January 12, 2009

Prayers for Ethiopia

Anthony and I depart this Wednesday afternoon for Ethiopia and PTI, Round 7. Here are a few ways you can be praying for us…

1. Our travel. Every time I get on a plane, the thought occurs to me: ‘There is no way this several ton metal bird is going to get off the ground.’ Of course I know it actually can … and there are physics lessons that could teach me why. But, ultimately, it is God who keeps us in the skies. And it will be God who enables us to make all our connections, in spite of winter weather, tricky layovers, and so on. Pray for smooth sailing.

2. Our souls. We are going in order to give, help, teach, and so on … on behalf of others. But it is possible to do that from a very dry well; a cold heart. So pray that, with all the rearranging of schedules and sleep, that we would find (no, make) time to be with Jesus each day. I plan on grazing in the books of Genesis and Exodus while we’re away. Pray that God would make me “lie down in” these “green pastures” … and show me Jesus.

3. Our teaching. This round of messages is on the doctrine of the church. What, really, is a church? Where does she get her authority? Who leads … and how … and why? Who should be a member? What about accountability, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper? All of these are questions upon which there is much confusion … both in Ethiopia and the U.S.! So we need to be sharp and clear. We need to make sure the men are getting it. And we need to have a keen ear and wise heart when they ask questions related to their culture. There are a number of tricky issues. So pray for us!

4. Our students. Based on what we have seen in previous sessions, I have every confidence that the men will be in Addis Ababa in full force, with their ears and hearts wide open, and their thinking caps on. Praise God for these men! But pray that their hearts remain open and their thinking caps on when they go back home … and when, eventually, they go to new fields to start churches. Much of what we are teaching is going to be music to their ears, I think … but brand new music. And when they attempt to implement more biblical patterns of church membership, leadership, etc., there may be (just as their often is in America) some opposition from other Christians. So pray that God gives them hearts of courage and wisdom … especially in the weeks after we have come home.

5. Our partners. For many years now, God has been building and flourishing a wonderful connection of Baptist churches in Zambia (and a few other southern African nations). From what I hear, this group may be as theologically sound and evangelistically zealous as anything we know in the West – maybe more so. They are several years further along the road of fruitfulness down which we hope to send our Ethiopian brothers. And they have agreed (Praise the Lord) to help – to provide further training, mentoring, and counsel to the Ethiopian Baptists! This week, two Zambian leaders (Conrad and Wilson) will be in Ethiopia, meeting with Anthony, some Ethiopian leaders, and the trainees. Pray that this is a wonderful time of blessing … and the beginning of a Christ-honoring, fruitful partnership.

6. Our families. Hannah, Ellie, and Isaac. Tobey, Julia, Andrew, and Silas. All of them will have family and church family nearby. But it is still different when dad is gone. Pray God protects and gives joy to them all!

Thank you. And blessings in Jesus!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this. I think it's awesome to watch the work that God is doing with those Preachers and brethren. I will be praying for you. In fact, I wish I were with you!
God Bless!