Orchestrated Events

Today was the first of what I (Alan) hope to be many trips to the nearby countryside villages around the city where we are living.

After a discussion last Friday with one of the Grace Center workers, who I have become very close with, we decided that it would be good to do some spiritual journeys out into the nearby countryside villages. We are planning to go out (two by two like JC sent out his followers in Luke10) every other Sunday, visiting various villages in search of people of peace.  In some of these villages, there are already known people of peace, so we will likely try to follow up on some of those relationships as well.

Only the Father can orchestrate some unique occurrences that lead to greater opportunities in these places.  Oftentimes, foreigners roaming around these villages cause suspicion rather than hospitality.  A unique occurrence happened today.

This particular day we were going to visit a village (called Hamu) about 30 minutes from our city.  My Ethiopian partner already had a few friends there, so today we were simply going to see one of his friends in this town.  That visit went well, and we were able to walk around this village some, see the local “O” church and market, and talk to a few children of whom we shared some stories about JC.

That was only about 1 hour of time, but we decided that we should just go ahead and return home.  As we were boarding the local taxi van, we noticed that a rear side window had recently been busted.  Glass was still on the seat and floor.  Thinking that was a bit odd, we stayed on anyways and headed for home.  About half way to home, our taxi pulled over to the side of the road.  The driver and money man stepped off the van and proceeded to have a meeting with some of the locals that had gathered.

We quickly realized that this meeting was in reference to the broken window on the van.

As details unravelled, a woman from this village where we had stopped was responsible for breaking the window.  She was not present at first, but did arrive after 5-10 minutes to explain what had happened.  Her cow was about to run in to the middle of the road, so she picked up a rock and threw it at the animal.  The rock missed the cow, and hit the back window of this van driving by (what are the odds).

Although this whole incident was an accident, the van driver wants money to repair the window of his van (understandable).  He had even called someone to find out the cost of repair (about 40 USD).  This seems very cheap, and in America we would gladly pay the money without a thought.  However, countryside people are often very poor, and this woman couldn’t pay even 5 cents.  Unfortunately the van driver was not very gracious and held the whole community responsible for paying up, or he would have the lady (who has two children) put in jail.

I did not realize all of this information until we were finally about to leave and continue home.  In fact, I had been kind of annoyed waiting around (meetings like this take a long time) and we were even about to try and get on another van.  However, when I had heard that the cost to replace the window would only be 40 USD, I had started to think that I could just offer to pay for it, everyone would be happy, and we could be on our way.

Once I understood the full story (as we were about to leave) I told the driver that I would pay him for the window, but he had to promise to not bother these countryside people, and let them be free. Since all he really wanted was someone to pay to replace his broken window, he was quite surprised, but more than happy with the offer.

We then told the villagers not to worry, that we were going to pay the expense, but what we wanted in return was to be able to come back and visit them and have coffee at their house.  They were ecstatic, in-particularly the lady responsible who was trying to kiss my feet.  I assured them that this was not my gift, but a gift from the Father.

They were thrilled to have me come back and visit them.  What began as an annoying inconvenience in my mind, turned out to be an incredible open door for me and my local partner to return to this place and share the good news and is the perfect bridge into sharing with them the true story of creation and JC.  Just as I paid the debt for this lady and kept her from being thrown into jail, JC has paid our debt and saved us from our sins.  WOW!  We are so excited about the opportunity G*d has given us.  Only He can orchestrate such things.  There are many vans that go to and from our city and Hamu.  There are many people traveling daily.  But the Father had our van chosen for us.

This is not a story about me being a kind, generous person, and I hope no one reads it that way.  The only reason I have 40 bucks is because many people generously support our work here.  This is a story of the Father’s goodness and His faithfulness to give us opportunities.  Step out in faith…go.  The only thing I did today was to go out with a friend with the intention of searching for people or peace to share Truth with.  I was faithful to go, and the Father was faithful to open doors.  I have no idea what will happen in this village, but we will return and share the good news.  So, can a broken window lead to salvation for a whole village? I hope so.  I pr*y so.

Please pr*y with us for this village.  Pr*y that the Father will begin softening the hearts of the people there and that when we return they will be ready to hear the good news.  Pr*y against attacks from the enemy who will try and stop us from sharing. Thank you for journeying with us.




Sons & Daughters

One of my favorite stories in the Word, found in Matthew 12, is when JC is speaking to the people.  His mother and brothers were asking to speak to him, but he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?”  JC gestured towards his disciples and replied, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

It blows my mind, that the *King himself (no, not Elvis), considers his followers as much of his family as his own birth mother and siblings.  He loves us so much, that we literally become his family.  No signatures needed, no oaths, no birth certificates, home studies, paper work, or stamps.  Only His love and grace.

“And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.  If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.  See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”                        1 John 2:38- 3:1

Bam that’s it.  See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God: and so we are!

As we have begun the process of adopting two brothers, I can’t help but wish it were that easy.  If they could be my sons simply because I love them that much.

I am also reminded of my human limitations as we proceed with the adoption.  There are currently 3 other older boys in the children’s home where our boys are living (and 30 younger children as well).  I so badly want to take them all in, to the point of my heart aching and my stomach turning.  Often I think of what it would be like to take in 5 children at once.  Could we handle it emotionally?  Financially how would we do it, especially having to fundraise and to take occasional trips back to the States?  I know people on the field who have 7, 8, 9, 10 children, so I know it’s not impossible (no I’m not getting ready to announce that we are actually adopting 5 children:).

I am so thankful that our Father does not have worldly or humanly boundaries.  There is no limitation to the number of people that He is able to adopt as sons or daughters into His Kingdom.

John 6:37 says:  “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”    All we have to do is come to Him.

He has no financial burdens.  In Matthew 6, JC says:

“Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?”….”But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you …” 

He has no time constraints.  We are able to come to Him at any time of any day, and we know that He is listening and responding.

Matthew 7:7  “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

Matthew 11:28  “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

He has no cultural or language barriers and knows us intimately, even when we do not have the words to communicate with Him.

Matthew 10:30 says, “But even the hairs of your head are all numbered…”

The Lord told Jeremiah:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Romans 8:26  “… For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

Honestly, I feel incapable and unprepared to parent two more children, especially ones who cannot communicate their emotional struggles and who have pains deeper than I can understand.  Esther reminds me all the time how defeated I am, when I give her a warning not to do something and she points her little finger right back and tells me how it really is.  But then the Father reminds through His Word, that He is in control.  As Moses stood before Pharaoh, there was nothing powerful about his staff or eloquent about his words; as David stood up to Goliath with nothing but a sling shot; as Joshua led the Israelites around a stone wall there was nothing strategic about walking in a circle blasting trumpets; as Peter and John sat helplessly in prison while God sent angels to unlock their chains….we see all of their humanity and weaknesses, but we see even more the power of God working miracles through them.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Chr*st may rest upon me.  For the sake of Chr*st, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

*see our post “What’s In a Name” under Our Story