The Body of Christ

By Brendan

We say it all the time in Church, but we rarely ponder it, at least I don’t. We often wonder how to do church better or how to grow our church body. But yesterday I was given an opportunity to participate with the body of Christ, with parts I had never met. I know many members on the side of the body I live on, down near the shin, but meeting these other parts across the body was a gift. I’ll tell you what I saw, open eyes, listening ears, anticipant mouths, and ready hands and feet.
Continue reading “The Body of Christ”

God is Vividly at Work

By Rachel S.

Our forth day of house visits was the most difficult, but the most transformational. A few members of our team were, in a small way, persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ as their savior. We are all safe and rejoicing that God was still victorious and kept us safe. It gave us a glimpse of the persecution Jesus went through during his time on earth.  
Continue reading “God is Vividly at Work”

His Power and Glory

By Rachel H:
Some of you may know that for a long time, I have wanted to see a demon being cast out.

 

However, over the last few months, I realized that I wanted to see this miracle for all the wrong reasons-I thought it would be kind of neat to see, an interesting story to tell afterwards. I didn’t have God’s glory as the priority for seeing this miracle, which is probably why I never saw it happen on past trips.

  Continue reading “His Power and Glory”

September 2016: Field Day 4 (as well)

By Nancy Evanston

THE BIG PICTURE AND A DIVINE APPOINTMENT

Maybe you have been somewhere like the Grand Canyon. You want to capture its immense beauty and grandeur so you take a picture only to be disappointed because it doesn’t come close to what you just saw and experienced. This is how I feel when I am trying to write about my time here in Ethiopia.

 

 

 

img_2643

Because it rains intermittently there, the landscape is beautiful, only a picture God could create.

IMG_2645.JPG

The poverty is none that you can imagine unless you are here with the children begging at you constantly, but there is generosity and hospitality in the huts and hearts of these believers. One Christian woman shared 4 types of food, all delicious, that she had prepared beforehand. We shared about sex trafficking and the gospel with her neighbors. One grandmother responded that this was “good what we shared” because her son was taken away. The husband of the home asked us to pray a blessing for him to be strong in his faith and persevere because they are persecuted for faith in Christ. This region is steeped in Ethiopian Orthodox and many walk away when you share that “Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no one can come to God except through him.” Please pray for Alum, Amaritch and their 3 children.

IMG_2817.JPG

Today we had the unexpected opportunity to go to a funeral procession and service of a Christian woman. It was an honor to be there. David, one of our team members, spoke an amazing gospel message for the unbelievers and also encouraged the believers. My heart was overflowing with joy as the Holy Spirit empowered David to speak the truth with boldness and compassion. We trekked miles to visit small numbers of villagers the past few days, yet David spoke to literally hundreds today. While it was an unexpected opportunity for us, we know it was a divine appointment from God.

God has encouraged many believers and we have witnessed others come to new faith in Christ. Many seeds of truth and hope in Jesus were planted this past week. Ears were so attentive to our human trafficking message. Someday when we meet Jesus we will clearly see the big picture of all that has transpired this week. I can’t wait to see my Ethiopian brothers and sisters in Christ then. For now you will have to settle for this snapshot. To God be the glory!

September 2016: Field Day 4

By Dave Helfrick

Thursday

A time for mourning.

I’ve taken 4 trips to Ethiopia now. I would never say I’ve experienced it all, not even close. Today, though, I added a new experience I never expected to have, particularly in Ethiopia. I spoke at the funeral of an Ethiopian grandmother. I’ll call her Betty.

After breakfast this morning, Tom came to my room and said we had an opportunity to speak at a local funeral, and also to present the gospel. Betty died yesterday, and there was to be many, many people coming to the funeral. Betty was a believer, but many of those attending are not. Sharing the gospel here would be a chance to share with more folks than we have the entire week to date.

I wish I could tell you that my heart leapt at the thought, and that I said through Christ I can do all things. If only. I did say yes, however, and I did know that the Holy Spirit would guide me. In fact, after I had prepared on the way, during the service I began to become nervous, maybe even fearful, that I would mix up my notes, or forget them altogether.

And THEN IT HAPPENED. A Scripture came to mind, and I knew the Spirit had given it to me for this very time. Immediately after, I relaxed and knew that “God’s got this.” The Scripture was “when you stand before men, do not worry about what you will say or how to say it. You will be given what to say, and it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit speaking through you.”

While that verse is taken slightly out of context, nonetheless I knew that message was for me at that moment. From then on, I was confident knowing I had prepared as much as I could, and that the Spirit would lead me. During the time I spoke (through an interpreter of course), I forgot to say some things I had planned, and I said some things that I hadn’t even thought of till I began to speak. At the end of this, one man whom I will call Adam, professed his faith in Jesus. I will likely never see Adam again on a trip, but I will see him again one day. One glorious day.

-Dave

September 2016: Field Day 3

By Rachel Helfrick

There’s something about the middle day of a field week. You feel very sluggish, and on the field you don’t seem to be doing the best you can do. The rest of the week? Fine. Total energy and love for the people, but Erin warned us the middle day would be the worst day.

So me of little faith going to the field with this mindset, I was feeling pretty down. It didn’t help that we haven’t had many people come to the Lord compared to last trips.

After a 40-minute walk of steep downhill, Allie, Jax and I arrived at our first house. When we had left, I left slightly encouraged. A man had been a Christian, but he had made bad choices and wanted our advice. We encouraged him and prayed for him, then left. At our next house, we didn’t do anything except pray for the house, because everyone was already Christian.

Our third house, we had a re-conversion (when someone was a Christian, turned away, then came back again). Her name is Mary. Now feeling energized (and foolish, because I hadn’t trusted the day to God), we climbed more steep hills to our fourth house. We had another re-conversion whose name is Martha. As soon as she came back to Jesus, she ripped her necklace off. The Ethiopian orthodox ‘Christians’ wear necklaces with crosses on them, symboling their orthodox religion. When Martha tore off her necklace, she was tearing away from the Orthodox Church. It was so moving. She didn’t care that she would now be persecuted, she just wanted Jesus again! This day definitely helped me realize that 1.,God knows what He’s doing, He’s got it,2.,if I’m feeling like the day won’t be that great, remember to pray!!! and 3., just because it’s the middle field day doesn’t mean it’s going to be a fruitless day!:)

September 2016: Field Day 2

By Jax Sonnier

God has done great miracles. He has done many things on this trip. This morning people started fighting and said they didn’t want us to come into their village. We left. Two of our disciple makers were imprisoned and then released. Thank God!

It makes me feel sad that people were imprisoned, and we were not. They had to suffer through the consequences that we all should have suffered through altogether. We don’t get attacked for our faith, and it makes me sad watching it happen to our Ethiopian friends.

We returned to the village after things calmed down. In the first hut we visited, we led four people to Christ, but we must tell you that it is because of God not us. God loves us so much. All the things we got to do were amazing.

Even though the day started out rough, God made it better.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

September 2016: Field Day 1 (as well)

By Jeremiah Shue:

Jesus told his followers to go out in twos and share about Jesus and perform miracles. Today we had a chance to exemplify that command. We went to the town of Dorze and shared the Evangecube and the PricelessCube with the people there. Today was a very exciting day, but also somewhat disappointing for those of us for which it is our first time to Ethiopia. For example, we drove to a church in Dorze excited and ready to share. I was with Dave Helfrick, our translator Wonbere, and our disciple maker Iraj, whose name I have most likely misspelled.

Anyway, it stated raining before we arrived, and by the time we left the church to head to the homes we were going to, the ground was nice and muddy, which did wonders on our shoes. Thankfully we had transport most of the time, but I still managed to get mud on my nose. 😯 Our first house was probably 8 feet square, but we still managed to share to about six people. As it turned out, four of them were already believers, one completely rejected our message, and one was an Ethiopian Orthodox believers who said essentially, “Your message is very good and necessary, but I do not believe.”

Oh well, we thought, maybe the other teams are doing better, and the next house will be more receptive. As it were, most of the other teams had about the same experience as we did. We learned this as they were passing by next to the church we had started at, which apparently was our next destination. We got there at about 1:30, but the people we were supposed to meet did not show up until about 4:00, right when we were leaving. In the meantime, we played with the children who kept showing up. Soon the other teams started to arrive and the kids swarmed Jax and his mom.

Although only one person came to Christ today, over 70 people heard the gospel, which is amazing. I would love to see what God does in the lives of these people. Please pray for the people we met today and those that are still waiting to hear this wonderful news.

September 2016: Field Day 1

By Greg Shue:

So many thoughts, and in so many directions! Today my team only had the chance to present to four non-believers. One seemed to be looking for income as a tour guide, and he and his companion hurriedly and adamantly left as soon as we pulled out the Evangecube.

We then had a rich and open conversation with an Ethiopan Orthodox college student. He almost knew the whole gospel already, but didn’t have 100% confidence he would go to Heaven if he died today. Though he didn’t come to faith today, he did express a desire to study the Bible with the host family. (Ethiopian Orthodox laity are not allowed to own Bibles so this is a significant step and shows he must be a seeker.)

The last person we saw was an Ethiopian Orthodox woman who refused the gospel message, saying “What has been good enough for my first 35 years is good enough for the rest of my life.” Sad, but a mild reaction given what else we heard from the local believers.

I have heard about the persecuted Church a bit over the years but it was always “out there”. Today I was hearing the stories from the persecuted themselves. Stories of communal shunning, a mob trying to burn down a house and kill the believers (and God sending a vicious and feared neighborhood dog to drive the mob away), stoning and threats of dismemberment! What happened to tolerance? Oh yeah – it is getting redefined.

Now that I have connected with all of this, what am I supposed to do? What would you do?

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.

img_0488

 

 

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.

img_0514

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!