Eric Olson is an American evangelist, associated with Friend’s in Harvest, living in Norway. Eric travels often to...
I still remember standing outside the old building on Dixon road after arriving three hours early for a meeting of what I had been told was a genuine move of God.
At the time, I was a YWAM missionary working with Cambodian refugee children in the inner city of Atlanta, Georgia, as well as making trips to Russia to help plant churches. It was August 1994, and I had an inexplicable excitement whirling inside of me during the whole trip up to Toronto. But when I came to the church, I saw a girl lying down in the grass continually bubbling with a silly laughter and without any sign of stopping. People were already starting to line up at the door, and I was really wondering what I was in for now.
When I finally came into the meeting to get a good seat, I noticed even more strange behavior, and I quickly began to question it. One guy was shaking, and others were laughing or acting a bit drunk. I was not sure at all if this was really God. After some processing and two nights of meetings, I decided to just go and get prayer. As my eyes were closed in the prayer line I heard the Lord ask me, “Eric, are you going to look at people, or are you going to look at Me?”
I said, “Yes, Lord it is You that I will look to.” Just then a ministry team member laid a hand on my forehead, and I fell on the floor. I had been touched with a tangible and powerful impartation deep within. Beyond my wildest expectations, my heavenly Father took me to a new level of experiencing His affection for me.
When I returned to my kids at our Atlanta ministry center, they looked at me as if something strange had occurred. They could see that I had been touched, because they were just smiling and staring at me as I stood in front of them. I then offered to pray for some of them in the back room, and immediately one of them who had a deaf ear heard a pop and started hearing through it. Another child who had been suffering from intense pressure in his head was instantly healed. Later that autumn, Michael, the one whose ear had been opened, gave his heart to Jesus at the Atlanta Billy Graham crusade.
Soon, kids were gathering at my home and falling under God’s power, having visions, trembling, and being overcome with joy. Amidst all of this, they were falling more in love with Jesus, and they kept saying, “Holy Spirit is here, we love the Holy Spirit!”
In the spring of 1995, I moved to Norway to work with the church there and also continue evangelistic ministry and our church planting work in Russia. By this time, the River was flowing in churches in Norway, too. And when we went to Russia, we watched people there falling under God’s power during prayer, laughing and telling how God was touching them powerfully.
In the summer of 1998, a door opened for me to go into Murmansk in northwest Russia close to the north Norwegian border above the Arctic Circle. Miraculously God gave me favor with the prison officials, and I was invited to go into three prisons on that visit. In those prisons, the Holy Spirit fell. The prisoners were healed from pain and sickness in their bodies, and after the altar calls, over eighty of them had come forward to receive Jesus.
I met with the head of the regional prisons before leaving town. He gave me a list of some items that were needed to keep the prisoners’ idle hands working as well as some other medical and practical items. The merchandise he had listed was worth over $100,000 US.
I gave the list to a friend in Norway who is involved in a large prison ministry. Somehow, it ended up in the hands of the Norwegian Department of Justice. Before I returned to Murmansk the next fall, I was summoned into the office of the chief overseer of the prisons in Murmansk. He asked, “How did you do that?”
I asked him what he meant, and he told me that the Norwegian government had sent ALL the items on the list he had given me to Murmansk! I told him that this was only the work of the Lord. Now I am able to share the love of God with them, too.
The prison administration has now arranged for a pass for me to visit all of the 8 prison facilities in this region of northwest Russia all the way down to the White Sea, and I have been able to go back several times now over these last years. In fact, I cannot stay away! These prisoners have now become my “congregation,” but even more so, my friends. And the Holy Spirit just keeps coming in new and powerful encounters in these meetings as this River of love continues to be poured out in our gatherings.
In all of my 52 trips to the former Soviet Union the last one in October 2002 may have been the best.
It seems that the River of God’s love is getting deeper than ever in our meetings.
My favorite prison is maximum- security number 16 in Murmansk. It is here where the guys are always gathered and waiting for us in the meeting hall, and even singing worship songs before we arrive. As we were there this time, after preaching we put on some light soaking music and started to pray for them. To our amazement, all of the guys at the altar as well as those in their seats just froze. They did not move for almost one hour. We did not even know how to close the meeting. And then, we realized that the guard, too, had been touched. He had fallen limp in his chair with his head bent back and eyes closed. Later, he explained that this ‘music’ had powerfully touched him. The manifest presence of the love of God had come once again to this prison, and these hungry guys were drinking it in with all their hearts.
I had come back to Norway two days before I was to leave for Russia from the October Catch the Fire conference in Toronto. I had an undeveloped roll of film that a friend had taken of a group of 40 of us from Norway. The pictures of our group showed us at the altar of the church in Toronto as we were receiving soaking prayer on the floor. One day, in a rural Russian town I had gone with my interpreter, Sasha, to the film store to pick up my pictures. As we took them out of the envelope, an amazing thing happened. I had laughed a bit at the pictures of my friends who were soaking in the Holy Spirit’s presence, but then the people in the store started laughing.
The Holy Spirit’s presence began to fill the film store.
Then suddenly a wave of laughter hit Sasha too, and by the time we got to our vehicle, a refurbished ambulance, he was in an uncontrollable state of joy. This continued for quite some time and released something that kept “springing up” in him with a glorious freedom for the rest of the three-week trip.
What God is doing through this River flowing from Toronto is so contagious and wonderfully transferable. This is especially so for those who are thirsty and just believe with childlike faith. Several people gather regularly now in Murmansk to watch our growing collection of TACF videos and hold “revival meetings” in a small concrete block apartment. And the Holy Spirit is touching them, filling them and blessing them with each gathering.
During the end of my first trip to Murmansk over four years ago, I ended up going to the local hospital by faith, because I had already said goodbye to my interpreter. To my amazement, God began to touch people powerfully as I went into the rooms to lay hands upon them and pray for them. This began a new ministry where the love of God is coming into these rooms in an irresistible fashion. We pray and share with those who suffer so much in hospitals where there is a shortage of necessary medicine.
Last autumn, we prayed for a young girl in the cancer hospital. As I felt a surge of God’s power, I spoke to her prophetically saying, “Your doctor is really going to be surprised.” What we did not know was that she had been told that she only had a few weeks to live. She was dying of leukemia.
In the spring, my interpreter asked me if I had heard the news. “What news?” I asked.
This same young girl had come to the church in Murmansk to give her testimony to the 1000 people in attendance telling how we had come to the hospital and prayed for her. She told how her doctor had come to her room with the results of a blood test some days after she had received prayer. He was overwhelmed to discover that she no longer had leukemia!
I think the Lord of joy also has a wonderful sense of humor. We are visiting hospitals, and people are getting the best medicine of all — the healing love of the Father both for their souls and bodies, and some are leaving those hospitals whole! Prisoners, orphans, and others all over the world are all so precious to the Lord. I cannot think of anything else I would rather do than continue to flow with this wonderful anointing that first touched my life in Toronto. I am prepared to keep going to Russia, to Ukraine, Norway and to every nation where this River will take me.
In fact, I think what we are seeing now is just the beginning. I remember when I was a kid that on two occasions, I played with matches and accidentally set some small fires in the woods that went out of control, and I was very sorry. They were prophetic “accidents,” I suppose. Now we have a River of the fire of God’s love, and it is touching nations. And it too is out of control, but now I am VERY glad, overjoyed, full of the love it contains and blessed it seems at every turn.
The River comes to our hearts when we receive it in childlike faith, yet it flows out and burns with life-giving love through us. As one who lives and breathes to see this River flow, I have some encouragement for you. Get ready, for the best days are just ahead.
Keep drinking God’s new wine, for you can touch a nation, too.
I know that all you have to do to be effective is to be yourself and really love people. God created you for that purpose so that you might begin to know the deepest reality of His love for you. He wills that it then flow through you as a vessel uniquely shaped for His glory. This River of Fire is never going to expire or stop running. And as a result of His wonderful power working in us, the church and the lost need never be dry and barren again. I am divin’ in. Will you do the same?
This archived article was written by Eric Philip Olson for release in Jan, 2003. Circumstances and situations may have changed regarding the author, locations and ministries. This content may therefore be outdated or misinformed.
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