By Brother Barak Asbill
As I contemplate the recent events and experiences that I have both witnessed and participated with here in Ethiopia, I will endeavor to convey the intent of the things that have transpired in light of the calling and election that is upon us all.
Perhaps the opportunity to come and experience the environment of the foreign mission field is not suitable for everyone; however, it is certainly something that should be considered before the Lord peradventure He can make a way for one to do so. In this trip, for me at least, I think of it in military terms as an engagement for which I have been deployed. So in that respect I would also liken this deployment as being in enemy territory. As a side note and some food for thought, in reality, there is no place that would not be enemy territory as long as the prince and the power of the air is in the place of dominion. Consequently, as a matter of strategy, it would seem as though this illegitimate authority has a vested interest in making sure that we, as the children of God, stay in our Jerusalem both spiritually as well as physically in an effort to contain the collateral damage that could occur because of the nature of the word that has been given to us. It has occurred to me that the devil does not have the capacity to rule the world from an omniscient and all-knowing position of authority, so it would be expedient from his perspective that we remain under the principality of which we have been assigned. Moreover, our purpose, as in this case of Ethiopia and as it would in the other places we are also engaged, is not of any other nature than to fight the battle for which we all have been called that the kingdoms of this world may become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ. The same purpose which has first begun in our hearts and now in turn we endeavor to teach others is that together we can be partakers of the divine nature.
Albeit one of the principle things that the devil has used to neutralize the church from becoming effective in operation of this objective is the strategy of religion; consequently, Ethiopia is no less affected. In fact, as it could be said about any other place, there is no shortage of organized Christian churches. Religion abounds complete with the hierarchical structure that holds the sheep in the darkness of denominational deception. For us the antidote to this anti-structure has and is the formable thrust of the fivefold ministry as set forth by the divine order of God. It has been this principle and the willingness on the part of those to commit, not only in substance, but also with their life that has gained significant inroads into Ethiopia. Our time consisted of both tending to what has been established in Addis as it pertains to weekly meetings, one each at Brother Fikre’s and Brother Jemal’s homes, as well as the advancement of our presence into new areas. It is interesting that the task at hand parallels the same of which was requested of Rebecca by Eleazar and that is “to carry water.” Ironically, as it would be, the water supply to the house which serves as our base is at best inconsistent and in short supply. Thus in order to have adequate supply for the daily routine it was necessary to source water from a local well, fill our containers and “carry” in return to our home base. Spiritually speaking the water would be a type of the word of God, and in this case for the distribution and use of it is to the misled sheep of the house of Israel.
One of the things that is proving to be effective for the investment being made here in Ethiopia is the willingness to be on site for an extended period of time. A visitor’s visa has a maximum limit of 3 months and, as many of you may know, it has been a concerted focus on the part of Brother Burt and Sister Nancy in the last several years to utilize this three month period of time. Along with this pattern, and proving to be as equally effective, is the plurality individuals that also are able to participate and contribute as part of the team for this concerted effort to push this word of the kingdom into the dark corners of Africa. In this case to accompany Brother Burt and Sister Nancy there was a good rotation of brethren starting with Martin and Kveta Hloska, myself, Martin Kluson, Oliver Capcik as well as Tomas Brchan who is coming later in March. This kind of rotation proves to be very beneficial and productive both on a personal level as well in the collective as our time spent here is not only in word but also by demonstration.
Perhaps one of the highlights that come along with being in the field of harvest is the continued opportunities to advance into new areas. This time it was our scheduled visit to Nazeret which is about a three hour drive by car plus or minus the additional time to get through Addis traffic. Here we had a weekend of meetings separated into two phases. The first was with the organized church and the second with university/college students. If there is one thing that is consistent about being here in Ethiopia, it would be the religious stronghold and its operation in the organized church. Also as equally true is the spiritual opposition to this word we bring. As a guest we come in for the opportunity to share the word which means waiting through the order of the service. It is here that the battle lines are draw. I am remembering the story of Samson when the Philistines shouted because of their perceived capture of him and in reply it is recorded that the spirit of the Lord came upon Samson and with the jawbone of an ass wrought a great deliverance. I say this because it is in the realm of music that the enemy of the church tries to set the course of the meeting. The cultural rhythm and style complete with drums is so much intertwined in the organized church that it quells the discernment to realize that there is another form, a true form, of praise and worship that can lift the people of God up. Initially for us the strategy to gain the upper hand for delivery of the word was to fight fire with fire so to speak. Therefore as a guest, and when time was given to us, the wisdom of God, our strategy if you will, became to “send Judah first.” Here we are grateful for the operation of the gifts dispersed among us. Brother Oliver, along with Sister Kveta and Sister Nancy sang one of the songs of Zion:
He is Lord. He is Lord.
He is risen from the dead, and He is Lord.
Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord.
I can tell you of a truth it was the power of God at that given moment not only to counter, but to breech the strength of the spiritual darkness and create an opening for the prophetic ministration of the word. The supply of heaven came and meeting after meeting there was much washing of the water by the word so that by the end of the first phase, there was a genuine response to the alter call for those that wanted a deeper, personal relationship with the Lord. As we walked away that night after the last meeting, even the tenor of the music had changed as soft gentle notes of the presence of God could be heard outside on the street. For us it was a very sweet sound indeed and we knew that the wrestling match for the life of the sheep had been won. The second half of our visit here now consisted of scheduled meetings with college/university student. The tenor of this time was much different to the former wherein the platform was geared to teaching and instruction. The subject matter and the foundation for which we build is of course based on the teachings on the Tabernacle. It proved to be a very profitable time both in the washing of the water by the word and in fellowship. Like sowers that scatter their seed over that ground we know likewise that there was the spiritual counterpart of seed sown in the lives and hearts of those who were present. As we rounded up the weekend and were driving back to Addis and our home base, we all were grateful for the opportunity to participate and be actively engaged and resting in the fact that God:
- is Lord of the harvest and
- is the One who gives the increase.
Upon arrival it was once again time to “carry water” for the public water supply had not been turned on during our absence as we had hoped. So off to the well we go with our vessels in hand utilizing our modern day camel, the rented van. There are many more things I could speak of but as a small peek into the activity of our time, I will leave this for now. All in all, as it is designed to do, the nature of this word coupled with the experiences of being in the mission field can be life changing for all those involved. As I return to my place of dwelling, I am grateful for the opportunity and secondly, as a member of the true church, the necessity to carry water in response to the calling and election that is upon our lives.