15,000 people find Jesus in the town of Nokia revival
The Finnish town of Nokia, 15 kilometers west of Tampere, is home to one of the world's leading cell phone companies. But what is less known is that over the past 18 years an estimated 15,000 people have encountered Jesus in the so-called 'Nokia Revival,' reports Michael Ireland, chief correspondent, ASSIST News Service.
According to Joel News International (JNI) the Nokia Revival dates to 1991 when Lutheran vicar Markku Koivisto was miraculously healed from terminal cancer.
JNI cites a report from German news agency Idea which says that over the past 18 years 15,000 people have found Jesus through the Nokia Revival, thousands have been healed, and numerous church cell groups have been planted. Sunday meetings are still drawing up to 6,000 people.
JNI reports that one day, when Koivisto was about to leave for the hospital, a visiting Pentecostal preacher from Australia called and said God had awakened him three times during the night telling him to "go pray for the Lutheran vicar."
The vicar was theologically anti-charismatic and declined the offer, but the Australian insisted, and in the end Koivisto was prayed for and anointed with oil. He was not healed instantly, but during the ensuing medical treatment the doctors repeatedly testified to "astonishing recoveries," and the vicar reviewed his theology, the JNI report states.
"I started getting together with a few people to pray for the sick, and within months there were hundreds of people attending," Koivisto said. "I was really taken by surprise. I felt like a spectator in the theater."
JNI reports: "The hundreds quickly grew to thousands. In the secularized and scarcely populated European north, a crowd of this size at a church service is exceptional. The Finnish population totals 5 million, with only 10 percent attending any kind of church service each month."
JNI explains that in 2001 Koivisto clashed with the Lutheran Church and was forced to quit his vicar's job, following reports about controversial occurrences such as gold dust falling in the parish church vestry and oil dripping from the hands of ministry team members.
It adds: "Although these things were rather exceptional than common, as the focus of the meetings was firmly on salvation and healing, it led to a separation of ways. The Nokia Revival continued as 'Nokia Mission', an independent non-denominational ministry network with groups in Tampere, Kokkola and Helsinki. Last year it was turned into a denomination called 'Nokia Mission Church.'"