Shakiso Gospel Crusade, DAY 1:
After months of planning and weeks of intense preparation, our crusade got going this afternoon in a spectacular fashion. Over the past few days, a number of towns in the area—including Shakiso—have experienced unrest, the army being deployed to settle the situation. André and I were meant to arrive yesterday—after flying from South Africa to Addis and then from Addis to Hawassa—but were unable to complete the five-hour drive to Shakiso due to the road being closed. We spent the night in Aleta Wendo, which turned out to be a special blessing as we were able to connect with some of the pastors with whom In His Name laboured exactly two years ago (March 2021) to hold a Gospel Crusade. They shared how the flood of new converts that they had received into their congregations as a result of the crusade were still attending church with sincere devotion and becoming mighty men and women of God. This thrills our hearts! As one often hears it put: The Lord has called us to make disciples and not only new converts. This is why we labour hand-in-hand with local pastors when we hold our crusades. We catch the sheep and they shepherd them. The evangelist and the pastor, when working together, make a winning team!
This morning, we hit the road at 5am to reach Shakiso and—we thank you for your prayers—made our way successfully through every roadblock. The pastors welcomed us warmly and gave us the most stunning traditional outfits which we are all looking forward to wearing on Sunday. This afternoon, our first service took place. Our crusade field is the ground of a local school, a very central location. Those attending stood quite scattered, huddled under the shade thrown by massive trees and colourful buildings. I trust that the pictures I selected for this report show you the beauty of the people here and their hunger for the things of God. I preached from Isaiah 61 and explained all the wonders that Jesus would work for anyone who would call on His name. The response was terrific, with voices lifted in unison, confessing Him as Lord and Saviour. Prayer for the sick yielded mighty miracles as the Spirit poured Himself out upon His people. We will hear testimonies tomorrow, needing to end the service before it became too dark, the recent unrest still on the forefront of the minds of the pastors and people. Tomorrow and over the weekend, we will hold both morning and afternoon services and we are extremely expectant. Shakiso will be shaken by His power and presence. Heartfelt thanks for your support and continued prayers!
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Shakiso Gospel Crusade, DAY 2:
Our crowd exploded with growth today. The stage is soon going to be a raft floating among a sea of people! We held both morning and afternoon meetings, needing to abide by a strict 6pm curfew due to the current unrest. However, the people seem to be quite happy to come early and return home before it gets dark. We thank the Lord.
Ev. Samuel Murrombe preached the Gospel this morning, sharing on the story of Zacchaeus. He explained that while everyone else knew him as a sinner, Jesus knew him by name and as Zacchaeus welcomed Jesus into his house, so we should invite him into our hearts. Amen! This afternoon, I shared from Luke 15 and the stories of the lost sheep, coin and son. As a sheep is helpless against a predator, so we are helpless against the devil. We must ask Jesus to be our Great Shepherd—this is our only hope! Thousands responded in both services, calling upon the name of the Lord. Prayer cards were completed and follow-up material distributed. The pastors will use these prayer cards to make contact with the new converts and the follow-up material—provided in both Amharic and Oromiffa—will help the new believers get going in their relationship with the Lord.
Prayer for the sick yielded spectacular miracles. Abyne, a 40-year-old metal worker, had injured his neck badly and was not able to turn it at all. In fact, he had made the long, 500km journey to Addis to purchase special anointing oil from one of the churches there dabbling in such fetishes. The oil did not work and now, he was planning to return to Addis to see a medical doctor. Dr Jesus intervened today and freely healed this precious gentleman, who twisted his neck to the left and right with great glee. Depression had set in due to the ailment and now it departed together with the ailment. Praise the Lord!
Germano is a 24-year-old miner—working on a nearby gold mine—whose right leg had been extremely painful for the past four years, with no sign of improvement. It made his work very challenging and unpleasant. Today, Jesus healed him and he showed off his newfound mobility on stage, jumping up and down with joy.
Etenesh is a 39-year-old farmer. She had been suffering with a non-stop migraine for the last three years. How horrible! The doctor had diagnosed an incurable nerve condition. Thankfully, the incurable is curable with Jesus! Rejocing in her healing, this beautiful woman was elated. “I praise my Jesus! He is my wonderful Lord!” she expressed.
Dharasso is a 25-year-old day worker who had been plagued by a heart condition for the past year. “I went to hospital but they could not help me,” she expressed. During prayer, the pains in her chest and every other symptom of her illness utterly ceased. Overjoyed, Dharasso praised the Lord. Thank you, Jesus!
Tomorrow, we continue with both morning and afternoon services. Your prayers and support undergird us and carry us forward. Shakiso is being saved!
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Shakiso Gospel Crusade, DAY 3:
The Lord overwhelmed Shakiso today with an avalanche of His presence and power. There is no other way to describe what we witnessed. What salvations! What miracles! What deliverances! Our Jesus has been wrapping His arms around the people of this precious town and they have been allowing themselves to be fully embraced.
This morning, Ev. Samuel Murrombe preached a powerful message about our Jesus being the only way to heaven. He is no mere prophet or teacher but rather, He is the Son of God who made a way for us when there was no way. This afternoon, I preached on the sickness of sin and how only Dr Jesus can heal our spirits, using the medicine of His blood. In both services, the response to the altar call for salvation was extremely enthusiastic. Young and old called upon Jesus and became children of God. Hallelujah!
After sharing the Gospel, I then taught on the Holy Spirit, laying the foundation for tomorrow, when I will teach still further before we pray for the Holy Spirit baptism. Everyone is excited and very expectant. Prayer for the sick was followed by a steady stream of testimonies. Be encouraged in your own faith by these few.
If I were to say that 45-year-old Amele was jubilant, I would not be doing service to her emotions. This dear lady shook with joy, so great was the level of her elation. At the age of 23, she survived a war that wrecked her community. The conflict, however, left her completely deaf in both ears. Her life was never the same. She never married. She was unable to work. This afternoon, one simple prayer changed everything for her. “In the name of Jesus, deaf ears open!” was the declaration made. Suddenly, Amele could hear—and perfectly! She shared her story from stage and the crowd responded with shouts of praise. Hallelujah and amen, our God is great and greatly to be praised!
Gete was also ecstatic. A 60-year-old widow, she had lost her one eye as a child. The sight in the other eye was now horrendously poor and she could barely see. Already a believer, she came to the crusade specifically for healing. The Lord responded to her faith with eager affection. Putting her hand over her eye during prayer, she removed it after the final, “Amen!” had been said and gasped with delight—she could see! How absolutely fantastic.
Kidsti is 35 years old and mother to three children. Ten years ago, a tumour started to grow beneath her one breast. It was now large and uncomfortable, a constant, unwelcomed presence in her life. After prayer, when we asked people to check their bodies to see if the Lord had worked a miracle, Kidsti felt for the tumour. It was gone! Overjoyed, this dear woman testified with tremendous zeal. “I thank my Lord,” she expressed. “I am free!”
Gete is also 35 years old. For the past three years, she had been plagued by an infection in her womb—leaving her in intense pain—and also, arthritis in her fingers and knees. This afternoon, the Lord did a complete work. He healed her from top to toe, banishing the infection and annihilating the joint pain. “I will worship Jesus forever. He has changed my whole life!” How marvellous!
Tomorrow morning, all the evangelical churches in Shakiso will gather together for a mass service. Come afternoon, we will conclude with our final meeting. Let us remain vigilant in our prayers. It is going to be yet another day filled with the glory of God!
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Shakiso Gospel Crusade, FINAL DAY:
Our crusade here has come to a spectacular conclusion! Today was fire-filled from beginning to end. Tens of thousands flooded our field, enveloping the stage on all sides.
This morning, the evangelical churches in Shakiso closed their doors and everyone gathered together on the crusade field for a mass church service. What a stunning show of unity! This is one of the many, many reasons why I love crusading in Ethiopia. The churches pull together in the same direction, having the common purpose of their nation safe and sound in the arms of Jesus! We handed out Certificates of Appreciation on stage to the key leaders. They will hold their own special ceremony to hand out certificates to the other leaders and many volunteers. We also left 120 copies of the Amharic version of my book, “Spirit of Fire” with them, which teaches on the Holy Spirit and evangelism. I then preached on John 4 and the story of the Samaritan woman and her encounter with Jesus. Thousands called on the Lord to receive the gift of God. It was splendid!
This afternoon, Ev. Samuel Murrombe preached from Isaiah 55 and how the Gospel quenches our spiritual thirst. Yet again, the hunger to grab hold of Jesus was tremendous. Precious souls were translated from darkness to light as they confessed Jesus to be their Lord and Saviour. Thereafter, I gave one final teaching on the Holy Spirit, explaining how after one is filled with Him, how one should work with Him to share the Gospel and pray for the sick. The pastors gathered on stage and together, we prayed for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. What a glorious floodtide ensued of His power and presence! Believers were saturated with Him and overwhelmed by Him. We know that they will go forth boldly, preaching Jesus with signs and wonders following!
With the infilling came healing and deliverance. Diseases disappeared and ailments vanished. We also prayed for all the prayer requests that had been submitted during the crusade period and look forward to hearing many mighty testimonies from the pastors of breakthrough after breakthrough.
Shakiso, we love you, we will miss you and we shall continue praying for you! Dearest partners, thank you for standing with us through your prayers and giving. We have faced intense challenges both in the planning and execution stages of this crusade but by His grace and through your prayers, we have persevered. Yet another Ethiopian town has been eternally impacted. Heartfelt thanks!
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