Part of our assignment in Bougainville as given by God, was to find the remaining revivalist from 30 years ago and have them pray over Royree and impart to her before they die. Thursday was our first day to go looking for some of them. Finding people in villages is not an easy task. They can’t be reached by phone and they travel around a lot. They don’t live by schedules or clocks here. Ishmael, the man who led the Bougainville Revolutionary Army in the 80s and 90s against Papua New Guinea and his pastor Jonathan escorted us. This was highly unusual for them to stop what they were doing to help us but they felt God speak to them and they obeyed. The trip had its challenges. We drove 5 hours on roads that are extremely rough. Roads like these are not often found in the U.S. After making he long trip we discovered the man we were looking for has gone to his wife’s village so back we went several hours. By this time rain had come and we had to drive back across rivers that were now rising. At times The crossing was perilous. In the states roads would be closed with water this high but our guides are very seasoned and knew what to do. When we got to the village where the man was we were looking for, the river between us and his village was very high. Ishmael stopped the vehicles and sent men in on foot to find the man. When the men didn’t return Ishmael ordered every one out of the truck and drove himself across the river. By now the water was nearly halfway up across his Toyota 4wheel drive truck. Within a few minutes he returned with Joshua, the man we were looking for. Royree was beside herself. She has been looking for him fo 16 years. In 1960, Joshua was alone when the Lord overtook him and filled him with His spirit. He is the man God used to usher in a spectacular revival across the Solomon Islands full of signs and wonders. During a sermon Joshua walked off he platform and was suspended in mid-air. He raised people from the dead. The list goes on. Whenever he preached signs and wonders followed accompanied by wind, lightning and thunder and that’s how he became known as the Son of Thunder. He raised up many young men that followed and served with him and they were known as the Sons of Thunder. One of his spiritual sons joined us on the journey to locate him. I think it’s fair to say he is a legend in the Solomon Islands. It took no coaxing to get him to come with us. He had read Royree’s book Sons of Thunder and God told him she was coming. He had a bag full of journals that he has kept over the last 55 years of his walk with God and he wants to give hem to Royree to write the story. FYI- Royree wrote the book Sons of Thunder in 2008. She gave it that title because God showed her that title in a dream. She only found out 18 months ago that Sons of Thunder was the name of Joshua and his followers years ago. She was overjoyed to meet him to say the least. He agreed to come back to Arawa- the town where we are staying- so we could videotape an interview with him on Friday.imageOn the way back one of the rivers we had previously crossed had risen too high and was running too fast so we were forced To wait for it to go down for about 3 hours.  While we waited darkness came. Fireflies came out and flew down by the water. The locals were worried because they say every time the fireflies (lightning bugs) go down by the water something bad happens. Well it did. The brakes on a truck that was waiting for the water to go down released by itself in a freak accident and killed a young girl, probably in her late teens. The locals believed it was caused by the bad spirits that were upset that Joshua had come out of his village. We were parked right in front of a village and many of the villagers began to wail and mourn. Royree gathered us together to worship and pray. We did and about a dozen of the villagers joined us. It seemed to bring a level of peace.

It certainly curtailed the excitement of the day. We finished the trip back to our base. Joshua stayed in Joshua my son’s room that night. Yes that put a smile on my face! The next day we videotaped the interview with Joshua and during the interview he said great American revivalists like TL Osborne and Oral Roberts and W Brenham and William Seymour had poured into him thru teachings and books and if it hadn’t been for them, especially Osborne who prayed over him, he wouldn’t have been able to do what he has done. When he said that, I felt something like thick oil pour over my head down to my shoulders, through my torso and legs and finally my feet. Tears ran down my face. It was completely involuntary. I heard the Lord say, “now you know one reason you are here. America poured into the great move Bougainville experienced thru these men, and now I’m giving it back to you to take to America.” An interesting note is that Oral Roberts and TL Osborne were both from Oklahoma and I was born and raised in Oklahoma. Before we finished Joshua prayed over all of us. What a thrill!!

We went to Jonathan’s church this morning (Sunday) and Royree and Joshua both spoke. Ishmael led worship. What an experience. We are off to a village in the morning to take food to the villagers and pray with them. We have no game plan just following where He leads. Ishmael promised to play the shofar for me that we brought him before we leave.

We love the people. We love the adventure. It is a trip we will always remember and treasure.

Thank you to all for your prayers and support. We feel them every moment. I will send another update as I can.

Love to all,

Sondra 

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