Signs, wonders, and the very present Kingdom of God - Part 4 - Healing, tongues and salvation in Hong Kong

Read the whole series - Signs, wonders, and the very present Kingdom of God

If you've read some of my older posts then you've seen me mention that in High School I spent a summer in Hong Kong working at a heroin rehab center called St. Stephen's Society. If you've heard of Jackie Pullinger then might have heard of St. Stephen's Society - and if you've never heard of her then I suggest you look into her book Chasing the Dragon. It's a fascinating story of the Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong and her experiences with the Lord showing up in powerful ways again and again even in near death experiences.

I had some fascinating experiences there - some good and some bad as would be the case with any ministry. But I was definitely impressed with how the Lord was at work there. The section I worked in was called the New Boy House and this is where the heroin addicts come right when they enter the program. Each house (there were maybe 5 or 6) had 20 or so recovering addicts and then a separate room for the "New Boys." These were the guys fresh off the streets. And instead of using medication to quit heroin they simply go cold turkey with other ex-addicts praying for them 24/7 for the first 10 days (which is the hardest time).

The recovering addicts were amused by the the fact that I had dealt with some weird skin diseases that year - something which grew in my elbows and had to be burned off, leaving little circled scars which they mistook as track marks from previous heroin usage. So that gave me a little bit less credibility than I might have liked. But it was here that I first prayed in tongues.

Before I went to Hong Kong I had heard that Jackie Pullinger put a high value on tongues and when I arrived after my first night I asked if some of the people would lay hands on me to receive the gift. I'd done some reading on the subject and understood that if I didn't open my mouth nothing would happen, so not long into the prayer I opened my mouth and starting praying. It was pretty weird at first and I definitely wondered if it was from the Lord. However since then I've come to the conclusion that even if it's very natural at first - if I am honestly seeking he Lord in this and telling Him that I'm offering up my tongue to Him then He will be faithful to make it into what He desires.

And the next day I woke up and everyone ate breakfast and then headed into the community room to pray in tongues. And every addict young and old prayed at the top of their lungs in tongues for 15 minutes. It was weird. But Jackie says she's seen a relationship between how much people are praying in tongues in her ministry and how often she's seeing supernatural things happen - like healing etc... So we all did it.

That summer had so many fascinating things happen but I'll only share two. The first was when I had the opportunity to go to the downtown meeting where people came in off the street who wanted to join the program. Some were caught by the police and forced to come to these meetings, and some genuinely wanted to quit their drug habit. When someone came to this meeting they would hear a clear presentation of the gospel - and a shockingly large percentage of people would accept the Lord right then and there. And then seemingly without exception they would pray in tongues. I was only there one night and I may not have understood it, but the best I could tell no one was telling them they should pray in tongues, they just all did. After they became believers they just opened their mouths and began to pray.

Now most of these people were messed up in a lot of ways. Heroin addicts will often have huge gaping wounds that they wont take care of because the high feels so good they don't care. They end up losing limbs for this - and not a few in these programs were short on arms and legs, sometimes both. They're also dirty and hungry. I remember Jackie walking around the room praying for people while I was sitting with a guy who spoke english (by the time I left I could understand a bit of Cantonese, but I never spoke worth a stink). At one point she stopped, turned around and pointed at a guy and said in English, "That one's got a demon on him there." And then some folks stood up and ran across the room to begin praying for the guy.

I don't understand everything that went on that night, but I did understand that these were dirty nasty people both physically and spiritually but these people loved them anyways and the Lord was showing up in powerful ways.

My second story is a little different. At one point we headed downtown for a training Jackie did prayer. She was teaching us to keep our eyes open when we prayed for people to see what the Lord was doing. To ask the Holy Spirit to come and to just wait, and then to listen to see if the Lord wanted to say anything to the person we were praying for. I prayed for a few people with little by the way of bells and whistles. I told some people a few things I thought the Lord might be saying and none of it seemed to resonate with anyone. Then I decided to ask for prayer for my skin. It had been driving me nuts all year. I had to drop out of wrestling in High School that year because my eczema had gotten so bad I was a walking flake of skin. At the doctors orders I couldn't shower for a week just so my body could get back the oils it needed.

Anyhow some people laid hands on me and prayed for a bit. Finally one lady said to me,
"I'm not hearing anything from the Lord but I'll tell you what, a few years ago I had horrible eczema as well and someone in praying for me felt like they had a word from the Lord regarding the Masons. He asked if I had any history of people who were involved with Freemasonry. Actually my grandfather had been involved. That night he prayed that any connection or affect this would be having on me would be bound and broken in the name of Jesus. The next day I woke up in a pile of skin on my bed with only a little bit of eczema on my left hand forefinger. And it's there to this day seemingly as a reminder that I was healed of this."

Then she showed the spot on her finger and sure enough it was bright red, dry and cracked. She then explained how she had had eczema from when she was really little and it had always been a horrible problem for her - keeping her from doing many things she wanted to do. So this healing was a very big deal to her. Then she asked if anyone in my family was involved with the masons. Similar to her my grandfather had been very involved. Then she prayed a similar pray to that which was prayed for her.

I didn't wake up a puddle of my own flesh the next morning, but I did get much better over the next few months and since then it has never really come back. I get a few small rashes occasionally but nothing like I used to.

There were a lot of things about that summer that more than changed my life. Many of them wonderful and many of them terrible. But the Lord worked there and people were coming to know him in droves off the streets involved in gangs, drugs, and prostitution. The Lord was working in miraculous ways and it was fascinating to see.