SOMETHING HAPPENED to this world in the first ten years of the 20th century; that is, between 1900 and 1910. It changed the course of church history forever. All over the civilized world, the power of the Holy Spirit broke out mightily. Over 100 years later, the world has still not recovered. In the United States, it was William Seymour and the revival on Asuza Street that began in 1906. Two years before that, in 1904, it was Evan Roberts and others – the mighty Welsh revival that began in 1904. These 2 revivals stood out among others in power and influence. They touch nearly all, if not every “pentecostal” ministry today.
On November 20,1904; at the Shiloh Chapel Independent, in Nantyffyllon, Wales; there was a man who got saved during the Welsh Revival. His name was George. George Jeffreys. He had been born in 1889 and was 15 years old at the time. By 1911, George was baptised in the Holy Ghost and started preaching. With his brother, Stephen Jeffreys, he founded the Elim Pentecostal Mission in 1915. The Lord was with him. Elim churches were soon planted all over the United Kingdom. The years 1925 – 1934 were significant years for Mr. Jeffreys. He began an evangelistic campaign that swept across England and other nations in Europa. In 1926, he invited the renowned Aimee Semple McPherson to minister. George had the “foursquare” belief that Jesus is Saviour, Healer, Baptizer, and the Coming King. So many mighty healing miracles were recorded. Tens of thousands were saved. In one crusade in Switzerland, over 14,000 were saved in one day.
GEORGE JEFFREYS is said to be one of the greatest evangelists the world has seen, since John Wesley and George Whitefield of the 19th century. He shook England, and the UK; for Christ. Several years later, there were persistent doctrinal and administrative difficulties in the ministry, and Mr. Jeffreys left Elim to go settle elsewhere. Neither Elim nor Jeffreys was ever the same again. By the late 1940s, not much was heard of the great George Jeffreys.
Now, in 1959, there was a young German pastor who had been led by the Holy Spirit to go to Bible school. The man was only 19 years old. His father was a pastor, and his family wanted him to go to a German bible college; but the Holy Spirit had led him elsewhere: to no other place than The Bible College of Wales, in Swansea led by Samuel Rees Howells. Howells was famous as a man whose prayers were answered – an man of great faith. He deeply inspired this man so that he himself prayed, “Lord, I also want to be a man of faith. I want to see your way of providing for needs.” And God heard him. Having almost nothing for sustenance; that was where he learnt to give, and to live by faith. It was there this young pastor also learnt English, the language in which he would go on to use to preach to millions round the world, including Africa.
UPON COMPLETING his education in 1962, he was set to go home. Now, he had a free day to spend in London and got on a bus. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit said to him – “Get off this bus”. He obeyed, and found himself walking about the streets of Clapham, London. After a while, he saw a plaque on a gate of a house on which was written “George Jeffreys”. “Could this be the house of the great George Jeffreys? Was he not dead?”; he thought to himself. It was then that the Holy Spirit said to him, “You will never know if you don’t ask”.
So he knocked and a woman came to the door. He asked if the house belonged to George Jeffreys, the George Jeffreys who shook England? and she said yes.
“Well, is he alive?!”
“Does he live in this house?!”
“Is he …in the house now?”
“May I see him?”
THEN HE HEARD a deep from the inside of the house saying, “Let him come in”. The young man walked in, and saw an old man. After a brief conversation, Mr. Jeffreys laid his hand upon him and blessed him and sent him on his way. Jeffreys was about 73, and this young man was 21 or 22 years old. He felt the power of God all over him as he made his way out of the door. He left London to return to Germany. As he arrived the very next day, his father met him at the railway station and asked him if he had heard of the great evangelist that had just died. “Which Evangelist?” His father told him it was George Jeffreys. “No! That cannot be! I was just with him!”
Then the young pastor realized that he caught something from the previous generation. One generation was passing and handing over their mantles to the next generation. He had certainly had previous encounters with God calling him to ministry -that calling had made him want to go to a Bible college; but he said that he believed that that day in George Jeffreys’ (who maybe was the greatest evangelist of the early 20th century) house; was the very day the mantle for ministry fell on him -the day he was commissioned for ministry. He would go on to become the greatest evangelist of the late 20th century, leading over 76 million people to Christ Jesus.
His name was Reinhard. REINHARD BONNKE.