22 May 2014
Love Ethiopia Press Release
Unity and Hope in Ethiopia: Evangelist Andrew Palau and local church leaders team up for a nationwide initiative, reaching hundreds of thousands of people with the Good News of Jesus Christ
In the heart of one of Africa's most influential cities, world evangelist Andrew Palau and 500 Ethiopian churches joined together in a significant effort to foster unity and love, and reach out with the Good News through Love Ethiopia, October 26 through November 17, 2013.
The campaign visited the nation's seven largest cities with the clear message of Jesus Christ. It included more than 17 partner evangelists, 120 short-term missionaries, more than 70 para-church organizations, and thousands of local volunteers in 175 events. From outreach events in local prisons to a private meeting with the newly-appointed president of the nation, the campaign reached every level of society and touched hundreds of thousands of people, with many thousands responding to the clear Gospel message presented by Andrew Palau and dozens of others.
Andrew's biblical messages of hope rang out to tens of thousands of people on the closing weekend of the festival, forming a potent capstone to the three-week-long campaign involving many evangelistic opportunities. Many in the crowd on Saturday were clad in Ethiopian soccer jerseys, proudly sporting the nation's colors – all in hopeful anticipation of the World Cup qualifier match set to be held later that night. Yet none of them budged from the festival site as Palau shared an impassioned message about the reality of heaven and hell and the possibility of a lasting and eternal hope. He told stories of men and women who had died with the assurance of heaven, offering the same assurance to the crowd.
"Our brother Andrew is a real evangelist," said Reverend Alemu Shetta, General Secretary of the Ethiopian Evangelical Churches Fellowship. "He is preaching the Gospel to the fullest, in its simplicity. Everybody could understand it."
The campaign in Ethiopia was the latest for Palau – part of a 10-year campaign to join with believers throughout Africa and share the Good News of Jesus Christ. And the impact has not gone unnoticed.
"I want to thank you for all that Love Ethiopia with Andrew Palau is doing in the area of social services and in presenting a positive message to the young people of Ethiopia," said Ethiopia's President Mulatu Teshome. "You have my support."
The festival in Addis Ababa opened with a program for children with evangelist Doug Horley from the UK, BMX demonstrations from Dirt Brothers, Vic Murphy and Jon Andrus, and music led by Chicago-based Salem Baptist Choir, Don Moen, and Dave Lubben, as well as local musical guests Dawit Getachew, Sami Tesfamichael, Tseat Choir, and Tesfaye Gabbiso. Throughout the festival, opportunities to pray and accept the Lord were given numerous times.
"This plan and shared vision will meet the great need of this generation," shared Reverend Hiruy Tsige. "The youth are bewildered."
Palau has a special love for Ethiopia as he and his wife adopted their daughter from Addis Ababa five years ago. It was their experience in the city that clarified the Lord's call for them and inspired Palau's vision to serve with the Church in 10 capital cities of Africa for 10 subsequent years. Yet, Palau's specific vision for Ethiopia was greater than just the festival in Addis Ababa. After an official invitation from leaders representing 76 denominations in Addis Ababa, Palau shared a proposal that would help unify the entire country and reach every level of society with the Good News of Jesus Christ. He shared his vision with several partner evangelists from the Luis Palau Association's Next Generation Alliance, many of whom were excited to join in the effort. In the weeks prior to the festival more than 17 evangelists led outreaches in seven of the largest cities in Ethiopia. They involved the leadership of Keith Cook, Alan Greene, Blair Carlson, Richard Hamlet, and Reid Saunders.
"This festival brought everybody together," said Zelalem Abebe, Love Ethiopia's Festival Director and General Secretary of the Evangelical Students' and Graduates Union of Ethiopia. "Everybody wanted to discuss the heart behind Love Ethiopia. It played a significant role in bringing unity at top leadership levels."
The effort in Addis Ababa also involved the participation of more than 200 short-term missionaries from the United States, the United Kingdom, and surrounding nations. They volunteered as mission team members in the week prior to the festival, working alongside local believers, doctors, and medical professionals to serve thousands of people through clinics distributing free eyeglasses, leading outreaches through soccer clinics and BMX demonstrations, and visiting schools, orphanages, and prisons.
Working with the Luis Palau Association, local churches and leaders have spent several months building a follow-up and discipleship strategy for every new believer, including the vital partnership and official launch of ALPHA Africa. At present, the Palau team is finalizing preparations for a Christmas outreach in China and evangelistic festivals in Alaska with both Luis and Andrew Palau as the evangelists.