CROWDS QUEUE OUTSIDE VENUE HOURS BEFORE START!
The in-car phone rang as we sped by car from the East coast of Ireland to the West coast, on Sunday September 12th, to hold the outreach in the TOWER Hotel which the Lord had promised us would turn the City of Sligo, upside down.
Jet-black storm crowds loomed above as the car windshield wipers struggled to cope with the torrential downpour of heavy rain. After weeks of fine weather, an angry outburst of rain and high winds marked the beginning of this, the Five Fold’s eightieth outreach. It crossed our minds that on the night of our last outreach, (in New Hampshire, U.S.A.) the same scenario had also developed.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,Ephesians 6:12 KJV
against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
On-board were Paul the Evangelist and his wife Mary, my wife Maureen and myself, and Arlene our American Evangelist dear friend who had travelled all the way from Hawaii at her own expense, to help the Five Fold Ministry reach the sick, the sad, the lonely and the lost.
The car phone rang. The animated voice of the most capable and friendly operations manager of the Tower hotel apprised us of the situation at the hotel. It was approx. 2.30 pm. The meeting was scheduled to begin at 7 pm. Craig the manager informed us that many hundreds of people were already queuing for the meeting. With the storm so bad and many of those waiting either frail or ill, we decided to open the hotel function hall even though our music ministry was still practicing.
At 3pm Craig rang back. FOUR HOURS before the scheduled opening time the hotel was now at FULL capacity. The Five Fold immediately contacted Mid-West and North-West radio stations by car phone and they broadcast an appeal to the populations of Sligo and surrounding counties to STOP coming as the crowds were causing serious problems with hotel fire and safety regulations and with pedestrian and vehicle traffic congestion around the venue. Despite this and starting the meeting three hours early, door staff reported approximately six hundred people were turned away that night.
“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”John 12:32 kjv
We considered as we drove a little faster, how we could help those terribly disappointed people who could not get in and how we could make sure that no soul was denied this opportunity to receive Jesus.
At approximately 3.45pm we rounded the corner of Quay street in Sligo to see that there were still a crowd of people trying to get through the locked and barred entrance to the hotel. At the back entrance, hard-pressed security guards approached us to tell us that “there wasn’t even standing room” before they realised that we were the ‘team’.
Within minutes I was on stage to try and calm the increasingly impatient crowd while the others checked into the hotel. Even though the crowd had been admitted four hours early, they could not understand why the meeting wasn’t starting. I assured them, (to loud moans) that the meeting would start at 4.30pm, two and a half hours early (but another forty minutes to wait).