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Wednesday Ethiopia update – Our God is might to save

So today was absurd. Just absurd. We started the day driving out to the same village where we were on Monday and Tuesday, but being stopped by a large, potato-hauling truck taking up the entirety of the road, we got out of the van to chat. These men were loading 220-pound bags of freshly harvested and bagged potatoes onto the back of a big truck in a process requiring a certain ingenuity considering the lack of machinery. Shortly after, Stiles was able to help a farmer plow a field with a team of oxen and wooden plough.

We then loaded back into the van and proceeded back on our original route to a large schoolhouse in the mountains. The favorite image of that hour and a half at the school was the view of Ryan, in his Indian Jones hat, in all his whiteness and largeness, surrounded by 50 black children who were laughing, playing, and answering his questions in unity with enthusiasm and vigor. Without permission, it would be illegal to share a religion during school hours. After obtaining permission, every member of our group of 6 found themselves surrounded by a group of 40-60 children and in a fun position to share the Gospel. After numerous had accepted the message of salvation through Jesus Christ alone, the balls and bubbles came out and with them, simple anarchy. What a time that was until the children were called back to class.

Lunch found us (the six North Americans) lying in a field having lunch surrounded by the green fields, mountains, farm animals lingering around, and birds chirping. We were all able to settle in and share with each other – moments that underscore one of the finest aspects of this trip: experiencing the sweetness of real, genuine community and fellowship with people who as individuals could not be any more different than one another. We then visited the house of a Christian family which we had visited on both days prior where we had coffee, sang worship music (both American and Ethiopian), and shared encouraging stories from the disciple makers. Jenna could not resist herself and broke Rule 4 of the trip (no touching animals) and gave one of the puppies running around the yard a good back scratch. The hospitality that we have been shown here has been unlike any I, or any of the rest of us, have experienced before. It is a testament to the character and kindness of the people of Ethiopia. It will not be forgotten and we will try to be emulate that when we return to Dallas.

The next 3 hours comprised the group of 15 of us (Ferenge, Translators, and Disciple Makers) making our way down the dirt road back to the asphalt and engaging every home owner and traveler on the road. There was nail painting, dancing, and singing; children were taught patty cake, men, women, and children came to Christ, lots of donkeys and horses, agriculture metaphors which explained the differences between Ethiopian Orthodox and Protestantism, specifically that we cannot earn our way into heaven by good works, and the beginning of our team training the disciple makers so that when we leave in 2 days they will be prepared.

Jenna, Mel, and Bethany have been incredible. This is a male-dominated society and it is clear in the culture. They have pushed through this cultural difference and have embraced the men and women of Ethiopia with grace and strength. They have shown the women of this country what it looks like to be a woman strong in Christ, they have witnessed to men, painted the fingernails of every little girl (and most little boys) in town, and are responsible for the fact that our translators and disciple makers – the men are ultimately responsible for our effectiveness here as well as the follow up when we leave – have fallen in love with our group. What an impact this has made.

Today was the best day, for many reasons, and like Mel said it’s simply amazing that our team of 5, who are so different in every way, are falling into stride by embracing our differences and optimizing them in a way that maximizes our gifts to work together on mission. This is simply one more example of God’s hand in our work here. It seems absurd that individuals so different could be used so effectively and with so much over-the-top enjoyment in being together.

Ms. Kari: Mel says hey!

The team is feeling great & engaging so well with the Ethiopians. What’s the weather like in Dallas? The weather in the mountains of Ethiopia has been awesome!!! There has been a cool rain each day & the temperature is low 50’s with the high being high 70’s. Even though the weather is cool, you can’t forget sunscreen since we’re over 8,000 feet above sea level. Thursday is our last full day of ministry as Friday we start the long drive back to Addis Ababa.

Please continue to pray for:
• Open hearts to the gospel & many churches to be planted
• Continued good health & safety for the North Americans
• Unity with our Ethiopian partners
• Servant hearts

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  1. Karion Jun 1st 2018 at 5:38 am

    What a beautiful day! No matter the language compassion needs no translator. Safe travels as y’all prepare for the journey home. P.S. Dallas is hot, hot and hot! 102 on Saturday.

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