compete ruin, many losing loved ones and personal possessions, desperately needed to hear this remarkable truth; they are loved by God. It is not hard to imagine one can lose sight of this love through the hardships of war. It is irrational to believe that people scarred so deeply by human greed and terror could be melted once again by God’s loving embrace, but it happened during this Gospel Festival in Kisumu, Kenya.
Night after night the platform was filled with beautiful Kenyans testifying of Jesus healing their bodies. Countless stories could be relayed, but especially heart wrenching was the story of Felix and Shadrack, young brothers without parents in Kisumu to care for them. Felix had carried his younger brother to the Festival because Shadrack could not walk. Yet there Shadrack was walking under his own power. Tears streamed down Felix face as he relayed the story to Peter on the platform. Should young, unlearned boys coming to the Festival on their own be qualified to receive from Jesus? It seems Jesus thinks so.
Incredible numbers of healings could not make it to the platform to testify. One evening, as Peter was driving back from the Festival, Peter wound down his window and started talking to those walking next to the car. The moment he rolled down his window he saw a smiling man with his family. “I’m so happy, “ the man said. “My daughter has been a deaf mute and last night Jesus healed her.” Peter called the girl over to the car, and sure enough she could hear and communicate normally. Here was another example of a sensational healing that was unable to make it to the platform because of the tight throng of people gathered.
Hundreds did make it to the platform testifying of healing from blindness, tumors, wheelchairs, crutches, deafness, HIV aids and cancer. Pictures of a handful of those who were healed are available at www.PeterYoungren.org.
The call for salvation each night of the Festival was especially moving. Tears ran down the faces of many precious Kenyans, as untold thousands responded to receive Jesus as personal Savior. Follow workers worked furiously each night with the massive response, and passed out follow up books to each new believer. To think that known murders and violent offenders listened and heard the message of God’s love and became new creations in Christ offends the rational mind, yet it is true. God freely accepts whomever comes to Him and firmly adopts them into the family of Christ.
The Gospel render unspeakable power, and it most often produces quite irrational results. The Apostle Paul stated, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” (Romans 1:16). The One Who spoke all living things into being, has given us His spoken word to plant “seeds” for the Gospel; and we see them bringing great fruit throughout the world. Often the fruit is irrational to our human thinking, but is a huge success in the Kingdom of God. Eternity will only reveal the extent of the fruit reaped as a result of this recent Gospel Campaign to Kenya.