There is no greater privilege than being a part of what God is doing. Last April my son Jax and I came to Ethiopia for the first time. On the morning of our first village day we were told that the people we were visiting would not be very receiving of us or the message of the gospel. As only God can do, He blew our expectations out of the water. The people we met not only welcomed us with open arms, but they eagerly received Christ. We saw over 100 people come to faith that day.
Today we had the incredible experience of visiting the same village and going into the home churches that have been planted since that day. Our team of fourteen broke up into five groups to go into each home church.
What an incredible gift to see what God has done in the lives of those people since we first met. I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Immediately upon getting off the bus in the village we were greeted by familiar faces and embraces. Again in the home church we visited, I recognized people I met a year ago. I was able to pull up pictures saved on my phone from the day we first met and show them, and we joyfully caught up with one another and shared how God has been working in the past year.
There is nothing like fellowship between believers, even believers from different cultures who don’t speak a common language. The entire team and all five churches met up together before we loaded up the bus, and again I connected with men and women I saw come to faith a year ago. No translators were nearby at the moment, but no words were necessary. These are people I have been praying for the past year, and the exhilaration we felt upon seeing one another did not need translating.
The best part about today’s visit was seeing the growth that has taken place in one short year. It reminded me of Acts 16:5 – “So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.” The new believers immediately went out into their community and reached out to others with the good news of Jesus Christ.
The home church our team of three – Jax, Wendy, and I – visited consists of eleven families meeting together twice weekly. Altogether our team visited five churches. We can roughly estimate that over 250 people in that village are meeting to worship, grow in faith, and learn more about the Lord.
Erin, one of our team leaders, said this morning at our team meeting, “God doesn’t need capable people. He needs willing people.” I have seen those words play out in my own life, because believe me, traveling across the world and going door to door talking to strangers is not something I am capable of doing in my own abilities. Today I got to see those words played out in the lives of these new believers. In one year’s time they have more than doubled. How is that possible? They were willing to be used by God. He did the rest.