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Revival changes nature of island

(March 24, 2002)

On a Saturday night in Maui, James Marocco leads a worship service at one of the extension churches planted by King’s Cathedral First Assembly of God, which has grown from 100 to 4,000 people in 22 years and become a hub of revival in the Pacific basin.

Revival site: King’s Cathedral First A/G has become a Hawaiian renewal center.

The group here tonight, of mixed ethnicity and age, is unified by enthusiasm for prayer and praise.

"Whether you need healing, physically or emotionally, come on up," Marocco says. "We’re going to anoint you with oil and pray for you." Half a dozen come forward for prayer while the band continues in song.

The meeting is evidence of the miracle God has done on Maui, turning it from an occult-centered island into a place open to the life and power of the Holy Spirit.

Today, the people of King’s Cathedral meet in five locations on Maui, and the church has started extension churches on the neighboring islands of Molokai, Hawaii, Kauai and Lanai.

When Marocco came here in 1980, the largest non-Catholic church on Maui drew 150 people. Marocco was pastoring a church in Honolulu when he says the Lord called him to First Assembly in Maui.

Attendance doubled that first Sunday and has grown ever since, drawing about 4,000 a week in the Maui locations and reaching as many as a third of Maui’s population through outreach and evangelism activity.

But the revival didn’t stop in Hawaii.

Marocco began to sense that God had called King’s Cathedral to reach the Pacific basin. Soon, doors opened to help start churches in 15 locations around the world.

At the Saturday night service, Marocco leads in a time of intercession for Maui.

"I’m thankful for a church that prays," he says. "I just sense the Spirit of the Lord here tonight. Lift your hands. We’re in no hurry."

He paces, speaks in tongues and lays hands on people.

The following morning at the main King’s Cathedral sanctuary, located in sugar cane fields on the outskirts of Kahului, thousands are raising the roof with songs and shouts. The gymnasium next door is full of children involved in their own worship experience. The music is loud and a youth band sings, "We want to see Jesus lifted high!"

The church has changed the island. "When I came everybody said, ‘Don’t go to Maui, it’s a graveyard of preachers,’" Marocco recalls. "They even said demons were sitting on Haleakala [the island’s volcano]. What they didn’t understand was that when God creates an anchor church in a given locale, He changes the spiritual temperature of the entire island. Now this is called ‘revival island’ and people are starting churches all over the place."

The church operates a Christian high school, a social service organization, a radio station, and for several years has hosted conferences for ministers with hundreds in attendance.

—Joel Kilpatrick in Maui

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