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Religion

March 16, 2012

Martin spreads the good word in crusade

PENSACOLA, Fla. — Former Duncan and Comanche resident Larry Martin may be approaching his 60th birthday later this year, but that didn’t stop him from traveling to Ethiopia three weeks ago and sleeping on the floor.

A desire to spread the word through an evangelism crusade makes sleeping conditions secondary.

Martin, who graduated in 1970 from Comanche, has spent 44 years sharing the Gospel, and on Feb. 29 he made a third trip to Ethiopia. During the week there, more than 750,000 fliers and 10,000 posters were distributed to Ethiopians in the Medakenya region.

“There’s a real spiritual revival in Ethiopia,” Martin said, via a telephone interview from Pensacola, Fla., as he waited at a Walmart to have his vehicle’s oil changed.

Martin said until 20 years ago the Medakenya region was heavily burdened under the thumb of communism.

“I’ve made contacts over there and have been preaching in churches and teaching in a Bible school,” he explained. “The people I was going with had been going on crusades for 14 years. I came back last year and began some fundraising efforts.”

That evangelic group is the Joshua Campaign, an organization from Sweden that has a base in Ethiopia.

Martin mainly needed the funds to cover expenses for the pamphlets and other items to share with the Ethiopians.

“People were quite generous and I just presented the need. We had a $20,000 budget and that covered everything,” he said.

Two other evangelists went on the journey, but Martin said, his wife Tajuana (“TJ”) chose to stay at home.

“She works at a ministry that helps drug addicts and those who are down and out,” he said. “TJ is also a Duncan native and Duncan High School 1972 graduate.

Martin is ordained with the Assemblies of God and served as pastor at Christian Life Cathedral in Comanche for 15 years.

As with many in the ministry, the work took the couple to many places around the country.

Eventually, the Martins ended in Florida, where Larry could serve as academic dean at Brownsville Revival School of Ministry.

For the last 15 years, he has been traveling and has 49 countries on his log.

He plans to travel to Australia and New Zealand later this year, and hopefully return to Ethiopia again in 2013. He found this year’s jaunt there to be promising.

“We believe we exceeded our hope. Our prayer was we would see 20,000 people converted,” he said. “That’s not an unusual amount. We had hoped to reach one person for every dollar.

“By midday Saturday (March 3) we ran out of the booklets. We exceeded our expectations. Our crowd was a little smaller then we expected.”

Martin’s trip ended March 4.

“About 20 percent (of the Medakenya region) is evangelical Christian now,” he noted. “We were in a real remote area for this crusade. There was no running water and I slept on a floor, but it was one of the best weeks of my life.

“I used the outhouse and got sunburned which is still peeling! God willing, I’ll go back next year. It was a significant event in my life.”

Martin will be returning to Stephens County this week to visit his siblings — two brothers, one in Marlow and one in Comanche, and his sister in Duncan.

For those who would like to follow his travels, Martin has a website drlarrymartin.com and a news blog.

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