AUGUST 9TH TO 24TH 1985 IN MALONNE, BELGIUM
An Account By John Weeks
ACTS 2:42-47 (NRSV)
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
[The following narrative is exactly as originally written by John Weeks.]
During our fortnight in Malonne these words have been fulfilled before our very eyes. We had the humbling experience of seeing revival break out in the midst of the Assemblies of God congregation from nearby Namur.
The difference between the services on the two successive Sundays was like that between chalk and cheese. On the first Sunday it was a very ordinary service. Our team sang and the pastor preached. The whole thing was over in 2 hours. The next week we were there for nearly 4 hours. The congregation had moved to worship in the Spirit, the members praying and prophesying in tongues (with interpretation), singing in the Spirit and sharing visions. LaVere preached on the vision for the church in Namur and then prayed with Francis and Ingrid for their forthcoming joint ministry. Five young men were then prayed with and ordained as elders. As a result of the previous week’s Mission there were already 7 new Christians in church that morning, as well as the family which had been delivered from demons the previous afternoon – after a long struggle. They had all been brought along to the film ‘The Cross and The Switchblade’ on the same evening as they were delivered. The girl, Martine, was absolutely radiant. She said Grace at Sunday dinner and gave her testimony in the tent on Tuesday night.
As we ministered in the power of the Holy Spirit, so the church people responded as a body, being hungry for as much as God had to give them. Right from the first meeting people came forward for salvation, deliverance, filling with the Spirit and healing in such numbers that we completely lost count – not that statistics matter. The full result of the Mission will only be known in heaven. Prior to the final Miracle Service on Friday night we estimated (conservatively) that at least 50 had become Christians – and this in connection with a church whose membership was only about 50 before the Mission began. Upwards of 60 were filled (or baptised) with the Spirit, many coming right through to speak out in ‘tongues’. Especially moving was a Teens meeting on our second Monday night which started in a typically lively way. After Alistair had preached in French everyone was suddenly on their knees. Many were in tears and some prayed in tongues as the Spirit manifested His presence. 8 young people (including the Pastor’s two eldest children) were filled with the Spirit, and others also came forward for ministry. The Teens met twice more that week. The tiny children of the church also had 3 meetings of their own when, once again, the language barrier was bridged by love.
Healings occurred at every meeting, but the majority were at the two Miracle services on the second Sunday and the last Friday. These began at 8.0 p.m. and ended at 1.0 a.m. and 11.30 p.m. respectively. Each team member was mightily used and could tell their own stories. Many pains were relieved, a cataract dissolved; people were cured from colour-blindness, crooked spines, asthma, etc, and a woman with a crutch was healed of 5 separate diseases. She left her crutch behind as a trophy. The tally for the last Friday alone was 9 saved, 8 deliverances and upward of 19 for healing. Praise the Lord. (Loue le Dieu).
Each team member moved into new areas of ministry (often from necessity) and hidden talents came to light such as the best emptier of food dishes, fly-swatting, singing, and tucking Fraser into bed at night. The Belgians filled the men’s sleeping bags with rice. The previous night they had done a similar thing to the girls, which resulted in a rice fight. Even the language barrier, although frustrating, was overcome by a mutual warmth – no matter in which age-group, from the tiny tots to Grandpa on the accordion. Four or five friends nobly helped with the interpreting of sermons, etc. Alistair also did sterling work in this field, especially during the times of ministry after meetings.
We have all returned changed, humbled and amazed at God’s working in this community – as well as in our own lives. There was a prophecy that this revival would spread through Belgium and the ‘Oasis of Peace’ at Malonne would become a healing centre.
It is not easy to summarize our individual feelings and impressions. We knew we had the privilege of reaping a harvest which had been prepared by the faithful prayers of many people during the 35 years of the church’s existence. LaVere said that during his world travels he had never encountered such a genuine example of revival. The church had cultivated the fruit of the Spirit; now they were ready for the Gifts of the Spirit and a time of expansion.
We feel we are more confident, and unwilling to return to ‘the old dispensations’. We are ambassadors of revival to Scotland and beyond. We have been set aside to learn from God and from one another. There was a quite fantastic bond between the team members, plus Julia from Mons who joined us for most of the time. Many of us were broken and humbled before the Lord. We laughed until it hurt. We wept. We prevailed in prayer as we took on principalities and powers and bound the Strong Man. We met most mornings for an hour and a half of Praise and Worship (and at other times in various rooms and also the Mini-bus.) Many were led to fast at various times. Rough edges were smoothed off. The Lord blessed us beyond our wildest expectations. Our life and ministry has been revolutionised. If we slip back into our former ways our sharp edge will quickly be blunted. Scotland needs to hear of God’s power in revival. There is still a sense of wonder and amazement. “Is this real?”.
The Belgians loved us beyond measure. We got used to daily kisses (sometimes in triplicate). They supplied food in abundance. Sometimes it arrived in the kitchen in a wheel-barrow. Often they did the cooking, but in between times we pooled our skills and came up with some commendable dishes. Our fruit salads were superb, as were our ordinary salads – which were alleged to contain everything but the dirty socks. We lived in part of a converted farm-house, amidst idyllic surroundings. The road up the hill, past the cows and the cherry orchard became holy ground as many trod it by day and night, for prayer and meditation. Indeed, the men became known as the night-owls – competing with the real ones in the woods.
Our ladies strove to provide touches of domesticity, but when 30 of the church (including at least 4 babies) came to stay for 4 days of the Mission – filling every spare corner – life was reduced to a state of happy bedlam. The place finally closed down for the night at 2.0 a.m. and the waking bell went at 7.0 a.m. The Belgians tended to be a bit slow off the mark first thing, allowing the team to get their wash and shave before the hoards emerged. The Lord kept us going and we had no serious health problems.
When we finally drove away at 2.15 a.m. on Saturday morning (24th) we left almost everybody – young and old – sobbing their hearts out. They were already talking of ‘prochain annee’ (next year). They saw that we were well supplied with food for the journey. One item was a delectable cream flan which Alistair unfortunately lay in whilst we were waiting to board the ferry at Zeebrugge – to the detriment of both the flan and his trousers (typical of countless such touches which continually enlivened our community life).
On a more serious note, LaVere ministered the Word powerfully, with signs following. All the team shared in preaching, teaching, testimonies and every other sort of ministry. John wrote a song to words from the French ‘Living Bible’ and sang it – another first.
Pray for the Namur church and the centre at Malonne (L’Oasis de Paix), that the renewal will grow, proving that it is not dependent on our team – or on them – but on God. Pray for Francis, the Pastor, that he will be able to pass on what we taught him (from the Word of God); and for his wife Ingrid and their children Priscillia, David and baby Debra. He works for the council as a water-purifier; she as a translator between French and Flemish. We believe the Lord would call them into full-time ministry, in spite of their personal fears at the implications for them and their family. Pray that the U.F.O. team will hold onto the vision they have seen being fulfilled before their eyes. Pray that such a revival will begin here.
Outside the kitchen window was a ripe harvest-field. Just as the Mission began it was harvested within an hour. Next day the straw was baled and the ground rolled and prepared for sowing. The spiritual parallel was clear. We had come to a field ‘ripe for harvest’ and left with the ‘ground’ prepared for growth.
Before the Mission we spent several afternoons distributing invitations and literature in Malonne and neighbouring villages. We were not allowed to do any open air work in Malonne – by order of the authorities. However, we were able to do so in Namur, provided we did not have more than 5 in a group. We were able to overcome this restriction in the pedestrian subway beneath the railway station. On our last two afternoons the young people sang and danced to guitar and clarinet accompaniment. Four people accepted Christ and at least two more were interested, taking away Bibles. Some of those people said that they would be at church in Namur the next Sunday. And so the story will go on……………..
‘Praise the Lord O my soul, and all that is within me praise his Holy Name’.