Mario Bramnick, an official with the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, told Time magazine last week that Donald Trump has taken on Frank Amedia of Touch Heaven Ministries in Ohio as his new “liaison for Christian policy” and that Amedia has been arranging meetings for the Republican presidential candidate with conservative religious leaders.
Amedia, who was once implicated in a bribery scandal in which he attempted to help a car-dealer friend avoid prosecution, is now a self-proclaimed “apostle” who says that he once single-handedly stopped a tsunami from hitting an island in Hawaii.
Amedia got his religious training from Miami pastor Guillermo Maldonado, who is associated with the controversial New Apostolic Reformation, a group of self-proclaimed modern-day apostles and prophets. In a 2012 appearance on Maldonado’s TBN program, Amedia referred to Maldonado as his “spiritual father.”
Amedia, who says he is a former Jew, now identifies as an “apostle” himself. Until recently, his biography on his church’s website read:
Frank Amedia is called as an Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Evangelist, Teacher, and Minister in sound biblical doctrine with gifts of knowledge, healing, and discernment … For over two decades, his clarity of vision, prophetic insight, and revelations of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God in the scriptures have been an enormous blessing to a worldwide audience. Enabled by this extensive experience, Pastor Frank has a unique perspective on the parallel journey of the Church and Israel as he is called as one to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. Thousands of wondrous records of miraculous testimonies of healings, deliverances, re-creative miracles, and physical gifts follow him wherever he goes, even as he gives all of the Glory to God his Father, Jesus his Messiah, and the Holy Spirit.
Like other self-proclaimed apostles and prophets, Amedia claims to be able to control natural events. On Maldonado’s TBN program in 2012, Amedia claimed to have single-handedly stopped waves from the 2011 tsunami in Japan from hitting a Hawaiian island where his daughter was at the time. He boasted that the waves instead moved on to devastate another island:
I stood at the edge of my bed and I said, ‘In the name of Jesus, I declare that tsunami to stop now.’ And I specifically said, ‘I declare those waters to recede,’ and I said, ‘Father, that is my child, I am your child, I’m coming to you now and asking you to preserve her.’ Apostle, it was seen by 400 people on a cliff. It was on YouTube, it was actually on the news that that tsunami stopped 200 feet off of shore. Even after having sucked the waters in, it churned and it went on and did devastation in the next island.
As part of Amedia’s ministry, he runs a North American affiliate of Isaac TV, a Christian evangelist network based in Pakistan. In an undated program broadcast on the station, which was posted on YouTube late last year, Amedia discussed with viewers how faith in Christ could save them from “generational curses,” “traditions and cultures that keep us away from God,” and “an evil lifestyle.”
He went on to discuss how AIDS is the result of “unnatural sex” and can be avoided by practicing a “wholesome life”:
We know that many of the diseases today are avoidable if only we practiced a wholesome life. AIDS is a disease that comes because of unnatural sex. We understand that many of the diseases that we receive is because of exposure that we have to things that we should not be exposed to, lifestyles that are unhealthy or things in our spirit that cause us to become bitter.
He told viewers of a friend of his who “began to hate some people” and then he “lost his mind and he died a horrible death.”
Later in the program, Amedia doled out some faith healings, healing a viewer with “cancer in your tongue” and another who had chapped lips:
True to the spirit of Trump, Amedia has at least one shady business deal in his past. In 2001, he was granted immunity to testify that he had helped try to bribe a prosecutor to drop a case against a car-dealer friend in Ohio who had allegedly been rolling back car odometers. The Pittsburgh Tribune Review recapped the case in a 2011 article about an unrelated case in which Amedia testified:
“Did you not enter into a conspiracy to fix a court case in Mahoning County (Ohio)?” said Jeffrey Wilhelm, a Reed Smith attorney representing BlackRock. He referred to Amedia as “the bag man” in the incident, and said Amedia’s admission “demonstrates his dishonesty.”
The pointed question referred to Amedia’s testimony in 2001 that he tried to bribe a prosecutor in 1994 not to pursue charges against a Youngstown car dealer for rolling back odometers on vehicles.
Amedia admitted he helped arrange a payment of $250,000 through a prominent local businessman, Anthony Saadey. Amedia gave the money to Russell Saddey Jr., Anthony Saadey’s nephew, whom Amedia understood was an investigator for the Mahoning County prosecutor’s office.
Amedia was never charged in the incident and moved to Florida in 2000. He admitted the attempted bribery in 2001 under grant of immunity for testimony in the prosecution of Russell Saddey on racketeering and other charges.
“I didn’t ask for immunity; only that my family be protected,” said Amedia yesterday, holding back tears. He said his family members were subjected to “death threats” by mobsters involved in the incident, and noted he received no money for his role in the bribery attempt.
We reported last week on Amedia’s mission work in Haiti after the country was hit by a devastating earthquake, when he linked the country’s troubles to “the curse of Voodoo” and said that he might give up providing aid to Haitians who did not renounce Voodoo.