Thursday, October 18, 2012

October 2012

At the end of his rope...
“I’ve got some problems,” he told me. Family, work and personal problems gave the face of Ayele a certain desperation about him. While he told me about his situation, he slowly unzipped part of his jacket to allow me to catch a glimpse of the rope he had placed around his neck. Not wanting anyone else to see, he zipped his jacket back up. As he spoke, details about the situation became hard to follow as he seemed to jester to the rope with his eyes. My mind wondered as I found myself thinking about the situation. “Was this guy serious?”, I thought. “Is he really considering hanging himself?” Either way, it didn’t matter. The yellow rope around his neck made it clear that Ayele was struggling. He was seeking something and he wanted others to know it.

I invited him to stay for the service. That day I spoke on the life of Joseph highlighting the fact that through the difficulties of life God works all things for His good. After the service, several people had already began talking to Ayele. As they talked with him, it wasn’t long before I saw him unzip his jacket and take off the rope that had been around his neck. The next week Ayela came back with his family. Please pray for Ayele and his family as we continue to offer them hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ and His Word!

Either way, God will provide!
When guests come to Ethiopia, one thing that often surprises them is how expensive vehicles are to purchase. One of the reasons for such high prices is the tax that is required by the government on top of the purchase price of the vehicle. A SUV that might cost around $35,000 can be over $80,000 after tax! Even older vehicles here in Ethiopia can be extremely expensive. It is not uncommon to be able to afford the vehicle, yet unable to pay for the tax. After moving to Ethiopia, God did allow us to purchase a used vehicle for around $23,000.

Over the last year, our family has considered the possibility of purchasing another vehicle. Primarily, this vehicle would give Amanda the ability to take the children to school, get around town, and do ministry work.  After talking with our sending pastor and having his approval, we are going to begin the process of raising these funds. The total amount to be raised is $25,000. Even as I look at the amount on paper, it can be intimidating. However, there are several reminders that set my heart at ease.

First, I’ve personally seen God do things, big and small, that remind me that ultimately, He can do as He pleases. Nothing is out of His reach or ability. He truly does have unlimited resources. No, it’s not the prosperity Gospel that we often see here in Ethiopia where we simply “name it, and claim it”. That would grossly misrepresent who God is and turn Him into our personal genie. It would make the Gospel about what I can get from God, instead of how I can love Him and the people around me. But I believe we can rest in the fact that all things are under His control. These are facts not because my experience tells me so, but because God’s Word proclaims them.

Second, I believe Scripture tells us that even when God answers in a way that might be different than what we expect or want, He provides the grace possible to respond Godly. In this situation, I believe that if God chooses to not allow us to purchase a second vehicle at this time, He will help us have patience, strength, and wisdom to make best use of what He has entrusted us with. Simply put, He will use the situation to grow us. What an amazing God. Either way, God will provide!