The evangelist stood over the emaciated Burmese man just pronounced dead by doctors and nurses. Christopher Alam had never seen someone collapse and die while waiting for prayer in his meetings; this was a new phenomenon.
A 17-year-old Bible school student associated with Alam's ministry joined him in passionately praying, singing, praising God and then praying again for the dead man's resurrection.
"I heard a shout and opened my eyes," Alam says. "I saw this man picked up off the floor by the power of God and shot up like a rocket. The man shouted, 'Hallelujah,' as he goes up, and his feet were at my face. He landed on his feet."
A Pakistan-born former Muslim, Alam has seen thousands healed and millions come to Christ at crusades he's led in more than 60 nations. In the 1980s, when he began what is now known as Dynamis World Ministries (DWM), he says the Holy Spirit came over him while attending a meeting in Sweden. He could not stop weeping, and the preacher asked him, "Christopher, what is it that you want from God?"
He says something rose from the depths of his soul, and he cried out, "I want to win a million souls for Jesus!"
Today, Alam sees more than 1 million people come to Christ each year during crusades. But he is not satisfied with simply winning souls.
"I can do a crusade and have 100,000 decision cards, but what good does it do if we don't have trained people to follow up on converts?" he says. "A weak link in crusade events is the [lack of] follow-up. I go back and find small churches that don't grow without follow-ups. Jesus said to preach the gospel and make disciples—not just preach the gospel."
For this reason, every local church that wishes to participate actively in one of Alam's meetings is required to send its pastors and leaders to a monthlong training program DWM organizes before the crusade. The local church leadership is taught how to disciple new believers so they are ready for the influx of people who make decisions for Christ at the crusade.
Because of the training program, Alam says, churches multiply in membership. As a result, pastors have had to enlarge their buildings, Bible schools have been built, orphanages have been started, and large percentages of towns have become Christian.
But before Alam built schools, orphanages and churches, or stood before hundreds of thousands of people to preach, he experienced great persecution for his faith.
He was born in Pakistan on March 29, 1954, the son of an Indian mother and Pakistani army general whose family came from Jordan. Alam family members were known by the honored title shareef, given to those directly descended from Muhammad, the founder of Islam. Because they were direct descendants of Muhammad, the Alams were a "holy" family and thought to be superior to others.
Raised in an upper-class home, Alam went to the best schools and had many servants. But his comfortable life was turned upside down after his parents divorced when he was 8 years old.
Alam went to live with his father, where he says one of his family members beat him. He also was unable to see his mother until he was 17 years old.
When he was 13, Alam escaped his home life to become a Pakistan Air Force cadet, enabling him to receive educational and military training. "I was very unhappy during the time I was there," Alam says.
"I was relieved to be away from my family, but I felt rejection. Inside I was a child, but outside I was in a uniform. I wanted to commit suicide, but Islam says that if you commit suicide you'll go to hell."
By the time he was 18, Alam was a commissioned officer in the military and saw combat. Islam teaches if someone dies in jihad, or holy war, they will go to heaven even if they're a sinner. So the young cadet decided to end his life in battle. He purposely put himself in the line of fire during conflict but to his utter frustration he was not killed.
Feeling he'd been dealt the wrong hand in life, Alam drifted from job to job to support himself. Then one day in December 1974, while working for Intercontinental Hotel, he walked down a crowded street and saw a tall white man handing out pieces of paper.
Alam took a paper and walked about 200 yards. Suddenly, he couldn't walk any farther. Feeling a strong inward urge, Alam turned around and walked back to the man.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"I am a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I'm traveling all around the world telling the world about Him," the evangelist replied.
Alam says as soon as the man said "Jesus Christ," a dam broke within his heart. He told this stranger—whose name was Samson—his whole life's story. The evangelist told him that Jesus was real and then took him aside and led him in a prayer for salvation.
"When I opened my eyes, suddenly everything changed," Alam says. "Colors changed, all shadows had lifted. I went back home. I was a changed person. I was a few inches taller. Something wonderful had happened."
Three days later one of the evangelist's friends met with Alam at an area YMCA and told him to read Matthew 16:24-25 aloud three times: "'If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lost it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it'" (KJV).
"Jesus took up the cross only once, and that was when he was going to die," the young man told Alam. "You should be willing to die for Jesus every day. If you are not willing to lose your life for Him, you are not fit to live for Him."
"I have lost everything and have nothing to live for," he replied. "I will take these conditions."
Alam followed the young man out to the street that day and handed out tracts on one side while his new friend handed out tracts on the other side. After some time, Alam walked on a lonely stretch of pavement, and there were no people around.
Suddenly, he heard an audible voice behind him. "This is what you will do the rest of your life," the voice said. "I will take you all around the world, and you will tell people about Jesus."
Reaching the World
For the first time in his life, Alam felt a sense of purpose for his life. But when his father found out his son had become a Christian, he was angry and accused Alam of bringing disgrace on the family.
When he came to visit his son, Alam's father brought another general, a colonel and a major. The four officers interrogated Alam for days, trying to convince him to renounce his faith.
Alam refused to recant and, in the end, the officers were certain someone did black magic on the general's son. They admitted him into an army mental hospital. Alam immediately witnessed to patients and staff there until the hospital psychiatrist got angry and told him, "You are corrupting my patients and staff." He discharged Alam two weeks after he was admitted.
Sent to his father and kept under house arrest, Alam escaped and immediately returned to the city where he had been born again.
His father ordered an investigation and in February 1976 military police arrested Alam and sent him to Karachi Central Jail. Although prison life was terrible, Alam says he felt the presence of Jesus, which sustained him. After his release nearly a year later, he was again placed in his father's custody.
Totally exasperated with his son, the elder Alam threatened to behead him. Deeply hurt by his father's rage, Alam escaped Pakistan in the spring of 1977 with the help of a few sympathetic Muslims and went from country to country, finally landing in Sweden where he attended a one-year Bible school and met and married his Swedish wife, Britta.
Fluent in four Indi languages as well as English, Swedish and Norwegian, Alam based his ministry in Sweden and preached all over the world.
"I came into touch with Kenneth Hagin's teaching and that was a life-changing experience for me," Alam says. "I was reading Kenneth Hagin's books and practicing things I learned in those books and began to see many miracles.
"Now I understood faith, miracles, healing, casting out demons. That's how my ministry grew in Europe—people got healed, baptized in the Holy Ghost and saved."
In 1982, the couple attended Hagin's Rhema Bible Training Center in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and the following year returned to Sweden, where their three children were born. Then in 1993, more than a decade after he met the Alams during their time at Rhema, pastor Sam Smucker of The Worship Center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, invited Alam to preach. Eventually, the young family moved to Lancaster, where DWM is now based.
Today the ministry has offices in Sweden, Zimbabwe and Southeast Asia, where DWM has planted 30 churches in a closed nation.
After the earthquake hit Pakistan last fall, Alam directed financial aid to his native country through the Swedish Pentecostal Movement and, to demonstrate Christ's love, he gave a large donation to an organization of ex-military officers who were engaged in earthquake relief.
When Alam arrived in Pakistan, he was surprised to find that the military "rolled out the red carpet" for him, giving him all the honors and privileges of a military officer. Alam says a retired Air Force officer told everyone: "Look, this guy was our friend and brother. His father served in the army, retired as a decorated general, and when he became a Christian he went to prison for a whole year.
"If anyone has the right to be bitter against us, it's him. He did not commit a crime—he became a Christian. Now when an earthquake hits, he gives us more money than anybody else. We should be ashamed of ourselves."
While he was in Pakistan, Alam says old Muslim friends phoned him and asked, "What do you really do?"
He showed them his DVD of miracle crusades, where God healed thousands of people. Alam says one of the officers began to cry. Afterward, Alam was asked to lead a crusade in Pakistan. He says thousands of the 25,000 people who attended were saved and healed.
This year, Alam planned to visit new frontiers—hard-to-reach places where war or lack of freedom restricts people from faith in Jesus Christ.
"We feel we're on the verge of another explosion," Alam says. "Before Jesus returns there will be one great harvest in the Muslim world and Western Europe, and it will come through the preaching of the gospel accompanied with signs, wonders and miracles. We've reached a point where we're seeing God do so much, and we're ready to go to the next level."
C. Hope Flinchbaugh is a freelance writer based in Pennsylvania. She writes frequently about revival and the international persecuted church.
A Wave of Healing in Myanmar
Christopher Alam was 10 years old when his father, a Muslim general in Pakistan, took him to Myanmar, formerly Burma, on a wild elephant hunt. Amid the excitement of the hunt, Alam says he heard a voice speaking inside that told him, "One day you will come back to this country and be involved in something big here."
Thirty-four years later Alam found himself in Myanmar again, this time leading an indoor crusade where the lame, blind, deaf and mute were healed.
After he left, local military authorities were informed of the miracles and immediately associated Alam with a Buddhist monk who three years earlier miraculously arose from the dead.
After seeing a vision of Jesus, the monk began preaching the gospel and was arrested several times. After Alam's crusades, the military began to arrest and torture Christian leaders.
Still, Alam returned to Myanmar; he says God showed him a vision of Jesus' blood washing the nation from south to north. Alam says during his first big outdoor crusade, a popular actress and a high-ranking officer in one of Myanmar's largest insurgent armies were born again.
When the crusade moved north, more than 200 people were healed in one service. Alam's Dynamis World Ministries later built an orphanage and started a poultry farm that supports the home.
After that crusade, Alam says God prompted him to begin 500 churches. "God told me to throw out the gospel net as quickly as possible and start soul-winning churches," he says. "So far, we've started 96 churches."
Reaching Militant Hindus
Christopher Alam's desire to preach the gospel in difficult, unreached places led him to Orissa State, India, where Hindu extremists are quick to persecute those who follow other religions.
Despite the hostile climate, Alam planned his first meeting there in 1988 after a friend within the government invited him to go into an area where nearly all the women were prostitutes and the men were drunks.
"It was terrible," Alam says. "But in the end we led four villages to the Lord. The Hindu extremists got angry, burned 16 churches and killed Christians—all this led by one local man who was crippled, paralyzed and on crutches."
Alam describes the extremist leader as a "ferocious" man who burned houses, beat or killed Christians and burned churches. After the uprising, the national newspapers reported that India forbade all religious gatherings in that area.
"I heard that and went [back] there to do a crusade," Alam says.
On the third day of the crusade, Alam says the power of God fell. Blind eyes were opened, deaf ears could hear, and five lame people began to walk. In the midst of it all, Alam says he and the team heard someone shouting from the back: "Jesus is alive! Jesus is alive!"
A man came running with his hands in the air shouting, "Jesus is alive!" He ran to the front, grabbed the microphone from the interpreter and shouted again, "Jesus is alive!" Then he jumped off the platform, raising his hands.
Later Alam asked local organizers, "Who was that man?"
They told him he was the man who led the Hindu extremists to burn down the churches. The man had come to the meeting with his people, planning to attack, when the power of God hit him and he was instantly healed. Many churches were started after this 1988 meeting when the man shared his testimony.
In 2001, while teaching in a Bible school in the same area, Alam encouraged students there to stand firm in Jesus Christ despite persecution from Hindu extremism. He told the students the story of the converted persecutor, and afterward one student came up to him in tears.
Alam says the young man told him: "Pastor Christopher, I was in that meeting. I was a 10-year-old boy sitting with my mother. God said, 'I'm calling you to serve Me, and you shall serve Me like this man is serving Me.' It was a turning point in my life."
Alam later discovered that six of the students he taught that day were at that first meeting years ago and were now preparing for ministry at the Bible school.
God Does the Impossible
International evangelist Christopher Alam believes miracles should be normal among Christians, not exceptional.
The morning after a crusade in Zambia, Alam says, a mother ran from her village to the platform with her 2-year-old child in her arms.
The crowds had dispersed the night before, and no one was at the platform except a few teenage boys who were hired by Alam's Dynamis World Ministries to guard the crusade equipment.
The mother was hysterical because her husband was working and she was home alone with all the children when the child died. Frantic, she left the dead toddler on the platform and ran away. The boys saw that the child's body was stiff and pondered what to do.
One of them said, "Let's do what Pastor Christopher said the other night—always expect great things from God."
The boys praised and worshiped God. Suddenly the child came to life. One of them ran to get milk for the youngster and they cared for it until 4 p.m. when both parents came to the crusade, amazed and thankful to God that their child was alive.
Alam says one day God challenged his faith while he was preaching to 500 people under a tree in a remote area of Malawi.
He says God told him there was a woman there who had a brain-damaged child at home. God said, "I want to heal that child."
Alam replied, "I don't think I have faith for that."
"I have faith. Do what I tell you to do," was the reply.
Alam obediently prayed over a cloth, and the woman took it home and placed it on the child. The child was immediately healed.
Her face, which was twisted and deformed from brain damage, became perfect and whole again.
News of the miracle spread throughout the city, and within two months the church Alam was working with grew from 400 to 2,500 people.