Childlike faith and genuine humility mark the life and ministry of missionary evangelist Caleb Wampler. He was saved at just 3 years old and baptized in the Spirit at 7.
Ordained through the Assemblies of God, Wampler, 32, graduated from North Central University in Minneapolis, then was on staff at a Minnesota church for six years before moving on to serve evangelist Daniel Kolenda of Christ For All Nations.
"I did everything from helping him with the littlest things that nobody would ever see to being in some of the largest events in the history of the world with their mass gospel campaigns," Wampler says.
After serving as Kolenda's personal assistant for three and half years, the Lord called Wampler to launch his own ministry, Kingdom Encounters International.
"I was seeking the Lord, having a really amazing moment at a local church," Wampler says. "In this encounter, Jesus appeared to me in a vision. I don't often tell all of the details, but some of the things He said in that encounter were that I was going into the nations, and He commissioned me to preach the gospel across the world."
But Wampler didn't rush out of his role at Kolenda's ministry to found his own organization. Rather, he and his wife, Harmonee, took time to pray about their ministry future.
"We said, 'Well, Lord, what is that you would have us to do because you called us here to lift up Daniel's arms in this season?'" Wampler says. "And during that season, we said, 'Let's just make it a matter of prayer. Daniel is a man of God, and when the time's right, God will reveal it to him.' And so we didn't tell anybody."
It wasn't a matter of days or weeks but months they waited until Kolenda asked Wampler about something he was sensing in the Spirit.
"It was about seven months later that Daniel pulled me aside," Wampler says. "And he said, 'You know, Caleb, there's something I've been sensing, I can't put a finger on it.' He's like 'I just feel like the Spirit saying, 'What is it that happened to you?' And I have to ask."
That's when Wampler told Kolenda, and it took him 45 minutes to tell the whole story. The result? Kolenda knew what had to happen next.
"He said, 'Caleb, you can't stay here, man. You've got to go.'"
About three months later, in 2017, the Wamplers launched Kingdom Encounters International (KEI). Through the ministry, whose reach has expanded to other continents, Wampler holds gospel campaigns.
"As people encounter Jesus, we also pray for an impartation of empowering kingdom living in the lives of believers," the ministry's website says. "KEI echoes the prayer of Jesus, 'Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven' (Matt. 6:10)."
Wampler has a vision "for people to encounter the king, Jesus, and for them to live their days empowered to carry out His kingdom."
Co-Laborers for Christ
Joshua Smith—a friend of Wampler's since high school—now serves with him from their ministry base in Minneola, Florida, outside of Orlando. With a bachelor's in marketing and experience as director of the Open Door Mission in Omaha, Nebraska, Smith works with Kingdom Encounters in communications.
The two became friends as teenagers in Bellevue, Nebraska. Wampler's parents were Pentecostal pastors who started serving the church Smith was attending. Both young men had parents who raised them in the Lord, acknowledged the Holy Spirit and encouraged their passion for evangelism.
As teens, they bonded over the cute girls they were trying to impress at church and school. But they also had something more spiritual in common.
"We both found out that man, we love Jesus!," Smith says. "It was a rare thing in high school to be unashamed about our faith, and by the end of high school, we were running four different Bible studies going on throughout the week in our schools, and we had a dream that God revealed to us freshman year."
They were surprised in their freshman year when they learned they had the same dream.
"It was a school assembly where we saw over 180 kids from high school come and give their lives to Jesus in our school gymnasium," Smith says. "It was just an incredible story with a whole bunch of miracles that happened in between and throughout that process."
Wampler and Smith did the fun things teens do, but their friendship was deeper than that.
"Our Friday nights consisted of us getting together watching a movie, playing some video games, but then it always ended with us just worshiping Jesus together," Smith says. "And that's what high school was for us. We just spent a lot of time in front of Jesus. And we had the mamas of the church that would come up and lay hands on us to pray for us because we were always up at the altar seeking the Lord. They started prophesying over us and started saying, 'You guys change nations. You're going to see revival. The spirit of Joel 2 is coming upon you guys.' And we're like, 'Oh, OK, we're just trying to get through puberty. I don't know what you're talking about.'"
They then went to different colleges, got married and started families, but they maintained their friendship.
"We're best friends, but we're in different areas in different seasons of life as we're growing," Smith says. "A decade runs by and Caleb's working in Florida with Daniel Kolenda at Christ For All Nations."
That's when the phone call came. When Wampler disclosed his vision to Kolenda, he called Smith and told him everything.
Smith said that's when "the Holy Spirit spoke loud and clear: It's time. All those things that I told you about all the way through high school, it's time. You need to go and join him. And I walked upstairs and said to my wife, 'Baby, I think we need to move to Florida.'"
Wampler was launching his ministry, and Smith and his wife were headed South. She was on board.
"I knew ever since I met you that you and Caleb were going to do ministry together and I think it's time now," Alicia told her husband.
So what was the outcome? "it's been an incredible ride," Smith says.
Faith for Miracles
With parents who were Pentecostals, Wampler had the benefit of knowing Jesus could not only save, but He could still deliver and heal today too.
"I grew up in a very Pentecostal-charismatic environment," Wampler says. "We preached. We had the faith. I didn't really see a lot of miracles or healings though."
But when he traveled with Kolenda, he saw these manifest in abundance.
"We would pray for the sick, and when we'd go out, it just seemed so effortless," Wampler says. "It was like popcorn popping in the microwave. We would just pray, and all of a sudden, it would happen to literally hundreds and thousands of people. I remember the very first gospel crusade, I went on with Christ For All Nations, and it was to the nation of Zambia. I remember after the second night of the crusade, I walked onto the dusty field the next morning, and there were 18 sets of wheelchairs and crutches in a pile on the field. And I took a picture of it and I'm like, what's going on here? And I realized that those people all were healed, and they didn't need their crutches and wheelchairs anymore, so they literally left them on the field because they didn't need them anymore. It would have been a burden to carry them home as dead weight. And that's the miracle God we serve."
Not only did he believe it, but he saw it could happen today.
"A lot of times things are not taught in the classroom necessarily, but they're caught from one burning heart to another, as Daniel Kolenda says," Wampler says. "As I was in the nations, I remember just going out during my first crusade and declaring for the blind to see and the deaf to hear and cripples to walk. And lo and behold! Would you imagine, right in front of my eyes, the blind see, the deaf hear and the cripples walk. It was literally that simple, just by declaring it, getting my own limitations out of my mind and out of the way and just trusting that God is who He says He is."
The kingdom is a powerful concept in Wampler's ministry.
"We live in a voice-activated kingdom," he says. "By speaking it forth, we don't know what we're doing, but we're sending angels on assignment into commissioning to bring people new body parts. We're releasing God's power to drive back forces we won't see with our naked eye and to release light into darkness. And when you turn on the light, the darkness can't stay. It's gone immediately, as soon as the light comes on."
Through Kingdom Encounters International, Wampler is dispelling the darkness around the world. So far, he has held evangelistic events in approximately 30 nations, including Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and in regions of Central and South America.
"We held a mini crusade in Colombia where the witches hold their national convention each year," Wampler says. "We went in and held our gospel crusade there. It ticked them off, but they had no power that night. Even there, the blind saw, the deaf heard, the cripples walked. In Pakistan, we had a crusade in September where 133,000 people showed up one night—one night—and we had 92,417 people who made decisions for Christ. And that night, 18 paralytics walked, 139 people with eye issues from complete blindness to cataracts or glaucoma were completely healed, we had 119 demonic deliverances from the team, just incredible miracles. But even in the small groups, and even in small locations or house meetings here in America, we're seeing it happen."
Worship on the Homefront
Not only is God using Wampler and Smith overseas, but He has also shown them how they can come alongside other ministries from time to time. Recently, the Holy Spirit led them to minister in Seattle, the scene of racial riots.
"We actually went up there to minister in a couple of churches and were completely unaware that Sean Feucht was going to be coming to do an outreach there. But we finished up with our two meetings Friday night and Saturday night, and had a great time. miracles, signs, wonders, healing, salvations, all the stuff that normally comes in Jesus name. Hallelujah!"
That's when the two pastors they were with invited them to help with outreach in the zone known as CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest) or CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone), which was a hotbed of racial protests. Pastor Nathan French invited the two to help with the evangelism training and the prayer gathering. While there, French said they needed some kind of a tank to use for baptism because, he said, "I just think God wants to baptize people."
They tried different options but ended up with a trash bin they found in a park. They asked a homeless man for something to clean it with, then French nearly had an experience he didn't want.
"Nathan ends up almost poking himself with a needle that was being used for meth and other things," Wampler says.
As for the trash bin that was turned into a baptism tank, "it was a good thing that it was there," Wampler says. "So we get into the prayer gathering, and here comes Sean Feucht and the team. And in the middle of it all, all of a sudden, the Antifa show up and then the BLM [Black Lives Matter] shows up and then Satanists start showing up, all while this is going on, and there was no security. I was even told that the police were called at some point."
With the protesters coming in, the police, who were disbanded, didn't want to go into the CHOP zone.
But the people who were peaceful realized security was needed right away, and they started recruiting people to try to keep the peace. So Wampler and Smith volunteered and got in the middle of a stirred-up crowd. That's when protesters and even Satanists marched through the crowd. Someone took a video of the crowd, and one man was shouting in vain.
"He says, 'The more I shout at these guys, the more I yell, the more they sing, and the more they seem to worship!'" Wampler says. "He's like, 'I can't get these guys to be quiet!' What an amazing testimony, that when the darkness begins to come and begins to rise, we're just going to sing a little bit louder, and we even sang that song there. It was pretty powerful."
With all that's going on in the U.S. and the world, Wampler points to the need for unity in the church.
"The thing that the enemy would seek to do more than anything is to divide us and to come against us, to get us to point fingers," he says. "God says in Ephesians 4:11-13 that He gives apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Why? So that the church will come into full unity. And that's what we need right now. We need to be praying that God will unite us, that God will not have us pointing fingers, but to release His kingdom: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control."
Wampler looks to Jesus for guidance on how Christians need to conduct themselves in this volatile time.
"He preached the gospel, He healed the sick, He raised the dead, He cleansed the lepers, He cast out demons, He said freely you have received, freely give, so we need to pray that we will be united as a bride without spot or without wrinkle, that we will love recklessly, that we will give right now while people are need, that we will meet needs and seek to be the encounter people need right now."
Activation of the Kingdom
Wampler believes American Christians must get past their unbelief that the Holy Spirit can't work here as he does in other countries.
"A kingdom lifestyle in every area of our life was so important," he says. "People often don't realize how supernatural God has made them to be. But it's not just in the big things that we all look for, like a miracle or a healing or something like that. It's in every area of our lives."
Through his book, Hunger, and his podcast, Awaken the Wonder, Wampler is calling all believers to a closer relationship with Jesus. He challenges his fellow Christians to live a kingdom lifestyle by pouring the love of Jesus over the people in their everyday lives.
"People often don't realize that God has a plan for them," he says, emphasizing that believers must be empowered to know who they are in Christ, "to know not only that God wants to encounter their life through a kingdom encounter, but He wants them to become the encounter to other people."
"God is really trying to awaken us as a people to be the encounter to other people," he says. "He chooses to partner with you and with me. He chooses to partner with what we might say is the average Joe. He wants us in our circles to release people from their sicknesses, from their diseases, from their addictions, from their debt problems, from impossible situations to cure diseases. How does He do it? He certainly can send an angel of the Lord, and those things happen, but He chooses to partner with you and with me to pull heaven into the earth. Why? Because He wants to say that He loves you, that He loves them. And He chooses to get His glory through your life. And this is really the kingdom reality that we'd like to establish."
Wampler encourages believers to establish that kingdom reality by exercising compassion toward others, fasting, praying in the Spirit, a myriad of ways. This global evangelist never could have predicted God would use him the way He has, so he wants other believers to know God can use them too to play their part in activating the kingdom here on earth.
"It's just getting outside of who we are, realizing that God wants to do something bigger than we ever could have imagined from our lives."
Christine D. Johnson is managing editor, print, and a podcast host at Charisma Media.
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