I just came back from the United Nations where I spoke at the Geneva Institute for Leadership and Public Policy on the topic of poverty alleviation to lawmakers from many different countries. As a result, God has opened huge doors for Community Health Evangelism in Ethiopia, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Cambodia. I will share details of this trip in my next letter, so stay tuned.
Before the Geneva Institute for Leadership and Public Policy began, we had a “by invitation” only meeting of Christians that would be part of the U.N. gathering. There is a growing fellowship of believers at the U.N. with a desire to influence policy makers with Christian values. At this meeting I heard the most amazing testimony of God’s miraculous power and grace.
Tamrat Layne was the leader of the Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement in the 1980’s that overthrew then dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam in the Ethiopian Civil War. A self-proclaimed atheist, he believed that “freedom comes out of the barrel of a gun”. In 1991 he became Prime Minister of a transitional government in Ethiopia, run by a three-man Junta.
About three years into his term as Prime Minister, he realized that his communist-socialist ideology was mistaken. He became a threat to the new government and in 1995 was thrown into prison on trumped up charges by then President, Meles Zenawi, who later succeeded him as Prime Minister.
Kept in solitary confinement, he tried to commit suicide multiple times, and studied Buddhism and Islam. After five years in prison, a Christian nurse slipped a tract under his pillow. The tract said God loves you, Jesus died for you, and Jesus wants to give you a new life. He didn’t believe in God and didn’t understand how Jesus could have died for him, but he did want a new life.
Over three consecutive days, Jesus appeared to him filling the room with light. Jesus said, “I am Jesus. Believe in me and follow me. If you believe in me and follow me, I am the only one who can give you the new life that you are looking for. I am the life. I will get you out of this place, and I will send you to the world to testify of me. I will be with you always.”
He slipped the nurse a note telling her what happened, and asked her to bring him something to read. She brought him a Bible. He spent the next seven years in solitary confinement with just “his Bible and the Holy Spirit”. Jesus transformed him from an angry, insulting man, to a peaceful, joyous, and hopeful person.
At one point during those remaining years, one of the guards brings Tamrat a cell phone and a slip of paper with a phone number on it. The guard tells Tamrat that the number on the slip of paper belongs to his wife, Mulu. Immediately Tamrat calls, anxious to talk to her for the first time in 7 years. During their conversation, Mulu tells Tamrat that she has had an encounter with Jesus and became a Christian. They shared their amazing stories with each other and figured out that they were both visited by Jesus on the same nights! Jesus had appeared to her in the refugee camp in Kenya over three consecutive nights, once in a dream, then in a vision, and finally through an audible voice.
Tamrat spoke to the Geneva Institute for Leadership and Public Policy at the United Nations as a former Prime Minister. At the end of his speak he said:
The theme of the Institute this year is “Transforming Nations through Peace and Reconciliation”. I cannot close this speech without telling you about the man that transformed my life. Christians refer to him as Jesus of Nazareth. Muslims call him Isa-al-Masih. He is my Lord and Savior, the one who gave me new life.
Tamrat and Mulu now have a non-profit organization that serves orphans and widows in Ethiopia. In the course of our conversations, he invited me to discuss the possibility working with his organization to launch Community Health Evangelism ministries.
For the bigger picture of what God is doing through CHE globally, take a look at the map on our home page – 129 countries and 3,574 communities.
We need your help! $750 helps launch work in one village somewhere in the world. Your gift, no matter what size, will bring light and life to some of the poorest on earth.
There is a gathering wave in the church that has transformed thousands of lives and communities around the globe in the last three decades. This gathering wave is called ‘wholistic ministry’ spelled with a “W.” It’s not new. It is as old as Jesus. It’s how Jesus ministered.
This wave is a work of God’s Spirit that is flooding the nations with truth and mercy. People are coming to Christ, whole communities are being lifted out of cycles of poverty and disease, and the church is taking its place as God’s transforming agent in society.
This is your invitation to join this movement
We thank God for your partnership in the harvest
Thank you all for your support and prayers. I am thankful for each of you, and pray God’s blessing in every area of your lives. Without you, none of would be possible.