Not the Same

By Allison Sonnier

Three years ago I boarded a plane for my first trip to Ethiopia.  I had no idea at the time that it was the first of many.  God had plans for my life far beyond what I had imagined.  As I’ve been packing and preparing to leave in two days, I’ve been reflecting on His goodness.

Not too long ago I let anxiety rule my life and dictate my decisions.  I said yes to that first Ethiopia trip, because I clearly heard the voice of God calling me.  When God calls, you don’t say no.  Well, sometimes we try, right?  But really, it doesn’t make any sense to say no.  He calls us for a reason and with a purpose, not only for His plans to impact others but also for His plans to shape us.  Have you experienced this in your life?

Continue reading “Not the Same”

I Can Trust Him to Provide

By Allison:

Yesterday, our first day in Ethiopia, we visited Women at Risk, a ministry that helps prostitutes get off the street. Erin asked me to lead an I Am Second study while we were with the women. An I Am Second discussion starts with the telling of a Bible story. I chose the feeding of the five thousand. After telling the story we ask several discussion questions, and a couple people are asked to repeat the story. The final two questions are, “How will you live differently after hearing this story?” and “Who will you tell this story to?”

Hands shot up around the room as the women were eager to share how they wanted to live the way God calls us, and they named friends and family members they could share this story with. I can’t help but thing about all the times I hear something God has done but then keep it to myself. These women couldn’t wait to share.

 
When we were here in April this particular group of women had just entered the program. What a difference six months makes. This was not the same group of timid women I remember from April. These women now know their true identity, who they are in Christ. They know they are loved and that God sees them as whole.
I’ve heard and told the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand countless times. The insights and perspectives these women brought up during our discussion blew me away. I think every member of our team can agree that we learned something new during this study.

 
The woman sitting next to me said, “When I was in prostitution I was making a lot of money. God took the fish and bread and fed the entire crowd. I can trust Him to provide for me. I may never again make a lot of money, but I can live a life that honors Him. He will bless me and provide.”

 
We were there to minister to this group of women, but I’m pretty sure we were the ones who were ministered to. What a privilege it is to see the work the Lord is doing in the lives of these women.

September 2016: Field Day 5

By Allison Johnson:

Yesterday (Friday) we were told to go to one house and then go where the spirit lead us. We were at the first house when my mother decided to let Melissa share the gospel. We didn’t know that they were already Christians. While Melissa was sharing the gospel a little Ethiopian girl came and stood a few feet away from me. While she stood there she looked at me draw. Once I saw her I motioned her to come. Once she did I picked her up into my lap. Once the gospel was over and we knew that they were already christians, she got up and went inside. Then I went to sit by my mother.

Then my mother told Melissa to do an I am Second story. While Melissa was doing an I am Second story I played with the kids. I taught them how to draw and they taught me what they knew.

After Melissa’s I am Second story we went inside for coffee. There was a man who couldn’t walk because his foot was broken. So after coffee we prayed for him. Then we left and started walking.

Right when we walked by the school, school got out. There were probably fifty kids who crowded us and started walking with us. A few minutes later, Mesfin told the children to sit down. Then he told me to share the gospel. I shared the gospel to all of the kids. Then once I was done we figured out they were all Christians.

Then we went to another house to share an I Am Second story to encourage their faith. Then we started walking to the meeting place. On the way we saw a donkey cart. Mesfin asked the man if we could ride it and he said yes. So we rode the donkey cart the rest of the way to the meeting place. Once we got to the meeting place we waited.

Then we went back to the hotel. After about one hour we got back in the van. We drove the van to a place called Paradise Lodge.

When we got there we saw that there was a massage place, a swimming pool, a cool playground and a bunch of other cool stuff. We went to go have dinner. I got a coke. There also was a buffet. There was so much food that I almost was able to try them. After dinner there was ice cream. Three flavors: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. I chose chocolate and it was delicious.

After dessert we went to the playground. It was the best playground ever. There was a trampoline, a seesaw and a (you know the teacups at disneyland? it was similar to that). There were also the best swing sets ever. I can’t even explain how cool it was. That was only half. The other half I can’t even explain.

After 15 minutes of playground, we went to a really big room. In that room we did a team meeting. A little bit into the team meeting we did communion. We had crackers for bread and the weirdest drink.

That was pretty much my day.

September 2016: The Great Commission

By Rebecca Shue:

When Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations,” he wasn’t speaking directly to Americans, but somehow, in America, we developed this idea that we are the primary missionaries who must go out and witness to the “poor backward” world. It would be hypocritical for me to say that we shouldn’t go but we are really only a link in the chain.

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Today we had an opportunity to worship with Ethiopian Christians. These churches are composed of people who learned about Christ through previous e3 trips. We drove only an hour from our hotel and the people were already speaking a different language. For us to speak to them required one translation into Amharic and another translation into their language, D’rusha. Twenty minutes further down the road, another portion of our group worshipped with people who spoke yet a different language. All this translating was fine for a special visit but not as a long term plan. But just imagine if each of the people in those churches learned the language of the people in the village next to them and shared the gospel themselves. That should be the true goal of American missions- churches that reproduce themselves.

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The Ethiopians have such enthusiasm and love for Christ that it truly transcends language barriers. As we start our village days tomorrow, I am happy to know that we are assisting Ethiopian Christians as they carry out the Great Commission.

 

** pictures to be uploaded when the Wifi is better!

April 2016: Post from Tom: First Day

Our first day in the villages was exceptional beyond expectations. Thank you to all who are praying for us. The highlight of my day was watching 8 year old Jax Sonnier lead 13 adults to a salvation experience. I marveled at how God used him in hut after hut to lead people in crossing the line of faith.

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Throughout the day I reflected time and again at how at 8 years of age Jax was doing something that most adults have never done. He was openly sharing the Gospel message and people were being drawn by the Holy Spirit to respond. As proud as I was of Jax’s efforts, my feelings paled in comparison to his mother’s, Alison. What a sweet day! Unsure I could have scripted it any better. For good reason, everyone sang loudly tonight at team devotion, Our God is An Awesome God. We saw Him all day today.
Although today was Sunday, we did not go to church. This Sunday we were the church.