Former American President had an impact on missions

By June 8, 2004

USA (MNN) — As millions of people around the world mourn the passing of former American President Ronald Reagan, mission leaders say his policies had an impact on evangelism.

American Evangelist Sammy Tippit says, “I was arrested two times in the former Soviet block area. I was arrested in what was called Leningrad at the time, now St Petersburg, and I was also arrested in Romania and I was deported both times from those countries. They believed religion was the opiate of the people and I was spreading narcotics because I was spreading faith in God.”

Tippit began going behind the Iron Curtain in 1973, after seeing the Berlin Wall in 1972. From that moment on he prayed that the wall would fall. Tippit says God used President Reagan to answer that prayer. “When President Reagan made that famous statement in Berlin, ‘Mr. Gorbechev, tear down this wall,’ that was so bold and so courageous. That statement had a tremendous ripple effect that actually, eventually brought down that wall,” he says.

Tippit remembers the day the wall came down. He was in Nigeria. “I can remember chills just going all over my body. I couldn’t believe that which we had prayed for was actually brought into existence by the bold courageous statements of a President of the United States.

The change that came about was incredible. “Instead of being deported from countries, I was welcomed. And, I stood in the major cities in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and preached in stadiums where I had been run out of the country before, now I was being welcomed and preached to literally thousands. One of the great instruments that God used was Ronald Reagan,” says Tippit.

Many believe this gave Christians courage to do outreach in difficult areas of the world. Tippit is one of them. “They saw this quote, ‘evil empire’ that was surrounded by this Iron Curtain, that we called that come crumbling down that it incited prayer movements for other areas of the world,” says Tippit.

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