Exporting Evangelism

By Anoosh Jorjorian

In the packed stadium, people stood in the summer heat, craning their necks for a view of the stage. Evangelist preacher Benny Hinn, dressed head to toe in white, paced and preached, backed by a choir singing gospel hymns. Audience members whose pain had disappeared after Hinn's healing prayer came to the stage to testify. Abandoned crutches and wheelchairs lined the platform.

This scene could have taken place in Louisiana or Texas, Minnesota or California, but in fact occurred in Suva, the capital of the Fiji Islands, a few weeks ago. The Benny Hinn Miracle Crusade lasted three days and drew an estimated 180,000 people on the final day, an impressive feat in a nation where the population hovers just under 1 million. The Fiji national television news showed the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, and the acting president, Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi, as well as other parliamentarians, in attendance