March 6, 2014

Will You Go With Me to Ethiopia?

It's good to do things that are not comfortable, because it's an opportunity to rely on the Lord. I know it's true, but it's something that I've had to remind myself of over and over in the past few weeks as I've prepared for this day.

Today I'm headed to Soddo, Ethiopia with a group from our church. We're serving the team of doctors at Soddo Christian Hospital and their families, and, at the end of the week, Kyle will be joining us so that he and I can lead a retreat for these never-stopping, always-working doctors and their families. If you've been a long-time reader of the blog, you may remember reading about Soddo when I interviewed my friend Christina about their work there and about raising kids on the mission field.
I feel so many things about this trip. Some of it, sadly, has been worry. I am somewhat of a homebody, and I dread the feeling of being so far from my children. But I have also worried that I might not know how to minister to my brothers and sisters who are serving in Soddo, that my ministry circumstances are so drastically different that I won't know how to encourage them. I've also worried that my recent realizations of believing I'm a disappointment might hinder me as I lead our team.

But I keep coming back to faith, because God has consistently shown me that He has purposes for this trip and that I'm to go.

I went to get my vaccinations and discovered along the way that we haven't had health insurance for several months. It's a long story, and it all worked out in the end, but as we've waited for it to kick in, I realized I could worry about major catastrophe or trust the provision of God that kept us 100% healthy and safe while we walked around blissfully unaware.

After the insurance debacle, I went back to get my vaccinations and discovered that a PhD student from Ethiopia would be observing my shots. That's a reason not to be squeamish right there, knowing someone is watching you, but to discover an Ethiopian and dialogue about his country that I would soon be visiting? That was God personally feeding my faith.

The plans shifted many times for our team, and we've settled on the retreat for the workers just in the last few weeks. As much as I questioned why I specifically was going before, I knew why as soon as I heard the words, "This is what we need." I opened my Bible the next day to read Proverbs 25:25: "As cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a far country." That's it, that's why I'm going.

They don't need the good news for the first time; they need the good news again like a fresh cup of water, that God is capable, that God delights in them because of Christ, that He sustains and provides. We get to be the cool cup of water to weary souls, we get to care for the caretakers, we get to serve the servants, and all of that excites me to no end.

I can't wait to tell you all about it. I can't wait to see how God is at work in Soddo, but I also can't wait to remind us all that God is at work all over this globe, and His followers are following Him. The gospel is going forward, and none of us are alone in our work.

Will you go with me to Ethiopia by simply praying for me? Would you pray that I listen and love well? Would you pray that I serve sacrificially? Would you pray that I depend on God fully and completely and that He would empower me to do and be what I cannot do or be on my own?

I ask for your prayers for the doctors and their families in Soddo. Would you pray that God provides rest and rejuvenates their souls as only He can? Would you pray that they are blessed by our presence? Would you pray for them as they literally save lives and share the gospel with their patients?

You will be greatly blessed by the guest posts I have lined up while I'm gone. Until then, thank you for praying! And remember: it's good to do things that are uncomfortable, because it's your opportunity to rely on the Lord.