You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name (John 15:16-NLT).
I am thrilled to be home from my trip to Africa! I’m spending the day today resting and restoring myself physically. Traveling across the globe in sequential flights one right after the other with no rest is taxing to say the least!
I want to share with you one story from our trip. Last Wednesday we began a long journey from Durame, Ethiopia to Weyto, which is in the Omo valley of Southern Ethiopia. We travelled all day Wednesday, slept over night in a hotel (not American style ) in Arba-Minch, and then travelled on to Weyto on Thursday morning. It was a long, hot, dusty drive. We arrived in Weyto, put our luggage in our hotel room (no water or electricity), and ate some MRE’s for lunch (meals ready to eat used by our armed forces).
The heat was intense in Weyto last Thursday, and I’m sure it was well over 100 degrees. We met with our first Victory church which was not far from where we were staying. John Kazda shared a brief message with the people. See the attached photos.
Then we travelled down a long, dusty dirt road to our other church in Weyto. We were informed by the pastor (Gunta), that their church building that we built some time ago had been blown down by a bad storm on January 25th. When we arrived at the sight, we saw the building and the church members began to come.
We met under a tree to shield us from the blazing sun as the people continued to come from neighboring fields. Dave Ford ministered briefly and then we asked the people if they had any prayer requests.
Remember that these folks are former animists; they worshiped the gods found in trees or rocks or inanimate objects. Most all are illiterate, having no formal education at all and can’t read or write. But they do possess a clever common sense and a good understanding of their environment.
They asked us to pray for them, that their children would be healed of the flu. And then they asked us to pray for rain. You could tell by the looks of the vegetation that rain had been scarce for a long time. Dave Ford led the prayer for their children to be healed, and then he asked as we assented our agreement for God to provide rain for the whole valley area there. The Weyto congregation bowed their heads sincerely as we all prayed and the interpreter interpreted the prayer. At that moment, Galatians 2:28 came to my mind – There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus (NLT). Our hearts were joined in faith as we looked to the One source of life and help that we all have in common, the Lord Jesus.
We all affirmed a loud Amen which means – so be it! After this, the church members sand a song for us, clanging their rustic instruments together to make music, and dancing and singing from their hearts with gusto.
We left and returned to our “hotel” for what was to be an exhaustingly hot night. In the middle of the night we heard a few rain drops hit the tin roof of our dwelling, then it began to rain really hard! And it rained all the next day as we headed back to Arba-Minch, and back to civilization. God had answered our prayer for rain quickly, and this was a huge deal to these former animists who had been born again. The God that these visitors has led us to is an awesome God would be their thinking about this event. He has great power! It was a great testimony to them of the faithfulness of God.
As a results of this trip to Weyto, I have decided that we will pay the pastor’s (Gunta) monthly salary. He is going to start two new churches this month, one there not far from the Weyto churches, and another in a neighboring city (Jinka). We will have four churches in the area and he will pastor them all!
We also left money for the church that was destroyed in the storm to be rebuilt ($850.00). This included stronger lumber and the services of a carpenter to quickly rebuild the demolished building. This church alone has over 300 members!
The attached photos show the meeting in the first church in a village near our hotel, and then the meeting under a tree in an open field near the demolished church building. Thanks to our Victory folk for making it possible for us to reach these precious former animists with the gospel!