One of the great visitations of the Holy Spirit in the past hundred years occurred in the 1950s on the extreme northern coast of Scotland under the preaching of Duncan Campbell. Though its effect was confined to a small area in the Hebrides Islands, the power that exploded upon the island of Berneray was identical to that of the Book of Acts. Wonderfully, that move of God began in a barn with a man named Hector McKennon sprawled out in the straw praying.
There were only two churches on the island of Berneray, and both had been closed for years. The last pastor died. Others quit coming. Hector was the only remaining elder. The church deaths came about because passion for Jesus had been replaced with doctrines about Jesus. Finally, people lost interest in doctrine. Seemingly, Hector was the only one determined to bring spiritual life back to the island's desolation. His wife told of the memorable day he locked himself in the barn, refusing to come out, until heaven answered. Several times she walked to the door, heard her husband thrashing about, groaning before the Lord, "I don't know where he is, Lord, but You do!" She heard him plead, "Send Duncan Campbell to Berneray! Send Duncan Campbell to Berneray!"
Duncan was one of the great spiritual forces in the British Isles. He too was a Gaelic-speaking Highlander who came to the Lord in a phenomenal conversion before the first World War. That conversion had been accompanied by a powerful anointing of the Holy Spirit. Later, on a French battlefield of the war, Duncan lay severely wounded in the path of a cavalry charge, and he was trampled by the horses. Finally rescued, he was taken to a field hospital for surgery. The pain was incredible. On the operating table, the prayer he shouted in Gaelic was not for healing but for holiness: "Lord, make me as holy as a saved sinner can be! Make me as holy as a saved sinner can be!" Though his Scottish tongue was not understood by a single person in the tent, the cry brought such power of God upon him that seven men were saved.
Through the years, the anointing intensified as God "confirmed His word with signs following." Duncan hungered for heaven and once during crisis sought a greater empowering of the Holy Spirit. Of the event, he said, "As I lay there, God, the Holy Ghost, came upon me. Wave after wave came rolling over me until the love of God swept through me like a mighty river! ... I was so wrought upon by the Holy Ghost that I cried-and I laughed-and I prayed."
Hector McKennon's heart grieved for Berneray to experience the ministry of Duncan Campbell. As the day passed, Hector continued praying. Three times his wife went to the door listening
At ten o'clock that night, hundreds of miles away, Duncan Campbell sat on the platform of England's largest Christian gathering, the Bangor Convention. He was to be the final speaker. At precisely ten o’clock two amazing things happened: Duncan heard the voice of his Friend, the Holy Spirit, tell him to leave the convention. "Leave now." The message was surprising; in a sense, troubling. He thought the Holy Spirit had wanted him at the convention. At the same moment Hector came running out of the barn yelling, "He's coming! He's coming! God said he's coming. He'll be here tomorrow night!"
Duncan learned early in his Christian walk not to strive with the Holy Spirit--but he needed to be certain. Without others knowing what was happening, he prayed for confirmation. When the answer came, he turned abruptly to the convention's chairman, "I have to leave," he explained. "God is sending me to the Island of Berneray."
Over protest, Duncan flew to Glasgow, took the train to Stornoway, and finally traveled by car to the ferry. Arriving at Berneray the next day, uninvited and unannounced, he stopped a boy, asked about the churches, learned the name of the island's only elder, and said, "Go tell Hector McKennon that Duncan Campbell has arrived." A short time later the boy hurried back saying, "Elder McKennon was expecting you today and has arranged for you to stay with his brother. He has called a meeting at the church at nine o'clock tonight and you are to address it."
Duncan knew he had correctly heard his heavenly Friend-even though nothing significant happened in the evening service. At 11:00 that night the congregation spilled out of the church and starting walked downhill in the moonlight to their homes. Suddenly, Hector jerked Duncan's arm, snatched off his hat, and said, "Stand, Mr. Campbell. God has come! God has come! See what is happening!" Duncan looked at the scene on the hill below them. The wind of God was blowing upon the people, scattering them like leaves among the heather. They were falling under the power of the Holy Spirit, wailing, crying to God. The old, the young, men and women, dropped on that bleak hillside and remained there until four o'clock in the morning. Their repentance and grief over sin groaned out of them into the cold North Sea air. Other islanders who had not attended the service became worried about the delay and came looking for loved ones. They found them weeping in the heather, were themselves overcome by the Spirit's presence and joined them among the rocks. God had come to the Hebrides. That was the beginning.
A few nights later a group met to pray in an old farm house in another village where the people were still unrepentant. God's power had not fallen on them. It was after midnight when a man suddenly sprang to the center of the room, raised his hand, and called loudly to God, Instantly, according to Duncan, "The stone farm house shook like a leaf" as the power of God slammed upon the village. Everyone at the prayer meeting ran out into the night, looking around; all the houses within sight had lights coming on-the entire village had been suddenly awakened. Duncan hurried to the nearest dwelling, went in the back door and found husband and wife face-down on the kitchen floor, seeking the Lord. At the next house, he saw the same. And again, at the next. Revival had fallen upon the town.
The power of God quickly fell upon other villages until the area was ablaze with holy fire. This was true New Testament revival. Even the shaking of the building paralleled two events in the Book of Acts-Acts 4:31 and 16:26. More importantly, the people were changed (Acts 2:37). Why had it happened? Hector McKennon was a man of unrelenting prayer; Duncan Campbell was a man of unrelenting obedience. Hector pulled the power out of heaven and down upon his island. Duncan was the window through which the power roared. Their combination was unstoppable. Both stood, feet on earth, faces in heaven. Revival!What happened in the Hebrides is the kind of revival for which the church in our day must pray! Anything less is insufficient. Good as our "church meetings" are, most are only "feathers in the wind". We need New Testament, Book of Acts, outpourings of the Holy Spirit. Our church pews would not be vacant, altar calls would not be empty if we dared pray with the authority of this Scottish man who seized heaven and shook hell. We need sovereign, sinner-quaking, city-shaking revival! You can become that Hector or Duncan for your church and town. All God seeks is a willing heart. He does not want your ability; He wants only your availability.