by Angie Allen
Written in August 2013 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
God gave me a gift today and it’s the gift of life. The woman we are going to visit is certainly near the end of her life but I am praising the Lord that she is not gone today. It’s rainy season here in Kore, Ethiopia and the familiar path to her house is wet from the rain.. The rain falls heavy each day, sometimes all day but most of the time only in the afternoon – accompanied by thunder. It wasn’t wet here last time I visited.
Asalafech is a leper who has lost both her legs and her fingers to leprosy. The reason we are visiting Asalafech is that on my previous two visits to Kore she inspired me.
When I visited her for the first time in 2011, she lived in a completely dark mud and stick structure with many other bedridden and sick people. I was told that Asalafech hadn’t been out of her bed in several years. She had a chicken in her bed with her, keeping her company. I left that home thinking: How can I say some prayers here and then walk out of this home without somehow leaving the hope of Jesus with them? It’s too dark in here to read a Bible; plus many are illiterate. That started the idea of a Bible that can be heard – an Audio Bible – in Amharic, of course!
The second time I visited Asalafech was one year ago. She had a platter by her bed piled high with moldy food found in the dump by whoever went to scavenge for her. Moldy food served to this beautiful widow. Our team provided her with fresh food but as I left her home I felt the same feeling as I did last time. How could I provide a meal and then fly home across the ocean without leaving her a lasting hope – the hope of Jesus?
There is a visible difference in Asalafech this year. Last year when we visited her, she sat up in bed and spoke with us animatedly. This year, I am amazed that someone can be so skeletal and still be breathing – but here she is. Her soft, ancient skin is the only thing hiding the whiteness of her bones. Never before have I been so acutely aware of a skeletal structure. But today that is all I see.
I know when I see her that she is almost gone. I even say it out loud. I ask to sit by her on her bed. She graciously agrees but today she doesn’t sit up. She can’t. I hold her hands gently. Her eyes are barely open as she tells me how sick she feels. She tells me that her stomach hurts and she can’t relieve herself. I think her system is shutting down.
“I visited you last year.” She nods her thanks.
“I’ve brought a gift for you.”
“Enay?” (me?) she says in surprise. She thanks. She blesses.
As I place the Audio Bible into her fingerless hands, her whole body relaxes. She eases back against her pillow and rests her head. Before I kiss her head and leave, I set her new Audio Bible to the Story of Jesus. The music that introduces the segment reaches her ears, the story begins and something new comes across her countenance. I think it’s peace.
I’m stunned when I get back into the van with the rest of my team members. She was there – alive! I am so blessed by this exchange because Asalafech is the beautiful widow that inspired the idea of bringing the Audio Bible to Kore. On this day two years later I was able, with my team, to place an Audio Bible into her hands. Our team gave Audio Bibles to 37 grateful recipients on this trip. There are many stories to tell about each one but for me, Asalafech’s was my favorite.
**Asalafech has been ‘adopted’ for a year now through our Adoption Ministry 1:27 program and has plenty of good, nutritious food as a result. She loves the Lord with all her heart and now gets to hear His Word daily. Be sure to go here to watch a wonderful documentary about AM 1:27 that features Asalafech.
Angie and her husband Chris led a team of five people from Everett, WA to Ethiopia this summer. They spent two weeks serving families and widows in Kore.
The personal audio Bibles are available to order for $50 each through the YWAM Ethiopia Gift Catalog. Our latest Gift Catalog will be coming soon, just in time for giving a Christmas gift in someone’s name!