A place of power
“It is good that you have finally arrived,” said the pastor. “Eight years ago the Lord showed us in a vision three white men would visit us in a red and white vehicle, just like that one, (pointing to our 4WD) and we were to welcome you,” he said, grinning. “You are the first white people to visit us. Welcome!” I looked at my travel companions with raised eye brows! “What is going on in this place?” I thought.
Rod Talbot (World Outreach Missionary, Botswana), David Boyd (Senior Pastor of Jesus Family, Cabramatta, Australia) and I had traveled to Ethiopia to see some of the evangelism and church planting work that newly appointed WO missionary, Mesfin Abebe, was overseeing.
After a very early morning start from Addis we headed off to an area west of the capital city. The roads were horrendous, and if it were not for our 4WD the journey may have taken twice as long. Approximately five hours later we finally arrived on a church compound located in a small mountain village. As we got out and stretched our legs, a small group gathered to welcome us. Mesfin (our interpreter) introduced us to Pastor Thiruneh and a number of evangelists who had been advised three weeks earlier; by a messenger sent from Addis Ababa, that we would arrive on this particular day. Like most rural areas in Ethiopia, this village has no electricity or telephone.
We asked the pastor to tell us a little of his work and ministry. He said that eight years ago they were led of God to start a church on this site. Two years later the Lord spoke to them to commence a 24 hour prayer meeting, 7 days a week, 365 days a year! “The Holy Spirit told us that if we would dedicate time to seeking His face, He would reveal Himself to us and show us things. At first, it was hard to sustain the 24 hour prayer meeting with a small congregation, but as numbers grew and as our hunger for His presence increased, it became easier. We now have three eight hour prayer shifts per day. Sometimes there are just a handful of people praying, other times there can be 30 or 40. Today church numbers are over 1500 people and growing. We have since built a bigger and better church.
“What sort of things has the Lord revealed to you?” I asked. “He showed 911 before it happened, different wars, political events and natural disasters including the Asia Tsunami.” As he shared details of some of these events, the information was so specific it was as if he has been recounting a TIME magazine report.
“The Lord has shown us things to do with the future that have not yet happened, in particular world events.” He went on to describe what the Holy Spirit showed them about the plans of Islam to control certain areas of the world, region by region. He said the Asia Tsunami put a stop to such plans in South Asia. ‘The Lord told us it was not their time’.
He also told us that if we would seek Him, we would know His presence, experience His power and see miracles take place. He would also send people, including royalty and government figures, from other nations to us.
There is no access to doctors or hospitals in these remote places. Jesus is the only hope. Every week sick people are brought here from other villages. One woman arrived this morning after being carried for three hours. The sick are taken into where the 24 hour prayer meeting is being held and laid on the floor. From time to time, those who are praying will sit next to the sick and lay hands on them. We have lost count of how many people have been set free from cancer and other diseases.
One man, a member of the extended Saudi royal family, found his way to us, bringing with him his family and entourage. He had terminal cancer. They camped in the church compound and attended our prayer meeting. Six weeks later, they left after committing their lives to Jesus with the man declaring himself healed! A member of the Ethiopian government, also with terminal cancer, came here with his family and stayed four weeks. He too believed God had healed him and along with his family rededicated their lives to Christ.
The evangelists we train and who Mesfin is helping to arrange sponsorship for, go and preach in villages for 3-4 months then return here for a month of spiritual refreshment and further waiting on the Lord. All of them are seeing the power of God work through them when they go out, especially when they come upon people who are sick and bedridden. The power of God heals these people and whole families have immediately accepted Jesus as their Saviour. The Lord has shown us great things that He wants to do, both in Ethiopia and among our Moslem dominated neighbouring nations.
There is a spiritual battle for two nations in Africa, i.e. Ethiopia and Nigeria! If they were to fall to Islam then the whole continent of Africa could easily follow. However, the Lord has shown us that it won’t happen, but it won’t be without a major spiritual battle in the heavenlies. Please ask believers in other countries to stand with us in prayer, in particular that Ethiopia will see a mighty outpouring of the Spirit of God.”
The day was fast disappearing. Conscious of the long journey before us in traveling back to Addis Ababa, I suggested we pray for them. “Yes, please.”
said the pastor, “but can we pray for you first?” We retreated to his dirt floor office with 15 of us squeezing into the room leaving only the door open a little so as to shed some light into the room. After 10 minutes of everyone praying out loud together, suddenly, one of the evangelists took me by my wrists and pulled me to my feet and began to prophesy over me, and then Rod and Dave.
It was unbelievable! They knew nothing about us but the words were so accurate. Things only the Lord knew, things in relation to the ministry, personal vision, desires and things yet to come. The presence of God was so powerful.
It was time to leave. We had come to learn what we could do for them but felt we were the ones that had benefited the most from the visit.
John is the Present Emeritus of World Outreach. He lives with his wife, Mary, in New Zealand.