Miracle in Alaba
In the first century a handful of evangelists penetrated the entire Mediterranean world with the Gospel. Today the same thing is happening in the Muslim region of Ethiopia called Alaba. For the persecuted believers who live there, Jesus is Lord. He is their first love. Nothing else is so important to them. There is no missionary “method” beyond that. No gimmicks. No grand strategy. No seminars to attend. Just love Jesus, and (because you love Jesus) love others. And it’s working.
Remember Mohammed the murderer?* Well, he’s now Mohammed your brother in Christ. Becky and I went to visit him as soon as we arrived in Alaba. He had been reading the Bible I had given him last year, comparing it with the Quran. Christians from the Kale Heywet church had also visited him. There in that barbed-wire enclosure we had a wonderful reunion. Just before we left, Mohammed told us that he was “ready.” Ready for what? Ready to acknowledge Jesus as Lord – in a Muslim prison. As he prayed the words Geta Iesus (“Lord Jesus”) I witnessed a miracle, the miracle of redemption. When we had finished praying, I said to him, “Let me be the first to welcome you into the family of God.” Could joy ever be sweeter or happiness greater?
As we hugged and said our goodbyes he told us, “Please do not forget me. My family will cut me off completely. You are now my Mama and Papa.” He is right, of course, and we are honored to have him in our family. As we were walking back to Alaba town Becky said to me, “Honey, do you realize that we now have 10 Ethiopian children, and one of them is in prison for murder?” I went back twice to visit Mohammed since his conversion, and he is radiant in his new-found faith, reading his Bible faithfully, and fellowshipping with other believers there.
So what can we learn from the early apostles? Why were they so successful? Sharing the love of God was a priority for them. Simply put, they were radical about Jesus. That’s all. And that’s enough.
* Four years ago Mohammed murdered an 18-year old Christian. Two years ago I went to Alaba in order to pray with the victim’s family. Immediately the Lord impressed on me the need to visit his murderer as well.
January 8, 2006
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.