I am actually writing this newsletter in a bus just outside the Reinhard Bonnke Farewell Gospel Crusade grounds in Lagos, Nigeria. On my right, I can still see the platform and lights about a mile away.
We got on this bus almost 2 hours ago, and the traffic is crazy congested, as one can imagine when 750,000 people try to go home after an evening service. Yes, there were 750,000 people here tonight, and if someone told me there were 2 million people here, I think would have believed it.
So, this newsletter will be dedicated to my experience at this wonderful, God-ordained event.
Many people have no idea who Reinhard Bonnke is, but many people do. The main stream media may be oblivious to who this man is, but great will his reward be in heaven. Brother Reinhard is undoubtedly the man that has spoken to more people face to face in literal, physical attendance than anybody at any time ever in the entire history of the world. The wonderful thing is that he has spoken for the Kingdom of God. He has exalted Jesus, and led more than 76,000 people to Christ in his over 50 years of ministry.
My connection to Reinhard Bonnke.
In 1991, when I was 22 years old, I showed up (unannounced) at his headquarters in Frankfurt, West Germany. God made a way that I could meet him, and we talked for 15 minutes. He autographed a book he gave me, and I went my way. First, I went to a local forest to really absorb everything he had just said to me. I felt that what he was telling me was almost prophetic. I wrote the main points of our conversation down in that book, which I still have today. One of the things he said was, “What is extraordinary today, will be just ordinary tomorrow!” He had just held a crusade in Kaduna, Nigeria, which drew 500,000 people in a single service. It was extraordinary back then, but had become quite ordinary for his ministry since.
When I came back from the forest, I got word that I was invited to dinner by his dear wife Anni. What a privilege. I visited with their family for 2 ½ hours. He prayed for me in his office upstairs, and arranged a speaking arrangement for me in the city of Bonn. Before I left, he told me that the Holy Spirit had spoken to him. He said that when I go to America, not only will God do something for my ministry, but he will do something personally. Little did I know I would marry Heidi, and eventually settle in the USA.
We have kept in touch on and of ever since.
I preach at a Reinhard Bonnke Crusade – February 2003.
By 2003, I was quite on a roll, holding large miracle crusades around the world. I went to India again, fully expecting that this would have been our largest crusade ever. The idea was that I would hold several meetings with 100,000 people in attendance, and that by the end of the crusade, at least 100,000 (one hundred thousand) people would have made a decision for Jesus. Then, I would hold about 10 such crusades a year, which would bring the salvation count to 1,000,000 (one million,) each year.
This crusade wound up to be both one of our greatest disappointments, as well as one of our greatest accomplishments. Maybe in a future letter I will tell you more, but for now, no – we did not lead 100,000 people to Christ in that crusade, but we won a court case at the State Supreme Court, which has benefited Christians ever since, and may well have indirectly resulted in hundreds of thousands of souls saved. Only heaven knows this number.
But God had a plan. You see, I asked for 100,000 in a single service, and though it didn’t happen, God gave me an opportunity to preach to 500,000 (a half million) people in a single service on that same trip. I had gone to Reinhard Bonnke’s crusade in Ondo, Nigeria. Oh, what a crusade that was! See this picture. That is me preaching there. You can google, “Joel Hitchcock Reinhard Bonnke,” and you will see the YouTube video. Please watch it today, and “like” it and subscribe to my channel, if you will.
(Keep reading after this video...)
Anyhow, even though it was not my crusade, and even though I only preached for about 7 minutes, God let me preach to a half million people in a single meeting – five times larger than what I wanted to do in India. Not only did I point people to Jesus, but the experience challenged me to believe for greater things. 1,042,024 (One million, forty-two thousand, twenty-four) decision cards were filled out and processed for follow-up in that crusade alone!
Reinhard Bonnke’s Farewell Crusade – November 2017.
So as I said in the beginning of this letter, I was writing from Bonnke’s crusade in Lagos, Nigeria (I now back home in Delaware, where I am finishing this letter to you.) Oh, what an experience it was.
Firstly, I had no money to go, but God made a way. At the last minute I prayed something like, “God, I know this is probably not going to happen, but if I could go to this crusade, it would be really nice.” I am not sure if this is the exact words, but I gotta tell you, my prayer was definitely not filled with faith and power. “Oh, ye of little faith. Sorry Lord!” But then God made it happen. God not only provided the money, but he helped me get my visa to Nigeria in a record time. When I landed in Nigeria, the passenger next to me gave me a handful of cash - 50,000 Nigerian Naira (about $150.) God also provided a hotel that was two times cheaper than the other ones. It was a four-star hotel, and the food was really, really good, and there was a lot of it.
I never got to talk to Brother Reinhard, but I texted him to his personal cell phone and he told me that he had just arrived at the crusade grounds for the evening meeting, and that he was glad that I was there!
I don’t know how many decision cards were filled out in this crusade, but every time the call for salvation was made, it looked like at least half of the crowd raised their hands to receive Jesus.
Miracles of Healing. Deliverance. Witchcraft.
Many healing miracles took place. I saw deaf ears unstopped and the cripple walk. I saw demon-possessed person being delivered. I saw how many people brought their witchcraft items to the crusade, and had them burnt in a large oil drum, while God’s people were singing praises!
Baptism in the Holy Ghost.
Reinhard Bonnke is a warrior for the Kingdom of God – not only for the salvation of souls, but also for the Baptism in the Holy Ghost and speaking in other tongues as the Spirit giveth utterance (Acts 2:1-4.) I saw this twice.
The first time was in the morning during the Fire Conference. Brother Reinhard gently prayed, “Come, Sweet Holy Spirit…” Then I heard the voices of people begin to pray, all over the vast field. Before you knew, the prayers became louder and louder, as thousands upon thousands called to God in other tongues.
The second time was a couple of nights later in the evening meeting. This time Brother Reinhard boldly prayed, “Shout HALLELUJAHHHH!” Multitudes of hundreds of thousands of people cried to God at what seemed the top of their voices. First, they shouted, “Hallelujah,” and then they switched to speaking in other tongues. It is hard to describe on paper what it sounded like being right there. What a powerful, glorious outpouring! I recorded it on video.
My experience with God.
I am now going to share with you something that God did for me. Actually, I was debating in my mind whether or not I should share it, but why not. It’s just because it was so, so precious to me. Even as I write these words, my eyes begin to well up with tears, just thinking of it.
It was on the final night of the crusade. In my mind, I had already determined that I was most definitely going to video-record Bonnke’s final altar call to salvation. You see, I had already been video-recording several key parts of the crusade. In addition to the Baptism in the Holy Ghost, I really wanted to record this altar call to salvation by Reinhard Bonnke in his last and final crusade meeting in Africa.
Then the time came. Bonnke was about to make that historic altar call. I fixed my iPhone onto a selfie stick. I was ready. But then the Spirit began to move on me. I suddenly felt that I was going to engage in that moment – no video recording, no watching the multitudes’ hands raised to God, not even look at Bonnke. I didn’t even take my phone off the selfie stick. I just packet it into my bag, upside down.
I then closed my eyes and felt the Holy Spirit and his marvelous love move in and over me. A deep emotion welled up on the inside of me. I guess partly because it was Reinhard Bonnke’s last altar call in Africa, but there was more to the moment. It was nothing but the Holy Spirit, and a work he was doing within me. I began to weep. I wept and wept, until my body jolted repetitively as I sobbed and cried to God. My voice called to God with groanings that cannot be uttered.
For almost a half hour I cried and cried, weeping and sobbing as God’s Spirit poured into me!
Now, let me tell you what happened. It was something supernatural. Sometime within this half-hour time period in which I was being poured into by God, something supernatural happened. I have no doubt about it.
Suddenly, a distinct and unmistakable gust of wind whooshed onto my bowed over back. It came from the top down, perhaps at an angle, but not from the side. I felt it distinctly, and there is no doubt on my mind that it happened. The wind gushed upon me in a moment that lasted for only about a ½ second.
It reminded me of John and Acts which says, “…Jesus breathed on them and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost (John 20:22,)” and, “Suddenly there was a sound from heaven such as a rushing, mighty wind… and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost…” (Acts 2:2.)
I know that I know that God met me there among the multitudes. It was a special, precious moment, and a special, precious half hour. I received a touch from God.
Reinhard Bonnke’s foreword to my book, “Christ in You:” (Joel Hitchcock's book, Christ in You.)
A few years back, Brother Reinhard wrote the foreword to my book, “Christ in You.” We had it in print, but then I discontinued any further printings of the book because I felt it read too much like a theological text book, instead of a live, vibrant reading that would edify the common Christian audience. It also had some grammatical errors. So, in the last two months I have been editing it. And then, when I went on this trip to Bonnke’s Nigeria crusade, I edited it like crazy! I went through it word by word. I did it during the 50-some hours on airplanes on 5 different flights. I edited it during the hours and hours on the bus during transport from the hotel and back. When I finally landed back in Baltimore, I had just about completed the editing. Once at home, I did the finishing touches and made a brand-new cover.
Oh, I am so pleased with this book. It’s 320 pages written in 12-point size, and it reads so easy now. Now, don’t misunderstand. The content is still heavy meat of the Word, not milk of the Word. But it reads easy and smooth.
I would like you to order it. Please go to www.joelhitchcock.com and click on “Books.” There you will find several books that I have written. Just click on the one that says, “Christ in You.” From there you will be able to order it directly from Amazon. It costs $14.95 for the paperback and eBook.)
You will be very, very blessed by the book, as you learn about Christ in You! Perhaps you could buy two or ten, and give them out as Christmas gifts to your friends and family.
Here is Reinhard Bonnke’s foreword to my book:
“I have known Joel Hitchcock since he was a young evangelist and have watched him turn into a firebrand for God. The Lord anointed him powerfully. Reckless faith and action for Jesus are his seals. This book “Christ in You” bears it out. It is the work of a man who really knows the Lord intimately and longs to make the Gospel known to the nations.
"The Apostle Paul sat making tents – not planning intents. Faithful in the little things, God made him master of much. This also applies to Joel. He has deeply impressed me with the way he ministered - trusting the Lord and working hard.
"This book will enrich your walk with God, as well as your calling. Jesus jumps out of every page. You will be greatly blessed.” Reinhard Bonnke D.D., Evangelist (www.cfan.org)
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Miracle World Evangelism
Heidi and I have been serving the Lord in full-time ministry now for almost 28 years. With a passion, we have preached the Word and ministered the power of God to multitudes in our travels to about 48 countries. Even when we started a little church, we still continued our international crusades at the same pace we did before we started the church.
I want to ask you, if the Lord lays it on your heart, to give a special offering to this ministry today. With a crusade budget of $200,000 for the year, we can actually do a million dollars’ worth of Gospel Campaigns. Also, you would perhaps feel that you would like to bless the Hitchcock family in some way.
Thank you so much, it is always more appreciated than you might realize.
As I already said, I have returned back home to the USA since I started this newsletter. Heidi and the kids are all doing well. So, have a very Merry Christmas, and a blessed and prosperous New Year. I will be in touch again soon!
Love and Blessings,
Joel & Heidi Hitchcock
PS: If you feel led by the Lord to send a special offering, please go to this link: "Support Joel Hitchcock Ministries."