Metro North Conference - Australia

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In September 2000 Sydney, Australia welcomed the world as we hosted the first summer Olympics of the twenty-first century. Celebrated under the slogan "Share the Spirit" athletes from across the world competed for gold. Several weeks later our church, which meets in the north-west corner of Sydney, literally witnessed that slogan in a way we had never dared imagine. The Spirit, the true spirit, not some catchy phrase dreamt up by promotional gurus, was present and shared amongst everyone. It manifested itself in the gifts of healing and prophecy, teaching and discernment over the second weekend of October (Fri 13 - Sunday 15 October). This was the weekend that Metro North Christian Centre hosted the "Power and Authority to Heal Conference" with Bob Brasset, Gord White (both from British Columbia, Canada) and Fili Tualaualeileii from Samoa.


Worship at Authority and Healing Conference in Australia

PREPARING FOR THE WEEKEND

Over and above the mechanics of organising a conference for several hundred people (rosters to make tea and coffee, help with parking, etc) our church prepared for this weekend like no other. Prayer specifically targeting the weekend began weeks before the conference was to take place. The week immediately before the conference evenings of prayer were held at our church on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. The mood at these sessions was positive; one of great expectation and anticipation. Each evening was a faith building experience.

Approximately 7000 registration brochures were mailed out. In addition, over 8000 flyers were placed in the letterboxes of houses in the surrounding suburbs inviting all to come to the Sunday sessions for healing.

The week before the conference Bob, Gord and Fili meetings at another church across the city from us, Randwick Baptist Church. The reports that filtered through from that church on the amazing things that had been occurring prepared us, to some degree, for what we were in for. By the time the weekend finally arrived, there was an enormous sense of anticipation and expectation. We were ready to receive all that the Spirit wanted to bestow upon us.


THE GUYS

Only a few in our church knew much about the work of Bob Brasset. Our Senior Pastor, Franklin Elliott, had heard Bob speak and had also received healing from him when Bob was in Australia in early 1999. No one had met either Gord or Fili.

Ross Wakely, Associate Pastor at Metro North describes the team as "interactive" in two ways. Firstly they worked in very closely with God and were atuned to the promptings of the Spirit. They did not hesitate to change plans if that is what they felt they were being called to do. They constantly sought God's will and the Spirit's leading throughout the entire weekend. Secondly was the way the three guys interacted with each other. They were, in Ross' words, "seamless". Bob and Gord in particular worked so closely together that it was sometimes difficult to know who was actually speaking at any one time, so effortlessly did the microphone swap between the two. Egos were simply not factored into the way these guys operated and that was not only refreshing to see, but spoke powerfully of the relationship they had with each other and their God. In a nation that does not tolerate big egos and is often wary of those from North America, this unobtrusive style won confidence and respect.

One of the things we grew to respect about the team was their honesty. They openly admitted that they didn't have all the answers. They couldn't explain why God healed one day and not the next; why one day migraines would be healed and not allergies but the following day allergies would be healed but not migraines. To their credit they did not make apologies for God. They were truthful. They told it like it is. They gave God full honour, glory and credit. They didn't try to cover up for a God whose ways we do not always understand. Neither did they lay guilt trips of those who did not receive healing. It would be all to easy to excuse the lack of healing on a lack of faith but they didn't.

Another outstanding characteristic of their approach to ministry was their gentle and loving nature. Love for those they were ministering to simply oozed from them. It showed in their eyes, their touch and in how and what they said. They spoke gently, yet with great authority. Their manner was caring and full of concern. These guys have seen a lot of pain and they were sensitive to those who were sick and hurting both physically and emotionally. We grew to trust these guys as we shared with them our aches and pains.

Though we were scarcely conscious of it, we were relaxed with these guys right from the very start. After all we shared the same Queen and Commonwealth heritage to say nothing of a similar, off-beat, sense of humour. They even knew what vegemite was. Somehow or other we felt safe with these guys. They were virtually "family".

Bob Brasset besides roadsign directing to
Healing Meetings in Sydney, Australia


THE WEEKEND: NUTS AND BOLTS

Prior to the conference commencing approximately 240 people had registered. On the Friday evening, the first session of the conference, another 120 registered. Conservative figures for the various sessions range from 160 (Sunday evening) to 260 (Friday evening) with approximately 240 at the Sunday morning service. People came from across the city of Sydney including the outer regions/cities of Wollongong, the Hunter and Blue Mountains. People also came from rural New South Wales as well as number of states across Australia including Queensland, Victoria, ACT, and South Australia.

The weekend's format was simple yet constantly changing as the Spirit directed. Meetings were held on Friday night, all day Saturday and during the morning and evening Sunday services. Saturday afternoon was set aside for teaching with a range of workshops offered including:

Deliverance: Gord White (Session One)
Healing and Forgiveness: Franklin Elliott
Healing: David and Narelle Crabtree
Released to pray in boldness: Sue Walker
Breaking the cycle of negative thinking: Robyn Heath
Healing and the prophetic, word of knowledge and discernment gifts: Gord White (Session Two).

Up to 150 people attended Gord White's sessions with lesser numbers going to the remaining ones offered.

One of the striking characteristics of the weekend was the diverse range of denominations present. There were people from churches including: Brethren, Presbyterian, Anglican, Baptist, Church of Christ, Seventh-day Adventist, Alliance, Uniting in addition to a number of independent churches such as neighbouring DaySpring. Despite the differences amongst those attending there was a strong and abiding sense of unity and openness. It was as if those attending had come prepared to put aside differences in doctrine and worship styles to join together for healing and equipping.


THE WEEKEND: IMPRESSIONS

this was the weekend where we learnt a whole new vocab: "amp up the faith", "download the Spirit" . . . .. .
And we cried. Adult children cried for their parents; parents cried with and for their children. We cried for parents who accepted Christ as their personal Saviour, we cried for agnostic parents who were actually in church - here seeking their own miracle of healing. Etched in my memory is the image of a 16 year old boy crying his eyes out as deep deep healing took place while he stood locked in his mother's embrace with tears also streaming down her face.

There was the heartwrenching ache of seeing a little child in a wheelchair and the expectant look on her parents' faces who dared to hope for the ultimate in miracles.


MONDAY: ICING ON THE CAKE

On Monday evening those in leadership positions of the church gathered together in the casual setting of our church's office for a time with our three guests. Earlier I had asked Franklin, our senior pastor, what would be happening during that time. By this time he was familiar with the style of these guys and his answer was simple: "who knows!". It turned out to be a time of incredible blessing, equipping and prophecy. None of us would have missed it for anything.

The time started with questions. In the relaxed setting of a small group we felt comfortable asking some of the most basic of questions. The time moved onto teaching and equipping. Gord demonstrated the healing of bad backs then it was our turn. Those with bad backs lined up down one side of the room. Those without bad backs lined up opposite then we paired off for prayer. Before our eyes legs and arms grew, necks clicked, shoulders freed-up and pelvises swiveled back into their rightful position. We felt limbs grow. It was the strangest of all sensations. We were like young kids squealing with delight and amazement. We just couldn't contain our excitement. But then why should we - we were witnessing the Spirit in action. This is what it was all about.

ETHICS OF HEALING

Then came the time to bless our leaders. Three couples in "official" leadership positions and one other couple received incredibly powerful prophecies giving affirmation and direction to their future roles in the church as well as the future direction of our church. The scope of the prophecies was so visionary they could only have come from God. There was looks of deep peace on the faces of those receiving the blessings and hearing the words. It was as if the deepest longings of their heats and souls were being voiced and confirmed and they were being given permission to step out. It was awesome to behold.

Somewhere during that heady evening we all stood in a large circle for a time of invocation during which time Bob, Gord and Fili went slowly from person to person. It was a time of anointing and blessing. Everyone felt touched and affirmed.


A TIME TO TEACH

It is, unfortunately, outside the scope of this brief sketch of the weekend to give a full account of the teaching that took place at each session. What did become obvious however was a set of principles each followed in their teaching. Without exception the teaching was Bible based and deeply scriptural.

While they are known for their giftings in healing, these guys are also blessed with the gift of teaching. Their style was clear, uncomplicated, and uncluttered. They spoke with authority and a quiet assurance that what they were saying was of God.

While often the teaching was directly linked with healing, there were times when its main focus was on those who had yet accepted Christ as their Saviour. While we will never know for certain, it is estimated that ten people gave their heart to the Lord that weekend. Two had been attending an Alpha course run by our church, others were relatives of church members, while others had been especially invited to come along.


A TIME TO EQUIP

A strong emphasis of the weekend was on equipping others to exercise the gift of healing. There was, therefore, a very "hands on" component to the weekend.

The Saturday evening was perhaps the most significant time of equipping. What started out as a time of teaching quickly moved into a time of healing which, in turn, became a time of equipping and empowering others. Bob and Gord moved carefully from each stage to the next ever sensitive to the Spirit and reluctant to get caught up in the headiness of what was happening. The time of equipping was preceded by a time of prayer during which time the Spirit was asked to come and anoint people with the gifting. Those seeking this gifting were asked to stand as an indication of their commitment. They were urged not to take this decision lightly; we were reminded that it was a commitment and one not to be entered into lightly.

Each of the three speakers moved quietly throughout the auditorium getting along side people instructing, encouraging and guiding. When the healing took place the glory was not on the success of their teaching style, but rather the Spirit.

I remember standing at the back of the auditorium during this time. It was simply amazing to observe. People were being healed by their friends. Husbands were healing their wives; wives were healing their husbands; parents were healing their children. Strangers were healing each other. All were simply ecstatic.

We all learn a very important lesson that evening. The giftings were ours for the asking. They did not belong exclusively to Bob, Gord or Fili. What we knew in our heads, we now knew in our hearts and souls. We (though the power of the Spirit) could do it. We had seen it happen. Our confidence that it would continue once they returned home began to increase.


A TIME TO HEAL

Without exception healings took place at each session throughout the weekend, and beyond. What was astounding was not only the number of healings but the range of conditions that were healed - anything from insomnia to indigestion; inoperable cancer to ringing in the ears.

There were times when it took courage to seek healing. Often Gord or Bob would say that they sensed someone in the congregation was experiencing a specific problem and would that person come forward. For some people this was the first time they were publicly acknowledging a particular problem but to not go forward would be to miss out on the healing.

There was immediate feedback with those who had been healed encouraged to recount their experience to all those present. This lifted the faith levels at every session.

It would be impossible to recall all incidents of healing that took place that weekend and in the days and weeks that followed. Below is a sample of what occurred. It gives a flavour of the range and scope of healing:

neck: one gentleman reported the glands in the right of his next going down immediately after prayer. He felt two clicks in the base of his neck and the whiplash that he experienced 35 years ago from a car accident was healed.
back: pain in every region of the back and through numerous causes (car accidents, work related, childbearing, sports injury) was healed. At the Saturday night session one gentleman received prayer for his bad back and left soon after. At 11:30pm, some several hours after he left, he returned to the hall. Once he arrived home he realised that his back was healed and, as he said he just had to come back to tell someone!
arms and legs: for many the pain they experience in their back or neck is due to one limb being shorter than the other. Most of those present observed legs and arms grow, often several centrimetres, bringing the shorter one into alignment with the other. Most people reported feeling "balanced" or "aligned" as a result. This was probably the most frequently occurring healing that occurred over the weekend. But other foot complaints were also healed. One gentleman had spurs on his foot. When he walked it was as if he was walking on broken glass. He was completely healed of that and can now walk pain-free
allergies: one woman in her early 50s had had to use a cortisone spray each day of her life since she was 20 years of age to relieve allergy symptoms. gShe no longer has any allergies nor does she use the spray. A very diverse range of allergies were cured over the weekend.
nose: one gentleman had a broken nose from a rugby league accident almost 20 years ago. His wife prayed that it be straightened and it was. Another gentleman had had acute allergic rhinisitis since he was a small child which caused severe headaches, vomiting and nausea. The morning after he asked for healing he woke with no coughing or vomiting - there wasn't any mucus to be cleared. As his wife said: "there has never been none".
eyes: one woman asked for her shortsightedness to be healed. Several days later as she was driving her car she felt the Lord telling her to take off her glasses (which she needed to drive). She did and was able to see distances clearly.
osteoporosis: one woman was completely healed of her osterporosis and ran around . .
mending of old broken bones, torn ligaments and muscles: many old sports injuries were healed with people regaining full movement of limbs, shoulders and elbows
migranes: one gentleman had experienced severe migranes every day for over ten years. After receiving healing they completely disappeared. Another gentleman's migranes were do bad he regularly took a box of codine tables a week. He was healed of all migranes.
cerebral palsy: two children with cerebral palsy came to the Sunday morning service. One was a little girl whose leg grew to such a degree that her doctors the following week decided she did not have to have corrective surgery as scheduled. An older boy was also present. At the time of writing this some three weeks after that day he had not fitted despite his previous pattern of fitting three to four times a week. During the time of blessing Sunday morning his mother commented on how calm and peaceful he was that day

Touching the hearts of every parent present were two pregnant women and their husbands. Each couple knew that the child they were carrying was seriously deformed. For one the chance of the baby being viable was quite minimal yet they had decided to proceed with the pregnancy against their doctor's advice. Only time will tell if the healings they so desperately sought were realised.

Also touching was the story of two twelve year old girls, one with multiple sclerosis (MS), the other with anorexia. The one with MS was so little that, for quite some time no one saw her standing for prayer. One of the guitarists on the stage finally saw her, beckoned his wife who then went over to the youngster and spoke with her and, in turn, went and got Gord to pray for her. This young lady came to every session across the weekend. When her parents were unable to bring her, the guitarist and his wife brought her. She received prayer on every occasion from a number of different people. One of her legs grew to such an extent that she does not have to have surgery to bring her legs into alignment. Her withered hand has been completely restored and she now had full movement in it. For days after her healing she repeatedly asked her mother to measure her legs so she could check that they were still the same length as each other. There is now no talk of her using a wheelchair as seemed inevitable just weeks ago. She is not completely healed but her faith has been increased mightly. She now knows from first hand experience that God is there for her.

The young girl with anorexia was to be admitted to hospital the week following the conference. She was so weak that when she stood for prayer she had to be held up by her mother and sisters. She has been completely cured of anorexia. After receiving prayer, she went home and started eating. She has gained several kilograms in weight and there is now no talk of hospitals and drips.

While each healing is significant and brings enormous relief to the recipient, perhaps the most dramatic healing over the weekend was that of a woman in her late 30s who had fractured her neck (C3) in a water skiing accident in 1986. The accident left her with torticollis which resulted in her head being permanently twisted toward her neck in a most uncomfortable way (see scanned photo). There was also mild facial asymmetry. She could not lift her arms. Simple tasks such as combing her hair were impossible. Her condition worsened after a motor car accident in late 1997.

After prayer she was able to move her head and neck freely. She can now dance and lift her arms. She didn't stop smiling the whole of the weekend. Watching her give praise (through dance and raising of the hands) during the remainder of the conference was just a delight. Following the conference she had a CT scan of the cervical spine. The report reads "the contour of the C3 vertebral body at this stage is within normal limits and the neural arch at this level is also apparently intact and normal". One woman recounted this story to three women at her work in the days after the conference and each of them gave their hearts to the Lord.

When it comes to healing God is no discerner of age as one extended family learnt first hand. Three generations were present throughout the weekend to receive healing and blessing. The mother has a history of cancer and, while quite well at the moment, still has fluid on her lungs. She received prayer for a number of aliments and was healed of these though not the fluid on her lungs. Her daughter had recently felt a lump in exactly the same place as her mother and, though telling no one, was fearing cancer. One evening Bob said that he felt a lump in his side and pointing to the spot, asked if anyone had a lump there. She went forward for prayer. Gord prayed for her husband's bad back and several of us saw one of his legs grow several centrimetres till it reached the same length as the other leg. The young woman's brother and sister-in-law both received healing for various conditions. The couple's two children were prayed for at the Sunday morning service which featured a time of blessing for the children.

While the Sunday morning church service was in progress the children left the auditorium to meet together as they usually do. That Sunday they spent the time in prayer, asking for their mates to be healed. One ten year old received healing for "silent" asthma. Before the conference her peak flow readings had been registering 150, well below the normal range. They now register 330. She is claiming healing.
And finally, there was the heartache and the questions and the doubt from those who did not receive healing. There were those who woke up each morning after having had prayer the night before, only to find that the pain was still there; the allergies still annoying; the neck still stiff. Why? Why? When so many others were completely healed. The self doubt. The questions. The memories of friends being healed of conditions that seemed to be of lesser subsequence. There were times when it just didn't make sense.


A TIME TO PROPHESY

We saw this gift being manifested in several ways. On one occasion my husband was receiving prayer from Gord. Halfway through the healing prayer Gord stopped and asked him about his work situation. He gave a brief (and, unbeknown to Gord, very accurate) thumbnail sketch of what my husband was experiencing at work and predicted ". . ". One another occasion he was praying for one person when out of the corner of his eye he spotted another woman and must have felt impressed to speak to her. He put his first prayer on hold and spoke words of prophesy to the second woman. He described her work situation and attributes of her personality that would have been unknown to him. His prophecy was encouraging and rang true to those of us who know this woman and her circumstances.


Bob Brasset "walking" on water at Coff's Harbour, Australia

rbrasset@home.com