A man walked to the front of the church and turned to face the women. When he spoke, we froze.
We thought the Ethiopian women leaders’ conference was over. The last song was sung. The last testimony was given, or so we thought.
With great emotion and a loud shout, the man got everyone’s attention.
We had seen this man many times in the three days of the conference. He’d arrive a little late, sit in the back, and leave quickly when the day’s teaching was over. We were told he was the spiritual development leader for the association of churches in this Ethiopian region.
This conference was not the first time a man had attended our women’s conferences. Pastors in closed-to-Christianity countries sometimes come to learn or observe. Once in Uganda, 60 tribal leaders sat in the back rows to ensure that our teaching was biblically faithful. We had assumed this man was doing the same. At first, we thought something we’d said must have sounded wrong to his ears.
Then he began to speak. His commanding voice began to soften. Tears streamed down his cheeks.
We leaned over to our translator and asked, “What is he saying?” The translator whispered . . .
“Learning God’s story and his part in God’s story touched him so deeply. The greatest impact was truly understanding his identity in Christ.”
The man then started speaking directly to us.
“When you asked the questions, what does the world say about you? What does the enemy say about you? And what do you say about yourself? It made me uncover deep wounds.
When we turned in the Bible to learn what God says about me, so…much… joy… came.”
This strong man’s eyes, wet with tears, met our eyes. He composed himself and turned back to the women, who were all wide-eyed and sitting still. He declared:
“Of all the places these ministers could go, they came here! Why? Because God heard you. God knows your spiritual hunger and sent these women to you. It is a precious gift!
You need to take this gift and use it to reach others. Not just teaching one or two but reaching ALL THE WOMEN IN ETHIOPIA!!”
With that, the women shouted praises to God! Hallelujah! One woman started singing, and others joined in.
Six months later, these women leaders fulfilled their commitment to God to go and make disciples reporting:
- 3,242 gospel presentations have been given – including reaching rural areas
- 81 people made first-time decisions for Jesus
- 255 women are now in weekly bible studies using the study Bibles provided
- 70 women are currently in prayer groups
We never know who God will send to All In conferences. We’re honored to serve and grateful for the generosity of our All In monthly Change Partners for making conferences possible.
May we all serve God knowing our identity in Christ – working from a position of acceptance rather than for acceptance. Hallelujah and amen!