Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ethiopia 2012, Team 1, Day 4 & 5 ~Blessed to Be a Blessing

Ethiopia Days 4 and 5 ~ written by Bryce

Sunday dawned in the full glory of an Ethiopian morning. The roosters crowed, the people sang, and our weary bodies dragged themselves out of bed and down many flights of stairs to guzzle unhealthy amounts of coffee. Not only were our bodies physically tired, but our souls were also weary and burdened after 3 days in this saddeningly beautiful country. Our first stop of the day was Beza Church and it was a refueling gift from the Lord, more reguvinating than 100 cups of the strongest Ethiopian brew. We walked in to the service and were greeted with the joyful sounds of music and the lyrics "People of every nation and tongue" lifted in praise to a God of love. A God who is just as powerful and active here halfway around the world from the life we know. As a team we worshiped and were taught alongside our brothers and sisters from around the world. Our spirits were lifted and encouraged and we felt a renewed excitment to go out and be the hands and feet of Jesus to the people of Ethiopia.

After church we piled in the vans and zoomed through the streets toward the HIV only orphanage known as AHOPE. We were able to bless them with diapers, formula, and clothes. They in return blessed us with the previlage to play with and minister to the sweet children who lived there.

We spent a fufilling afternoon full of laughter and smiles reading bible stories to the children, passing out candies, and exploring the beautiful facility.

Our evening was spent eating, resting, and discussing our experiences and plans for the rest of our time here.

Monday we awoke bright and early in eager anticipation of the day. Day 5 we had the privelege to partner with Beza Church to go and distribute 150 sheep to women who live and work on Entoto Mountian.

It was our hope that we would be able to have the priviledge of washing their feet, but they cautioned us that we should ask them before we try to. Before we arrived though, we wanted to be able to give them a new pair of shoes, so we stopped at a local market and bought 50 pairs of shoes to take with us.

 We were honored to know that nearly every woman accepted our offer and we had the awesome opportunity to show these women just how beautiful and worthy they are in God's eyes by washing their feet, giving them a new pair of shoes and passing out bibles.

 Just as Jesus humbled Himself and washed the feet of His disciples, we happily kneeled in the mud as the rain fell around us, washing the feet of these women, giving them new shoes, and shining the love of Christ into their lives.

"So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them. "Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you saw well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them." John 13:12-17

One of the women told us that they didn't believe that we would even show up. Until they saw us with their own eyes it was impossible for them to fathom a love like Christ's. They couldn't imagine people who would be willing to give of themselves.

They didn't see their worth as daughters of the King. It was such an honor to be allowed to share such sweet truth will all of them. To see their smiling faces as we washed the stains of hardship from their feet.

Later, the team returned to the guest house for dinner and then those who wanted to, joined Kelly and Bizzy (our translator) to go back to the church we served at on Friday to teach the leaders of the church about discipleship.

Earlier in the week, during a team meeting, one of the team members mentioned that when we were serving at the church where we fed the street children on Friday, one of the leaders said that he had a vision of foreigners coming to teach at their church. After that meeting, it dawned on Kelly (Bullock) that we served them, but we didn't TEACH them. So she asked Bizzy (our translator) about going back to teach them discipleship, and in pure Jesus-timed fashion, they agreed and we headed back down that bumpy road through the muddy entrance and sat in their church again tonight, this time, to teach the leaders of the church about discipleship. Kelly, with Bizzy as her translator, poured out the biblical foundations used in the discipleship training she teaches back home in Clarksville.

She made it clear that she came in, not as a leader, but as an encourager, under the authority of the pastor of that church, but then went on to give them an overview and tools on how to make disciples. The leaders seemed to be very grateful. They sang a beautiful and joyful worship song for us and it was clear that even with just thirty people, the Lord had come to fill that small church with his presence, as we stood willing to proclaim his Lordship over our lives and accept his command to go, therefore and make disciples!

~ Bryce

1 comment:

  1. Bryce,

    My heart is full right now and tears fill my eyes as I read of God's love and the blessings you have received ...I am proud of you and your team and all you have given these sweet people...