Impact World Tour began on January 19, 2004 at Awapuni Stadium, Gisborne, New Zealand. Since that time performances have been held in close to 50 cities and towns across New Zealand. On April 7 the final performances were held in Northland at Kaitaia and Whangarei. The effect seen in New Zealand today from IWT is that over 300,000 people heard a clear and relevant Gospel and over 23,000 people felt compelled to make the choice to follow Christ with their lives. This does not include decisions made by people from outreaches to prisons, schools and in IWT lead-up events.
The response of the cities and towns to IWT has been overwhelmingly positive, with testimonies of change and transformation within the lives of people in the different communities. Bruce Gollan, who was involved in the Papakura events in Auckland, relates a testimony from the nights. He says, Immediately prior to the IWT events, a family had attended several sessions with their minister, finally deciding to separate. The mother and daughter attended the first night and came forward. The father and son attended the second night and came forward. The family, totally reunited, came to the last night, happy, satisfied and reconciled. Even their minister was amazed and very moved himself.
Another story of change came from one of the Christchurch counsellor training sessions. I was at a counsellor training in Christchurch and a Maori guy named Jamie was there. He was from Christchurch, but had been up in Gisborne when the tour started. He gave his life to Christ in Gisborne and then came back down to his home city a couple of weeks later. Now he was doing counsellor training so that he can be a counsellor when IWT comes to Christchurch, which was really exciting to me! It shows Gods multiplication of whats going on. Its not just, one person gets converted, but theres a quick return.
Is discipleship after the events successful? This is a common question asked of campaign style evangelism. Following is a related testimony from Hamilton. Teens leaders have been greatly encouraged. They have committed to working together, creating a greater sense of unity. Two main events "Impacted" (Children) and "Aftershock" (Pre-teens) have resulted in many new kids making decisions to follow Jesus, who did not attend the campaign nights, but were brought by their friends to these citywide events. The Children and Pre-teen leaders of the city now meet every month for prayer and will join together every third month for further citywide events. Never before have the leaders worked together. This is truly a testimony of God's power by his spirit, seeing the church in unity and the Kingdom of God increase.
In Blenheim, every church in the community was involved in preparing for IWT, promoting incredible unity. The prayer chairperson recalls, The churches here have really got together. Im in the prayer area, thats an area where the churches have come together. The tour and show tonight was what brought us together, but the bringing together was almost more important than the actual event, because thats going to be on going. All the churches are calling it, one church many congregations.
The weather was a major factor during the time IWT was touring New Zealand. The worst storm in 100 years hit Wellington during the weeks IWT was there. One description from that night was, As we were praying before the performance began, Mark Anderson came past with TX International and said they were beginning the show early as it looked like lightning was about to set in. The show began, declaring not only to the huddled crowd of about 800 up in the stands, but also to the heavens, that Jesus Christ is Lord! As the team broke bricks and bent steel bars, the lightning flashed and the rain and wind gusted straight across the stage, hitting the guys hard. All the while, everyone was praying and as Kevin Stark preached the Gospel at the end, the torrential rain and strong winds ceased and all was still - it was amazing. For the rest of the time the weather remained calm. Tonight at the Basin Reserve, from a crowd of just 800, 137 people came forward in response to the call to follow Christ. Praise God!
The belief is that Impact World Tour New Zealand will serve as a catalyst for evangelism, from which many more will choose to follow Christ with their lives in this nation. Pam Benseman of Wanganui says, I see the effects of what you have done (depositing the Gospel) in centres throughout N.Z, like the IMPACT a pebble has when it's thrown into a pool. Those ripples keep going out, long after the pebble has disappeared from sight. Last night at Intercessors we were told a 'Drug Arm' team was being set up among the churches here. Praise God! I believe God has used you as a catalyst for many 'Divine Reactions' to take place.
A final testimony just in is of a young man who made a commitment when IWT was at Masterton. This comes from Frank Lauridsen, who was an IWT facilitator in the Wellington region.
In the past Easter weekend 2004, a guy of only 17 years old, died in a traffic accident in Masterton. He was on the backseat - driving with a carload of young people, and he was the only one that died. The guy that drove the car will apparently be injured for life though. The guy recently dedicated his life fully to Jesus at a Team Xtreme night in Masterton, and he was reading his bible regularly, as well as telling quite a few people about Jesus. He was also encouraging a few of his friends, not to commit suicide. The family is very encouraged that he dedicated his life. The last few weeks before he died, he was talking a lot to people about what to do when he died, and that when he died one day, it would probably be in a car accident.
God is not finished; He will continue to do many great things in this nation. The thanks and glory goes to God for His guidance, blessing and transformation of many thousands of lives during this time of Impact World Tour in New Zealand.