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Herrnhut: A Caribbean Shrine You Need to Know

Back in Moravia, the Holy Spirit began flooding Missionaries out of Germany like water over a spillway. Within 25 years more than 200 excited gospel-bearing preachers went to every Continent on earth, including Greenland. Embracing each other in tears of farewell, they left home knowing they would not meet again until Heaven welcomed them. But they went! In the zeal of First Century believers, these Spirit-baptized youths took the flame of the Holy Spirit to every country in North and South America, much of Asia and Africa. Of the 18 missionaries who sailed to the Virgin Islands, half perished of tropical disease the first year. Tobias Leopold died on St. Croix, shouting the message of the gospel. Most avoided [what would become] the U.S. in preference for unevangelized areas and for that reason; Moravian Churches are practically unknown in North America.

Stone bastion wall of Fort Christian at Saint Thomas Harbor in Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

On my first trip to St. Thomas, I wanted to leave part of myself on the island. I did that by exploring every dungeon in the old Fort, kissing its stone walls, praying, telling Frederich Martin I loved him. The big impact came later, pushing my way through jungle growth to find tombstones below Herrnhut Church. Here, I heard voices of young men and women speaking from 250 years in the past.

There is no way to describe that moment. As an evangelist, flying in and out a number of times in the comfort of a modern jet or in the luxury of a cruise ship, I felt unworthy to touch their burial ground. I wept aloud, yelling my thanks at the top of my lungs for what they did. It didn’t matter who heard me. I wanted Hell to hear me. I wanted my own heart to hear me. Most important of all, I wanted God to hear me say I would die unfulfilled unless I experienced the same love for Jesus and power of the Holy Spirit that those young Moravians knew.

The same Holy Spirit who empowered the Moravians was willing to empower me.

Suddenly, as if coming from long-silent voices, I heard Heaven reminding me, “How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:13. Standing there alone in the remoteness of that jungle graveyard, it happened. “Heaven came down my soul to greet, And Glory crowned the Mercy Seat.” The Holy Spirit flooded me. He went through me with the same love that Tobias, Frederich, Leonard, David, and others had known. In that moment, the dirt on my feet seemed too holy to wipe off. But it wasn’t dirt I carried out of the cemetery. I took with me the knowledge that the same Holy Spirit who empowered the Moravians was willing to empower me.

Being 75 years old isn’t bad at all! My life has been so rich, so blessed, so full, and with Heaven’s help I look forward to another 20 years of Holy Spirit-empowered Kingdom-preaching. God willing, I intend to go back to that old church in the Virgin Islands. There are some youthful German-speaking preachers hiding among the trees I need to hear again. Perhaps some of you younger men and women will go and meet them. But when you go, don’t go merely as a tourist or historian! Go as a disciple of Jesus! Get bathed in the fire of God! Get filled with the Holy Spirit! Let the example of Leonard Dober and David Nitschmann talk to you. Listen to the memory of Tobias Leopold, Fredrich Martin, and others. The dungeon will shout their message at you. I promise. You will not be the same. And when you get to be an old man or woman your memories may include some of the same friends I have. If so, their friendship will make you as rich as I am.

This article by Charles Carrin was originally published in August 2006 and is reprinted here with permission.

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Category: Church History

About the Author: Charles Carrin, D.D., has served the body of Christ for over 65 years. Educated at University of Georgia and Columbia Theological Seminary, he denied, in belief and practice, the contemporary ministry of the Holy Spirit until a personal crisis opened his eyes to what he had been missing. He is the author of Spirit-Empowered Theology (Chosen, 2017), The Edge Of Glory: Receiving the Power of the Holy Spirit (Creation House, 2002), Sunrise of David Sunset of Saul: A Message to the Church in the End-time (1985, 2014), On Whose Authority?: The Removal of Unwanted Scriptures (Burkhart Books, 2014), a revival novel with Dorothy Easley: Island in the Sun (Xulon, 2010), and a contributor to Word Spirit Power: What Happens When You Seek All God Has to Offer (Chosen, 2012) with R.T. Kendall and Jack Taylor. Today his ministry centers upon the visible demonstration of the Spirit and imparting of His gifts. Read his biography at

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