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“I Was in Prison and You Visited Me”

by | Jul 7, 2015 | Missions Articles

Our team took a month-long outreach trip into Ethiopia to serve the heart of the Father by reaching out to the poor and destitute, the orphans and widows. The prison in Nazaret (about an hour drive outside the capital of Addis Ababa) opened their doors for us to come minister to the inmates, both male and female. Among the prisoners, there are some believers who meet regularly for Bible studies with the prison chaplain. But of the nearly 300 inmates gathered that day, most were not.

There were no bars or dividers of any kind between us and them. I preferred it this way. Jesus never allowed fear to keep Him from touching the diseased and the demonized. He is perfect love, and where perfect love is, there is no room for fear. Brushing by the prisoners as we walked in was, in one sense, freeing. Perhaps they expected fear. But we had none of that to offer. We carried with us only love and the power of the name of Jesus Christ.

Several of the students were given opportunity to share testimonies of how the Lord pulled them up from the pit. The prisoners leaned forward on their seats, listening intently. In their minds, white people have it all together. We are rich and therefore happy. They could not imagine that we have needs as well, that we are broken as they are. To hear that we struggle with many of the same issues that they do—depression, fear, anger— it began to open them up to hear how the Lord brought freedom and restoration to our own broken lives.

When the call to receive the Lord as Savior was given, only three stood who were willing to risk their reputation for the promise of salvation. But as they stood and chose by faith to believe, the very atmosphere of faith in the room began to increase. Our team began receiving words of knowledge for physical ailments and injuries that the Lord wanted to heal. One by one, prisoners came forward. And one by one, knees, ears, wrists, vision impairment, and arthritis were healed! Faith escalated and more prisoners began to respond to the message of the Gospel!

But the Lord was not through. Later that evening, we received a phone call from the prison chaplain, and he excitedly shared what happened after our team left. The inmates had decided to have a prayer meeting after their lunch and the Holy Spirit fell on them so strongly that the women could not get off of the floor. The presence of the Lord was so tangible as He ministered directly to them! Two inmates, who had for years given themselves over to serve the head witchdoctor in the prison, came to the chaplain to receive salvation and asked how to get free from the bondage of witchcraft and the influence of the witchdoctor!

In His ministry, Jesus established that the preaching of the Gospel and signs and wonders would go hand in hand. “And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.” – Matthew 9:35. The Gospel was never meant to be powerless! There is far greater effectiveness when both are operating together because this is the reality of the Kingdom of God touching Earth! As believers and disciples, we walk in the love and power of the Son of God, who defeated the devil, defeated every form of sin and darkness, and was lifted up to sit in heavenly places as the Victorious One and Conquering King!

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