One Night on the Impact World Tour
in New Zealand

by David B. Hall

Seeing several hundred people respond to the altar call each week during the New Zealand Impact World Tour (IWT) is an incredible privilege that only a few people get to experience. Over a thousand last week alone. Who knows what awesome things for God just one of those might accomplish for His kingdom? The word of God says the angels rejoice - have a party?! - when just one new person comes into a right relationship with God.  Man, do we have reason to party?!

The Oscars may have helped put New Zealand on the map yesterday. But the Lord of Lords is up to something much of the world doesn't understand.

And the IMPACT for God's kingdom is NOT just limited to those who respond to the altar call and turn their lives over to God at the front. Let me tell you about just one person I recently met on the Impact World Tour.

Tom Bragg (founder of YWAM Publishing and friend since Bible school days at Vanguard University in Southern California) and I went to one of the satellite locations for one of the Impact World Tour events. We went a couple hours early to find the place and get the Soul Hut literature booth set up. Because of the stormy weather the venue for the event was changed from a sports stadium to a shopping mall. The crowed gathered under a large covered area and overflowed out into the parking lot. But we almost left because we couldn't find a source for light for the literature booth. We prayed, hung around, and again came close to leaving - when it finally got dark enough to spot a place where sufficient light was available. We managed to get things set up shortly before the IWT Island Breeze program started.

Among those who came around to check out the Soul Hut booth was a Maori man - full facial moko (tattoo) and all - and his child. He got Loren Cunningham's forth book: Why Not Women? for his wife just before the program started. But something inside prompted me to go after him and give him one of the Christian Heroes books, about Gladys Aylward who went to China, and in spite of many obstacles, accomplished great things for God and the people of China. When I gave him the book, he looked at me puzzled, thanked me and walked on.

Maori moko The next night the Maori man was back. He came over to me at the Soul Hut, looked me deep in the eyes, and asked, Why did you give me that book? Thoughts of Once Were Warriors and missionaries for dinner flashed through my head as I wondered why he was asking this question. (I had been reading about John Williams who was eventually eaten by Melonesian Pacific Islanders, after many years of effective service in Polynesia.)  du'no, I said. I just felt like God wanted me to give it to you. Another pregnant moment of silence before he responded. I couldn't sleep last night, he explained. The book was so good. I know God was challenging me through it as I kept reading it through the night. Can we get together later and talk more? *

(picture courtesy of Island Breeze - not man at iwt)

I said, Sure, maybe we can go out for a cuppa and talk. But it's likely to be a few hours before we're through here.

That's ok, He said.  It'll have to wait till we're all done with the Soul Hut after tonight's program, I responded. I understand. I'll be here, he assured me.He patiently waited around till quite late in the evening when everything was over and we were all packed up in the van. Tom and I followed him to his house in the van, then walked up the dark pathway to his place on the side of a hill. It was only lightly raining at this point (in the middle of what is said to be New Zealand's worst natural disasters since 1931). He introduced us to his wife, graciously fixed us hot drinks, and soon began telling us some of his life story: drug dealing, prisons, Maori cult and eventually Jesus. But he also confessed that his walk with God had been inconsistent, on-again off-again, back to some of the old habits...

I told him it was no accident that he got that book. That God was wanting him to make a total commitment of his life to the Lord. I told him about my brother and his life of crime and drugs before he came to the Lord in a Los Angeles jail many years ago and how God has used him to reach so many others - as the founder and leader of Teen Challenge in Los Angeles and Hawaii, and as a pastor for many years, and then as a missionary evangelist in lots of countries all over the world for many years.

And God has plans for your life too, I told him. But you've got to make a total commitment. None of this on-again off-again, up and down stuff. It's all or nothing. Remember all the obstacles Gladys Aylward went through. But she didn't let those things keep her from doing what God put on her heart to do... What if Tom and I would have left because there didn't seem to be an appropriate place to set up the literature booth last night?

We had a good time of prayer together, of re-commitment of his life to all that God wants to do in and through him. He got a torch (flashlight) and walked us down the dark path to the van. Then asked us to wait a bit more while he went back in the rain to his house and returned with a totally un-expected gift.

The next night we were in one of New Zealand's larger cities. Guess who was there? Yep. He was after more books - Is That Really You God? we're providing at just a fraction of the normal cost - and enjoying another IWT program. He gave me a big hug and thanked us for coming over and encouraging and challenging him and his wife. It was clear God was doing some deep stuff in his life. Who knows what he might yet accomplish for God?

the IMPACT for God's kingdom is NOT just limited to those who respond to the altar call and turn their lives over to God at the front.  I was reminded of the comment Loren Cunningham made to me a few years ago on our way to a service he was speaking at in Hamilton: More lives are transformed through the books people get and read after I speak than through my speaking ministry. Quite a confession from a man who has influenced many hundreds of thousands - likely millions of people - through his public speaking ministry. But this experience helped me understand why Loren would make such a statement. And of course reinforced to me the importance of starting the follow-up process of Impact World Tour through Christian literature at the various events.

Please continue to pray for God to IMPACT people's lives through this ministry - and the many churches and Christians who are involved...For the many others God is wanting to IMPACT for His purposes.


* Tom said he usually warns people that these Christian Heroes books can keep you up all night, they're so good. But I forgot to do that. There are now 24 of these well-written books - Kiwi authors. If you're interested - in any of these, or other IWT Soul Hut specials - let me know.                                                                        

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