Dear Friends and Co-Laborers in the Lord,
How do I begin to write my thoughts after being here in Ethiopia six weeks. So many thoughts that I will ask God for wisdom as I try to relay the best I can the many experiences we have had here.
First and foremost, we can not thank God enough for His grace and care that He has extended to us here. We have had the privilege of meeting some new brothers and sisters in the Lord, as well as fellow-shipping with the dear brethren we have known for a few years now. There is a genuine hunger to hear the message of Sonship, and watching faces light up as the truth becomes real to them is truly a marvelous blessing.
As you all well know the days seem to wiz by and that has been the case here as it is hard to believe our time is drawing nigh for this visit.
Some of you were praying for us as we went into a new area, the town called Gondar. When you fly into their airport I thought of the Philippines as the plane taxis up near the building. In the Philippines it seems we might just fly right into the lobby! At the Gondar airport it was not quite so close (Whew). I thought it was interesting the airport spells Gondar as Gonder, while throughout the city you see Gondar. Not sure why that is, but none of the locals seem to mind the different spelling. There is a lot of history here, as it is supposed to be where Ethiopia originated. One of the drawing points for tourists is the castle with its many buildings and very large compound area. For us we did not have the time to visit those touristy sites as God had BIG plans.
Gondar is over 700 kilometers from Addis and about 180 kilometers from the Sudan border. As one brother put it, there is trouble and persecution for many in this area, which he said has pushed many to come to know Jesus. In Gondar there are two universities, and to our pleasant surprise we had two meetings, one with about 150 students and another meeting with over 300 students. The Word was powerful and the response was quite positive. My husband and I remember when God was sending different ones to Nigeria and it was the university students that caught this vision of the Kingdom Word!! Praise the Lord, many are now carrying that seed that was planted so long ago in their young hearts and are now going forth planting seeds to this generation!! So you can understand the excitement to come to see God wooing this generation of young people. One meeting they all spoke English, so for once Brother Jemal (our very dear translator) could sit down. We had with us as many books as we could carry and as we found out we needed more! So many came to me asking, “Are you finished,” meaning “do you have any more books?” The hunger to hear and know God is so EXCITING! As always we thank you so much for your prayers.
Now that we are back in Addis Ababa we are reflecting on how God has led us every step of the way each and every day.
We have some funny adventures too that I would like to share as well as some heart tugging testimonies as well. First, let me share some of my kitchen experiences as, Praise the Lord, I had a kitchen to work in. You know at home we take things for granted like electricity and water. I have been doing a little experimenting in the kitchen with some new foods and for those that know me this is no surprise. Sometimes my loving husband is wondering what new surprise will I come up with now!
The common local breads are either white bread or enjera, a fermented bread that can taste a little sour. For me, I do not mind it, but for some it is a bit strong. So I got this idea: why not make our own bread! We had had some barley bread that was very good so I began my mission to find barley flour. Brother Fikre was not too sure I would find it as he called it a specialty flour. Well, to our surprise just the next day I found some barley flour. I had to chuckle as they spell it in Amharic and also English as, “Barely Flour” I took the chance and got some and have been making barley biscuits, bread, and pancakes ever since. One day I found a recipe for a cake and so I thought, “Okay, let’s try it.” This recipe called for oat flour, which I found again, but they call it “Oat Powder.” You ladies can probably relate to this – I decided to make this cake when we had guests (Why do we do that? Trying it first would be a good plan), for the Jantzi’s had come to be with us for 2 weeks. I prepared the batter and all seemed okay, I thought, and I put the batter in the pan to “bake” it. I turned on the oven and there was no electricity. Well I thought, “No problem. I will just wait for a little bit and hopefully the electricity will come back on.” One hour later I decided with no electricity that “Plan B” had to go into play. Have you ever tried to bake a cake on top of the stove? Let me tell you, it kind of worked but really not that well. Fortunately, the electricity went back on an hour later and I attempted to finish baking my experiment. The Jantzi’s and my husband were very gracious and ate it with no complaints, bless their hearts.
I will try to include a picture of Stacy and me washing dishes outside in the wash bucket. More than once we have not had water in the house but there is a reserve tank outside we can use until it is empty, which we also experienced. You know these adventures can seem like trials but they really are not. So many here have so little that you dare not ever complain. Just next to where we are staying a man lives in a little tin house on stilts. His tin home is actually bigger than many others we have seen. Oh how very blessed we are to have what we have.
I would also like to share a special experience I had at the children’s orphanage. I was so privileged to be able to share the Word of God with these special little people. Most of the time we would have over 20 children, ages ranging from 3 years old to 12 years old. Sister Susan had made a very handy tool for me called ABC scripture verses. The cards are on two large rings so it makes it easy to flip from one verse to another. Each card has a picture to help describe the verse and I found one card that had the verse that we were talking about and it had a picture of a little boy that looked Ethiopian; it was just what I needed. Now the verse is Mark 12:30 and on the card it is in English, but with the help of my translator, the children understood it. I decided we would have a contest to see who could memorize this verse. Now I had brought pencils that were very colorful that I wanted to give them as a prize, but at this time they had not seen them. To my joy these children took this verse to task and I ended up giving all the pencils away. You should have heard the little 4 year old saying the verse; how very precious!! I was told by my translator that the children would come to her during the day to practice their verse and the day that I was to be there she said they were all waiting excitedly so they could tell me the verse. Sister Rita was also helping me with her lovely voice teaching the children the song that goes with the verse, “You Shall Love The Lord Thy God With All Thy Heart, Soul, and Mind.” They especially like to sing the verse “You Shall Love Thy Neighbor as Thyself.” For me hearing them singing the songs after the meeting while they were playing outside was very inspiring. Proverbs 22:6 and Matthew 18:3 come to mind.
As I shared, my time with the little people was such a blessing. The second to the last day I was there a very sobering and endearing thing happened. When I got there the children came to greet me, but I could tell they were up to something as they ran to the office to get some things. We did our Bible time talking about the many children in the Bible God used and how God wanted to use them. As we began to close the translator said, “The children have something for you.” I was in for a big treat. They began to clap as one of the girls came forward and handed me a wrapped gift. They all began to chant something which I was told meant “open it, open it.” As I unwrapped this little package, I realized this was something truly from her heart; it was a picture of her when she came to the home and a picture of her now. Others came forward with their love offerings of a little card or another picture; it was such a marvelous experience. The last gift was given to me by a young boy and his friend. The package was soft and of course I was making all the “What could it be?” sounds! As I opened it, my heart just leapt. It was his little undershirt. Oh my, he gave what he had, something I know he probably needs. What could I say except, “Thank you so much!!” As a mother and grandmother you want to just hold all these little ones and make everything alright. God is showing me though that the only way to make everything “alright” is to live and teach God’s word, that the Light of the Lord Jesus Christ can shine and dispel all darkness!! These children are very special to God and He loves them so much. My prayer is that the word of sonship can become so real to these little people that they will be as Daniel or David and conquer all the lions and giants that come into their lives.
Our time here has been very fruitful and we are praising God for His hand of provision. Please pray for the many young people that heard the Kingdom message that they will have the eyes of their understanding enlightened and that they will desire to follow after the true and living God.
May God Richly Bless You All.
I will end this letter for now with the following scripture, in Psalms 87:1-7.
Sister Nancy, Bro. Burt’s Wife
His foundation is in the holy mountains. The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah. I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there. And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her. The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah. As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.