Renowned pastor and author Francis Chan has recalled witnessing numerous physical healings while ministering in Myanmar.
Delivering a lecture at Moody Bible Institute’s Founders Week Conference, 6th February, the former California megachurch pastor recounted his excitement at seeing so many people touched by the Holy Spirit.
"At one point, we were in this village that had no believers, like zero. Not a single one,” he explained. “And this lady had built a relationship with the head monk and the village leader and somehow was able to work out that we could go into the village.
"My translator told me he had been in that area before and was chased out with knives and stones thrown at him, so he was terrified. But the entire village showed up, and I had the honor of sharing the Gospel through a translator, to be the first one to lay out the Gospel and explain that they had a Creator and explain that He had a son and explain what He did on the cross and the resurrection.
"Every person I touched was healed. This is craziness to me. I have never experienced this in 52 years."
Francis went on to describe the moment a pair of children had their hearing miraculously restored:
"I'm talking, like, a little boy and a little girl who were deaf. We lay hands, she starts crying, and she's freaking out. And we're, like, lay hands on your little brother. We lay hands on him and he starts hearing for the first time. You guys, this is out of my comfort zone. This is stuff I'd read about but I'm going, man, it happened. It happened.
I thought I had faith. But my faith was at another level... I think there are some things that contributed... some of it was just faith in His word, that when Jesus says, ‘I am in you and you are in Me,’ to take that literally."
In November last year, Chan made the shock announcement that he was moving to Hong Kong to become a missionary. “Nine years ago, while we were in Hong Kong, Lisa and I both felt God was calling us to move there,” the author wrote in an update at the time. He noted that it was a recent trip to Myanmar -- during which he was traveling "from hut to hut with a translator, sharing the Gospel with people who had never heard about Jesus" -- that sparked the call to become a full-time missionary.
“When I considered the need and opportunity, I knew I wanted to be based in Asia,” he said. “I also have an opportunity there to work with the ultra poor (living off less than 50 cents a day)—to bring relief, share the gospel, and plant churches among them. When I compare that opportunity to things I currently do in the States, the Kingdom profit seems much greater overseas at this point of my life.”
In his recent talk at Moody, Chan updated that his family would be making the big move "in a couple of weeks.. Lord willing."
"The only thing I’m trying to do with my every breath is complete the ministry He gave me," Chan said, questioning the American-centric obsession with simply "staying alive" and urging young people to risk it all for Jesus.
"We are spiritual foodies," the pastor added. "We're just picking it apart. And I don't know if I can do that anymore, when there are people who have no spiritual food.. who've never heard the name of Jesus.
"If I’m going to breathe another day, it’s to finish the task that He’s given me, which is to testify to the Gospel of the grace of God. I just want to get out and explain the grace, what God has given me, through Jesus Christ.”
A decade ago, Chan shocked the evangelical world after resigning from the megachurch he founded in Simi Valley, California. Years later, he explained the reasons for his decision in a talk delivered at California's Facebook headquarters.
"I got frustrated at a point, just biblically," the "Crazy Love" author recalled. "I'm going wait a second, 'according to the Bible, every single one of these people has a supernatural gift that's meant to be used for the body. And I'm like 5,000 people show up every week to hear my gift, see my gift. That's a lot of waste. Then I started thinking how much does it cost to run this thing? Millions of dollars!'
"So I'm wasting the human resource of these people that according to Scripture have a miraculous gift that they could contribute to the body but they're just sitting there quietly. ... [T]hey just sit there and listen to me."
Chan went on to pioneer a house church movement in San Francisco called "We Are Church."