We have been in Ethiopia a month now, and as I have been pondering on the month’s activities, many thoughts have come to mind. I will try to relay some of these thoughts as best as I can.
First of all, I can not thank God enough for His continued hand of mercy and grace as each day we watch Him work in our different situations. There has been a lot of spiritual activity and God has blessed us with either a word, or a dream, or wise counsel to help direct our every footstep. At one point we were warned about a spirit of accident. Sure enough you could just see it as we were traveling into town and more than one near miss as a vehicle would dart in front of us, or a person!! Once again, thank the Lord for the power of prayer.
As we were traveling to a “program” (that is what they call a meeting here), there was so much activity on the road that my mind was processing all the goings on and just what is God’s thoughts in it all. Addis Ababa has over 6 million people. It is the year 2005 here as they use much of the Jewish calendar and time. When we say 10 a.m., it is 4 a.m. for them. The day starts like the Jewish day at 6 p.m. at night. Even though you have this resemblance to the Jewish system, most people stop with the days and time. So many do not know God as their Savior and the major church systems here have the people bound up in many rituals that are quite opposite of God. People, people are everywhere and poverty and dirt are a way of life for so many. On the street you will see a young man without arms and he is shirtless so all can see. He is being used willing or unwilling to beg for money and your heart goes out to him. It is chilly and he has to sit on the side of a very busy, dirty road breathing the fumes, waiting for passersby that might give him a Bir (the name for the local money). On another road is a fairly young child herding the cattle, yes, on a busy street. A little girl is working with animals, too; this is their job. Or how about the young man we passed, again on a very busy road, hot and dirty, crawling on his hands and knees as his legs looked quite limp. Sometimes those that are begging are playing with you as they are fine but have found begging can be quite lucrative. You really have to hear God in these matters.
There are so many people, adults and children that are in such great need!! We know of many organizations that have marvelous programs, feeding, sheltering, educating the poor and helpless, but it is just a drop in the bucket. We, of course, want to help whoever God sends our way, but what is the greatest task we could accomplish?
We have been noticing in God’s word how many times Ethiopia is mentioned in the Bible ( I believe it is about 20 times).
I have been so blessed to be working with the “little” people at an orphanage. I have to insert a thought here and a thank you to my parents as they taught me as a young person the love of Jesus. My dad had an evangelist’s heart and for a number of years worked with an organization called the Navigators. As a young child, we moved a lot as my family went where they could work with service men and spread the salvation message. My mom worked with children and my dad with the adults. I am so very thankful for this training that I was unaware of at the time, but it has been a great help now. As a child, we lived in different places – one was Hawaii and as a 4-7 year old I learned a bit of their language, ate some strange foods, and just thought that was all normal. Never underestimate your role as parents as what you do can be something very important for the future of you and your children. We have had a marvelous time going through the Bible stories. As I was talking to them about Esther, I happened to notice this time that King Ahasuerus reigned from India even unto Ethiopia. I have sensed the wooing of God for these young people. God is calling them to hear the Kingdom message so as sons of God they can not only have hope for themselves, but for all of Ethiopia.
Is this message of overcoming and totally submitting to God not the very answer we are looking for!? I can not feed all these starving hungry people, but if I could just work out my salvation, could it also help someone else to overcome? Doesn’t God have an army of willing soldiers that will defeat sin by living their lives totally for God. My cry for myself and my brethren is to say as the song says, “Say not unto me sleep on!”
We have been very excited to see God’s word coming forth to these people. Eyes and ears are being opened; it is not without its difficulties, but God is moving!! Praise the Lord!! Please pray with us as the harvest is ripe but the laborers few.
Life here in Africa is so different than what most of us who have lived in the U.S.A. or Europe have ever experienced. It is not unusual to not have power or sometimes water. Many have no stove to cook on or refrigerator to preserve food. Living in a shack or one room is quite ordinary without a bathroom. The streets are used in many cases as a home, bathroom, and such. Food is not 3 meals a day for most. Oh, yes, in the midst of it all you will have the rich, which is quite interesting because you might have a lovely home which looks like a small palace, yet shanty shacks are all around the outside of the elaborate gate.
The only hope is knowing the LIVING ONE AND ONLY TRUE GOD! By God’s grace our hope is to share this truth to as many as God gives us.
Thank You for your prayers as they are mighty to the pulling down of strongholds.
May God Bless You All,
Sister Nancy (or as some say, Brother Burt’s Wife)