ETHIOPIA IS STRETCHING HER HANDS
Part 1 of a Report on Dr. Pipim's Prayer Breakfast For Diplomatic Community in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, September 23, 2015.
(For Part 2 of the Report, click HERE)
Ethiopia is mentioned some 38 times in the Bible. Significantly, the first Gentile convert to Christianity was an Ethiopian (Acts 8:26-40). Is it any wonder that today, “Ethiopia is stretching her hands” (Psalm 68:30)? Here’s a brief report of my mission assignment there.
The Lord GREATLY answered our prayers this past Sunday, September 13, 2015, in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. I was invited to be the speaker for a special Prayer Breakfast organized for the diplomatic community in Addis. The event was timed to coincide with the weekend celebrations of the Ethiopian New Year (“Enkutatash”) which fell on September 11.
A PRIVILEGE & RESPONSIBILITY. As you may know, Addis Ababa is the headquarters of the African Union (AU). There are 48 African embassies and 52 non-African embassies in that city. It is also the headquarters of many United Nations’ and other international organizations. Being a politically-influential city (like Brussels, London, and Washington DC, or ancient Rome), Addis holds tremendous prospects for sharing the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ to the key decision-makers of the world. Thus, to be invited to speak to the thought-leaders of nations was a great privilege—and tremendous responsibility. That’s why, last week, I sought for your special prayers.
Another reason we needed prayers was that, though the organizers had planned for 150 people to attend, they were not entirely sure whether all the invited guests would make it, given how busy folks in the diplomatic community are. Also, being the Ethiopian New Year weekend, several had already committed themselves to other engagements on that Sunday. But the major challenge was that that a few days before the event, several Ambassadors and technocrats of the diplomatic corps who had expressed a desire to be present at the event were, at short notice, summoned to Abuja, Nigeria, to attend a Peace and Security Council meeting (to tackle the ongoing terrorism issue on the continent—Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Ansar Dine, ISIS, etc).
Despite these apprehensions, I am pleased to inform you that the Lord answered your prayers in a very mighty way—both in the number who attended and the impact of the message! In all, about 120 people attended the event, including some Ambassadors and several high-ranking officials. Even the Ambassadors who couldn’t attend sent their official representatives.
THE VENUE & PROGRAM: The venue of the Prayer Breakfast was at the residence of the Namibian Ambassador, where a large tent was erected on the front lawns of the Embassy. The MC (Master of Ceremonies) for the occasion was none other than His Excellency, the Deputy Chair of the African Union. A day earlier (on Sabbath afternoon), the organizers invited us to the residence of the Namibian Ambassador to get acquainted, meet other key participants, and also get a “feel” of the venue of the event.
Though the Sunday Prayer Breakfast was planned to be a 2-hr event, it ended up being more than 3 hours! And no one seemed to complain or notice how quickly time went by. Besides the food and fellowship—which were excellent—special music was provided by the Filwoha Seventh-day Adventist Church choir based in Addis. (Don’t make any noises about how good your group can sing until you hear this African choir sing, donning Ethiopia’s traditional white clothing!)
SPECIAL GIFTS FOR GUESTS: Being the weekend of the Ethiopian New Year, a period used for the exchange of gifts, we also provided gifts to all attendees. The gifts consisted of special outreach postcards that are being developed by our EAGLESonline organization. These are not just postcards, they are inspirational cards, hence we refer to them as MCards (message cards). Perhaps, I should explain why we gave these assorted cards to each attendee.
You may recall from my previous Facebook post that the Ethiopian New Year is called ENKUTATASH, an Amharic word that means the "gift of jewels." The story goes that when the famous Queen of Sheba retuned from her expensive journey to visit King Solomon in Jerusalem (1 Kings 10), her chiefs welcomed her back by replenishing her treasury with ENK, or jewels. Thus, today, ENKUTATASH is also the season for exchanging formal New Year greetings, cards, and gifts among urban people.
This is why (in the spirit of the New Year season) EAGLESonline chose to freely share the postcards with attendees. They were not just postcards, but MCards=message cards, for each carried a spiritually uplifting message. And ALL attendees received at least one MCard—although, on that day, they benefited from the contents of more than 12 MCards.
Furthermore, seven special individuals were publicly recognized with gifts. Four (4) Ambassadors were singled out for some special gifts (consisting of autographed copies of my books THE TRANSFORMED MIND, GOOD NIGHT, SIX MORE CHANCES, and AFRICA MUST THINK.
Also, three other prominent individuals were recognized that day with gifts consisting of well-designed wall-posters, with words from some of my previous thought nuggets.
What is important to note is that, both the contents of the MCards, as well as my comments when those special gifts were being presented, were all carefully designed to be part of my message. In fact, even if I didn’t share any further message, the sharing of the gifts was a message in itself. Already, testimonies have already poured in to indicate that the recipients of the special gifts and the larger audience were all greatly impacted by our gesture of goodwill.
MY MESSAGE ITSELF: By the time I came to deliver my Prayer Breakfast message, the audience was ready and eager for it. It should be noted that members of the diplomatic community are an extremely busy people. For this reason, unlike in the past when I used to preach 1-2 hour sermons, my presentation on this occasion was only about 30 mins. By my standards, this is very short, indeed. It’s usually the time I need to warm up to my standard introductory statement: “The Bible is the inspired Word of God. It is the only Book that presents to us…”
The title of my message was chosen to capture the mood on the African continent right now. It is football season—I mean real FOOTball, not the one which is played in America with the hands! Another word for the real football is SOCCER. So, in Africa this is soccer season. That means people are going crazy about the game. The entire continent is engaged in qualifying matches for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.
Cashing in on the football fever, I titled my message “Play To Win” (with a subtitle, “Stay On the Ball”). Using the analogy of football, I offered 12 simple principles on how to play and win the football cup. And using those principles, I explained how: (1) the Ethiopian New Year can be a “happy new year” year; (2) how to succeed in life, as well as in the spiritual life. It was a very simple message, using one paragraph thought-nuggets I had written. And, to the glory of God, the message was well-received!
(We’re currently editing the messages so we can make them available on our website. By the way, you can access a number of my previous audio and video messages at: www.EAGLESonline.org/Resources).
Another indication of the positive response to the messages is how several attendees requested that I autograph their gift MCards and books. (The few books I carried with me to Ethiopia instantly sold-out, with many demanding more. There seems to be a real hunger among the attendees). Also, several have signed up to receive my weekly thought nuggets.
(In case you haven't realized it yet, each week’s thought-nugget is carefully designed to present sound biblical truth in a very simple, easy-to-understand style. It is written with unbelievers in mind. Though just a paragraph long, it literally takes me hours to come up with each nugget, which must be no more than 708 characters on Facebook. Because they're short and engaging, the nuggets are read by many people outside of our faith—including non-Christians and unbelievers. Reports reaching me suggests that, in some places, the nuggets are being broadcast on radio and TV. Some publish them in the bulletins or brochures of their organization & churches to inspire members. Still, others are using them in other different ways for their respective audiences. In fact, two of my inspirational books [Africa Must Think and Hope Through the Dark] were based on previous nuggets. Right now, our EAGLESonline organization is developing special outreach materials using the nuggets. The gift items—MCards, wall=posters, etc. that were shared and warmly received at the Prayer Breakfast—are part of the outreach resource materials.)
All I’m trying to say is that the impact of the message at the Prayer Breakfast was very great. At a later time, I’ll be sharing some other heartwarming developments as a result of this event. For now, however, perhaps I should share only a few emails I have already received from some diplomats:
TESTIMONY #1 (From an Ambassador):
“Thank you for the wonderful ministering yesterday at the Prayer Breakfast and thank you for the wonderful ENKUTATASH gifts. I have already started going through Africa Must Think, and I find it very enlightening from a biblical perspective on the sad situation prevailing in Africa and what needs to be done to change course. I am very grateful indeed.
“I shared the experience yesterday with my friends and family in [named country], and most of them had already heard about your ministry in one way or the other! God willing I hope you can visit [named country] soon and edify God's people….Once again, thank you very much for the inspiration and God Bless You always”
TESTIMONY #2 (From an Ambassador):
“Yesterday's fellowship was such an awesome blessed happening, I am certain that each one of us was impacted in a very special way. You blessed us in a mighty and special way. May God in HIS own way continue to grant you favour so you may be a blessing to others.
“…I started reading your book [GOOD NIGHT] yesterday and although parts of it brought tears to my eyes, it is comforting. Thank you for sharing with me the thought nugget, it definitely speaks to me, I really look forward to receiving them weekly and sharing. I pray a good and restful evening / night.”
TESTIMONY #3: (From a Christian teacher at an international school for the children of diplomats and influential people in society)
“I just put down the book [AFRICA MUST THINK]! I'm going to pick it up again tomorrow and reread it, because I must teach these principles. I am a French teacher in International schools, it is my pulpit to reach the young generation and their parents. I am already teaching many of these principles, but you have widened my sight. I have a vision, it's getting clearer. I thank God for you. You have put words in my thoughts.
“I am passionate about God and His Word, I am passionate about Africa, and passionate about the young generation, I found all that in [AFRICA MUST THINK] "Thought Nuggets on Africa.” I would have loved to read “THE TRANSFORMED MIND“, how can I get hold of it? I am sure you have a very busy schedule till your departure on Wednesday, I pray you will be speaking soon at [Named prominent Church] and that we will welcome you at [a major event next year]. May you remain under God's blessing, grace and mercy.
TESTIMONY #4 (From an official of the Clinton Health Access Initiative):
“Good morning. It is an incredible opportunity to be part of yesterday’s prayer breakfast time and in particular meeting you. I was extremely happy and thanks my friend who invited me to attend this wonderful event. I need all your postcards of the 12 secrets you presented to us yesterday and also the audio.”
TESTIMONY #5 (From an Ambassador)
“It was truly my pleasure to have shared with you the Prayer Breakfast event last Sunday. I felt blessed to have been given that opportunity and to have met amazing people like you. .. I really welcome being on your mailing list and receiving your brilliant nuggets. The messages are indeed inspirational and provide much needed guidance and hope…. God Bless.”
Besides the many testimonies and emails, huge doors have also swung open for us to share the gospel. I’ll share more later. For now, I can only say that, in reviewing the experiences of this past weekend, I’m reminded of the follow Scriptural passage and EGW’s statement:
“Ethiopia will quickly stretch out her hands to God” (Psalm 68:30).
“Many in high social positions are heart-sore, and sick of vanity. They are longing for a peace which they have not. In the very highest ranks of society are those who are hungering and thirsting for salvation. Many would receive help if the Lord’s workers would approach them personally, with a kind manner, a heart made tender by the love of Christ” (Christ’s Object Lesson, p. 231).
“Even the great men are more easily drawn by the simplicity of the gospel than by any effort made in human power. We need more of God and far less of self. God will work through the weakest human agent who is charged with His Spirit” (Evangelism, p. 557-558).
Continue to pray for our EAGLESonline organization (www.EAGLESonline.org), as we prepare resource materials and train people to take the everlasting gospel to the highest ranks of society. Pray that the audios and videos that will be developed will continue to speak to thousands. Pray that I will have a safe-trip tomorrow (Wednesday), when I fly out of Addis Ababa to Michigan. Above all, pray that the seed sowed among these influential leaders will germinate and bear fruit. (Attached are some few pictures. More are on my Facebook page).
“Those who belong to the higher ranks of society are to be sought out with tender affection and brotherly regard. Men in business life, in high positions of trust, men with large inventive faculties and scientific insight, men of genius, teachers of the gospel whose minds have not been called to the special truths for this time,--these should be the first to hear the call. (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 230)
Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, PhD
September 15, 2015
PS. For Part 2 of the Report, click HERE
Photos on the Ethiopian trip are on my (Samuel Pipim) Facebook page, September 15, 2015