As I mentioned in my last post, I asked the Lord to "break my heart" as I traveled to Ethiopia on a missions trip with my daughter Emmy, my son Bink, and our family friend Christian. We were with an organization called Ordinary Hero whose primary goal is to "change the world for one." Over the next several posts in the next few days, I would like to share my Ethiopian experiences and photos with you. Here are the first two pages, labeled Seeking and Finding,of my Ethiopian Scrapbook:
Page 1-- Seeking
One of the places our team visited was Korah, a poverty sticken community that survives primarily through the provisional garbage dump that it sits next to. The first day we visited this village, I met several young children, one in particular whose name is Eshetu. This 15 year old boy was content to just sit by my side and smile; occasionally, we attempted broken conversations about his life and about Jesus. When it was time to go, we hugged and went our separate ways. The next day our team went back for another visit. I had barely stepped off the bus in Korah, and there was Eshetu, waiting for me. He sought me out, grabbed hold of my hand, and stuck close by me the entire day.
Page 2-- Finding
Also, during my first day at Korah, I went into a home, which was no more than a one room scrap metal shack. The mother of six who lived there proceeded to roast us coffee beans over some burning embers in a small pan so that she could welcome us properly. While waiting for the coffee to brew, I sat and talked to two young Ethiopian men, Kennedy 19 and Takley 21. They were both Christians, and I could tell by their peaceful expression and the words they spoke to me about Jesus, that they loved the Lord with all their heart. They told me that they were leading a group of young boys through Romans; I was so thrilled to hear this news! Somehow, I wanted to bless them. My team leaders said that they both needed money to help with their education. So, the next day, while holding Eshetu's hand (mentioned on page 1), I kept a keen eye out for Kennedy and Takley. It was about time to leave...and finally... I found them. When I blessed them with the financial gift, we rejoiced together as brothers and sister-in-Christ.
Thoughts on Seeking and Finding
During the time I was in Ethiopia, I know full well that I had to depend completely on the Lord to do the things that I did. All my senses are ulta-hyper, so the sights and smells of Korah were almost too much for my wimpy disposition. As I walked through the community, I found myself praying, Jesus come alive in me... please rise up in me...overcome me...claiming,it is not I, but Christ who lives in me. And then, by His grace, I would experience both His peace and joy to do all that He asked me to do in each particular moment I was there. So I was "Christ-like" when Eshetu sought me out, and clung to my side; and I was also "Christ-like" when I found Kennedy and Takley and blessed them. These actions made me think of my own personal walk with the Lord:
Do I seek Him, and cling to Him the way Eshetu did to me? The psamist says it well: O God you are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You... my soul clings to You; your right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:1, 8
And do I realize that Jesus pursues me and gives me blessing upon spiritual blessing when He finds me, the same way I did physically with Kennedy and Takley? And do I know that He rejoices with me in the blessing? Again scripture speaks to this: What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the niety-nine in the open pasture, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. Luke 15:4-5
I am thankful for Eshetu, Kennedy, and Takley. They each tenderly broke my heart and brought me closer to my Savior. I will continue to pray that God will stay ever so close to them as they walk and live in desperate city of Korah.
(Paul defends himself before Agrippa), "So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. This is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. But I have had God's help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to the small and great alike." Acts 26:19-22
When we hear from you, whether it's directly from your word or through someone's biblical teaching or by the prompting of your Spirit, give us the desire to obey your commands. Make us willing to speak about who you are so others can come to know you as Savior. Prevail in, through, and around us. Amen.