By Mark Ellis
A mysterious disease left him unable to walk or speak for years. Then God brought a missionary into his life who prayed for healing, and the man received even more than he could have hoped.
“Our goal is to raise up a prayer movement,” says Dr. Howard Foltz, the president of AIMS. “We also want to see missionaries go to unreached peoples,” he says. “One of these missionaries in Ethiopia reached a man named Yilma.”
Yilma Gudini lived in a rural area without access to education. Most of his childhood was spent herding cattle for his family and he never learned to read. While he enjoyed good health, a mysterious neurological ailment struck him in young adulthood that left him unable to walk or speak.
Gudini attributes the strange disease to the demonic realm. “Evil spirits bound my legs and closed my mouth,” he says.
One day a missionary visited his village and began to pray for his healing. There was no sign of any improvement after he prayed, but the missionary wanted to return the next day to pray again.
Several days passed and there was no sign of any change in Gudini’s condition. But the young missionary persisted in prayer, as he continued to come back, and by faith to call on God to move with power.
On the eighth day, God answered. “The demons left me, and I could walk and speak again,” Gudini says. “It was a miracle.”
Without any prodding, the joy-filled young man surrendered to Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Shortly after that, he experienced another miracle.
“God told me to fast and pray for 15 days,” Gudini says. On the tenth day, God approached him in the middle of the night while he slept.
He had one of the most vivid dreams he could recall. “I saw the Word of God written on the wall,” he says. But as Gudini stared at the strange symbols lighted on the wall, something unusual happened. He could actually read the words – they made perfect sense. In his dream, he read Scripture for many hours.
When Gudini awakened, something even more unusual happened. He ran to get a Bible and when he opened the pages, he could read! Gudini praised and glorified God after this second great miracle in his life.
He ran excitedly to tell a friend — to confirm that what he thought was happening was real. The friend verified his newfound reading ability, supernaturally derived.
With renewed confidence, Gudini decided to attend school for the first time. “But when I went to school I could not read anymore,” he says. “I lost the ability God had given me. I was very confused. But when I stopped going to school, I could read again.”
“Since God did this for me, I have read from Genesis to Revelation. And now I teach the Bible in my church.”
Gudini is convinced he knows why God showed him this kindness. “I know God did this for me because he loves me.”
Dr. Foltz joins in praising God for the changes he brought to Gudini’s life. “Praise God for unusual miracles like Yilma’s,” he says, “but there are still a lot of Yilma’s waiting to receive the Gospel and receive their miracle.”
“We’re asking God to help us reach over 6,000 unreached people groups through training nationals and developing partnerships with them and see church planting movements emerge in every unreached people group on this planet.”