This is the first official report that I’ve published on my blog about our recent trip to Ethiopia. For the last few days, Danny (from “learning…“) and I have been putting together pictures and videos in preparation for a presentation report to our church yesterday.
It was important to me to make a report to our church before I reported to everyone else via the web. Why? Well, because, through the work of the Holy Spirit, the church sent us as their representatives to the church and people in Alaba, Ethiopia.
Our church has been involved with the church in Alaba for several years. A few years ago, someone gave us a large amount of money. As we were praying and trying to decide what to do with this money, several suggestions were offered: buy or build a building, buy some land, pay a pastor, etc. At the time, we were all still struggling with our understanding of the church and the role and function of the church and church leaders.
About a week after we received the money, Dave and BeckyLynn Black visited with us and told us about their work in Ethiopia. After further prayer and discussion, we decided to give the money to the church in Alaba so that they could buy a truck. The truck would be used to carry people and supplies as needed. It would also be used as an ambulance to carry sick or wounded people to Addis for medical attention. (By the way, we used the truck while we were in Ethiopia.)
The next year, the Black’s returned to our church and invited us to go to Ethiopia with them. Several of us wanted to go. I especially wanted to go. But, the timing was not right, and we felt that God was not directing us on this trip. However, we continued to support their work and pray for them and the people of Ethiopia, especially the church in Alaba.
Last fall, the Black’s again returned to our church. Again, they invited us to go with them. Twelve people indicated that they were interested, but the Black’s could only take a few. So, after much prayer and consideration, Danny and I were chosen (by God and by the church, I think) to go to Ethiopia.
You see, in reality, we went both as God’s representatives and as representatives of Messiah Baptist Church, a people who already love and prayed for the church in Alaba, Ethiopia. We were apostles (messengers) to the church in Alaba from our church (Messiah Baptist Church).
During our first few days in Ethiopia, Danny and I discussed this passage from Philippians:
I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me. (Philippians 2:25-30 ESV)
No, neither Danny nor I came close to dying. But, like Epaphroditus, we were sent as messengers (apostles) by our church. I’m sure that many, many more members of our church would love to have gone to Ethiopia to love on and care for and teach and learn from their brothers and sisters in Alaba. But, they could not all go. So, they all sent Danny and me “to complete what was lacking” in their own service and love for the people of Alaba.
We were their apostles… their messengers to the church in Alaba, Ethiopia. And throughout our trip we continually reminded ourselves and the people that we met that we represented many, many people who loved the people of Alaba.
Here are a couple of videos of the main church in Alaba and the Zobechame church in Alaba sending their greetings back to our church in America.