I was checking our ministry's post office box two days ago, and found something very strange in it.
It was an air-mail letter from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.
I smiled as I looked at the postmark, knowing it had to be from someone serving Jesus in ministry, but remembering the first time I ever even HEARD of "Addis Ababa."
It was the summer of 1978 and my dad and I went to the Park Theater near Memphis State University, just east of midtown Memphis. With heavily buttered popcorn clutched in my 13 year old hands, I was mesmerized by Superman: The Movie, starring Marlon Brando, Christopher Reeve and Gene Hackman. I loved the respect and honor they gave Superman, and Reeve looked so cool! But I felt very uncomfortable about the ending in which he defies his father to save Lois. Even at that tender age, I saw that the story had taken a wrong turn and it was... it was... well, it was wrong!
Superman would not let passion cause him to become a rebellious tyrant, re-working history because he did not like Lois dying. My hero turned into a cosmic cheater in the last few minutes of the film. This also creates a TERRIFIC logic problem. If he could fly THAT fast, why EXACTLY couldn't he have saved Lois the FIRST time?
I'm not the only one who saw that. From "Howitshouldhaveended.com" on YouTube:
It was nearly 30 years later to find out I was right.
This superspeed "time-reversal" was not the original ending. That had been reserved for the ending of Superman II, to undo the worldwide damage the three villains had caused, after he had been empowered by Jor-El's very spirit. Just watch:
You can read all about it on Wikipedia, and you can buy Superman II: The Richard Donner Version here.
It is far superior story, IMHO.
But, disappointments aside, I enjoyed that movie. And, like all geeks, can remember WHY Luthor was going to Addis Ababa and how excited Otis was getting about the trip.
They had found the power to destroy their foe.
I got excited, too, reading this letter. You see, I've never been to Africa, except in photos. I know conditions are terrible there, and I believe Satan and his angels are working overtime on these vibrant people full of passion. In fact, having worked in the inner city of Memphis and seen the drive and strength of my African-American brothers, I can tell you why Satan works so diligently on their community: they are powerhouses of word, music, play, art and all forms of lyricism.
I read the letter, and it was very simply worded. A youth pastor in a village had found out about the Matthew Visual Bible DVD we had given away through our ministry and wanted any materials we could spare. His English was a bit uneven, but reading between the lines, I saw his desire to train and equip children and youth with the knowledge of God and His Son Jesus.
That touched my heart. He's going to get his wish, though I have never met the man.
"Addis Ababa? Oooo - Mr Luthor! Are we going to Addis Ababa?!"
No, Otis. Probably not.
But there is something powerful going on there, that is beginning to destroy the power of Satan. A man is calling on Jesus to save his people, and place their hope and faith in Jesus Christ.
The least I can do is send them some help to defeat the powers that defy the living God.