September 2016: Field Day 3 (as well)

By Melissa Luque:

Each day in Ethiopia I am more blessed and my cup truly overflows. Yesterday as we descended down the mountain, I found myself praying for not only the Ethiopians but also for people everywhere. I am more keenly aware now of the enormous need to share the Gospel. I asked God for boldness in sharing the Good News and His answer was to go to Ethiopia with e3Partners. I thought I misunderstood and in fact, carried on several discussions with Him to really be sure. He was sure! Haha!
Being here in Ethiopia has increased my faith.

I have met some amazing people. We are invited in to homes with hospitality that I rarely see at home. What really blows me away is the worship here! I’ve witnessed and participated in worship like I’ve never witnessed before. If we would only worship like this in our churches and our homes.

This is one reason why we need God, for only He can give us a new heart, and replace our self-centeredness with His love. God’s promise is true: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone” (Ezekiel 36:26).

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 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.

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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!

September 2016: Get Out of the Boat

By Allison Sonnier:

This morning at our team meeting we discussed the story of Peter walking on water. I’ve read the story many times, but being here in Ethiopia, the story takes on new meaning. I know I am not here on my own strength or because of my own abilities. It is by Christ’s power alone.

Peter knew Jesus could give him the power to walk on water. His faith in our Lord allowed him to climb out of the boat and stand on water, water that was angry from the storm.

I’ve been on both a lake and in the ocean during a storm. It’s scary enough being inside the boat. I can’t imagine open water. That’s because I’m thinking of being out in the water alone. I don’t have to be in it alone. God has promised to never leave me nor forsake me. All I need is faith.

We know Peter took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink. It’s easy to wonder what he was thinking, right? Really, Peter, why would you look down? Why did you get scared? You were WALKING ON WATER! Jesus was RIGHT THERE! He had you.

Yet how many times do I look down? How many times do I take my eyes off Jesus and let my circumstances, fears, concerns, or insecurities threaten to sink me?

If I’m being honest with myself, would I have even stepped out of the boat in the first place?

I don’t know what God has planned for this trip to Arba Minch, but I’m ready. I’m ready to step out of the boat and keep my eyes on Christ. He’s got this.

September 2016: Plot Twist

By Taylor Johnson:

You know when you are expecting something to happen, and then when it happens, it doesn’t happen the way you were expecting it to?

It’s like when you’re watching a movie, and you’re expecting a happy ending… and the hero dies in the end.

They call those “plot twists.”

Well, that’s been this trip for me… and we haven’t even left yet.

Let me tell you why.

Over the past two months (and probably more for our more-prepared members), our September 2016 team has been preparing for our trip to Ethiopia on Wednesday (September 28).

Our team leaders have been booking flights and hotels and preparing the itinerary for when we show up.

Others in the team have been getting their appropriate vaccinations, starting and finishing their packing lists and fundraising for the funds to go on the trip.

Together as a team, we have been learning the country we are entering. Practicing the language, memorizing different ways to tell others about sex trafficking and Jesus (two topics you’d never put next to each other), and how to not embarrass ourselves in a different country.

As a team, we’ve been well prepped for our trip.

Or so you would think.

Currently in Ethiopia there is political unrest, which has resulted in shootings and many deaths right in the area that we were planning, and prepared, to go to.

It is obviously not safe for a group of 15 Americans to visit there.

PLOT TWIST.

Instead of going to the region of Northern Amahara, in the north of Ethiopia, we are flying south to the city of Arba Minch to visit the Gamo people.

And now, many of the things we have prepared for our trip are probably not very likely to happen… seeing that we were planning to visit the families in Northern Amhara that received the chickens that many of our friends and families fundraised for.

And this is the time when I, who have experienced many plot twists, go into “okay I can do this, everything will be okay” mode. Because it’s in the plot twists, when God shows me how great He is… and how He has the plot twists under His control.

It’s in the plot twists, when all I can do is rely on Jesus and have Him guide me through the next steps.

I’m so much reminded of Matthew 10, when Jesus sends out his 12 disciples in pairs of 2, giving them the authority to heal the sick and drive out demons.

He then says this to them, “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you.” (Matthew 10:9-13)

Jesus basically sends out 12 dudes and says – go as you are. NOW. Don’t bring money, no extra clothing. Don’t be prepared, but rather, watch and see what I can do. Have faith in what I’ve called you to do.

Can you imagine it? Peter is probably stoked because he’s got the authority to drive out demons and then Jesus says to go do good work and heal people but don’t pack anything and don’t bring any money. Good luck.

Plot Twist.

It’s Jesus saying, I’ve equipped you to do great things, but you still need ME. Watch what I can do to bless you and those I love.

There have been so many different situations when I’ve been in a plot twist, and I’ve gone from prepared to extremely unprepared and not confident in my own strength.

But during those moments, Jesus uses me, exactly as I am, and shows me what HE can do and how great HIS strength is.

It’s such a relief to know, that no matter how much or little prepared I feel in a situation, He still takes the reigns and makes magic happen.

I’m so much more excited for this trip, because I have no idea what will happen when we enter Arba Minch and there’s no way to know. None of us have done this before. No one is more prepared than the other.

We’re being lead by an all-knowing God who knows what’s to come. A God who has given us the greatest gift in Jesus and His heart to love on others.

Who does not call us to be prepared in every circumstance. But calls us to come as we are, and says, “watch what I can do.”

We are being lead by the  God who sent his son to be THE ultimate plot twist. And there’s no other God I’d rather follow.

 

To receive text updates while we’re gone – text “LBC” to 313-131. Thanks for following along!

April 2016: Post from Barkley: Third Day

On day three Kelly and I along with our translator Habtamu, Disciple maker, and guide started off for our first of five house visits of the day. The trail was full of rocky crags and crevices, leading down narrow, winding gorges and up precarious gradual slopes. You had to intently watch every step less you risk twisting an ankle or tripping over a rock. This was the same trail that the resident cows, goats and sheep taveled so it was littered with their precarious “land mines.” After ninety minutes of this trek in the hot sun we made it to our first house which just happened to be the house of our guide. We were greeted by three of his six children. We were escorted to the side of the house where we saw their chickens. Afterwards we went into the small, dark, mud and straw hut and was ushered to a seat formed from mud clay, molded along the circumfrence of the wall, approximately twelve inches off the floor. There was plastic laid over it in preparation of our arrival. The women of the home immediately began to make a fire in order to prepare coffee for us. This added a choking, smokey ingredient to the small room. We began to ask questions of the family in order to get aquainted with them as well as share information about ourselves. After approximately thirty minutes of conversation. Kelly presented the Priceless Cube to the family who listened intently. The father asked a lot of questions which the translator seemed to thoroughly answer. I followed Kelly’s presentation with the Evangecube and as soon as I stated, “Anyone who is willing to accept Jesus Christ and spend eternity with Him please stand and pray with us,” the Husband, wife and four others in the room quickly stood and gave their hearts to Jesus Christ. We left this home and returned to our trail enroute to our next home. This was repeated over and over throughout the day. By days end a total of fifteen people had accepted the Lord; Praise God! It was at this moment that we realized that whatever discomfort we experienced throughout the day was well worth it. We may never walk this trail and experince these dicomforts again but these people routinely endure this daily. Because of Him,

Barkley

April 2016: Post from Marvin: Third Day

The Ethiopian people in the farming villages of Fiche live simple, hard-working, peaceful lives. Their way of life in many ways has not changed from life in biblical times. Their days are spent working the family farm from sunup to sundown. They walk 40 minutes in some instances to draw water from wells and walk for as many as 2 hours in one direction to buy food and supplies at the market. Family arranged marriages continue as the norm where generations live together in mud-wall huts and communals with thatch roofs. And reminiscent of biblical times, each day this week love manifest itself in acts that provided a flock of chickens to sustain families in need, spoke proverbs of a priceless message to protect & mend children and families, and carried the good news on the feet of 2 and 3 generations of saints to save the lost. Today there is rejoicing in Fiche and in heaven. Selah.

April 2016: Post from Taliah: Third Day

God is truly amazing and has been doing some great and mighty things in the villages of Ethiopia! In one of the homes we were in the middle of sharing the Evangecube when a man walked in and sat down and was intently listening to us as we finished sharing the gospel. When it came time to choose if they wanted Jesus Christ to be Lord of their lives, this man did not accept, but many others in the home did. After we had prayed the prayer of Salvation and given them some tools they could use to continue their walk with the Lord, we said our goodbyes and left the home.

Marela had asked if we could stop for a lunch break and our guide and translator picked out a spot that was in the center of a field that was surrounded by tall grass. The man who had walked in at the end of the Evangecube, along with a couple other people had followed us from the home, and into the field. The group was a few feet away from us and they were having what looked like a very intense conversation. Marela and I decided that it was not a good time for us to eat lunch and instead decided to go over and join them. As we joined them, the conversation continued in their native language of Aromo. We just smiled at them as they continued talking, but then I saw that in the tall grass surrounding the field there were people standing there looking at us from a distance.
Eventually, a few people at a time got the courage to come to where we were sitting in the middle of the field and a crowd formed. The man from the previous house was the main one speaking and occasionally other people would call out and our translator would respond. Our translator then turned to us and said, “They have some questions for you. They want to know, what happens to a baby when he/she dies. Do they go to heaven or are they sent to the fire? And when Adam took a bite of the forbidden apple, did that put a generational curse on man?” Marela and I looked at each other for a moment, these were two important and heavy questions. I began to answer the questions and looked to Marela to ask her if she agreed with the answers and she proceeded to add her thoughts as well. I then looked at the translator and said, “that is our answer.” He then turned to the crowd and translated what we had said, and a few minutes later he turned to us and said, “I will now pray for them!”
Those who had been sitting, stood to their feet joining those who had already been standing. They all held their hands in front of them facing upwards with heads bent and eyes closed, saying the occasional “Amen” as our translator prayed for them. Although I could not understand what our translator was praying, it was the most powerful prayer I had ever heard! After the prayer was finished, we moved on to the next home and some of the crowd from the field followed us. Including the man from the first home, who had asked the two questions.
When we got to the next home we started our Priceless cube and continued on to the Evangecube and this man was intently listening to every word. When it came time to make a decision to follow Christ, he was the first to say, “YES, I choose Jesus Christ, I choose eternal life!” It was the most amazing thing to see! If Marela had not asked for a lunch break at the time she did, his questions would not have been heard or answered. He would not have continued to follow us nor would he have been able to make that decision to follow Christ!
God was so apparent in that whole situation, He had gone before us and perfectly orchestrated every single detail! We serve a mighty mighty God, who is constantly at work in the lives of each and every one of His children at all times! I am so grateful and honored that I was able to be a small part in His bigger plan!