“Today we took Gopeeleo to church for the first time.
He arrived before the sun was up and was waiting at our gate dressed in his new clothes. I had told our guard to let him in when he arrived, and there he stood with a big smile on his face.
We still had an hour before we were to leave, so we invited him to have breakfast with us. I don’t think that he’s ever been in a firengee’s house before (“firengee” means white foreigner, which is what all white people are called whether you’ve been in Ethiopia five days or 50 years). His eyes were wide with wonder as he glanced about our house and watched me cook (I realize it is a great wonder to see me cook…Ha!) When we ate he had a hard time navigating the fork (people eat with their hands here), so Mark and I put our forks down and ate our eggs and toast with our hands.
Then a beggar woman came to walk with us to church. One of our neighbors had taken her in, and had brought her to us for help. She only believes in the power of Mary, but we’ve already had some good talks about Jesus. So here she comes with no shoes, dressed in rags with a huge goiter (from lack of iodine) on her neck, and next to her stands our former witchdoctor in his new clothes! We must have been quite a sight walking down the road.
Gopeeleo was struggling bravely to walk in his new shoes (he kept insisting that they fit fine, but they’re really a couple of sizes too big). He was having such a hard time walking that Mark finally ran back to get our motorcycle and give him a ride to church.
So Mark and Gopeeleo got there a little earlier than the rest of us, and Mark said that the people were singing when they arrived. Gopeeleo just joined right in, raising his hands in worship and praising his new Lord and Savior.
At the end of the service Gopeeleo went up to the front of the church to testify of his salvation (Mark and I went up with him), and the people began rejoicing with us! As the oldest of the elders slowly walked forward to pray for him, the whole congregation got on their faces to pray. The elder took his shoes off and prayed half an hour for Gopeeleo, and then he tenderly held Gopeeleo in his arms and thanked God for his salvation.
I sat in stillness awe watching these two men who were once opposing forces, but now have become brothers in Christ. Many people came up and hugged Gopeeleo, and I know he was touched by the acceptance and love of all the people that day.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers. This journey in Ethiopia is arduous, exciting, exhausting, joyous, frightening and hopeful—all at the same time. I’m praising God with you…and for you.
Dear friends, please keep Mark and Sidney and the person-to-person ministry God has called them into in your prayers. They are on the front lines against the strongholds of darkness that have long held the remote parts of Africa enchained.
Also, as read the changes in Gopeeleo’s life, we can learn some universal truths sharing the love and good news of Jesus.
1. We can make Christ available. Offer his hope to those WE are in contact with and let them decide.
So often we keep our mouths shut tight and don’t even make an offer of this good hope we have in Jesus.
2. Be generous.
Mark and Sidney have generously reclothed this witch doctor, they have given their time and money to walk him through the doorway into victory. They share meals and the good food of the word of God.
We like it when the Holy Spirit moves in our time-frame, but this doesn’t always happen! God knows who he is going to bring and when he’s going to bring them to our doorstep or in our path. Be willing to trust that God knows who is responding to the Holy Spirit’s leading. We can “put down our forks” and we can let the unexpected visitor come along. It’s a privilege to participate.
4. Be willing to step out.
Mark and Sidney began this journey several years ago when they volunteered for a short time at the Soddo Christian hospital. They took a step in faith to serve. Then they came home and waited. They are in Soddo now because they walked in faith, then waited for leading and walked in faith again.
We can pause and pray for the Launders. We can also pray that we might be listening, too for God’s call in our own lives.
Where is God calling you today?
Please thank EVERYONE who is praying for us. Your prayers are more vital than ever to us here in Ethiopia. I must say that it has felt a bit grim these past couple of days. We were able to fill up our water tanks using donkeys carrying water from the river (they strap 4 old plastic cooking oil jugs on the donkey’s backs and haul them to our house). We are not sure how long we can depend on this source as everyone is trying to get donkey water. Of course, the price went sky high. We were on an absolute ration of water, not taking showers or even flushing the toilet but once a day.
But PRAISE GOD the government brought in an emergency generator for the two hospitals in town as one had to close their doors. The Soddo Christian Hospital remained open as they have a huge generator and two good wells. The only problem is that the fuel to run the generators is very difficult to get and very expensive.
As soon as the fire stopped we sent our guy down to get petrol for our generator. So we are limiting the use of our generator, using it just enough so the fridge doesn’t get warm. But yesterday with this emergency generator coming they are only giving power to the hospitals and we happen to be on the same line….so PRAISE GOD we got some power for a few hours yesterday which also allowed us to get some water.
I cannot tell you how what a blessing that was. Everyone hollering with praise and tears. I just dropped to my knees, weeping and thanking God for His goodness to us. This is a temporary fix, so PLEASE KEEP PRAYING that the government thinks the power plant is important enough to fix in a timely fashion. It’s Africa…so one never knows what will happen.
I feel like I’ve been on the front lines for a long time, and everyday has such major demands. I have people at my gate daily asking for help. I feel spent and keep pressing on, but sometimes I’m just worn out. Please pray for my stamina. I love it here and am witnessing GOD doing amazing things, but it’s a hard life.
We showed the Jesus Film last night under the broken power poles on top of the hill in front of our house. We were the only light on the hill (using our generator), sharing with the Ethiopians that Jesus is REAL LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
Hundreds came, and you should have heard the cries of the people as they watched Jesus being crucified. They wailed beating their chests…their crying went on for at least 15 minutes. But the cheers at His resurrection were so loud and joyful. Many are giving their hearts to the Lord weekly as we show a Jesus film every Friday night.
We sing ”YES….JESUS LOVES ME…..YES JESUS LOVES ME ….YES JESUS LOVES ME, THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO” each time before we start the movie. I am so blessed as I hear the kids across the way singing it to themselves throughout the week, and when they’re playing together I hear them singing it over and over.
Since we have been showing the films more and more people come to our gate…the lame…the blind…the sick and the dying. The needs are endless.
Love and thanks,
by Team Member Kristi Burns
Today I visited the Christian World Adoption orphanage in Soddo today for perhaps the twelfth time and it always grabs a piece of my heart.
I comforted a nine month old baby girl who was very shy and resistant to come to me. Eventually, her fear subsided and she settled her sweet curly little head on my shoulder as I felt her body relax and trust me. We rocked, I hummed Amazing Grace to her and I prayed that God even then, would be with her adoptive parents.
Amaresh, the head nurse, explained to us that five Ethiopian orphanages in Soddo had recently been shut down along with orphanages in neighboring areas. This orphanage has been taking some of those orphans as well as an increase in abandoned babies. Currently this orphanage is over-capacity at fifty-seven.
Amaresh provides good care for the babies and toddlers and the staff is doing okay. We are asking our supporters to continue praying for God to lead a new director to the orphanage, and until that time, that he will strengthen the current staff to stay unified and committed to the great work of this special place.
There were many, many babies ranging from two weeks to two years in the infant rooms. The toddlers share a special toddler dorm (as infants and toddlers have different needs and schedules).
The orphanage continues to have water problems and the spare is not adequate - and yet these orphans are so much better off than many of the 6.4 million one parent and two parent orphans (one parent refers to one deceased parent and two parent, two deceased parents).
I know God wants my heart to be broken for what breaks His and I know that He loves these little ones far more than I ever could love them. Today when I hummed Amazing Grace on behalf of all 57 of I did so knowing that God’s grace is sufficient to cover them and he will make a home for every one.