My parents did not give me a Christian upbringing, therefore I was not at all familiar with the Bible at the age of 20. I did not even know one story from the Bible. I was a complete unbeliever and it seemed absurd to me to believe in a God. Going to church really seemed the most dull thing someone could do.
I studied at the Academy of Art in Groningen in the Netherlands and had only one desire viz. to become an artist. It was during this period that a certain question presented itself very strongly to me, viz.: What is the meaning of life? This question haunted me day and night and forced me to look for the answer.
When I started to look into philosophy I did not find the answer. Then I met a major of the Salvation Army. She gave me a Bible. While I was reading in this Bible I came to faith in the Lord Jesus. But where was God? How could I come into contact with Him? I did not know how to pray.
Around that time I became friends with people who were using hash and LSD. Then I started to use this regularly as well. The consequence was that I came in great spiritual need. A large fear-complex controlled my life. I started to suffer from a persecution complex. Besides I had attacks of rage so that I destroyed everything around me. I also swore vèry heavily and vèry profoundly. In short, I got possessed by evil spirits. I thought, if there comes no solution, I will become totally insane.
One day I met a woman major of the Salvation Army. She gave me a bible. When I opened this Bible I started to read about God and about Jesus and all these things were written into my heart. While reading the Bible the Lord changed me from an unbeliever into a believer of Jesus Christ.
Then an uncle invited me to a Bible-study. During this Bible-study, a brother invited me to visit a Sunday night-service of the Pentecostal Church in Stadskanaal in the Netherlands. When the preacher did the invitation to meet the Lord Jesus, who was, as he said, in our midst, a thousand lamps were lit in me. I was vèry sure: this is what I have been looking for all the time. Then two brothers led me to the Lord Jesus and I was saved for time and eternity. The Lord Jesus delivered me from all my sins through His precious blood, that was shed on the cross of Calvary. Heavenly joy was flowing into my heart. I was 22 years old then.
A few weeks after my conversion I was to be baptised through immersion on a Sunday-night. That same Sunday-afternoon I visited, together with a brother and sister, a meeting in Emmen in the Netherlands. At the invitation of the preacher I went forward for prayer. When he laid hands upon me in the name of Jesus, something miraculous happened. A vèry strong power streamed through my entire body. I was so to say under high tension. I immediately knew: this is the power of God. At the same time the Lord healed my eyes and I was also healed from asthmatic bronchitis. At the same time the Lord Jesus freed me from evil spirits. I felt how they left me, while they were screaming through my mouth like a pig. Jesus set me free indeed! When I was baptised that evening, I had no problems with testifying from My Saviour. Some time afterwards God baptised me in the Holy Spirit and I could praise and honour Him in new tongues. Hallelujah!
After my conversion I had a great desire to go into the mission. One evening during the week we were celebrating the Holy Supper at a prayer-meeting. When the brother who was leading it handed me a piece of bread, he spoke to me: “God is showing me a vision. I see vèry many dark-coloured people. I also see how you are preaching the Gospel to them.” This happened a few months after my conversion. Some time later the Lord called me to work for Him as a full-timer at the Christian Conference Centre: ’the Source”, near Dalfsen in the Netherlands. I did this for one year and a half. Here it happened one day, that I received a prophecy from missionary Karel Hoekendijk. In this prophecy the Holy Spirit spoke to me, that I had to allow Him to teach me, because He wanted to lead my feet over the entire world. He spoke: “I want you to use My authority. I will anoint and crown you for that. You will reveal the powers of darkness and break their power among the people on the earth. I shall put great powers upon you so that no-one will honour you, but only Him who sent you.” The Lord said: “My son it is not the day yet, but the day will come, that you will stand in My plan.” This happened a year after I came to faith. It would last another twenty years, before the Lord spoke to me: “My son, nòw the time has come.”
During a period of more than twenty one years I was in the school of the Holy Spirit. God went a way with me which I would never have chosen myself. But God’s way is always the best. It was a way of great loneliness. A way of vèry many and most heavy trials. Many times my lifeboat was battered by vèry dangerous storms. The great heavenly Smith put me in His fire and after that on His anvil to shape me with His hammer, until I came up to His divine plan. During this time the Lord Jesus gave me an encouragement, which cannot be described with a pen. He gave me a wife who is completely suitable for me. The Lord could not have given me a larger and better gift. Through the years Loes, my wife, was practically the only one who encouraged and stimulated me to go on and to continue looking upon Jesus. I know that the Holy Spirit did it all through her. God, the Father, has given Loes and me a vèry good marriage and two beautiful, sweet children: David and Esther.
NòW THE TIME HAS COME
Then, in September 1991, there was a prophecy in our church in Groningen, the Netherlands, in which God spoke to me: “My Son, nòw the time has come I shall speak to you in the night. I shall wake you up and show you the way which you will go vèry clearly.” A few months later this happened indeed. The Holy Spirit spoke at that time among other things that Tanzania would be the first country the Lord would send me to. Now the time had come to take steps. The Lord Jesus made it clear to me, that I had to terminate my job. He also spoke: “My Son, I do not want you to ask people for money, but I want you to trust in Me. I will provide.” I do not want to criticize all those who do ask for money, but this is what the Lord spoke to me personally. When I was wrestling with these things and was in prayer, God’s Spirit gave me a vision. Vèry many golden coins fell down from heaven before my feet. This heap of golden coins reached to my knees. But it did not stop. Then the Holy Spirit spoke to me: I shall cover all your needs according to My heavenly abundance.
Another point I was very worried about was my knowledge of the English language which was on a vèry low level. I did have English lessons at school, but that was a vèry long time ago. I was 44 years old now. Shortly before my departure to Tanzania a sister who teaches English, gave me a quick course of some evenings. I had never been preaching in English. However, the Lord reassured me again and again with the words: “Child do not be afraid, but trust in Me and see what I am going to do.”
HOW IT ALL STARTED
The Holy Spirit had spoken to me that He would send me to Tanzania in East Africa to preach the Gospel there. I absolutely did not know anybody in this far away country. No-one in Tanzania had invited me to come. But I knew that God had spoken to me. And not only to me, but also to my wife the Holy Spirit had spoken in a vision. I had terminated my job and had been at home for three weeks already. I was entirely ready to go. However, there was one problem: the money for the ticket was still not there. A return-ticket cost about Dfl. 3.000,-.It was on a Thursday that we received a copy of our bank-account. It appeared there was no money at all on our account anymore. That was not encouraging at all. Had I listened well to the Lord? Had I understood His voice well? When Loes my wife was alone in prayer that same Thursday, the Lord Jesus spoke to her: “why don’t you book the flight to Tanzania for your husband?” Loes answered: “Lord we do not have the money.” Then the Lord Jesus spoke to her: the money is My business.” I am so unspeakably thankful to God that He placed a woman of faith at my side. The next day, on Friday-morning, Loes took up the telephone and booked my voyage to Tanzania in faith. Then she took a second step in faith and went to our bank. There she asked how much money we had on our account. The bank employee replied:” Mrs. Prins, there is Dfl. 4.000,- on your account at the moment.”
THE FIRST MISSION-JOURNEY
Shortly before my departure to Tanzania we had another prayer-meeting. God spoke then through an elder of our church: “My Son, when you will arrive in that country, you will meet a man who will take you with him to an assembly.”
The journey to Tanzania went vèry well. I spent around one hour and a half with the pilots in the cockpit and enjoyed everything around me. In 1988 God instructed me to learn how to fly. The Lord Jesus gave me the strength, wisdom and money to do this. I obtained my pilot’s licence to use it in the mission-work. From the cockpit I had a beautiful view. I saw Mount Kenya and the Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, with perennial snow on top. When I had landed in Tanzania I came to face the tough reality. After I had changed some American dollars into Tanzanian shillings, a taxi-driver approached me with the question if he was allowed to be of service to me. I asked him to take me to a hotel in Dar-Es-Salaam, a city with more than a million inhabitants, at about half an hour from the airport. I told the taxi-driver: “Do not take me to the most expensive hotel, but neither to the cheapest.” He answered that he knew where to go. The taxi appeared to be vèry old. It had no side-windows and when I sat besides the driver, I saw how he started the car by connecting two wires. When the taxi stopped before a hotel, a servant came out at once to carry my luggage in. This hotel-servant, a tall Bantu-negro, appeared to be the man about whom the Lord had spoken about to me. He was ’the man with the water jug’, about whom God said that I had to follow him. When I walked behind him the next morning to what I expected to be a church, I felt anything but relaxed. Actually I was afraid deep in my heart. While I walked behind him, the Holy Spirit spoke to me: “My son, this will be a very joyful day.” When, after having walked like this a long time, I saw a large banner with the name Morris Cerullo on it, I took courage. Some minutes later we arrived at, what seemed like a large shed full of people, listening attentively to a preacher. I was so glad and thankful, that I wanted to give the hotel-servant a few hundred shillings for a taxi back. But I only had banknotes of a thousand shilling. In the meantime a few brothers from this conference had come outside. One of them asked me: “How much money must he have?” I replied: “a few hundred shillings.” Then his right hand went deep into his pocket and he took out a few hundred shillings which he handed to the hotel-servant who said goodbye and left. Then I introduced myself to these negro-brothers with the words: “brothers, I am Eltjo Prins from the Netherlands. The Lord Jesus has sent me to preach the Gospel here. Here I am.” One of them, whose name appeared to be Thaddaeus and who had also given the money, said: “Come after me brother.” I followed him through the centre path to the platform, whilst brother John Price from America preached the Word. Brother Thaddaeus made me take a seat on the platform, behind the preacher, next to the other brothers who were in charge.
Then I let my eyes go over the auditorium with around 1200 people, mostly Bantu people, while my heart was filled with with joy and gratitude over the miraculous guidance from God. Weeks later brother Thaddaeus told me the following: “I sat on the platform listening attentively to the preaching of John Price, when God spoke to me:” My son, go outside.” But I did not understand why and I kept my seat. Then God spoke for the second time to me: “My son, go outside.” Then I obeyed the Lord, although I did not understand why I had to go outside.” When Thaddaeus came outside, I had arrived exactly at that time. These brothers and sisters had their yearly Morris Cerullo Conference, although brother Cerullo was not present himself. When I had been sitting on the platform for about ten minutes, I was suddenly called to the microphone and I was asked to explain the reason of my coming. When I told that I came from Holland, that the Lord Jesus had sent me to their country to preach the Gospel and that God wanted to give a revival an enormous jubilation broke out. All this happened on a Friday. Brother Vernon Fernandes, from Indian origin, who had organised this conference, included me in his team of five people. On Monday-evening we left by car to Sumbawanga, a place in the outmost west of Tanzania, near the Tanganyika-lake, for a campaign and seminar for five days. Sumbawanga was notorious and vèry feared, until abroad because of its magic practices. In this area lived many witch-doctors, who had the population in their power. After we had prayed together as a team, brother Fernandes suddenly said to me: “Brother Prins, I want to hear something”. I did not understand him and answered: “Brother, what do you mean?” Well, he said: “I have never heard you preach. I would like to hear something before we start. We shall sit down here all five of us on the bed and you will preach to us.” I understood at once that the devil attacked him with the words: “You have never heard Prins preach. Imagine he will bring a wrong message, then you will be in big trouble.” For in this campaign and seminar I would preach the Word twice a day. One of the brothers of our team would be my interpreter. But there was no more time to think or to pray. The five brothers sat down next to each other on the bed and I had to start at once. I had never preached in English before. This was the fire-baptism token! Then I opened my English Bible, my eye fell upon the part in which Peter and John want to enter the temple at the Beautiful Gate. And where Peter spoke to the paralysed man: “Look at us. Silver and gold I do not own, but what I have, I shall give you. In the Name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene: Walk!” When I opened my mouth, the Holy Spirit laid the words in my mouth. In English of course. I felt a wonderful anointing from God coming over me and I spoke as if I did not speak for five, but for five thousand people. After about two minutes the eyes of brother Fernandes began to sparkle in a peculiar way. After three or four minutes he jumped up and embraced me. I had passed the test! Hallelujah!
The Lord Jesus gave an enormous revival in Sumbawanga and a mighty break-through of the Holy Spirit. Vèry many were saved miraculously. Many were healed from all kinds of illnesses, complaints and ties. On one of these days, while I was preparing in prayer, the Lord spoke: “My son, today I will pour out My Spirit on the people, as on the day of Pentecost. After I had preached the Word, the Holy Spirit fell upon the people, so that all were filled and began to praise the Lord in new tongues. Continuing to preach was not possible. This went on for a long time. Brother Fernandes tried to get things under control again. But he did not succeed. The people continued to glorify God in new tongues. The Holy Spirit was in complete control. Praise the Lord!
Time and space are missing to tell all the miraculous things which the Lord Jesus did during this first journey.
At last I wish to share with you how the Lord led me to Iceland in February 1993. When I came back from Tanzania after two and a half months, Loes said to me: “God will send you to Iceland as well. He has showed me this in a vision.”
But first the Lord sent me to the Philippines. That was in November 1992. This journey was marked by the remarkably many healing miracles the Lord Jesus did.
In February of the next year I left for Iceland. This was to be my third mission-journey. Also this time I did not know anybody in Iceland and nobody in this country had invited me to come. But I left because of a revelation of God’s Spirit. After I arrived at the airport I took a bus which would take me to Reykjavik. When I looked around me in the crowded bus, I saw how closed and reserved these people were. I nearly lost all courage. After the bus had passed some hotels in Reykjavik and some people had got off, I suddenly realised that I was the only passenger left. I prayed: “Lord, I have to know now where I have to go, because I am the only one left.” The Lord made it all right with me. In an old edition of the magazine: New Life of Johan Maasbach I had read something about Iceland once. In that article a certain Philadelphia Church was mentioned. While the bus driver was helping the passengers with their suitcases, the Holy Spirit brought this into my thoughts again. Then God’s Spirit spoke: “Ask the driver for the Philadelphia-Church”. The driver answered affirmatively and said: “Get in again, I will bring you there.” After the bus had stopped in front of the building of this Pentecostal Church, the driver said: “I will wait for you here. If they will not receive you, you come back and we will find another solution.” But, praise the Lord, I was welcomed! Before I went in, I turned around and waved at the bus driver. While he drove off, he waved back.
Inside I was introduced to the pastor, brother Haflidi Kristinsson. After the introduction brother Kristinsson took me to a restaurant and offered me a wonderful meal. Appointments were made I was allowed to preach God’s Word in different places in the country. In Reykjavik, Isafjördur, Vopnafjördur, Akureyri en Húsavík. Brother Kristinsson organised everything for me.
I travelled by plane all the time. Five inland flights in all, because the roads were blocked by snow many times. Everything was paid for me. The blessing of the Lord did not stay away. People were saved, healed and filled by the Holy Spirit. Many received a personal Word of Prophecy to build them up and encourage them. The enormous openness I found in the church of the city Akureyri, in the utmost north of the country, was touching. The pastor of the church said: “Brother Prins, I want you to do exactly what the Holy Spirit lays on your heart, whatever it may be.” Almost every member of this church received a prophetic blessing, in which God spoke marvellously through prophecy and revelation. There was a revival in this city.
That night, before my departure from Akureyri, various church-members came together at the address where I stayed. One of them said to me: “Brother Prins, you spoke about the gifts of the Spirit. We have come here to receive these..” After I had told them some more about using the gifts of the Spirit, I laid hands upon each one of them in the Name of Jesus. They all began to prophesy one by one or express messages in tongues with interpretation of those tongues. Only one of them still had some threshold fear. From each church I received a nice gift, so that, after my arrival in Holland, I could hand ƒ 1,000.- to my wife. Thank you Jesus for your wonderful guidance and anointing.
When you read this I have just finished my 100th journey, together with Loes. She joins me now
in the mission trips since 2004.
We look forward, together with you, to the great things the Lord will do in the near future. Also in the Netherlands! It is end time, so harvest-time! We want to be used by the Lord Jesus to collect this harvest, because God wants His wedding-room to be full.