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In his career of 54 years, Reinhard Bonnke has encountered jealous rivals, angry witch doctors, violent thunderstorms, corrupt heads of state, and rioting Muslims.
But this fall the global evangelist journeyed on uncharted ground—his first revival in the United States. In shifting his schedule to include U.S. audiences, he must overcome a major obstacle: In 2000, Reinhard Bonnke preached to 1.6 million people attending a single meeting in Lagos, Nigeria. But as he steps on U.S. shores few Americans have even heard of him.
Bonnke is up for the challenge. The 73-year-old evangelist has preached in many places with low expectations and emerged with massive attendance and conversion numbers. In fact, Bonnke's ministry, Christ for all Nations (CfaN), claims 72 million people have filled out decision cards in response to Bonnke's salvation invitations since the 1970s.
Most of those conversions—55 million, according to CfaN—have occurred in Africa. The harvest appears especially bountiful in Nigeria, where Bonnke has focused his ministry for the past decade. While Bonnke plans to keep preaching in Africa, he is devising a still-unspecified revival circuit in the United States.
"We will go from city to city, from state to state, from coast to coast," Bonnke told Christianity Today.
For the past 30 years, CfaN has relied heavily on funds from American donors. In 1995, Bonnke told CT he had no interest in preaching in a land with around-the-clock Christian television. Yet Bonnke says the Lord made the need for an evangelism shift evident to him last year.
"God told me that he had not sent me to America just to be the offering plate for Africa," Bonnke says. "I've seen a new generation growing up in America that knows very little about the gospel of salvation. It must be preached."
Paul Cedar, CEO of Mission America Coalition, supports CfaN's expansion: "We thank God for how he has used Bonnke in ...