Our last Outreaches of 2018 were in Alamata and Jijiga, Ethiopia. Although this had already been an incredible year of ministry impact, during our time there, we experienced something amazing … unlike anything we’d ever seen before.
This was the first time in several years that we did back-to-back Outreaches. It began with a full week of Medical Clinic services in Alamata in the North, in what’s called the Tigray region. There is a power struggle there involving a minority tribe that has held control for more than two decades. This made things a little tumultuous at first, but the Lord provided an open door of ministry for us to be in Alamata.
During our time there, 14,000 were treated in four and a half days in Yeshua’s (Jesus’) name! And three new Israel communities from the mountains came down to meet Messianic leaders. God’s timing was perfect as our Clinic concluded just days before the city itself was unexpectedly shut down. Had the Clinic been scheduled one week later, it would have not even been possible. We thank the Lord for His providential timing!
From Alamata, we traveled southeast to Jijiga in the Somali region. We faced a new set of challenges there because the Somali region of Ethiopia is predominantly Muslim. The vast majority of the government leadership – nearly 100% – is Muslim. We weren’t sure how much, or what kind of, opposition we might face. One of the government leaders told us how his people had been taught to be suspicious of people like us. He told us he had never met a Jewish person until that day.
When he asked us what the name of our organization was, without knowing what the consequences might be, we said, “Jewish Voice.”
He said, in his broken English, “I have only seen Jewish (people) or (those from) Israel on TV. I’ve never met (any) in person.” Then something remarkable happened. He said, “But because of your name, I promise you you’ll have no problems during this Clinic, and we’ll protect you. Because we’ve never met a Jewish group before. But we want a relationship.”
We were stunned. We received full permission to do the Clinic in Jijiga with great favor from the Muslim government!
More amazing timing for this Medical Clinic followed. The Somali region is a desert in the Horn of Africa right on the border of Somalia and Somaliland. It rains very infrequently through much of the year, but they do have a rainy season, which ends around the middle of August. We arrived in the middle of October, but as the last eye patient left the Clinic with the needed medicine, huge thunderclouds were coming over the mountains. Torrential rains began, and soon all had to stop what they were doing and run to take shelter!
The director of the Clinic, a local Somalian, came to Doctor Adane, the JVMI Africa Medical Director, and said, “This is God! You brought the blessing of God!”
Because of God’s favor, the leadership in this city understood something important happened when a Jewish group came and served them selflessly. Something changed – not just for that Clinic, but for the future opportunities we have to share the Good News among Ethiopian Jews and their neighbors in that region.
Even now, we’re seeing increasing numbers of miraculous opportunities.
We just received the formal invitation for Jewish Voice Ministries International (JVMI) to return to the Muslim region of the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia for a 2019 Medical Outreach!
We believe this will become a health center just five hours outside of Jijiga in the middle of a 7,000-person Yibir Jewish community surrounded by Muslims. The Lord is up to something!
The impact of these Outreaches continues to grow.
A 16 year old named Nachum came to the Clinic in Alamata. When we began to share with him about Yeshua, it became clear he was a young man filled with questions.
Through the interpreter, he said to us: “My questions might confuse you. I believe in science. I believe in philosophy. So, what about God? I don’t believe in God. What do you think about God?”
His words indicated that his mind was made up, but his questions showed that wasn’t the case. He was searching for truth. He said, “If nothing matters, if life doesn’t matter, if the planet’s not real, and you’re not real, and I’m not real, then where is purpose? Where is destiny?”
As he continued to share, he revealed that his father had passed away and, on his deathbed, had said to him, “I believe that you have a destiny.” It was clear that he was seeking this destiny.
By the end of the conversation, he said, “I am ready. I am ready to receive Jesus.”