Festival Day 2: As Andrew gave his final appeal to the crowd to surrender to Jesus, people throughout the crowd could be heard praying aloud in Amharic. As they prayed, some bowed their heads while others lifted their eyes to heaven in response to Andrew's message. Andrew shared multiple stories of people who had died with the assurance of eternity, including his grandfather who had died looking up to heaven saying "I am going to be with Jesus which is far better." He reminded the audience that death can come at any time, citing his family's near death experience with a plan crash in Jamaica. He prayed a blessing over the country again, praying for the poor, for families, and for healing for those with broken bodies or broken relationships.
Festival Day 1: Andrew delivered a strong message to a packed crowd about how Jesus can set people free from the curse of sin and the challenges of the flesh, weaving in his own personal story. He invited the crowd to accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, saying "I'm here to tell you that you can go to heaven."
Many could be heard praying with Andrew, inviting Jesus Christ into their lives. At the end of the prayer, the audience erupted into applause.
The festival events began early in the day with a children's program by Doug Horley and his team, featuring music, dance, puppets, and an evangelistic message. Vic Murphy and the BMX team, along with FMX stunt rider Justin Holman. The music lineup featured local artists, the Salem Baptist Choir from Chicago, and Don Moen.
Many festival goers wore their green, yellow, and red football jerseys, and festival organizers and local authorities agreed to end the festival before dark so the crowd would be able to catch the highly anticipated and much publicized football match between Ethiopia and Nigeria.
Friday: Friday was the final day of affinity events in Ethiopia before the festival. Andrew spoke at a business and professional dinner at the Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa which was attended by business leaders, government officials, and professionals in the city. More than 800 people packed the ballroom, some of them standing along the walls as they listened to Andrew's message. Andrew spoke on the role of leadership in society, shared specific stories on the relevancy of Jesus Christ to different aspects of life, and gave his own personal testimony. Keep Love Ethiopia in your prayers this weekend!
Thursday: Andrew and a few members of the team met with the President of Ethiopia. Andrew shared the festival vision and prayed a blessing over the country. Later in the day, he visited a compound where a local ministry serves 40,000 children who are living on the street each year. Several hundred children came to a program featuring Vic Murphy and Jon Andrus doing BMX stunts, a presentation from UK evangelist Doug Horley, Salem Choir, and an evangelistic message from Andrew. Nearly half of the children in the audience raised their hands afterwards indicating they had prayed with Andrew to receive Jesus Christ as their savior!
Meanwhile, mission teams continue to work at clinics and conduct outreaches around the city.
Wednesday: More than 600 women packed the Sheraton Hotel Ballroom to hear a message from Andrew and Wendy Palau. Wendy Palau began by giving a moving and personal testimony of how God brought her peace and comfort in the midst of tragedy.
Andrew then shared about the encounter the Samaritan woman had with Jesus in John 4.
He explained how such an encounter radically changed the Samaritan woman and how his own encounter with Jesus had radically changed his life as well. He then invited the women in attendance to turn to turn to God.
Tuesday: Since arriving in Addis Ababa, the Love Ethiopia team is working at various clinics and outreach events.
Many team members are working at one of the four eyeglass clinics across the city, distributing 11,000 pairs of glasses to people in need. They will assist in helping people find the right prescription and share the Gospel along the way. Tuesday, Andrew spoke to more than 250 people waiting to get fitted at the clinics, sharing from Luke 19 about the encounter Jesus had with Zacchaeus and weaving in his own personal testimony.
Andrew visited one of the festival's soccer clinics, where he told shared the story of Zacchaeus with more than 200 children. Many of the children raised their hands to indicate they had prayed with Andrew to receive Jesus Christ. In addition, a team shared the Good News at two school assemblies and at a high school with 5,000 students of many religious backgrounds.
Monday: Andrew spoke at number of churches over the weekend in Addis Ababa in preparation for the festival this coming weekend. The festival is the paramount event of Love Ethiopia, and involves the participation of churches and local believers from all over the city. In preparation, 12 mission teams will work at eye glass clinics, provide dental care, and conduct outreach events at orphanages, schools, and street meetings throughout this week. In addition, there are outreach events planned at a local prison and a festival for children with an expected attendance of 1,000.
Partner Evangelists: At the invitation of local churches and Christian leaders, partner evangelists travelled to some of the most influential cities across Ethiopia to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout the three weeks before the festival in Addis Ababa.
Over three weeks, evangelistic festivals and outreach events were held in Bahir Dar, Gondar, Dire Dawa, Nazaret (Adama), Jimma, and Mekele. More than 167,000 people heard the Good News, and 5,675 made decisions for Christ!
Evangelists came up with unique and innovative ways to share the Gospel across the country. They shared with a number of different groups, from children playing soccer to students at a university.
Humanitarian efforts such as providing eyeglasses for people in need provided opportunities to share the Gospel.
About Love Ethiopia: Ethiopia is a land of stark contrasts. It is one of the poorest countries in Africa and has a long history of political instability. However, it is also the oldest independent country in Africa, and many today view Addis Ababa as the continent's unofficial capital.
Five years ago, Andrew Palau travelled with his wife to Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, to finalize the adoption of their daughter. As they stood on a hotel balcony overlooking the city, they resolved to someday return to partner with local believers and use Andrew's gifts as an evangelist to share the love of Jesus Christ throughout the nation.
This November, that resolve is becoming a reality through Love Ethiopia Festival with Andrew Palau.
Two years ago, an Ethiopian delegation of senior leaders joined Andrew in Burundi to meet and pray about a possible festival in Addis Ababa. A group of churches representing several denominations then invited Andrew and the Palau team to help them host the festival, November 16-17.
In addition to the festival in Addis Ababa, Next Generation Alliance partner evangelists Alan Greene, Richard Hamlet, Reid Saunders, Keith Cook, and Blair Carlson have joined in the effort, taking the outreach to six other cities of Ethiopia. The campaign will span across the Ethiopian cities of Bahir Dar, Dire Dawa, Gondar, Jimma, Mek'ele, and Nazaret (Adama). The goal is to reach every level of society across the nation with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ and promote greater unity and collaboration among churches in order to multiply the long-term impact of the campaign.