Ev. Tamryn and our team were on crusade in Dilla, Ethiopia from 2 – 5 February 2017.
INTRODUCTION: Ethiopia sits bordered by strongly Muslim nations: Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti. The Islam influence is heavy and constantly threatens to overwhelm. The country has the largest population in Africa second only to Nigeria. A personal relationship with the Lord is a foreign concept, with under 20% of the nation professing to be born-again believers. The main religions range from Islam and ancestral/idol worship to Ethiopian Orthodox, the latter involving prayers being directed at the saints rather than Jesus, priests acting as intermediaries between people and God and eternal life being earned through good works. In both the Islam and Orthodox faiths, becoming born again results in being cast out of home and family. The persecution is intense.
With this in mind, we set our hearts towards Dilla, a southern market town. From the first day to the last (2 – 5 February) thousands gathered in a dusty stadium, the crowd swelling until it was 20,000 strong on the final night. Due to the tremendous persecution, crusade attendees who are Muslim or Orthodox are hesitant to be seen completing a decision card or accepting follow-up material. Consequently, while we can positively say that a marvellous total of 6,907 precious people accepted the Lord as Saviour, the pastors – who understand the challenges faced by believers in Dilla – are adamant that thousands more said “Yes!” to the Lord while in the crowd in a more secretive manner, much like Nicodemus in John 3. We pray they will seek out the pastors, who will help them grow strong in the Lord until they can boldly declare their faith. Please join us in praying for them! Be blessed by the daily reports that follow, written each evening after the crusade service.
The Spirit of the Lord is hard at work here! Already, thousands of people are flooding our crusade field. The attentiveness with which men and women, young and old listen to the Gospel is fantastic. I preached on John chapter 3 and the necessity of being born again. We praise the Lord for the wonderful response! Personal details were collected and follow-up material given, both having been prepared and printed in the Amharic language. A personal relationship with the Lord is a foreign concept here, with under 20% of the nation professing to be born-again Christians. The main religions range from Islam and ancestral/idol worship to Ethiopian Orthodox, the latter involving prayers being directed at the saints rather than Jesus, priests acting as intermediaries between people and God and heaven being attained through good works. We are determined to persevere and preach the true Gospel, hallelujah! Prayer for the sick resulted in wonderful testimonies. Kirubel (22) had struggled for years from such terrible back pain that he has been unable to work, the majority of occupations here involving physical labour. During prayer, the pain disappeared completely, resulting in him jumping up and down on stage with glee. One precious lady had been suffering for an extended period of time from terrible pains in her left leg. Such had escalated to the point that she could not wear a shoe on that foot. Now, she is free, gloriously free! Tomorrow we continue. Thank you for your prayers, let us keep pushing forward in His matchless name!
An Amharic decision card being completed before follow-up material is given.
The atmosphere here is electric, fully Holy Spirit charged! What salvations, what miracles we witnessed. People are sitting and standing everywhere in and around the stadium, from the banks of grass beyond the perimeter fence to the grandstand behind the stage. I preached on Isaiah 61 tonight and thereafter a message on the Holy Spirit before we prayed for the sick. The salvation prayer felt as if it was shaking the heavens, such was said with such glorious gusto. The Lord indwelt many a heart today. We are rejoicing! Bekeleeh (41) was in a motorbike accident five months ago. Two bones in her lower right leg broke, shifting out of place. The leg refuse to heal, leaving Bekeleeh in constant agony and relying on a crutch. During prayer, this precious woman felt the bones moving back into position followed by the disappearance of all pain. Hallelujah! She testified on stage with tremendous excitement, stomping about. Adismusu (30) had been suffering from an ear infection for the past three years, his right ear oozing blood and puss. The smell was so horrific, he explained, that people would not stand on his right side. He also could not hear out of that ear. “I felt amazing power during the prayer,” he shared. Now, his ear is clear, his hearing perfect. The crowd exploded with joy, dancing and leaping with contagious energy. In fact, streams and streams of people danced home, chanting “I am a warrior for Jesus” in Amharic. Dilla will never be the same again, this is becoming abundantly clear.
The enthusiasm of people here for the things of God is fantastic. One feels as if they are constantly leaning in, yearning for more of His word and person. The Lord cannot resist such an attitude and pours Himself over them with eager abandon. I preached on the Samaritan woman tonight (John 4) and ministered again on the Holy Spirit before praying for the sick. The lost poured into the arms of Jesus and testimony after testimony was heard of healing and deliverance. Abraham (20) had been plagued by a tumour on his leg for the past four months. He struggled to walk because of it. During prayer, he felt the power of God moving through his body, the tumour disappearing. Overwhelmed, Abraham knelt on stage and glorified God. “I am so happy,” he declared, “I am so happy!” Asefa (27) had been diagnosed with a heart condition that would render him quickly out of breath. He could not run, dance or jump. In fact, even speaking too loudly or hastily posed a problem. Now, Asefa is completely healed. “I feel such peach, such freedom!” he professed, bellowing into the microphone intentionally, rattling off his story in a manner that would previously have left him exhausted. Jubilant, his newfound energy knew no bounds. Workinesh (46) had been blind for the past five months but now can see. Fikre (25) had endured a constant headache for the past fifteen years. He also struggled with depression. Tonight, he accepted Jesus as Saviour and also received complete healing. How marvellous! “I have absolute peace now,” he shared. “I will never be the same.” Tomorrow evening we will pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the people here are more than ready to be filled from on high. In the morning, all the churches that have taken hands with us will hold a combined service at which I shall be ministering. We have never seen such unity, it is quite thrilling.
We have come to the end of a truly spectacular crusade! This morning, all the churches who have partnered with us held a combined service on the crusade field. I preached to a sea of umbrellas (which offered the congregants some protection from the blazing sun) and we had a marvellous time together. Tonight, the crowd swelled to 20,000 and Ev. Samuel Murrombe did a phenomenal job preaching the Gospel. I followed hot on his heels with a final message on the Holy Spirit before we prayed for the fire to fall. The Lord saturated His people, healing broken bodies as He did so. A young man named Israel had written a letter to the Lord prior to the crusade. “I told Him I wanted to receive the mantle of Elijah,” he explained. Overwhelmed with joy, he shared how he had just been filled from on High, speaking in tongues for the first time. Israel received a mantle indeed, one the Lord desires to give all His children, the mantle of His Holy Spirit! Zewditu wept on stage. She had been asking the Lord to fill her for many years and today He did just that. Trembling, she went home floating on a cloud of His glory. Shimeles had struggled with severe pains in his back for five years. The pain was so terrible in fact that it felt like fire. As we prayed for the baptism, the fire of God dealt with that fiery pain, dispelling it entirely. Thank you, dearest friends and partners for making this crusade possible. You have laboured alongside us through your prayers and giving, thousands of precious souls having been forever reborn through your faithfulness. The pastors are rejoicing. During the recent political unrest in Ethiopia, Dilla likewise experienced violent riots and protests, deaths resulting therefrom. The church leadership here was weary and despondent, uncertain of the future. Now, they are strong once more, eager to take their town for Jesus and disciple the many new converts. “Dilla for Jesus!” they are proclaiming, “Dilla for Jesus!”