By Joy Casey
When I was in Ethiopia earlier this month, I spent a day concentrated on the evangelistic outreach to one of the first M*slim regions NewLife began working in eight years ago. The eight evangelists laboring in this area each described the village they serve, gave an update on their family, explained the challenges they face and how they are discipling new believers. That leads us to our wonderful problem! Two villages need a place to gather corporately; they have outgrown the houses they meet in. One village wants to rent a larger building because the local government is resisting the erection of a church. The other location faces the same daunting pushback from authorities, but the evangelist has donated his own land on which to build a church.
One of the evangelists invited us to his home for an Ethiopian coffee ceremony. His lovely wife met us with a traditional greeting of multiple kisses on our cheeks and we were seated on a bench in their stick and mud house with no windows, electricity or running water. Our host then came around with a pitcher of water for us to wash our hands. The dirt floor conveniently soaked up the water. Fresh grass was strewn on the floor and the aroma of roasting coffee beans filled the room.
It is the end of the rainy season and the corn was fresh and sweet and was roasting over charcoal. Along with the corn, Momina, the evangelist’s wife, served the most flavorful cooked spinach dish I have ever eaten. The house was packed with people enjoying cups of rich, dark coffee and each other’s company.
Singing and clapping broke out and we relished the spontaneous, enthusiastic celebration honoring the Lord. Our host then shared his testimony about how he came to God. This man is the original evangelist for this village and many, many people love Jesus because of his faithful witness and prayer.
Stuffed with delicious bounty from our friend’s garden topped off with the best coffee in the world, we headed back to our lodgings with hearts full of gratitude for all God has done and is doing in this rural community. It has been my greatest pleasure to introduce the leadership of Lighthouse Church to my dear friends and to have them see for themselves the M*slim mission field their church has adopted.