By Steve Rees, Special to ASSIST News Service
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA (ANS – May 9, 2016) — Harrah’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino and Planet Hollywood are good venues to bring signs, wonders and miracles in Jesus’ name to people on the world-famous strip – at least as fruitful as the psychic fair and Target store where Freedom and Joy Ministries regularly offers prophetic words, heals the sick and shares the Gospel.
A gift shop employee within Harrah’s was healed of foot pain, delivered from accusations, and saved by the power of Jesus in June 2015 when Freedom and Joy Ministries Founder Kawika Cornelius simply asked, “Do you have pain anywhere in your body?”
Near Planet Hollywood and within earshot of fire-and-brimstone preachers yelling at passersby “on their way to hell,” Freedom and Joy draws a crowd with sanitized Tupak Shakur rap tunes and subtly captivates it in the glory of God with worship from its “kaboom boom box.”
Sometimes Freedom and Joy apologizes for damning street preachers, then re-presents Jesus to the people they encounter on the strip.
Over the last four years, Freedom and Joy has recorded hundreds of testimonies of healed backs and knees, handed out dozens of roses to pimps and prostitutes, and opened hearts to receive God’s love with “encouraging” words through its outreach, Love-Impact Las Vegas, on the strip.
The encounters are usually one-time events like those in the Bible between Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch, and Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well.
Using the “pick-up” line, “We’re taking a class offering encouraging words and we would would like to practice with you,” Cornelius and his volunteer team reveals God’s heart to people through spiritual gifts of prophecy, knowledge and wisdom to international crowds, including many Japanese and Chinese tourists. Ninety-five percent of the time the line works, he says.
Freedom and Joy associates pay their portion of the Vegas trip, pledging freedom from use of pornography, and members continually remind themselves of their identities in Jesus. Prayer for each other on the strip isn’t optional; it’s mandatory if somebody begins to feel weak or oppressed.
Because flesh is abundant in Vegas, men on men and women to women interactions are encouraged – unless there’s no other option.
On the way back to their hotel last June, Cornelius and associate E.J. Jaramillo, were surprisingly solicited by prostitutes after a long night of action on the strip “drunk in the Holy Spirit.”
“Getting and staying drunk in the Holy Spirit, through drinking new wine of love, joy, freedom and unity among the team is vital,” says 33-year-old Cornelius, who is married to 22-year-old Zoey, a prophetic partner in Loveland, Colo.-based Freedom and Joy.
“Through the Holy Spirit, we were successful in flipping that situation on the devil by beginning to speak to those two women about their destinies in God and of his love for them,” says Cornelius, who regularly trains and equips people in prophetic gifts, discerning of spirits, healing, evangelism, words of knowledge and wisdom.
“Before long they were weeping and again, because of our dependence on the Holy Spirit and praying in the Spirit, the whole incident went like water off a duck’s back,” says Cornelius, partially paralyzed from a car accident in his twenties.
Miracles, including early release from prison for drug- and gang-related crimes and survival from the near-fatal collision, characterize Cornelius’ life.
He preaches regularly at a church attended by sex-offenders, ministers alongside crystal ball and tarot card readers at a psychic fair, and leads a group of “joy- and freedom-loaded lovers of Jesus, who walk in extreme love, unity and humility.
“We’re forerunners – not rebels – who honor others doing things differently. There are a proverbial 35 different ways to evangelize, one of which is Reinhard Bonnke-style.
“But he’s not going to be received at the psychic fair – Freedom and Joy is recognized because of the Holy Spirit’s power working through people who look like the tarot card and palm readers,” Cornelius says.
Among 35 people whose backs were healed on the strip in 2015, a professional skateboarder’s bum knee was supernaturally restored as prayer warriors laid hands on the young competitor, asking God for miraculous adjustment and repair.
His testimony – along with others who were healed from back pain and knee injuries – are recorded and posted on Freedom and Joy’s website (freedomandjoy.org) and its Facebook page.
This summer 14 Freedom and Joy associates – six men and eight women – will spend almost six days in June on the strip, while 10 leaders and intercessors pray and wage spiritual warfare on their knees for the team, its unity and love, and for people in Las Vegas.
Among Freedom and Joy’s supporters is Lucy Mwangi, an African-born prophet and intercessor from Kenya who now lives in the United States. She accompanied Cornelius on a mission’s trip to Nairobi, Kenya, in 2013, and an enduring friendship and ministry connection resulted.
In the lead-up to Love-Impact Las Vegas, Mwangi prays and prophecies over each team member. This year Mwangi sees angels paving the way for Freedom and Joy associates to walk in supernatural unity and victory as they quite literally touch the world with Jesus’ love on the Vegas strip June 5-11.
Cornelius tells associates that when they encounter spiritual opposition it’s confirmation the enemy knows “we’re full on and full-fledged. We’re going hardcore into enemy territory where the full-armor of God is essential.”
Of Freedom and Joy’s activities on the strip, Cornelius says, “What happens in Vegas – lots of love and impact – stays in Vegas.”
“When you make love the priority, nothing can stop you,” he says.
The Freedom and Joy website can be found at http://www.freedomandjoy.org/2015/05/.
Photo captions: 1) The Las Vegas Strip at night. 2) Freedom and Joy Founder Kawika Cornelius and his wife Zoey. 3) Associates ministering on the strip. 4) Steve Rees.
About the writer: Steve Rees is a freelance Christian journalist who loves the church and writes about how it engages the culture and works toward fulfilling the Great Commission. He lives in Longmont, Colo. and attends Resurrection Fellowship, a nondenominational, missions-driven church that honors all the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the five-fold ministry offices. The church is in Loveland, Colo.Reesformerly worked as a newspaper reporter and was among the first journalists who wrote about Promise Keepers before it spread nationwide from Boulder, Colo. He can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
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