Abdul had been a Muslim for years. He was devoted to Allah. He was not only a nominal Muslim or a cultural Muslim, he was fully committed to the cause of Islam. In fact, he had devoted his life and occupation to the increase and spread of Islam. His job was that of a mosque planter. You may have heard of a church planter, someone who travels from one city to the next, starting new congregations, then passing off that church to a pastor so he can go to the next city and repeat the process. This was Abdul’s job, except instead of planting Christian churches, he was planting Muslim mosques. As I said, this was a committed Muslim man.
It just so happened that he was working in Chanka, Ethiopia when my team and I arrived in that same city for our crusade a month ago. It took more than two days to travel to Chanka in western Ethiopia. This is a remote city that had never had a crusade before. There were only 5 churches and a combined 5,000 Christians in the entire city prior to our crusade. Meanwhile, there were many more Muslims in Chanka and Abdul was busy working to continue to grow the Muslim population by building another mosque in that city.
Our Gospel Crusade in this city was going well. What started as a small crowd of a couple thousand the first night was rapidly growing each day, due in large part to the miracles. Every service we had many people who were healed of all sorts of diseases and ailments: blind eyes opening, deaf ears hearing, lame legs walking—it was like the Bible coming to life every single night! As is customary, these miracles become the talk of the town, and the crowds swell from one service to the next, as more and more people attend, bringing sick people or wanting to see the sick healed.
Perhaps the most prominent miracle that happened was of a man known by the whole city, but for all the wrong reasons. There was a man who 8 months earlier had become insane in his mind. He was living in the town’s main square, often causing disturbances. The devil had not only attacked his mind, but also his body, as he was lame and partially blind. Yet, somehow, he found himself at the crusade towards the beginning of the week, and that night he was miraculously set free from his insanity, blindness and paralysis! He came on stage to testify of this miracle, and as he walked on stage many in the crowd began recognizing him. He shared his testimony and I was amazed! To validate his miracle, I asked how many in the crowd knew of this man and could verify that what he was saying was true. Hands shot up all across that field as the crowd became witness to a miracle that the whole city could verify!
Of course, not only were people being healed physically, but more importantly, they were being healed spiritually, as each night hundreds, if not thousands, gave their hearts to Jesus. I mentioned earlier that the whole city only had 5,000 Christians prior to our crusade. We know the importance of discipleship and mobilizing those believers to continue the follow-up work with all of the new believers so, as always, we organize pastors’ and leadership conferences. But considering that this whole city only had 5 pastors, we opened up the conference to all Christians, and we had over 1,000 Christians attend! More than 20% of the entire city’s Christian population came to our conferences to be trained and empowered to continue the work of God long after we left. And this training was definitely needed as 8,400 people filled out decision cards at this crusade to testify that they had received Jesus for the first time! Think about that: that means that in one week the Christian population in Chanka more than doubled, growing by 168%! This was an incredible harvest!
Of those 8,400 people, it is the story of Abdul that sticks out to me the most. As you can understand, news of the crusade reached Abdul and so, out of curiosity, but filled with skepticism, he decided to come to see what everyone was talking about. He stood at the back of the crusade with his six-year-old daughter. They both listened as I preached about the love and justice of our God, a message quite contrary to that of Allah. I spoke about the sacrifice that Jesus made that we might be saved and healed. After praying with many to receive Jesus as Savior, I began to share about Jesus as Healer and proceeded to pray for the sick. Abdul watched and listened with unbelief, but then something happened.
At the conclusion of my prayer for healing, Abdul looked down at his daughter and couldn’t believe his eyes. Six years ago, his daughter was born with a paralyzed left arm. Her whole life she had never been able to move it. No matter how many times Abdul had prayed to Allah, he had never healed her. No matter how many mosques he had planted, Allah had not healed his daughter. But here he was looking at his daughter moving her arm. He did not believe in Jesus; he served Allah. But his daughter heard the message about Jesus, and with childlike faith she believed that Jesus could heal her arm…and He did! Abdul was shocked, but that shock quickly turned to joy—his daughter was healed! He rushed to the front of the field and found one of our ushers and joyfully reported what Jesus had done! He told the usher, “Jesus did what Allah could never do. I realize now that Jesus, and not Allah, is the one true God and I shall serve Him!”
When I heard this testimony, I was overcome with emotion. As a father, I can only imagine how Abdul must have felt to see his daughter live life handicapped despite countless prayers and requests to his god. But in one moment, Jesus changed everything—He healed his daughter and brought salvation to his home (to watch a video about Abdul, click here). This is just one of thousands of lives who were impacted by the Gospel in Chanka.
There are so many more stories to tell from this crusade and so many more testimonies of what Jesus did. If you click here you can watch a quick recap of this crusade and there are many other videos on our YouTube page of miracles and testimonies of what Jesus did! I want to thank each of you for your prayers and financial support that makes stories like this possible. Because of what Jesus did, Chanka will never be the same, and Abdul and his family will never be the same either! Jesus is alive!