NAZARET, ETHIOPIA CRUSADE
JUNE 2004 REPORT
Crusade in Nazaret, Ethiopia
The Holy Spirit and Power of God Invades Ethiopia!
The Ethiopia crusade was put on by Fresh Fire Ministries. Evangelist Todd Bentley preached the Gospel with signs, wonders and miracles following. I'm so blessed and excited of helping and being a part of all that took place there.
- Approximately 20% of the entire city population attends crusade over 5 nights
- Many people make decisions for Christ
- Nearly 10,000 come forward to receive baptism of the Holy Spirit on final night
- Countless healings and miracles happen
- Ambulance brings sick man from hospital to the crusade to be healed
- Over 1200 pastors and Christian leaders receive teaching and impartation
- Participating pastors testify to never having seen so many miracles in a crusade
- FFM mercy ministries feeds hundreds of the poorest families in Nazaret
- Insane woman bound in chains for over 15 years, regains sanity
- Demonized man delivered and set free from power of darkness
It was Saturday night, May 30, when FFM coordinator Gerald Mwebe called with an emergency. Only two more days and a team of approx 30 enthusiastic FFM ambassadors coming from USA, Canada, Switzerland, and England would be ready to embark on the trip of a lifetime. They were geared up to fulfill Matthew 10:7,8 in a community known as Nazaret, Ethiopia.
Gerald was inquiring as to whether we should postpone this trip to Ethiopia, and for good reason. Look at a few of the snags we were up against: Gerald had just found out he had contracted malaria. Gerald's right-hand man had also been battling a severe bout of malaria for over one week already and was progressively deteriorating. The FFM rented semi truck containing all of the stage and lighting equipment, generators etc., had broken down 1000 miles from our destination in Nazaret. Reports had come back to us indicating the State Church of Ethiopia (Orthodox Coptic) was going to resist our crusade. A 40-foot container of humanitarian aid goods sent from Canada in April had not yet been located in Ethiopia. After a brief time of deliberation and prayer, the consensus was "full steam ahead". Somehow, within our spirits we had a sense of the miracles the Lord was about to perform in Ethiopia.
The Team Arrives
The team arrived Wednesday around midday, and after a short time of orientation, everyone was raring to go. Evangelist Todd Bentley, launched the first night by preaching on miracles, signs and wonders— The response was overwhelming. Immediately, manifestations of the healing virtue of Jesus were evident among the deaf, blind and crippled. People began testifying of Jesus making them whole. A lady who had a goiter on her neck for 11 years was instantaneously healed. The goiter simply disappeared. Also, a young girl, age 12, had severe back pain rendering her immobile most of the time. She was supernaturally touched by the power of God. Now, she was doing squats on the stage, weeping with tears of joy.
Fire of God Falls
After Todd gave the altar call, he gave another invitation was given for those who wanted to receive and experience the fire of God. Dozens of children came forward edging their way toward the make-shift platform crying out "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus." Many of the children were escorted to the stage and began to fall prostrate on the hard steel floor, screaming out in their Amharic language.
Interpreters told us they were crying out to their precious Father in heaven, and that they said their bodies literally felt like they were on fire. Approximately 50 children shook uncontrollably for a long time. The pastors behind the stage told us they had never seen anything like this before. Todd then concluded the evening by challenging the crowd with this question from God: "Ethiopia, do you want a five-day crusade or do you want the fire of God to consume you so that Ethiopia will have a five-year revival?"
In the Marketplaces
Teams were divided up into groups of 7 and 8, and led by local interpreters to various markets throughout the city of Nazaret. Most of the business owners were Muslim and very hardened to the gospel. In a number of cases, business owners threw syringes, rocks and other debris at them. But this didn't stop them from sharing the love of Christ.
Pastors and Christian Leaders Receive
Approximately 1200 hungry pastors and Christian leaders came during the day to receive teaching and impartation. Many of the pastors came from hundreds of kilometers away, desperately seeking a fresh touch from the Master's hand. On the final day, at the end of Todd's message, the 30 member Fresh Fire team conducted a special laying-on-of-hands service and formed a fire tunnel to minister to the leaders. All of the people participated in walking through the tunnel, even though some barely made it from one end to the other because of the intense power of God.
Orphan Boy Brings Friends to Crusade
Of particular note was a young orphan boy (about ten years old) who brought his friends (two brothers) to one of the evening crusade meetings. All three of these young boys were from the same orphanage— Their parents had abandoned them after contracting AIDS. Todd prayed for both young boys to receive a miracle for their deaf ears and instantly both brothers were able to hear and talk. The caretaker of the orphanage, Mrs. Almaz Diamond, came forward to atest to the miracles that just took place with her little orphan boys. Elated at the awesome power of God, Diamond began to weep profusely and shouted out the high praises of God in her native tongue, "Jesus is alive, Jesus is alive!" Todd promised that the team would visit her orphanage once the crusade was over.
Demonized Woman Bound with Chains, Set Free
In Africa, we find that supernatural encounters in the realm of good and evil spirits is a very normal and regular phenomena. African people believe in the invisible world and are quite sensitive to spirits, both good and evil. We often see men and women bound by demons because of either personal or generational involvement with witchcraft and sorcery.
On one particular crusade evening, the ushers brought a young woman (about 20 years old) to the stage along with her mother. This woman had been unable to walk like a normal human for over 15 years because her feet were bound with shackles and chains. Like the demoniac in the bible, left unbound, she would turn into a raving maniac, beat people up and, at times, attempt suicide. To prevent her from killing herself or others, the family members had no choice but to bind her feet with chains.
Todd prompted by the Holy Spirit, exhorted all of the Fresh Fire Ministries team and local pastors to corporately declare over and over, "Holy is the Lord! Holy is the Lord! Holy is the Lord!" Within moments, the spiritual atmosphere seemed to be charged with the presence of God. The Todd told the young woman that she needed to receive Jesus Christ into her heart, acknowledging Him as her personal Savior and Lord! She consented and prayed the sinner's prayer. Then Todd and a small FFM team broke the power of generational witchcraft over her and her family tree before beginning to cast out devils with the Word of God.
We asked the young woman's mother for the key to unlock the chains and set her free. Reluctantly, she handed over the keys, hoping not to see a violent outbreak. When the lock was undone, she immediately began to praise the Lord, lifting her hands in joy and jubilation. Her mother fell to the stage floor on her knees, weeping and hardly able to contain herself. To God be the glory!
This mother's daughter, who had been tormented by demons for 15 years and bound with chains for years, was now set free by the power of Jesus Christ. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Yes, greater is Jesus in us than he that is in the world! Jesus has come to set the captives free!
Evangelist Lunges at Demonized Man
One of the more humorous moments of this trip was watching Todd make a WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) move on a demonized man who was hurling curses at God and at Todd. After listening to the man spew out indecent remarks and foul language for a while, Todd threw himself physically on the man and pinned him to the ground, while commanding the evil spirits to come out. After a bit of jostling back and forth, the man, under the control of the ruling evil spirit of that region of Nazaret, was loosed from darkness and came into freedom in Jesus. (According to the pastors, the man had been cursing by the name of this demon power.)
Many others throughout the crusade that night came forward, testifying to new freedoms they had received through Jesus' power. That night, Todd also gave a special invitation for those who wanted to renounce their involvement in witchcraft— Over 200 men, women and children responded. One by one these precious people began to claiming new freedoms in Christ. Hallelujah to the King of Kings!
Orthodox Coptic Church Confronted With True Gospel
On the fourth night of the crusade meetings, the level of faith and expectancy among the crowd was escalating. Todd gave a "cut-to-the-chase" message on what a true born-again" Christian is, challenging Muslims and people who were part of the orthodox churches to consider what authentic Christianity really is. Approx 90 percent of people in the Nazaret city region adhere to the orthodox tradition, a tradition tracing its roots to Phillip's encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch as described in the book of Acts.
These orthodox Christians believe they are the only true Christians and Coptic priests will accuse evangelists of insulting them by proselytizing. Although the number of salvations recorded was much smaller in number than that of our previous crusade in India, hundreds of eager Ethiopians confessed the Lordship of Jesus nightly.
Ambulance Brings Sick Man to Crusade
We encountered a real "thriller" on the fourth night when Todd announced that one of the interpreters told him an ambulance was about to bring a very sick man from the hospital to the crusade grounds. The man was requesting that the "man of God from America" pray for his healing. Already the evening was late, but the news brought a second wind to our sails! Shortly, we could see the amber lights flashing in the distance, and when the ambulance vehicle came to a halt about 40 feet from the FFM platform, Todd asked the ushers to bring him to the stage.
Unfortunately, because the man (a business owner in his forties) was so ill, he asked Todd to come to the vehicle, as the walk to the stage would be too difficult. Todd rushed to the ambulance truck and laid his hands on the man, releasing the resurrection power of Jesus into his body. Todd then told the man to exercise his faith by getting out of the seat and walking to the stage. With a slight hesitation in his walk, he inched his way to the platform and, within minutes, was jumping on the stage with Todd, shouting with exuberance, "I'm happy! I'm happy!" Who says our God doesn't perform miracles anymore?
Over 10,000 Filled with the Spirit on Final Night
The Holy Spirit always seems to save the best wine for last, and this trip to Ethiopia was no exception. Sunday night was the last night of the crusade, and after a brief altar call for salvation, Todd invited those who wanted to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, to rush to the platform. Interestingly, during Todd's entire message on the theme of "The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit," a wind was blowing, we believed, as a sign from heaven that the wind of the Holy Spirit was hovering over the crusade grounds. Before Todd finished giving the invitation, people swarmed the altar area, with hands raised to heaven, crying out for tongues of fire similar to those that fell on the 120 in the upper room.
Over 10,000 voices were raised to heaven, shouting praises to God and speaking in new heavenly languages. One thing is for sure, the wind and fire of the Holy Spirit was evident as angels fanned the flames in the hearts of the people.
FFM Team Visits Orphanage
On Monday morning we left for Mama Diamond's orphanage, where 12 little boys and girls lived. They all came from homes where their parents were afflicted with AIDS. Team members shed many tears that morning as they saw the meager living conditions: straw and mud walls; mattresses made with straw; a pitiful looking kitchen corner and barely any food. Yet, joy was written all over the children's faces as we handed out toys, candies and balloons to each little orphan. We also brought food for hungry little tummies. This orphanage, named Tnigret Asefa (Amazing Miracle), stuck way out in the Ethiopian boonies, truly had Christmas in June that day! We are not sure who was more changed, the little orphan children or the FFM team!
As the apostle James said, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and our Father is to take care of the widows, orphans and fatherless." (James 1:27)
Seven Poorest Villages Receive Food
The FFM team headed to various villages throughout Nazaret to administer a special program set up by the local pastors of the area. Fresh Fire Ministries purchased a wheat-like product (one of the Ethiopian staple foods) and had it packaged in 15 kg. bags. Seven of the poorest villages were selected, each village housing approx 100 families. FFM partnered with the local civil authorities to ensure the food would be properly distributed among the people. The joy on faces, as each person received a bag of grain, was worth a picture. We had the privilege of expressing the heart of Jesus: "When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat. Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me." (Matt. 2:5)
Severe Famine in Ethiopia - FFM partners with World Vision
There is a global awareness of the devastating famine that has been occurring in various regions of Ethiopia over the past 20 years. This nation is considered to be among the poorest countries of all Africa. Missiologists have also identified this nation as one of the most infected with the AIDs virus, second only to South Africa.
On our arrival in Ethiopia, the 40-foot container that was filled with food and clothing supplies was still docked in Djibouti. Fresh Fire will be partnering with World Vision (which is very established in this country) in making sure proper distribution takes place among the people, once the container arrives in Ethiopia. In the meantime, we ask you to pray that God would turn the tide for this ravaged nation, and that both natural and spiritual rain would fall on the people of this land.
Overflowing With People
On Sunday morning, John preached at a local church in Nazaret. There was over 2400 people at the service. It was so full that people were sitting in the aisles and standing around the building, trying to see and hear what God was doing.
John preached on favor and restoration; after that he finished with a simple salvation message. He gave an altar call was given, 14 people came and gave their lives to Jesus. This is the greatest miracle!
He called out "words of knowledge" and many people received healings and creative miracles in their bodies, others were set free. One lady (who many of the people knew), who for over 32 years couldn't bend over because from birth she was born with an extra bone that ran down spine. She was touched by the miraculous power of God and immediately the extra bone vanished. Crying with much joy, she began to bend over repeatedly before the crowd, showing them what had just happened to her. The excitement of the people was astounding and the faith level of the people rose.
Another lady who had a degenerating disease in the bones of her back for 20 years, couldn't hardly move her back or walk, was instantly healed. With a big smile on her face, she began to testify and demonstrate to the people, the miracle that took place in her body.
These and many other healings and miracles that took place, proved to the people that "Jesus Christ is still the same yesterday, today and forever!"
Reports from Some Participating Christian Leaders
Pastor Samson (chairman of the FFM Ethiopia crusade)
"We've had international evangelists come to Ethiopia in the past. They have been a blessing, but never have we seen these kinds of miracles and never have we seen so many miracles in a single crusade. Fresh Fire Ministries has truly encouraged our people in ways beyond what words can express."
Todd's local interpreter
"I am very thankful evangelist Todd Bentley obeyed the Lord and came to our nation. At times I was so in awe of the many miracles taking place on the stage that I forgot about my job to interpret.
See more Ethiopia Crusade pictures