Ten Years Ago
“It always drives me to tears,” our missionary friend murmured. We were standing and worshipping with the congregation in Ethiopia. The town is well-established, but not large, and this church, made of corrugated metal and painted blue cinder block, stands on the outskirts. The worship leader bounded with leaping steps from one side of the raised platform to the other. His energy and joy could not be contained. On the cement floor in front of us little children jumped and clapped, and the choir danced with a swaying motion in time to the music. As I looked around the building, bright sunlight shone in between the corrugated metal sheets. Faces shone brightly with light, sweat, and mouths gladly sang out the heartfelt words. I, of course, could not understand any of the words, but I sure got the gist!
My friend continued in tearful whispering: “Ten years ago these people were in bondage to the demons. The children walked the streets in rags, begging. All the family money and resources went to appease the demons. The men, despondent, sat in the city gates chewing khai, a mild drug. The women were beaten and depressed. See what the Lord has done in this people group in the last ten years…”
Chuck and I had the privilege of working with gifted and courageous Ethiopian church planters. Our missionary friends are people we met through the “Perspectives” course held here in the fall of 2015. While Chuck worked with the training and coaching of movement leaders, I worked with training child-care workers. In this new area, up till now, there has been no interest or focus on young children. We thank God for this wonderful time to partner with these Ethiopian Believers who are so new in God’s family.
The movements we were serving have been bringing thousands of people to Christ. While there, our role was to help with the training of disciplers who can care for the new converts. One group had four thousand new believers in the last eight months. Our team figures that means we need four hundred small group leaders, eighty new small group coaches to work with the leaders, and sixteen new super-coaches to work with the coaches. We were working with the super-coaches to help them ready the small group coaches. In one area we were working with two different language groups so the teaching went from English to Amharic to Oromo and back for the complete cycle of teaching and questions. What made it really exciting is that the interpreters were the leaders of the various groups. We would teach them in English and then they would take the same ideas and teach them to their people in the various languages.
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Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church is a Biblical community, in which people from all walks of life join together to worship our amazing God, grow in knowledge and relationship with Jesus Christ, connect with one another to find acceptance and friendship in the Body of believers, and then scatter to serve the world and our community in order to build God’s Kingdom here on earth.…