Dear Friends, Feb. 20, 2011
I am now at home reflecting upon God’s grace given to me in Ethiopia and Rwanda. The Ethiopia Evangelist Conference was a success! The 200 native evangelists from all over Ethiopia expressed their heartfelt gratitude for our invitation. One man told me that he travelled 621 miles over three days to attend the conference while another came from a village 1,034 miles away by riding various buses for over 24 hours.
We exclusively invited evangelists working in Muslim areas. One of their leaders told me they were serving God amidst the threats of “Muslims” and “cobras.” I knew that fundamentalist Muslims have tried to kill gospel witnesses but I didn’t know that evangelists had died from cobra bites as they walked through the bushes to go preach the gospel from one village to another.
The memory of the passionate praise of the Ethiopian evangelists in their native tongue still warms my heart. It was my privilege to deliver the message during the opening ceremony. After that, I taught two sessions entitled “Biblical Basis for Evangelism and Missions.”
Our team members delivered amazing messages and lessons during the five day conference. Steve, an Australian missionary to Scotland, taught the evangelists how to formulate gospel messages out of their heart and life. This was a profound lesson with down-to-earth application. Antoinnette’s prayer and teachings on the evangelists’ spiritual life was so powerful that the evangelists adopted her as their spiritual Mama. My Rwandan partner Norman Desire declared, “Africa must be evangelized by African people. We should not be totally dependent on Western strategies or financial support. We must learn to put our faith in Jesus, who is the Lord and Savior of Africa.” Through her genuine love for her husband, Brenna, Steve’s wife, taught the evangelists how we should love and serve Christ, our Bridegroom.
On the last day of the conference I shared with the evangelists how the Lord met me and restored me while I was at the lowest point of my life. When I gave them an invitation to commit their lives to this Jesus who would do the same for them, about one-third of the evangelists in the conference center came forward and knelt on the rock-hard cement floor, desperately asking God to dispense His grace on them. As our team members and the Ethiopian church leaders laid their hands on each evangelist to pray with him or her, some began to wail. It took quite some time to finish praying for everybody. As they were returning to their seats, one young evangelist by the name of Wondimu Wolegeno kissed my hand said with tear-filled eyes, “You are my Father. You restored me today.” Thank you for your prayers for safe travel for the team and the evangelists and for a smooth conference. God has faithfully answered your prayers.
My first exposure to an international ministry came when I was invited to Amsterdam, the Netherlands to attend the Amsterdam 86 International Conference on Itinerant Evangelists. Billy Graham Association spent $3 million to train 10,000 evangelists from 187 coun-tries. When asked why he did this with no benefit for himself, Billy said, “Because of the Great Commission! It is my mission and responsibility to train evangelists and supply them with tools for the ministry especially these evangelists who have had no training and supplies except God’s call.”
I was in my early twenties when I was touched by Billy Graham’s answer. I am in my late forties now and the Lord gave me the privilege of spending $20,000 to train these African evangelists and supply them with the tools of ministry. This would have never been possible without your financial and spiritual support. Thank you very much for your friendship and partnership. You are the true heroes and heroines of world missions. I am just an errand boy who has carried out what YOU have entrusted to me through your support because of your trust in Christ and His Great Commission.
The Ethiopian evangelists begged us to hold a conference for their wives. The wives are under a great deal of stress keeping the homes and raising the children while the husbands are frequently away sharing the gospel. They want their wives who support them in fulfilling God’s calling on their lives to have an opportunity for fellowship and spiritual refreshment. We are already praying: “God, send us back.”
The Lord also filled the Gisenyi Pastor’s Conference with His grace. The pastors of Gisenyi pleaded with me to extend my teaching to two weeks in the future. These pastors have determined to develop themselves first as men and women who can properly divide the word of God and then expect God’s kingdom to come to Gisenyi as they develop their churches and Christians according to the teachings of the Bible. They again asked that I deliver to you their sincere gratitude for sending me to their city. They also wanted you to know that they are praying for you.
Every time I am in the mission field I struggle with the effects of ulcerative colitis. Flying more than a day through three connecting flights is becoming tougher every day. However, my heart still burns when I think of the field ready for harvest: “Lord here I am. Send me!” Thank you for your partnership and support.
Your Brother in Christ, David