…They brought a woman that had been to all the witch doctors and all the magic soothsayers and whatever she could do to get healed because she had breast cancer… As she was standing in the crowd, the power of God came all over her and she grew a brand new breast… Right after that, they brought two more people onto the platform. The woman was born without the parts that a woman needs, and the man as well because of a cancerous tumor. Both of them were instantly healed.
…I started to break the power of witchcraft, and 1,835 people at the same time started manifesting demons and fell to the ground writhing like snakes. We counted 1,835 people vomiting, rolling in the mud, writhing and hissing on the ground like snakes. There were even people levitating off of the ground by the power of witchcraft, even a young boy.
Bentley’s visit occurred before he had become generally (in)famous, but his reputation as an “international evangelist” was on the rise: he had been profiled in Charisma magazine, and the visit was noted in local media; the Monitor reported:
Todd will hold a huge five-day crusade starting on November 6th at Main Street primary School grounds in Jinja, every afternoon.
…Pastor Gerald Mwebe of Streams of Life church, Kampala, FFM Coordinator in Africa says Todd will leave some of himself behind in the form of a School of Ministry. Fresh Fire School of Ministry, opening on Tuesday, November 5th, 2002 in Mukono, will train pastors from all over East Africa and ensure that other people can tap some of Todd’s anointing and follow in his footsteps.
Jinja was also chosen because it has been a traditionally hard place for the gospel to breakthrough. Reinhard Bonnke had his crusade stopped in 1990. Prayer Palace founder, Apostle Deo Balabyekubo died in a grisly motor accident while on his way to organise a crusade in Jinja. Todd’s crusade therefore is also an act of defiance against what Christians say the devil has done in Jinja.
Bentley also mentions Bonnke in his new message:
I’ve talked face to face with Reinhard about the story because I told him I preached in Jinja, Uganda, and I need you to tell me the story. He said, “It was the only time I was ever driven out of a city and I said I would never go back.”
Just like the disciples, you know if they don’t receive you and honor you, the Bible says, “Dust off the feet and just walk out.” Reinhard said it was the only time, “When I stepped out of Jinja, I dusted my feet off and I said, I’ll never come back to Jinja.” Well, a curse came over the city for many years-nobody was getting saved, nobody was getting healed, and nobody was getting delivered.
Bonnke’s visit took place in 1990; according to Colin Whittaker’s biography (which, incidentally, notes that Christine Darg was there as a member of his team), his campaign in the town was cancelled by armed police on its third night at the behest of the local District Commissioner, who overruled permit papers issued in Kampala:
Reinhard shook the dust from his feet and flew to Nairobi. He said he would have been willing to return to continue the event, but ‘The Holy Spirit told me not to trust the permit paper’.
“Shaking the dust from the feet” of course is a Biblical sign of rejection, and the notion apparently spread in Uganda that Jinja had come under a curse. This blog cites a magazine called The Evangelist:
God swung into wrath as his servant moved down the pulpit and descended a curse over the land. As Bonnke removed his coat, He said, “Jinja is cursed”.Indeed it was confirmed from above and horror fell on Jinja as one observer who preferred not to be named in this article , narrated how Jinja faced God’s wrath. ”A town that was the second developed after Kampala, lost its glory instantly, said the observer. It spread to the whole area, the town and its surrounding areas were attacked by jiggers, to an extent that even the elderly fell victims…”
Now, the Bible says when you come bearing good news but are turned away, dust yourself off of that place and move on. The minister at Redeemed said that on this occasion, Bonnke did not dust himself off of anything, but he is said to have sorrowfully removed his jacket and left it in Jinja as he departed.
And anyone who knows Jinja and understands things spiritual, knows that the town has never been the same since. This jubilee crusade from June 6 to 10 is, among other things, expected to turn fortunes around.
Bentley’s recollection of 2002 – and his name-dropping of Bonnke – comes as Bentley seeks to re-build his reputation post-sex scandal: he has just begun the second leg of a campaign in South Africa; I noted the first part here.
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