For over 40 years, Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke and Evangelist Daniel Kolenda of Christ For All Nations (CFaN) have been conducting crusades all over the world. And in each of their crusades, souls are won for Christ by the millions. Having evangelized for God for many years, Bonnke is now planning a Farewell Gospel Crusade in Lagos from Wednesday November 8 to Sunday November 12, 2017 where he will pass the torch to another person to continue. In this interview with GILBERT EKEZIE, the Executive Director for Africa of CfaN, Rev John Darku spoke about Bonnke’s ministerial exploits, the upcoming Lagos crusade, who Bonnke’s cap fits after his retirement and his experience about Nigeria.
What can you tell us about Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke?
Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke is known for his Great Gospel Crusades throughout the continent of Africa. The son of a pastor, Reinhard gave his life to the Lord at age nine and heard the call to the African mission field before he was even a teenager. After attending Bible College in Wales, and his ordination in Germany he pastored a church and then went on to start missionary work in Africa. It was there, in the small mountain kingdom of Lesotho, that God placed upon his heart the vision of ‘the continent of Africa, being washed in the precious blood of Jesus’— an entire continent, from Cape Town to Cairo and from Dakar to Djibouti that needed to be reached and to hear the proclamation of the signs-following the gospel. He has been in the ministry for several years.
When was CfaN founded?
I would say that it has now been over thirty-five years since Reinhard Bonnke founded the international CfaN which currently has offices in the United States, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, Nigeria, South Africa, Singapore, Australia, and Hong Kong.
Where did Bonnke start his evangelism in Africa?
The evangelistic organization that is today still known as Christ For All Nations was born in Maseru, Lesotho in 1974 when a small team gathered around, Bonnke, the young evangelist with his wife Anni and their baby son as a young missionary to reach out to the people of Africa. The preaching of the Word began to produce a harvest of souls and in addition, people were healed of all kinds of diseases. There, God shaped the young man of faith and began to mold the character of faith in him that would later challenge the devil across the entire continent of Africa and the world.
How did he become so successful?
The news that God was doing miracles in the stadium later spread across the city and by the final meeting, for the first time in his short ministry, Reinhard preached to a packed stadium. Thousands streamed forward for the forgiveness of their sins, hundreds were healed and thousands more were baptized in the Holy Spirit – and this was just the beginning. On a return visit to the country of Botswana twelve years later, eighty percent of current pastors in CfaN were converted from that first crusade in Gaborone. From there, the ministry started spreading to Tanzania, Mozambique, Rwanda, Mali, Ghana, Chad, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Congo, Uganda, Malawi, Cameroun Togo, Benin Republic, Nigeria and other African countries.
Could you remember a notable miracle God used him to perform?
At the first meeting, with only one hundred people, Bonnke preached as if the place were full, and to his complete amazement, after only a few minutes, a man in the congregation jumped to his feet and disrupted the proceedings by shouting out, “I’ve just been healed!” This was repeated five times over as others shouted out the same thing, resulting in an outburst of joyous praise.
When did he first come to Nigeria?
Bonnke’s first missionary work in Nigeria was in 1985. Then, there was no Christian association like PFN or CAN, but there was a Christian body then that received us. Since then we have been having crusades in Nigeria. Bonnke has allowed Daniel, an eaglet to learn how to fly. And he has seen how best he performed. The last crusade we had in Zambia in June, Daniel performed well.
Why is he coming to Nigeria now?
Having worked a lot and won many souls, he wants to come and bid Nigerians farewell and pass the torch to as many Nigerians and Africans who may want to continue with the work of evangelism. God has blessed Nigerians.
Why has it taken so long for Evangelist Bonnke to come to Nigeria since he was here last?
His presence has been felt in Nigeria because CFaN is holding crusades led by Evangelist Daniel Kolenda. But this is more pronounced due to its unique nature.
Why did he tag the programme farewell Crusade?
Well, he is now 77 years old and has done a lot to win souls for Christ all over the world. So, we want to allow him to rest. His coming to Nigeria for crusade this time around will be the last. Thereafter, he will pass the torch to another person.
Who is he planning to hand over to?
I think, he will be passing the torch to Evangelist Daniel Kolenda, an American modern missionary evangelist who has led more than 17-million people to Christ face-to-face through massive open-air evangelistic campaigns in some of the most dangerous, difficult and remote locations on earth. Daniel is the president and CEO of Christ for All Nations; a ministry which has conducted some of the largest evangelistic events in history, has published over 190 million books in 104 languages and has offices in 10 nations around the world. He also hosts an internationally syndicated television programme. The anointed must be appointed. And, if you appoint someone who is not anointed, it becomes a disaster
What is special about the crusade?
He wants to bring souls for God. He felt that a lot of wrong things are going wrong and he decided to show the presence of God. So, his coming in will provide more opportunity for Nigerians to get salvation and get their spirits awaken the more.
What is your interest in Nigeria?
Nigerians are very receptive when it comes to things of God. He took Nigeria to top most height. Nigeria is a nation that has a good foundation. It is a paradise and very responsive to the gospel and that is why you see churches grow here.
What does Nigeria mean to you?
Nigeria is a blessed country and the greatest in Africa and one of the most powerful nations in the world. It takes a renewed heart to understand that. It is our responsibility to take the campaign to put the country where it deserves to be in the world. Nigeria is also having challenges as every other country in the world is having theirs. Obviously, challenges are not peculiar to Nigeria, so we should not see it as a personal problem. We should help to restore the dignity of Nigeria outside. Other countries envy Nigeria due to what they have, but unfortunately, when little thing goes wrong, you see people complaining seriously. Many countries in the world do not have the opportunity of survival like Nigeria. What I observe is that Nigerians blow issues out of proportion. Things that happen in other countries of the world and no one will hear it, if they happen if Nigeria, you see people shouting. So, Nigerians should learn to absorb some common challenges. Nigeria is held at the high esteem in the world. We should pray for the nation for God to lead the nation to continue to be leader of economy in Africa.
What advice do you have for Nigerian leaders?
Every leader should focus on what will benefit the masses, have knowledge of God and be content with what they have. They should also be transparent enough to ensure that the common people benefit from their leadership.
What should Nigerians expect from the crusade?
More souls will be won as usual and God will use the opportunity to show himself more to as many who would seek his face at the crusade.
What is Bonnke’s source of power?
Bonnke has no other source of power than God.