It’s Easter morning in Ethiopia and I’m getting the eggs and cheese out to fix us a good breakfast. We have a new guest and I wanted to prepare a nice meal. As I was turning on the stove our son Belay runs into the kitchen and says,” WOW, amazing morning today.” I originally thought, “Belay I am busy trying to cook breakfast, so maybe you had a great run at the track; I’m busy.” Later I repented for these thoughts. He’s standing there with pictures in his hands and a yellow rope in the other. He begins to tell me of how he was on one of his morning runs through the forest, a place that I’ve trained with him many times. As he was running with is friend he saw a man in the distance but ran on by. Then he stopped and thought to himself; “Something isn’t right what is that man doing?” He told his friend we have to go over there and he friend said no lets’ keep going. Belay replied;” No we have to go over there!” They went over and the man had three pictures in his pocket, a note and a rope around his neck. The man told them to leave; they grabbed him down and talked to him until they calmed him down. They shared how Jesus died for him and has purpose for him. Then Belay knew what the next step should be, bring him to his family and see what to do next.
I must confess at first when Belay came in I was like, man I’m busy what is it? As Belay shared the above story my heart melted, especially as I looked at the rope that about took this man’s eternity. He is HIV positive, his wife is too, but his daughter in negative. His wife got really sick and went back to her country side to be with her family, he felt too much shame to go; hopelessness was sinking in. I told Belay bring him into his room and give me time to pray about what God would want to tell him. The Lord gave me this; but he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:5-6 In Ethiopia sheep are everywhere and I told him we’re all like that sheep that try to get away, but Christ has brought us all back by His wounds, etc. etc. Then we went to For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, 20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. Colossians 1: 19-20. I told him God has brought him back to Himself through Jesus on the cross, making peace with him. I said,” You almost hung on a tree today, but it was finished when Jesus hung on a tree for you thousands of years ago.” I took him through Romans showing him how the wages of sin is death. But eternal life is a free gift. He had bought the rope for 4 birr (21 cents) to hang himself with. I laid the rope on the table and three nails in the shapes of a cross. I told him, “You just about paid your way to death for 4 birr (21 cents), but Jesus nailed you shame, guilt and sin to the cross and paid the price for your life. And this gift of life is free. I knew we couldn’t let this man just leave so we invited him to church with us and to our Easter lunch with our small group, friends and large family.
Church was amazing today, great worship, great message, but the greatest part was looking back and looking at this man clapping and smiling at me, praising the LORD! After church we went to eat and had great food. This man, Getachew, fixed the biggest plate ever and finished it all. He agreed to share his story to this large group of what God had done in his life today. Then we all gathered around him and prayed over him. A few of my close Ethiopian friends wanted to talk to him more about Jesus and so about six of them had 30 minute conversation about what it means to follow Jesus. He decided to follow Jesus.
So I was in the kitchen when I saw them take Getachew into a back room to pray. My friend invited me in and when I came in he was on his knees and two other were praying over him. I thought this is amazing and just got on my knees and began to pray. He was praying the salvation prayer and confessing Jesus as Lord, then things got crazy. He became tense and went to the ground, and then I saw drops of blood hitting the floor. My first thought was of Jesus praying in the garden, but things changed quickly, he went into convulsions on the floor and screamed all kinds of words and sounds, all of us calling on the powerful name of JESUS. Blood was dripping from his nose and things were intense; then all of a sudden his body went straight and stiff as a board and then there was silence. He became peaceful and sat on a stool in his right mind; WOW what a day!
Here’s my take on the day;
1. I love the sensitivity of our son Belay’s heart to act in the Spirit of the Lord. So many of us hear this voice day by day and keep on going. I’m guilty of this also. If Belay ignored this voice, Getachew would be hanging from a tree today, dead.
2. I LOVE that our son knows we’re a family that lives LOVE out loud and that he came to us when a need like this arises.
3. As we were praying over him today the evil spirit said that he was going to kill him this morning and he will kill him. Our enemy wants to destroy us; but our Savior has victory!
4. When the blood came out of him while casting out the demon, the demon tried to scare us away, knowing that he is HIV positive. I also believe that the blood was symbolic that Jesus has healed him of his blood disease; I look forward to his next test, by faith.
5. My biggest take, JESUS IS LORD! He has victory over death and He has conquered our enemy. His ways are truly greater than our ways. He rose from the dead, so that we would rise with HIM.
Pray as we look to build Getachew up in the local church before we send him back to his wife and 4 year girl in the countryside. If the demon comes back and the house is empty, big trouble. Pray as we plug him into a church we’re partnered with to fill the house.
Closing: My Easter’s have always been filled with dinner with my family, a big meal that puts me in a coma, we dress extra nice for that special day at church, more people go to church than usual on this day and we sing different songs. Then we hide eggs, eat chocolate and have a fun day. I will never forget this Easter; it’s all about saving us from our mess, saving us all from hanging on the trees of our own lives and bringing us into peace with God and our pass, present and future circumstances. This is it, Jesus rose to life so that we could have life, and Jesus rose to life so that Getachew now has new life. I've written to the best of my human understanding of all this, I can’t explain God, He’s too great to be put into words; but I do know that today.
GLORY TO GOD AND THE POWER OF JESUS!