Friday, 27 November 2020

I Interviews

Interview: Steve Stewart

Steve Stewart is passionate about changing the world. It is this drive that founded Impact Nations after establishing 3 Christian schools, planting 7 churches and forming Healing Rooms in over 30 communities. It is this passion in overdrive that enabled Stewart to impact the world on a true global scale. In our in-depth interview, he speaks from experience, from the heart, and shares a vision to do even more than he has been able to accomplish thus far.
 
Be forewarned, though. In my two-part interview with this advocate and humanitarian, the torch he carries may become addicting. Should that happen, he offers words of wisdom for directing that driving force so that you, too, can influence your world.
 
MN-  I understand that you recently returned from a missions trip to India. Tell me a little about that region and some of the things you have been able to accomplish while there.
 
SS- Impact Nations took a team of 30 from Australia, Canada, the UK and the US into northern India, which is the least reached area of that country; in fact, there are still over 3,300 unreached people groups in the north. We went into towns and villages, and into two city slums. In each place we conducted mobile medical clinics among the poor, provided a permanent source of safe drinking water (to about 750 people), shared the Gospel and healed the sick. Here is one of the reports I wrote during the Journey:
 
The Gospel is being embraced by almost everyone. I say almost, because there must have been some people who did not come forward to give their lives to Jesus, but I couldn’t see any of them. Once again, every hand went up. There was a huge crush of people who immediately came forward at the invitation. The crowd at the front was so dense that many of the Impact team had to go to the back in order to have room to pray for people. And once again, healing after healing took place. Some members reported 100% healing.
 
There were so many healings throughout the day––both during the medical clinic and at the evening outdoor meeting––that I will only mention a few highlights. Merve, who is heading up the medical team for this Journey, had an older woman come. She couldn’t hear, so Merve looked at her ears with his scope. Both of her eardrums were ‘atrophied’ (his term); they were opaque and shriveled. Merve prayed for her and suddenly she could hear perfectly. He decided to look in her ears again with the scope. Merve was amazed to see two soft, translucent eardrums that he told me were like those of a baby. Later a man with severe cataracts came to him. After prayer, the man could see perfectly. Merve looked at his eyes with his instrument and the cataracts had completely disappeared.
 
Tina prayed for a woman who received healing then gave her life to Jesus. A few minutes later she came back with six more women. Tina prayed for each one of them in turn; each one was healed and each one asked Jesus into her life.
 
Once again we are reminded that the cornerstone of the Gospel is to demonstrate the love of God, both practically and supernaturally. Follow-up has already begun with Randeep’s team. They have identified ‘houses of peace’ (Lu 10:6) where new house churches will be started right away.
 
MN- Considering church as we know it in the West, and then comparing their level of spirituality, what could we learn from India's faith journey?
 
SS- The church in India has fascinated me for years; since the 1990’s I have been to India 17 times. Over the past few years I have become relationally connected with the largest House Church movement in the country. Both the size and ongoing growth of this movement is almost beyond description. Thousands are being baptized every day. Earlier this year, they celebrated Pentecost by having all the house churches baptize new believers––over one million were baptized. That’s a good day!
 
There are many things that we in the West can learn from our Indian brothers and sisters. Here are just a few of them:
 
I have attended many different house churches in their movement. At the heart of each one was an unshakeable commitment to The Great Commission––making disciples. As a result, whenever they gathered, many brought others who did not yet know Jesus. From the first day, a new believer is a disciple who is reaching out to others with the Good News of Christ. They are not waiting to learn more before starting. They understand they have been rescued by Christ for His great cause.
 
Because the Lord is adding to their numbers daily, the church is filled with new believers whose faith is constantly being demonstrated in their lifestyle. They constantly share Christ with those around them and pray for the sick out in their communities; this is reflected in their continual stream of miraculous testimonies.
 
The Indian believers live with both a contentment and trust for their material needs to be met daily, and they share what they have with one another. This is particularly striking in a country where they have no medical, unemployment or life insurance and no pensions. Yet their need for food, housing and clothing is every bit as acute as ours in the West. These house church communities really do put their trust in Jesus for all their needs.
 
I have traveled over 2,500 kilometers around India, visiting house churches. Consistently, I have observed two predominant characteristics: great joy and great faith. Our Western team returned home greatly impacted by seeing the life of the early church described in Acts lived out among the Indian believers.
 
MN-  Let's talk about your book, When Everything Changes. A chance meeting with God does that, and in your book you give powerful examples of those that met God through physical healings. Many believers in the states have never personally witnessed a miracle such as healing and subsequently, have a hard time believing that God is still in the "healing business". What was the most profound transformation that you witnessed through healing?
 
SS- Wow, that is tough. I saw my first healing in December 1977 and since then there have been thousands. Jesus loves to heal and I have watched him do is so many times that I have forgotten way more healings than I have remembered. I’ll mention a few, but if you asked me tomorrow, the list might be different.
It always touches me deeply when the Lord opens the ears of deaf children because beyond healing, instantly the possibilities for their lives forever change. Sometimes Jesus also instantly gives a child speech which astounds me, because how can someone who has never heard a sound, begin to speak fluently? Surely, only Jesus could do that. That happened with a seven year old Muslim girl in India. The effect rippled out to touch the Muslim chief who was also healed. From that, the community donated land where we built a medical clinic to care for the entire community–-Muslim, Christian and Hindu. Then there was nine year old Angelica in the Philippines who instantly received her healing and began to speak over the joyful shouts of her friends and family. A life rescued and changed forever.
 
Impact Nations was in a re-settlement camp in Haiti last spring. One evening the Lord was healing many. About ten feet from me, I watched as two team members prayed for a little girl about five who had been born completely deaf. Suddenly her eyes got big and she began to look around. Bystanders realized what was happening and began to shout. The little girl covered her ears to the first sounds she had ever heard. A few feet away, an elderly woman came slowly forward, leaning heavily on her cane. She said that her back was very sore. As I reached around to put my hand on her back, I was very surprised to discover that she was a very severe hunchback, with a huge hump on her back. As soon as I started praying, the hump began to shrink and in only a few moments it was gone. She threw her cane away and, with her arm behind her trying to find the missing hump, she walked as straight and strong as anyone. These two healing, only a few feet apart, really affected me. God not only rescues the life of a little girl, but in His mercy, He reaches down to an old lady so that her final years can be lived without pain or impediment.
 
One final example of transformation through healing: Last October I took a team to Kenya for a Journey of Compassion. While driving through a village that was Christian on one side and Muslim on the other, we got out and began to make some noise (music?) to gather a small crowd. I invited sick to come forward and the Impact team would pray for them. A blind Muslim woman was brought to me. In a moment, Jesus completely healed her eyes. I explained to her who had healed her and she gave her life to Christ. A few minutes later, her 20-something son was brought to us to see for himself what had happened. He was deeply impacted and came to Christ, too. Then he asked my Kenyan friend to accompany him to the police station.  It turns out he was a notorious gangster in the nearby city and he wanted to turn his guns and himself in (which he did). When the Kingdom comes, everything changes.
 
Next month, my interview with Steve Stewart continues as he shares-among other things-the moment he knew he would do missions work, the difference between being a believer and a follower of Jesus, and how God uses each of us to rescue others.

Author Bio

Steve Stewart is the founder and president of Impact Nations. As a young married man, Steve encountered Christ in 1976; his life immediately and radically changed. Five years later, he pastored his first church while also working for a school board. Following this, Steve established three Christian schools in western Canada. In 1987, he, his wife Christina and their four sons moved to Ontario to plant churches. Over the next fifteen years they planted—either directly, or by training and sending out teams–– seven churches in Ontario, BC and Russia. They also began Healing Rooms in Canada; eventually Healing Rooms were established in over 30 communities.

In 2003, while returning from a ministry trip in Korea, Steve had an encounter that changed his life’s direction. While flying, he sensed the Lord come near to him and ask, “What do you want to do with the rest of your life? I will let you do anything.” Steve’s response was, “If I can do anything, then with the rest of my life I want to rescue lives: spiritually, supernaturally, economically, medically, educationally.” From that encounter was birthed Impact Nations. To his amazement, from that time on, Steve began to receive invitations to come to various places in the developing world. Bringing supernatural and practical manifestations of God’s Kingdom to the poor, the lost and the oppressed is the passion of Steve’s life.

A gifted teacher and preacher, Steve carries a powerful message of hope and vision for what God is doing right now in both the developed and developing world. He operates in a strong healing anointing and is passionate about the Kingdom of God and Social Justice. He teaches scriptural principles, always with a strong emphasis on practical application.
 
You can learn more about Impact Nations by visiting their website. You can also order When Everything Changes through Impact Nations.

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