Ambo Gospel Crusade, Ethiopia DAY 1:
I am very excited for what the next few days of meetings will bring. The devil is fighting this crusade with gnashing teeth and scratching nails, desperate to hold onto his own. Last week, violent riots broke out that resulted in a frightening number of deaths and the town being on lockdown for four days. Late Wednesday we were informed that the Prime Minister was landing on Thursday morning via helicopter on our crusade grounds – the local stadium – to meet with authorities. Protocol required our entire sound and stage set-up be removed due to security concerns; the request coming very kindly and with many apologies, I must add. When he left yesterday afternoon, we scurried to erect enough equipment to hold our first service. We do not call off services at In His Name (when at all possible) so our aim was to begin our crusade last night, as promised in our marketing campaign, regardless of the challenges. The team did spectacularly well but by the time we got going, the lateness of the hour made many too nervous to attend, protesters having been stirred up again by the coming of the Prime Minister. I preached a short salvation message and our little crowd surrendered eagerly to Jesus. Prayer for the sick yielded mighty miracles. One young man testified that madness and a strange paralysis down his left side had tormented him for years. “I felt a pressure being lifted off my head,” he shared. “The paralysis is gone. My mind is sound!” He leapt up and down on stage, unable to contain his excitement. This is the power that the name of Jesus reverberates with: uncontainable, chain-breaking, devil-beating power. Hallelujah! We need your fervent prayers, dear friend. Pray that peace will prevail in Ambo. Pray that no weapon formed against this town and crusade will prosper. Pray that the foul spirit of fear that is crippling the populace be broken. May these precious people attend our meetings in their tens of thousands and receive redemption, healing and deliverance. Jesus is waiting with outstretched arms, eager to snatch Ambo into His embrace. Let’s get the job done. Ambo for Jesus!
Ambo Gospel Crusade, Ethiopia DAY 2:
The devil is on the run, dear friend! Heartfelt thanks for your prayers. Thousands gathered on our crusade field today, hungry to hear the Gospel. It was a glory-filled, miracle-saturated, joy-infused service. Let us continue to pray that more and more will come, even those who may be nervous of mass gatherings because of the recent violence. Ambo shall be known as a town of peace and righteousness. Her walls shall be called salvation and her gates praise. This is our confession and ardent declaration! I preached on the Samaritan woman and the response was fantastic. The crowd called on the name of Jesus and our ushers worked fervently to complete decision cards and distribute follow-up material. Prayer for the sick yielded an abundance of miracle testimonies. The stories of two women stood out to us in particular because of the period of time for which they had been suffering: fifteen years and twelve years, respectively. How horrible to be bound by iniquity for this long! The first, a 45-year-old mother of five called Mari, had been tormented by acute stomach pains for fifteen years. “I could not eat properly, I lost so much weight,” she shared, her stature small and frail. “I was very weak and in such pain, I could not do my housework, I could not look after my children. But, during prayer, the power of God touched me. The pain suddenly left. I am free!” Ecstatic, Mari rejoiced. The second woman had been unable to use her right leg for the past twelve years. The undiagnosed pain in that limb was extremely severe and completely immobilising. Jesus healed her completely. Bouncing up and down on stage, she ululated and sang praises to the Almighty, running back and forth to demonstrate her newfound freedom. The crowd celebrated with her. Praise the Lord! Tomorrow and Sunday lie before us. This will be a weekend of fire. The Light of Life is shining forth His majesty and the darkness is dissipating. Arise and shine, Ambo, the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!
Ambo Gospel Crusade, Ethiopia DAY 3:
We are being overwhelmed by the power and presence of Jesus! We held two services today, morning and evening. Ev. Samuel Murrombe took the morning session and belted out a red-hot Gospel message that produced the eternal fruit of thousands saved. This evening, our crowd exploded with growth and I ministered two messages: first, the young rich ruler (Matthew 19) and the essential truth that we all need to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus, both the best of us and the worst of us; second, how Jesus wants to fill every believer with His Spirit and use them for His glory. The response to the Gospel was breathtaking. Men and women, young and old raised their hands skyward and called on the Lord to wash away the sin separating them from God. Follow-up material was distributed and personal details collected. Then, my message on the Holy Spirit was superbly received. Everyone is excited for tomorrow night when we will pray for the Holy Spirit baptism. An army of soul-winners will be born, ready to win Ethiopia for Jesus! Prayer for the sick resulted in a flood of testimonies. One elderly gentleman named Bedazo, twisted on stage with a flexibility that could only be heaven-sent. He had been unable to stretch forward or backward for the past two years. He celebrated his bendy, pain-free spine with tremendous enthusiasm (see pic). It was special to witness! An engineering student had suffered from severe back and chest pains for the past year. He fell on his knees and raised his hands, overcome with gratitude for the God who had liberated him. A 26-year-old young man, Ebisa had been deaf in his right ear for two years. That ear popped open tonight and he was overjoyed. Testimony followed testimony, too many to be heard from stage. Tomorrow, all the churches who have laboured with us will close their doors for one glorious, mass service. We are looking forward to this immensely. Come evening, we will conclude the crusade. Please continue praying for us. The Lord has transformed this crusade from wobbly to wonder-filled. Hallelujah!
Ambo Gospel Crusade, Ethiopia FINAL DAY:
We are in awe of what the Lord has done! This town, which only a week ago was neck-deep in hatred and violence, is now nestled safely in the arms of our Saviour King. Tens of thousands have been saved. Believers have been filled with the Spirit, empowered to continue the work of evangelism. Broken bodies have been put back together and bondages snapped. This morning, our mass church service was wonderfully attended and Ev. Samuel Murrombe shared his testimony with tremendous zeal, sharing how he had been radically saved in prison after following a life of crime. Salvation followed in the wake of his testimony like a floodtide. Our evening service was tremendous. I preached first on the sickness of sin and how only Dr Jesus can heal our spirits from this damning disease. The crowd responded with one accord, asking the Doctor of all doctors to save them from sin and hell. It was glorious. We then handed Certificates of Appreciation to the pastors who headed up the various crusade committee portfolios before I taught a final message on the Holy Spirit and we prayed for all to be filled from on High. The Spirit fell with such intensity that I was still asking those gathered to raise their hands when He descended upon them. Exquisite chaos ensued, directed by the hand of the Almighty. He filled and healed simultaneously, ailments vanishing under the weight of His glory. I prayed blessings over Ambo, declaring key Scriptures. One could feel the atmosphere grow pregnant with promise. We heard some stunning testimonies. One young man, 30-year-old Rebina, was born deaf in his left ear. That ear can now hear perfectly. What a mighty miracle! “I am free!” he exclaimed, elated. A young woman named Edlawit had been under the vice of a kidney infection for twelve, excruciating years. Any woman who has suffered from this knows how debilitating such an infection is. Tonight, as she was filled with the Spirit, the pain she thought would be never-ending, left her body. Hallelujah! Heartfelt thanks, dear friend. This crusade could easily have been cancelled by the local authorities because of the drama of last week. Your prayers pushed it through and the results speak for themselves. The Prince of Peace has been preached and we leave Ambo forever changed!