[editor's note: Please keep in mind that the information included in this message was originally intended to update David Wilkerson's World Challange supporters, and as such, some of the information has changed considerably. We've included this message to help give a historical perspective on how God was using David in the mid 1980's, and to help show the transition from the Crusades ministry to the present day Times Square Ministry.]
"For thou, O Lord has made me glad by what thou hast done..." (Psalm 92:4).
We have just returned from two weeks of meetings in five major cities in Poland. The meetings were sponsored by the Evangelical Union of Polish Churches (Reverend E. Czajko, President).
According to Rev. Tadeusz Gawel, director of the Polish Assemblies of God, a total of 27,500 attended the meetings and 11,700 came forward for prayer and to publicly confess Jesus Christ as their Lord.
We were told there are approximately 14,000 Evangelicals in Poland--and so the capacity crowds and the overwhelming altar response were miraculous. The majority who responded were Roman Catholics--and the spiritual hunger, the weeping, the calling out on the Lord Jesus was something glorious to behold.
The five cities in which the meetings were conducted included Warsaw, Crakow, Katowice, Wroclaw and Gdansk. The largest covered sports stadiums and public auditoriums were needed to accommodate the excited crowds. A vibrant young Polish music group provided the singing, and they were very good.
We thank God for the big crowds, for the many thousands who called on the name of Jesus Christ--but God is not much concerned about statistics. We would like to share with you some of the true highlights of what God is doing by His Spirit in Poland. Also, we wish to give you our impressions of the loving people there and what we believe the future holds for that nation. By this we hope to enlist your prayers for Poland and all the Eastern bloc countries.
In some meetings, nearly half the audience came forward, even though I kept emphasizing, "Don't come! Please don't come forward unless the Holy Spirit draws you! Don't come unless you want to forsake all your sins! Don't come unless you are willing to give Jesus Christ everything in your life! Don't come unless you understand it is a life or death decision to follow Jesus Christ!"
They came forward and stood in rapt attention and holy awe. My associate, Bob Phillips, then clearly explained what it meant to accept the resurrected Savior and to forsake all sin. What profound weeping and heart-wrenching sorrow for sin we beheld. It was the deepest, most awesome move of the Holy Spirit I have ever seen in my lifetime.
The meetings closed with converts turning about to pray for one another. We saw thousands of teenagers fall into the arms of counselors and friends, weeping, crying for joy and praying aloud, "Jesus, change me! Jesus, open my heart! Jesus, forgive me! Savior-take all of me!"
Poland has a growing alcohol and drug problem. There is heavy drinking among adults, and the teenagers both drink and use drugs in increasing numbers. The problems in America are far worse--but Poland also has its share of youth rebellion. Many using drugs and alcohol came forward for prayer and to ask Jesus Christ to save and heal them. We heard testimonies from many who told us they had made a commitment at our meetings to quit all drugs and alcohol--to serve Christ!
There are thousands of Charismatic Catholics in Poland, and their numbers are growing. I had young priests come to me throughout Poland--some Dominicans, Friars, and a Jesuit. They hugged me, and with weeping, told me of their hunger for Christ and their deep spiritual needs. In one Catholic school for young men, 500 out of 2,500 students were filled with the Holy Spirit and a revival was breaking out in their midst. But we met only young priests who had a visible hunger for God! Poland has over 600 alcoholic priests, mostly older.
I met in every city with governors or mayors and other officials of this socialistic government. We were given total freedom in every way. Not a single official tried to hide the youth problems or smooth over the growing alcoholism and drug addiction. We had open, frank discussions about the youth problems shared by both America and Poland. One government official told me, in deep sincerity, "The Catholic church is not preaching what Jesus Christ preached. They should preach the exact message of Jesus Christ!" Another high government official told me he had called into his office some of the hierarchy of the Catholic church to enlist their help in fighting drugs and alcohol. They refused! He bitterly complained about the lack of social concern by the Catholic church in Poland. Only a few Evangelicals had offered to help; also, some of the young Catholic priests who are becoming disillusioned with high bishops living like royalty, living in palatial residences, while the poor and addicted suffer.
Lest some readers become angry and think I am pointing out only the sins of the Polish Catholic church, let me say that I did not see much broken-heartedness over lost youth among Evangelicals either. A few are truly concerned, but many are too bogged down in other problems.
Gwen and I and our group were sitting at tea with the president of a northern Polish province. During the conversation, he blurted out the news, "Your government has just bombed Libya!" We were all stunned, and our immediate reaction was, "Now we will hear a thundering harangue against capitalistic aggression." For a moment there was a harsh chill in the chamber. Instead, this socialistic official, with a tear in his eye, said, "David--I agree with you. Maybe we should let the teen-agers run the world--maybe there would be no more war." He was a father, just like me, sharing the same concern for children and grandchildren. We sat spellbound as he unburdened his heart about the unnecessary hatred, the wreckless decisions of old men in all governments who have lived out their days and who don't seem to have hope for the future. He did not criticize his government, or ours. The problems of the youth in his territory were too important to permit differences to hinder. We all left deeply moved--reminded that we must not forget that, though God hates sin, He loves people--even in systems that despise one another. God loves the masses in Poland, in all Communist countries, including Russia and China.
A week before I left for Poland, the Holy Spirit gave me a prophecy to deliver to all who would listen. The prophecy was threefold.
First, Poland was going experience the greatest outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its long history. It was there before we arrived; it will rise like a tide in the future.
Second, there was need of deep repentance in the ministry and priesthood in Poland. Ninety percent of the people have TV, including a majority of ministers. The same temptations swamping the church in America are beginning to invade the ministry there. We met some of the godliest ministers in the world while in Poland, but we were also heartbroken over the backslidden condition of many others. We witnessed some deep repentance in two ministers' gatherings conducted while we were there. My associate, Bob Phillips, brought forth a strong message of repentance; and the Word was received and heeded by many.
Third, Poland would have a time of peace, until the Spirit of God finished His work of spiritual renewal.
You hear jokes in some parts of the U.S. about "dumb Polacks." Simply not true! We found the Polish people to be loving, giving, and in spite of all their past sufferings, they maintain their courage and will. The people showered us with love, affection, and great respect. It is the mother country of Chopin and other great musicians... it is a nation of artists in every field. A nation of hard-working farmers. A people who have suffered over centuries in quiet dignity. We fell in love with the Polish people. We yearn to go back to minister there again.
Over 200,000 people saw the Polish version of "The Cross and the Switchblade" movie. In one city, the movie was shown nine times in one day, each time to a full house. We hope to have over a few million see the film before we return again for even longer meetings. The film's acceptance is simply incredible.
The food was excellent and in good supply. There is still queuing up for certain scarce items--and the problems of Poland are still very much overwhelming, but conditions were not like much of the press depicts it. What seemed embarrassing to us is that we in the United States waste more than Poland consumes. By Western standards, most Americans would consider the Poles very poor. But not to those of us who were there. We found Polish Christians to be rich in spirit, humble before God and thankful for what they had. In many ways, they are much richer than Christians in the West.
We rescheduled our trip to Hungary. Hopefully, next year we will be there, as well in Yugoslavia. My bother Don went to Hungary in our place to dedicate the new TEEN CHALLENGE HOME FOR GIRLS, located in a suburb of Budapest.
The Evangelical Union was challenged by the government to do something to help solve the problems among the youth there. They invited us to come into Budapest and set up an initial outreach. We started with a home for drug addicted, alcoholic girls because that is the area of greatest need.
One pastor stated, at the dedication, "This is a historical miracle for the Evangelical church in Hungary."
Plans are under way to open a center for young men also. There may be a farm available for this purpose.
Please pray for this outreach! It can serve as a testimony to that nation of God's power to reach lost humanity. What a modern miracle this is!
Concerning The Future
Pray that the religious freedom in Poland will continue and increase. The government will some realize that true Evangelical believers who follow Jesus Christ's teachings are the best workers--they do not riot--they pray for those in authority--they are satisfied with their wages--and just ten of the true followers of Jesus Christ can out-produce 100 workers who do not serve Christ. It is because Evangelical believers who are true to Christ's principles do not drink or use drugs; they do not steal or cheat; they are truthful and kind. This is the message the leaders Poland need to hear--that religious freedom will produce a growing body of Evangelical Christians who can revitalize the Nation--both spiritually and economically. They will preach Christ rather than politics!
I believe God wants to use Poland as an open door to bring greater religious freedom to all of Eastern Europe. The day is coming when Russia and China will also experience a tidal wave of spiritual revival and a great and holy remnant of Christ's followers will arise in these lands. These awakened believers will be the true messengers of peace and goodwill toward men--not through weapons or war, but through the power of the Man Christ Jesus. The entire 49th Chapter of Isaiah proves what I am saying.
Pray that God will not permit the self-seeking evangelists--nor the preachers of prosperity--nor any other false message--to ruin what God is doing in Poland and other Eastern bloc countries. Already a few American evangelists have rushed into Poland with their camera crews, coming home to brag about "taking the gospel behind the Iron Curtain." The Holy Spirit will keep His work in Poland pure. The hour is too late--the need is too great--no false gospel for Poland! No promoters! No gospel junk!
When the word spreads about what God is doing there, an army of carpetbagging evangelists will rush in to enhance their own ministries. Pray God will keep them out and, instead, send to Poland the holiest, the humblest, the unknowns--to exalt Jesus and encourage the believers. Already, one evangelist is telling his own followers he won over 100,000 Polish people to Christ. It is an outright lie. Only a handful attended his meetings.
Please pray for Yugoslavia and Hungary! We are right now trying to get "The Cross and the Switchblade" movie finished in both countries. I am praying about meetings in both countries next year. How true it is that while God is turning His back on the gospel-hardened in the West, Joel 2 is being fulfilled among those who have not yet heard nor hardened their hearts.
Finally-rejoice with us in what God has done--and what he is going to do in these countries! We are thankful to be a small part in it.
P.S. We recommend that Christians going to Europe as tourists include Poland in their schedules. You will find it to be the most interesting country on your whole itinerary. West Europe is too Americanized. Poland is strictly old world, European and fascinating.
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This material is solely for personal use and is not to be posted publicly on other web pages. The Lorain County Free-Net Chapel holds exclusive rights from World Challenge, Inc. to publicly post these messages on its web page. You are free to download, copy, print and distribute this material, so long as you do not post it on a different Internet site. You may, however, link this site to reference these messages.
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