Here are pages 6 and 7 of my Ethiopian Scrapbook, Trusting and Serving:
On Sunday while in Ethiopia, we worshipped at Besa International Church; there, I met a 16 year old girl named Alamnesh who was invited by our leaders to join us. She was resuced from the streets five years ago... street life for any child, especially for a girl, is nightmarish. When I first saw her, she seemed hesitant and timid of our team. She and I sat beside each other on the bus as we traveled to a nearby restaurant; by this time in the trip, I had learned that a wonderful way to overcome the language barrier is to use physical touch... so, I reached out and held her hand. During lunch, we sat together and I did the best I could to pull her in, mainly by just smiling and looking directly into her eyes. When our eyes would meet, she would turn her head quickly, yet not without producing a small grin--a barrier was beginning to break.
The next day, we visited her and many others at Hope 4 the Hopeless. When she saw me, she grabbed my hand, looked into my eyes, and smiled. She showed me her room, and her few belongings. A little later, she was teaching (or trying to teach me!) how to count to ten in Amaric. The more time we spent together, the more she trusted me.
I think our walk with the Lord can be compared to my developing friendship with Alamnesh. Jesus desires each of us to spend time with Him, so we can know, understand, and believe in Him as a trustworthy Friend. After quiet intentional time spent with Him, we can undoubtedly say, But this I know, that You delight in me. (Psalm 41:11). And we can hear Him proclaim to our hearts,...you are precious in my sight and I love you... (Isaiah 43:4). I am thankful that Alamnesh risked trusting me; and I am equally as thankful that she reminded that trusting Jesus as the one unfailing Friend is worth it all.
Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:8
Our team wanted to bless a group of women who carry extremely heavy loads of eucalyptus leaves down a mountainside for their livelyhood; they return up the mountain again and again for load after load. With funds raised from sponsors in America, Ordinarey Hero was able to purchase donkeys for these ladies; now, their backs would be free of the tremendous weight. What a beautiful physical picture of what our God does for our spiritual hearts:
Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation. Psalm 68:19
Another way in which we wanted to bless the ladies was to wash their feet. It was a privilege to serve alongside of Bink, Christian, Emmy and others on the team. As we washed these women's feet, I thought about my Savior who did this very thing to 12 men the night He gave His life. This humble act brought me ever so close to understanding the selfless love of Jesus, King of kings. I prayed these women would sense His love as they felt our hands lathering, rubbing, cleaning, and pouring water over their mud-calloused feet. Our team's hope was that each woman would be abundantly encouraged as they walked away from us, wearing their new flip-flops and leading their new donkeys.
This act of feet washing was also a personal reminder-call for me to live like Christ every day. Jesus was and is and always will be a constant outpouring of sacrificial love. Do I give of myself each day in the way He coninually gives to me? I can only do this through His Spirit that empowers me. He says to His followers, For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master; neither is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. I was indeed blessed to wash the feet of another.
True living... is truly loving...like our Savior Jesus Christ.
And Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight--why the bush does not burn up." Exodus 3:3
Turn our heads to see your holiness. Pull our hearts towards your glory. Make us curious enough to walk towards you and willing enough to respond to all that you have in mind. Call us, challenge us, change us. Amen.