Written Messages


By Harald Bredesen

Today, I would like to take you on a little trip to Bangladesh, a witnessing trip. Would you like to go along? This trip starts in New York City, where I picked up Time magazine one day, and read an article that started off, "Glossolalia, speaking in gibberish, is the fastest growing fad in Protestantism." I went down to see the religious editor and I said to him, "You describe this as gibberish. Were you doing this from a first-hand encounter or from mere hearsay?" He sort of hung his head a little bit and said, "Well, I will have to confess, mere hearsay." I said, "I want you to have a first-hand experience. If you were to ask me to pray for you in English, I would be very happy to, but I would be even more happy to pray for you in tongues, because God knows your need better than I do." I prayed for him in tongues, and told him, "If you want to know the practical value of this, it is a manifestation of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and its validity is attested to by the fact that the homosexuals and the dope addicts, the people that the standard brand churches have thrown up their hands in despair about reaching, are being reached by these Spirit-filled people." And I gave him the example of Teen Challenge.

I had been home for only an hour when the phone rang. It was Time magazine, and they said, "Where did you say we could see this demonstrated?" I gave them the address, and a few weeks later there was a beautiful illustrated article in Time magazine on Teen Challenge.

Then I picked up Time magazine again and I saw a gorgeous article about Kathryn Kuhlman. In the article it said, "Medicine has no explanation for these miracles, maybe she has the right one - that it is the power of God!" I could hardly believe my eyes. Later I saw in the Los Angeles Times an equally enthusiastic article about Kathryn Kuhlman, but in the Los Angeles Herald Examiner there appeared a snide, cynical article signed "Richard Dalrymple." I thought, "Boy, I would like to get my hands on Richard Dalrymple, maybe I could . . . bless him!"

A few weeks later, I was speaking at the regional convention of the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship in Palm Springs. There was a vast sea of cars in front of the banquet hall, and as I got out of my car, a young man got out of his, and our paths converged. "It looks to me like we are going the same way," I said. "Yes, I am here for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner to cover the story, my name is Richard Dalrymple," he responded.

As we walked to the banquet hall, I said, "Richard, have you ever heard of John M. Phillips of the New York Times?" "Have I heard of him!" he said. "He is my literary model, he is the finest writer I know." So I told him of our experience in introducing John Phillips to the baptism in the Holy Spirit. He had written an article for the Saturday Evening Post about the mystery that baffles Protestants, and in the process had received the baptism. Afterwards, he wrote an article so enthusiastic they had to send it back to him nine times for toning down.

"I went to a meeting," he said. "I was tremendously impressed. I went home and I wrote a bang-up article on it, but my boss, a woman and an atheist, said, 'Richard, what has happened to you, have you lost your critical faculties? Don't you know this Kuhlman woman is a fraud? Don't do her the dignity of calling her 'Miss Kuhlman,' call her Kuhlman. If you won't do it, I will do it.' "And," he said, "she completely re-wrote the article in the way you saw, and what made me so mad was that it came out over my name. But now I am the religious editor, and I do my own thing."

So then I asked him, "Richard, Pat Boone, George Otis and I are invited up to be with Governor Reagan tomorrow. How would you like to fly up to Sacramento with us?" Sure enough, he did, and in his hotel room, guess what happened to him!

By the way, friends, when you see these religious stories by snide, cynical writers, don't just get mad, get mad enough against the devil to pray for them. We can reach these communicators through the power of prayer.


We had moved up to Canada, and I had been away for a year, so when I got back to Los Angeles, I thought that I would call my son in the faith and see how he was getting along. When he answered the phone, he said, "Harald! . . . This is wonderful!" I said, "Why, what are you so excited about?" He said, "Well, you remember at the conclusion of World War II when General MacArthur appealed for ten thousand missionaries for a nation that was on her knees in defeat? We had a task to reach a whole nation for God, and we responded with only 187 missionaries. God gave us a chance and we muffed the ball, but now God is giving us another chance to win a whole nation, and this time we cannot muff the ball. You know, Bangladesh has been called the basket-case of the world. First, they had a tremendous typhoon in which they lost 300,000, and then they had a civil war when they broke off from Pakistan in which they lost three million because the whole nation, which is a delta, is inundated. The people are isolated in pockets of need on these little islands, and there is no way of getting food to them, because the retreating Pakistanis destroyed all the bridges and the boats and the trucks and the trains. Food that is being sent from all over the world is rotting on the wharf while these people are starving to death. Three million will be lost within two months if something is not done about it."

He said, "Do you remember Mike O'Quinn who masterminded the Biafran air-lift in the name of the Red Cross and UNESCO? He has had an experience with Jesus Christ, and now he wants to do the same thing that he did for UNESCO and the Red Cross, but in the name of Jesus Christ. What we are planning is a sort of a 'pincers movement.' Bill Savern, on whose board you serve, will hold a great evangelistic service there in Dacca at the big amphitheater, and side by side, there will be the air-drop of food. We will be ministering both to the body and to the soul at the same time, and the people of Bangladesh, who are 90% Moslem, will know that the heart that provides the food is providing the Gospel. What a chance to reach a nation! I just feel that you are to be right smack in the middle of this, and the fact that you should call right at this moment is confirmation to me."

Sometimes, it is very hard to know God's will concerning a situation when it is something you really want to do, when it is exciting and fun. So, I said, "Well, I am certainly willing. If God wants me to, you won't have to twist my arm, but He is going to have to show His hand. I will try to help you." So I phoned the editor of Christian Life magazine for whom I frequently write, and I told him the story. He said, "This is a tremendous story, we will back it in every way we can, and Harald, how would you like to fly over to Bangladesh and do the story?" Knowing my fare was a thousand dollars, I said, "What is it worth to you, Bob?" He said, "A thousand dollars." But, I still needed further confirmation from the Lord. I really cried out to Him, and late one night, God spoke to me that this was definitely His will. Isn't it wonderful, God wants you to do fun things too. Sometimes we almost feel guilty because some things are so much fun.


It was agreed that Bill Savern and Richard Dalrymple were going to fly over by commercial plane and Foundation Airborne Relief would go over with a big cargo plane. I was flying over separately, as I had speaking engagements on the way, and we were all to converge at Dacca. I got as far as Dallas, Texas, when I got a call from Richard. "Haven't you gone yet?"I asked. He said, "We have gone and come back in defeat. Since America has sided with Pakistan against Bangladesh and India, the word 'America' is like a red flag over there. We went to the campus of the Dacca University, and when they discovered we were Americans, there was a riot. It was as if they were out to kill us, we had to flee for our lives. We spent the rest of our time in fear. The press has turned completely against America, and when we proposed holding the big campaign to the missionaries there, they said, 'We couldn't touch it with a ten foot pole, led by an American.'" I asked, "How about Foundation Airborne Relief?" He said, "Because of government red tape, they haven't gotten airborne yet, and there is a question as to whether they will."

I phoned Bill Savern, the evangelist, and he asked me, "Harald, do you know anyone over there in Bangladesh?" I said, "I don't know a soul, who should I know?" He said, "Father, Son and Holy Ghost! You had better know them, and you had better know that they are sending you, or you are in for a bad time!"

I cried out to God. It looked as if my story was gone, I had no contacts there, and the embarrassing thing was that my congregation had sent me off with a tremendous amount of fanfare. There had been glorious prophecies of how wonderfully God was going to open doors and bless in Bangladesh, and they had a round-the-clock prayer chain. To go back to them now in defeat was unthinkable, so I just cried out to God. Nothing seemed to make sense, everything seemed to be falling through. Then about 3 o'clock in the morning, God said, "Didn't I say that you were to go to Bangladesh? Your orders still stand."


This time I left town without fanfare. I flew to New York City, put the last finishing touches on my book, "Yes, Lord!", and went to Kennedy Airport. Now when you are going to be on a plane for 33 hours, if you have any sense, you will arrive early in order to get first choice of seats; one against the window so that you can prop yourself up and not have to sit bolt upright between persons on either side. As I mounted that ramp, I really felt low. I was mad at myself for getting the last choice of seats, and I said, "Oh, Lord, I will arrive tired, not being able to sleep on the way, and I won't be any good for You for three days after I arrive. I don't know why I am going to Bangladesh, I don't have one contact, I don't seem to have any reason for going, and there may be no story because Foundation Airborne Relief hasn't gotten airborne." I was so low, but in that moment of despair, God spoke three words to me that set my feet a-dancing. The first word was, "I have chosen your plane seat." The second word was, "You are going to Bangladesh under sealed orders, you will not know until you get there why you are there." And the third word was, "My love through you will open every door that I want opened."

I got onto the plane and there was my empty seat right between two young Brahman doctors, high caste Hindus. The one on my left was from Hyderabad, and the one on my right from Kashmir together with his beautiful sari-clad bride. The Lord said, "Don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes." In other words, "Don't feel you have got to move in immediately and lead them to Me. Just sit back, relax and enjoy them, and let me love them through you."


At 6 o'clock in the morning, two hours before we were to land in New Delhi, God said, "OK, shoot!" I turned to the doctor on my right, and I said, "Would you mind if I told you a story?" He said, "Why, of course not, go ahead." What could he say, he was sitting between me and the window. I said, "This is an experience I had in Karazawa, a mountain resort of Japan. At 2 o'clock one morning, I was awakened, and I felt that God was telling me to get up, dress and go out. I thought maybe He wanted me to go over to the chapel and spend the night in prayer. It is a bit chilly up in the mountains even in the summer time, and you think twice before you forsake a nice snug bed. You want to be sure it really is the Lord Who is saying this to you. I debated for about 15 minutes, and finally decided the only way to find out if this really was the voice of God was to get up and check it out." (Many times you have to go down the road a piece in order to know whether God is in it or not).

"I got up, got dressed and went out. The chapel was locked up tight. 'It was not the Lord after all,' I thought, 'but at least I checked it out, and now back to bed.' Then I saw a light shining through the lattice door of a Shinto shrine, a temple. It seemed almost to beckon me. I thought, 'How strange, that is a very ancient temple they told me this morning, but it is no longer used as a temple, it is an historical monument. The only time it is used is once a year at the annual festival and that took place a month ago. Yet, here is a light shining through the door, I must investigate.'

"I walked toward it, and came through a big old Japanese gate. On the left was a fountain, and set in a park was this beautiful temple. As I came close, I could hear voices of young men and women engaged in very animated conversation, as if they were in a heated argument; they burst into peals of laughter, and then heated argument again. I wondered what they could be arguing about at two o'clock in the morning."

"Every university student has to study English around the world today, it is the universal language. I walked up to them, and I discovered they were all students of journalism from the University of Sophia, which is the Harvard of Japan. They were living together, men and women, in a three day outing in this temple. A moment later, they escorted me into the temple, and there was a long low table set with a typical Japanese spread of salmon imbedded in balls of rice, wrapped with pickled seaweed, served with cokes, the universal drink. As we sat cross-legged around the table, I was realizing why God had awakened me, and I began to speak to them about God."


"They looked at me in amazement. 'This is astounding!' they exclaimed. 'Do you know what we were sitting out here arguing about? We were arguing about whether there was a God or whether there was none, and here you, a total stranger from a different nation, come to us out of the night and pick up the conversation right in the middle!' So I told them how God had impressed me to dress and go out, not knowing why I was going, 'And,' I said, 'He did it because He loves you.' When I said, 'He loves you,' it was just as if a bolt of God's love, the love that drew Jesus to the cross all the way from His throne, that Calvary love, that yearning love, just filled my being. I could feel it reaching out and holding them like a vise. 'But,' I said, 'you cannot know the infinite God with your finite minds, any more than you can embrace the sun with your bare arms. I would like to tell you a little story that I made up for my children.' (Now, this is a story within a story, within a story, and remember, I am sharing it with the doctor from Kashmir on the plane.)"

"I said, 'Once upon a time, when the earth was much further from the sun than it is today, and therefore a very cold, dark, dank place, the old man of the sun looked down upon man in his misery. He saw him eking out his wretched existence from a cold, clammy earth, and his heart was moved with compassion. He said, 'I would like to go down to earth to illumine men with my light, to warm them with my heart, but my light is so bright that instead of illumining them, it would blind them, my heat so intense that instead of warming them, it would consume them.' His son, Sunlight, said, 'Father, let me go. I will convey just enough of your light to illumine without blinding, just enough of your heat to warm without consuming.' I said, 'We cannot embrace the sun with our bare arms, but the sun can and does mediate itself to us through the sunlight, which is the sun on the level of our need on terms that we can appropriate. Just as scientists can put the sunlight through a prism, the spectroscope, and determine every element in the heart of the sun' - they found helium there before they found it down here – 'so in Jesus Christ we can know everything that is in the heart of God for us, because He is God on the level of our need in terms that we can appropriate.' They said, 'This is so interesting. Would you come back tomorrow morning, we would like to invite our friends in.' I did, and several came to Christ that day."


When I finished telling that story to the doctor from Kashmir, he said, "Very interesting . . . got any more?" So then I told him the greatest story every told, and in the presence of the doctor on my left and his wife on his right, he prayed the salvation prayer and received Christ as his Saviour. "Would you please come to us in Kashmir," he said, "and stay in our home. I will invite my family and friends in and you can share with them this word you have given me." And the young doctor from Hyderabad said, 'Would you come to Hyderabad and bring Jesus to us too?" MY LOVE WILL OPEN EVERY DOOR THAT I WANT OPENED. And here, we had not even touched ground yet . . . Isn't God wonderful?

When we touched down in New Delhi, I was to go across country by train with my assistant pastor's father who is an East Indian. On the train seated next to me was this fine looking engineer who had just come from a Hindu retreat. "We had so many miracles there!" He exclaimed. "We have these retreats, and we get close to our god. The head of the retreat was a woman of great spiritual power." I saw that he was so full of Hinduism that there was no use in trying to share Christ with him at that point. Then the Holy Spirit said, "Pump him dry." (So many times we try to fill up a full well.) So, as I plied him with questions about Hinduism, his young friend said to him, "Don't you see what he is up to? He is out to convert you." (Of course I couldn't understand, but my Indian friend interpreted). But he kept on talking. Finally, when I had pumped him dry, I said, "Now, would you like to know what we Christians believe?" What could he say? So we shared Christ with him, and in the presence of his cynical friend and that whole train car, he received Christ as his Saviour.

We got on the plane that was to take us to Dacca, and seated next to me once again was a young engineer. He was the project engineer for the erection of a big dam in northern India. As we spoke, I said to him, "Did you know that Christianity is an indigenous faith of India, that we are not some 'Johnny-come-latelys'? We have been here 600 years longer than the Moslems have." (Most people don't realize that.) "Yes," he answered, "I am aware of this fact. I happen to be a Brahman Hindu myself, but I live in Bombay, and not far from our home is St. Thomas Boulevard, named after the apostle who brought Christianity to India in the 1st Century." "Would you like to know how he happened to come?" I asked. Sitting between me and the window, he couldn't say anything but "Yes."

I said, "It is very significant that Thomas, known as the doubting apostle, traveled the furthest to establish the church that has lasted the longest in continuous history, once he had met the risen Christ. This is how it happened. He was a carpenter, practising his trade in Odessa on the northern coast of the Black Sea, which is now southern Russia. He heard that the Sultan of Malabar, here in India, on the southeast coast, was building a palace. He volunteered as the world's first technical missionary to work on that palace. One day on his way to work, he saw three Brahman priests standing outside the temple before huge lavers of water very much like in the Old Testament. They were scooping the water over their heads, and with each scoop they were saying, 'I am a sinner . . . I was born a sinner . . . I was reared a sinner. . . I will die a sinner.' He went up to them and he said, 'Would you like to know the solution for sin?' They said, 'We did not know there was one.' He said, 'Well, there is one and that is why I am here.' Then he gave them God's provision for sinners."


"They said, 'How do we know that you are a representative of the Most High God? We have our gods, too.' So he said, 'Ask of me a sign.' They said, 'Alright, we will. When we scoop the water over our heads, you command in the name of your God, Jesus, that the hollow in the water remain, and the water remain suspended over our heads until you command it in the name of your God, Jesus, to come down.' He did it in Jesus' name, and it happened. Those three Brahman priests became the first converts to the Christian faith there, which is going strong to this day."

I turned to the Brahman engineer, and I said, "Would you like to know the provision for sin that those three Brahman priests heard from the lips of St. Thomas?" He said, "I would, indeed," and I shared it with him. "And," I said, "there is a light that lighteth every man, and every man knows way down deep, maybe it is suppressed in his subconscious, but he has an instinctive awareness that God is a holy God, that he is a sinner, and that some day he is going to have so stand before Him." Then I shared God's provision for sinners, and he too, was gloriously saved right there on that plane.

When I arrived at Dacca, I said, "Now Lord, you know I am only going to be here for two weeks, so I am trusting you to bring across my path those souls whose hearts you have prepared, that my short time not be wasted." The very first Sunday, I went to the Union Church service where everybody goes who is from abroad. There, I met a Lutheran missionary nurse who was head of the nursing staff at Bangladesh Orthopaedic Hospital. In short order, she received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and she said, 'Now I want you to come back and address the entire staff of our hospital. I went, and there were Moslems, and sheiks and so forth, and some Christians - it was not a Christian hospital. I shared Christ, and when I was through, a young sheik - he was a movie version of one of them, a white turban, a big black beard, piercing eyes and extremely handsome - came up to me and said, "I am a sheik. We sheiks have no need of your Jesus. We go right through to God." They are a very proud race. I said, "You remind me of a story."

"After I was ordained in the ministry, I had a call of God on my life to reach business executives. So instead of taking a church, I went into business on the 70th floor of the Empire State Building. One day, a young British aristocrat came to my office. He was so sophisticated there seemed to be no way of approaching him. Finally, out of desperation, I said, 'George, what do you think of Jesus Christ?' (When looking for an opening, so often, I find that this is the best.) He said, 'Who knows, a myth perhaps, how can you know?' 'Would you like to know?' I asked. 'Why sure,' he said."


"So I took him into the third chapter of Revelation, 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock.' 'George,' I said, 'What does Jesus say that He is doing here?' 'Well, He says He is knocking, seeking admittance into my heart,' he answered. 'Well, is He?' I asked. 'How can you know?' was his reply. 'That is the whole point,' I said. 'You cannot know who is outside that door until you open the door and see.' He said, 'That makes sense, but how do you open the door?' I said, 'You cannot approach Jesus as a fact, because, to you, He is not a fact, so you have to be very scientific about this, and pray a hypothetical prayer.' 'What is a hypothetical prayer?' he asked. 'You just say, Jesus, whoever you are, whatever you are, if you are, come into my heart, and reveal yourself to me, and if you do, I will serve you,' I answered. 'And be sure to add that clause, if you do, I will serve you, because otherwise there would be no point in His revealing Himself to you. Then be sure you give Him a chance to reveal Himself to you through His Word. Here is a New Testament in modern English. Would you be willing to do that?' 'Why sure,' he said. 'OK,' I said, 'Let's get down and do it.' 'Here in this office?' he said, 'Oh, I could never do that.' I said, 'When will you do it?' He said, 'I will do it tonight at 9 o'clock.' 'OK,' I said, 'We will be thinking of you.'

That night at 9 o'clock, he had completely forgotten his promise. He had been sight-seeing all day and he was tired, so he decided to retire early, and had just gotten to bed when, outside, the tower clock went BONG! BONG! Now guess how many strokes there were. He said, 'Uh, oh, 9 o'clock, I have an appointment.' He got out of his bed, onto his knees, and he prayed his prayer. (Friends, this is such a useful tool in evangelism, especially with agnostics. This is how you find out if they really do want to know God.) He felt nothing, but he thought, 'At least I have kept my part of the bargain, now back to bed.' During the next three days, he read the New Testament right straight through to Revelation. The third night he had just gotten into bed when great cleansing waves rolled over him, and he felt as spotless and as innocent as a new-born babe. He said, 'I felt at that moment as if an immense weight of guilt was lifted off of me, and it was so amazing because I did not know it was there, much less how heavy it was, until the moment it was lifted. God spoke to me and said, "You have just been born into the family of God, and just as a child must grow in the likeness of his parents, so you must grow in the likeness of Jesus Christ. Feed on my Word."' Today, he has a tremendous work for Christ."

This young sheik, who was head of the physical therapy department said, "Sir, I must see you."

A young Moslem staff member said, "I want to come too." The sheik said, "No, I want to see him alone for at least half an hour." So it was agreed that he should come the next afternoon at two o'clock.


The next morning, I walked into the lobby of the Dacca Hotel, a very big international hotel, and as I went to the cash register to pay my bill, the Moslem university student behind the cash register looked at me and said, "Sir, who are you?" Now, I did not have my clericals, I had no means of identification there. I said, "Why do you ask?" He said, "Because the entire staff, all of us, feel that you really love us. I was just talking to the head waiter, and he feels this too." I said, "Well, you see what it is, it is Jesus in loving you through me." "Oh," he said, "I see. You mean that God has given you some of the very qualities of Jesus." I said, "Oh, it is far better than that. God has given me Jesus Christ Himself, and Jesus is living in me, and it is He that is loving you." He said, When can I see you?" I said, "OK, today at one o'clock." At one o'clock, he came up to my room, and friends, in minutes he had met Jesus Christ as Saviour and Baptizer, and was worshipping Him. Praise God. MY LOVE THROUGH YOU WILL OPEN EVERY DOOR THAT I WANT OPENED.

While he was rejoicing in the Lord, there was a knock at the door, and there stood the sheik, tall and straight and immensely handsome. The first young man, the Moslem university student, gave his testimony to him and departed. The moment we were alone, he said, "Pastor, I was not interested in your Jesus until you told about the Englishman who had that terrible load of guilt that was lifted from him. I am a ladies man. My boast has been all my feminine conquests, but about three weeks ago, I began feeling so guilty about it all, my boast became my shame. I felt that I must cleanse myself, but I did not know how to cleanse myself. Then you came last night and you told about the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses from all sin. That is what I want." He was gloriously saved and filled.

The next day, I went back to the Bangladesh Orthopaedic Hospital, and there was our sheik coming across the campus with a big grin on his face. An associate who was standing next to me said, "Look at him, see that happy smile on his face." I said, "What do you think makes him so happy?" He said, "Oh, he has found God!" The last I heard, he is preparing to go into full-time Christian ministry for the Lord Jesus.

Oh, by the way, Foundation Airborne Relief arrived with a big cargo plane, and we went out with them in their airdrop. We wrote several stories, one was called, "Land of Two Hungers," and others which appeared in Christian Life magazine.


The last day there, I decided I was going to see how the other half lived. I decided not to go into the common dining room, but rather to go into the state dining room, where the elite ate. I arrived after the main rush hour, so I had it pretty much to myself. A young waiter came up to my table, and I began to talk to him about the Lord, and then another young waiter came up and I started talking to him, then a third waiter, and a fourth waiter, and finally there were five waiters. I guess most of them were university students clustered around my table. The Moslem head waiter came up and he said, "Sir, are these men bothering you?" I said, "Not at all."

They said, "As you have probably noticed, each one of us has a Portuguese first name. This is because we trace our spiritual descent to the Portuguese missionaries who came over here in the 16th Century and established the Christian faith here, and we want you to go with us to the cathedral this afternoon for mass at 4 o'clock." So we met at 4 o'clock, and as we walked across the park toward the cathedral together, our arms were around each other, and I was teaching them the chorus, "Praise God," and can you guess where they took me? They took me to the palace of the archbishop.

When I met him, he said, "Why are you here?" I said, "Have you ever heard of the charismatic renewal? He said, "As a matter of fact, I just got two letters for the first time from fellow priests over there about this movement." I said, "That is why I am here." He said, "You could not have come at a better time. This just happens to be the week in which all our bishops and priests and nuns and theological professors and lay people from all over the nation of Bangladesh are gathering here for our annual convocation. Would you come to the palace for dinner tonight?" There is no public relations man like the Holy Spirit. He is a wonderful Manager.

Seated next to me at that long table was a handsome young professor from Dacca University. The same university where, just three weeks before, my two buddies had experienced a riot and had to flee for their lives. The only Christian professor, a Catholic, on that university campus, God had seated next to me. We shared there at the table, and then he drove me to the hotel, and we went for a walk in the hotel garden. Suddenly, he lifted his hands and began worshipping God in the most beautiful Benghali, only it was not Benghali, it was a heavenly language! Before we left, we had a strong beachhead both at the Catholic Theological Seminary and at the university campus for Jesus, Saviour and Baptizer. Then I knew what the sealed orders were under which God had brought me to Bangladesh.

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