// SPECIAL REPORT: MISSIONS
God has placed many gifts in the Body of Christ. But not everyone is called to be in the forefront. For every person God calls to pioneer a ministry—whether in the United States or abroad—He calls many others to walk alongside them and help. Larry Brown, a 1989 graduate of Rhema Bible Training College USA, is one of those called to help.
"The Bible says we should have the same attitude that Christ had when He humbled Himself and became a servant," says Larry. "I've never lost sight of that. Jesus came to serve, and that's my heart as well. Everything I do is driven by that."
Larry's heart to serve has taken him to 20 nations. But one has stood out from the others: Ethiopia.
Larry first went to this east African country at the invitation of Dr. Mikal Baissa. A former international broadcaster for the Voice of America, Mikal left a distinguished broadcasting career to attend Rhema USA and graduated in 1993. She had a burning desire to take the message of faith back to her own country—but she needed help. That's where Larry entered the picture.
He first traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in September 2006 to help Dr. Baissa start a Bible school. "It was real pioneering work," says Larry. But as a former U.S. naval officer with four years of active duty, Larry was used to roughing it. "You just do what you have to do." That month, the school started with 21 students. Today, it has expanded to five campuses and has over 480 graduates. A four-year degree program in practical theology is also now offered.
The school's vision is to establish 5,000 churches throughout Ethiopia. It is evident that Islam is aggressively trying to take over the nation. School leaders realize that if the Ethiopian church doesn't wake up, in 20 years Ethiopia could be a Muslim nation.
Although it's a small dent in the goal, 16 churches have already been established in Ethiopia, along with a church in Egypt and Lebanon. And between 80 and 90 percent of the graduates immediately enter full-time ministry.
Demonstrating Christ's Love
One Bible school graduate went back to her Muslim village to start a school for children. Jesus appeared to this young woman when she was 12, and she accepted Him as her personal Savior. Because she converted to Christ, her village put her out and she was homeless for 12 years.
Eventually she attended the Bible school in Addis Ababa. Shortly before she enrolled, the Lord directed her back to her village. He restored her relationship with her father, who gave her some land as her inheritance. She sold her few possessions, combined the money with the little she had saved, and by faith built a small school and hired a teacher. Early on, God connected Larry with her outreach. His ministry began supplying funds and helped her expand her school. Since then, she has added buildings and hired more teachers. Today she is educating 163 children.
Not only was this young woman able to share Christ's love with the people who rejected her so many years before, but she also gave the village children hope for a better future. Many rural villages are far from schools and few, if any, families can transport their children to and from school. In Ethiopia as in many developing nations, education means a job, money, and a better standard of living.
After Larry began supporting the school financially, he was asked to minister in the village on several occasions. Since 2008, over 300 people there have given their lives to Christ.
Larry also partnered with another Bible school graduate who ministers to widows and fatherless children. At first, he helped provide uniforms and school supplies for the children and food for the families. Before long Larry realized they needed to teach the widows how to care for themselves. He believed God for the finances, and on a recent trip to Ethiopia he was able to help 40 widows start their own small businesses. Today they sell bread, tea, fruit, vegetables, medicinal alcohol, and other merchandise in their villages. He also gave shoe shine kits to 10 very motivated young boys. They've already earned enough money to buy their own school uniforms.
Reaching the Youth
Most Ethiopian churches don't have a children's or youth program. With both Islam and witchcraft trying to capture the hearts of young people, the Lord dealt strongly with Larry to wake up churches and pastors to the importance of reaching the youth. This past year, Larry brought together 15 to 20 churches for a youth conference. Pastors, church workers and leaders, parents, and young people attended the conference. The adults had three hours of training in the morning, and youth attended a large rally in the afternoon. Many young people gave their hearts to the Lord, rededicated their lives to Christ, or received the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
God has given Larry supernatural favor among the Ethiopians. He's had many opportunities to share Christ with men and women who had no idea that God loved them and cared for them. He's ministered in small churches with just a handful of members and in congregations of 3,000 where embassy workers and ambassadors regularly attend. Larry has had as many as 200 people at a time come forward during altar calls to give their lives to the Lord.
Larry's aim is to serve. And whether he is in Ethiopia or anywhere else in the world, he purposes to use his gifts to help in any way he can.
» To more quickly fulfill the goal of starting 5,000 churches in Ethiopia
» For more students to attend the Bible school and finances to cover their tuition and living expenses
» God's will and funds for school and church locations and facilities.
» Continued wisdom, direction, and favor as Larry ministers throughout Ethiopia
TO LEARN MORE
about Larry, go to larrybrownministries.org.
Helping Exploited Children
From an early age, Larissa Brown, Larry's daughter, dreamed of becoming an elementary school teacher. But before graduating from high school, the Lord told Larissa to use her passion for children in ministry. He then told her to go to Rhema Bible Training College.
In between Larissa's first and second year at Rhema, she spent her two-month summer break in Thailand at Life Impact International. Life Impact's mission is to rescue children in Thailand and Burma who are being sold into sex trafficking or slave labor.
It wasn't long after returning to the U.S. that the Lord showed Larissa that she would continue working with Life Impact. Two months after graduating from Rhema in 2009, Larissa was back in Thailand.
At Life Impact, Larissa wears several hats. She oversees the training of national staff to be house parents and helps them deal with issues the children face from being abused and rejected. She has developed curriculum about Jesus and trains workers on how to teach children on different age levels.
Larissa has also developed a day care program for the rescued babies. The program helps house moms have time for themselves and to do chores in the home. It also addresses developmental problems the children may have from being abused, neglected, and malnourished.
Larissa was only 19 years old when she left the U.S. for Thailand. But once there, she found her place in bringing life and hope to exploited children.