Many don't know about Senator James Inhofe's frequent trips to Africa, or how he travels the continent to pray with those in need. Glenn Beck has been trying to get Inhofe to talk about the trips for some time, and the senator opened up on Tuesday about the "miracles" he and others have seen since the trips began.
"What we've been doing for 20 years is -- it was a mission up until 9/11," the Oklahoma Republican explained on Beck's radio program. "And then it became combined with some military."
Inhofe said the philosophy behind the trips is based in scripture.
"Jesus said to Paul on the road to Damascus to take my name to the kings," Inhofe said.
The senator did not identify all the people he travels with, but said they have had some remarkable experiences. Once, he said, former Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi — who was deposed and ultimately killed in Oct. 2011 — asked to speak with them.
Senator James Inhofe, R-OK, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, speaks during a hearing on United States Northern Command and United States Southern Command in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2015 on March 13, 2014 in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
"We walked into this tent. He kicked everybody out, out in the cold. They had to kind of huddle around the camels to keep warm. He wanted to visit and pray together, and we did," Inhofe said. "And it was well over an hour, they were out there in the desert."
Inhofe said Gadhafi did not change much after the prayer, but in 137 African visits, he has seen countless hearts soften. Some have criticized Inhofe, interpreting his willingness to pray with African leaders as "support" of strongmen. But Inhofe says it is possible to meet with people "you have nothing in common with" if you go in "the spirit of Jesus."
For instance, Inhofe said that around 11 years ago, he was in Rwanda and Burundi and they wanted to have their first prayer breakfast. He agreed to speak with them, and afterwards, the U.S. ambassador expressed shock.
"I can't believe it," she said. "There you had the president ... you had the first lady, you had the members of Congress, you had the heads of the Hutus and the Tutsis, who had never been in the same room without trying to kill each other, for three hours singing and rejoicing."
Inhofe added that there is a small village in Benin that used to be called "the village of darkness" because of its heavy involvement in the slave trade. They started mentoring children in the village, and a place where "they were killing, they murdered, they killed the older people" slowly became a place of hope.
"That was the poorest of the poor village, [and] the last time I was there ... you could hear little voices singing," Inhofe said. "[The children were] singing, 'Jesus loves me, this I know.'"
Inhofe said they have seen incredible transformations after beginning to pray with those in need, and many of the villages have "reached a level of enjoyment of life and of wealth and of prosperity that they've never seen before."
Watch the complete interview, below.
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