My goodness, 2013 was such an exciting year. My life has been so clearly marked by seasons that God has started and allowed to come to an end. As you may know, I have recently returned from an extreme mission trip to Ethiopia. This has marked the beginning of the next season in my life.
I have been called to return to Ethiopia.
It is estimated that there are roughly 6.75 billion people in the world "“ 2.8 billion of which "“ 2.8 BILLION - have never heard the name of Jesus. It is hard to believe that so many people in the world have never even had the opportunity to hear the Gospel, the Truth, and the way to everlasting life. Mark 16:15 states "He said to them, "˜Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.'"
I have recently been presented with an amazing opportunity to join as a leader with an organization called Joshua Campaign International's Mission 1:11. They believe that everyone should have the opportunity to hear about the Gospel of Jesus Christ at least once. With Mission 1:11, I will partake in 2 months of intense training and missions work that begin on April 10, 2014. During the three months I will be spending 2 weeks state side in Bakersfield. In these two weeks I will learn the skills and tools which are necessary to lead a group of students to a people that have never been exposed to the word of Christ. The last 6 weeks, my team and I will be in Ethiopia applying these skills. The first part of our time in Ethiopia will be spent in the capital city of Addis Ababa taking part in a massive crusade and evangelism outreaches, praying for the lost, sick, and lame. The second part of our time in Ethiopia will be spent with the un-reached nomadic tribes; it is at this time that all our skills will truly be put to the test.
Words do not describe how excited I am to be taking part in such an amazing adventure and I hope that you too share my excitement.
God Bless You and Thank You So Much,
"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'"- Romans 10:14-15
My Testimony From The Most Recent Trip (September - December 2013):
What we saw during the crusade was incredible. Roughly 45,000 people in attendance all listening to the message being preached with their hearts even more open than their ears. Unfortunately being that this region has so little missionaries and educated churches in the area "“ demonic activity including possessions are extremely common. Should anyone present at the crusade begin to manifest any sort of unusual behavior, they would be escorted to the deliverance tent. Inside of this tent were people that were suffering from anything supernatural. This tent was completely full "“ to the point where it was difficult to even walk from one side to the other.
During the first day of the crusade, I had to go in to this tent to get the "full experience" of what this was all about. I was prepared for what I was about to see because of things people had told me and the commotion of the general area. However, I wasn't prepared for what was going to happen "“ specifically things that I would begin to think and feel.
The first person I prayed for was a little girl about 9 or so years old who could not hear. Several of our team members joined in praying for this little girl. We must have been there praying for this girl for at least half an hour. Eventually the mother showed up and told us the girl's name. Occasionally we would break from prayer only to test to see if her hearing had come back. Each time we didn't see improvement, we continued to pray. Eventually, I remember almost whispering to the girl, "Hey look at me" and she immediately snapped her head and looked right at me with a big grin. I believe we both looked equally as shocked in that moment. We all began to celebrate until Tamara said "Get her to say "˜Jesus is Lord'". Then I remembered the scripture that no demon would ever confess Jesus as Lord. So I asked her to repeat it and unfortunately she would not. She was responding to everything else we had said and asked her but would not repeat "Jesus is Lord."
So we returned to praying.
It wasn't before long that she eventually whispered it, then said it, then confessed loud enough for us to hear that "Jesus is Lord."
Day 1 was pretty intense. It was full of incredible testimonies such as this. The next few days however, just weren't as awe inspiring. We would pray for 100 people and only see a relatively few people healed or delivered. It began to get discouraging. These were the thoughts and feelings that I wasn't really prepared for. I began to hear my own thoughts begin to say "God isn't hearing my prayers:" or "perhaps some sin I committed last week was blocking my prayer:".
Such thoughts are obviously untrue and from the devil. But when you're in the middle of praying for all these people and one after the other just not seeing God move in any direction "“ it gets tough. Obviously we have an entire group of strong Christians with us with great leaders who have obviously been through this situation before. They encouraged us and helped us to continue.
Day 5 of the crusade. We have now spent hours in this deliverance tent praying for people. It was this day that another student and myself stood near the edge of the stage watching people come up to testify what God has done and how He has healed them. We began to get happier and happier as we started to see all the people we had prayed for the previous 4 days walking up to talk about their healing. God had healed MANY of the people after we had prayed for them and left. I was only getting discouraged because I hadn't been seeing it happen right in front of me "“ God had healed them well after I had left. It was an incredible and powerful reminder of this entire trip just wasn't about me "“ and that the only job I had was to plant seeds. God took it from there.
I pray that you can give any amount to help me go back and sow more seeds for the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus.
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