Here on our first full day in Ethiopia, we made the trek over to Korah for the first time. I was anxious for my team members to get their first glance because it is a place I love - a place where God is moving amidst incredible poverty and pain. And, through the power of Christ, a place of incredible joy.
As is always the case, I find it impossible to put into words my feelings for this place and the experience of being there. Every attempt feels like I’m trying to describe nuclear physics using the vocabulary of a first grader. Do a search on this blog word Ethiopia and you’ll see what I mean. Inadequate.
But a couple of things really stood out to me today:
- The amazing way our team bonded with the children right away. We discussed tonight the question of whether these children thought we came to love them or to see – a question of the heart really. Two things were obvious to me: this group of Christ-followers came to love. And the children knew it. You can’t fool children, they’ll see right through you. And these kids could tell; we came to share the love of Jesus.
- The fact that Jesus brings joy that does not depend on circumstances. This afternoon, we spent time with a group of women from Mission Ethiopia. They are employed making beads – a very tedious process – and the sale of the resulting necklaces and such help make possible their much needed jobs. Are they down about it? Quite the contrary. While we were there, we asked if they ever sing while they work. They didn’t just tell us; they showed us. A celebration of song and dance erupted that made time seem to stand still. We had so much fun because they had so much fun. Their zeal for life did not depend on things. They sang (in Arhamic) about how God will fight for them, about the fact that Jesus is coming back, and about the fact that he is their story.
So, quite a day! I am blown away by Grant, Jenny, Macy, Mark, Melinda, and Melissa. The way they jumped right in, and their insight about what it means for the Kingdom challenges me. I can’t wait for tomorrow, and the rest of the week. It’s going to go too fast.