From: Katie Brown
Sent: Saturday, July 13, 2013 11:56 AM
Subject: Back online!
[Note: The computers were down on Day 5, July 12.]
After what seemed to be the fastest moving week of my life, crammed with miracles and tears and joy and 570 new names written in the Book of Life, our official ministry week is over. We felt your prayers and cannot wait to come home to each one of you, share our stories, and hear about how you have been on mission at home!
Today was our “free” day in Arba Minch. About 10 from our team went on the “Jungle Cruise” to see the crocs and hippos. I was so encouraged to hear that they got to know their tour guide really well and Amber and Ken actually shared the Gospel with him! We have all been reminded this week how vital it is that we remain attached to the vine and continue our missions mindedness in all we do. “The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become.” -Henry Martyn
The rest of us hopped BACK into the vans for one more day of ministry, a special kind of work. We drove up through the mist and beauty of the mountains. Temperatures dropping, children dancing along the roadside. With every familiar bend and bump in the road my heart grew more and more full with joy. We were heading 10,000 feet up to the place where this ministry all started. We were going to Chencha.
Returning to churches that we have planted in the past is a huge blessing for us, but more so for those who are living faithfully for the Lord, enduring persecution and hardship. We make the left turn that leads us through the shire and up the rocky road to Abraham’s church. At this point the fog and mist are so thick you can hardly see 10 feet in front of you. I immediately regret my flip flops and cotton hoodie.
I have barely stepped out of the van when, bursting though the haze, is my sweet little friend Elzibet! She flings her arms around me so tight it is as if she has been waiting 6 months to give me that hug! I kiss her forehead and swing her around and she grabs my hand to lead me up the the church.
The building emerges as we get closer and I see the cross first, then the doorway below it. Friendly faces emerge from the hut and we hug our old friends. Finally, I see them. My dear sweet Bugalesh and Buzanesh. These two ladies have been faithful worshipers of the One True God despite hardships I cannot even express in words, for many years now. Our eyes meet, and simultaneously fill with tears. I cannot explain the kind of love we 3 feel for one another, but I know that it is built on mutual love for our Lord, and a special bond that happens when you study God’s word together. Over 3 years we have prayed for one another faithfully, and though we see each other but once or twice a year, our bond is deep. Deep as the Fathers love for us.
We hear all about how the church is doing. The good and the bad. We accept coffee their kind encouragements, and we give ours to them. We all pray for each other and say our goodbyes. JT got to visit his dear friend Gasesah and Todd got to visit Shanka. What an incredibly blessed day.
We head to Addis tomorrow for shopping, yummy ‘Antica’ Pizza, and then to the comfort of our American beds and liberties. Do not focus your prayers on our safety or stomachs. Intercede for those faithful brothers and sisters here that we leave behind. Lift your prayers up on their behalf as they endure a different life than us. Pray for their sick children, for their crops and animals. Pray that the Orthodox Church would loose the stronghold it has in that region and that God would PREVAIL. Pray that the Lord would guard their hearts and protect their families from the persecution so prevalent in their land.
Today we praise God for the Body of Christ. That it is global. That He uses each of us to build the other up despite language barriers. That He loved us enough to save us from our sins. Today we praise God for His grace, and how He loves us.