by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
We left Shashemene early in the morning heading for a village where we have built a church and operate a kindergarten for 40 students. I have been with this project from the beginning when God began a major move in this M*slim village. I am always excited to go there to see so many who have become dear friends over the years.
It is amazing to see the impact this Christ-centered outreach has had on this village of 5,000 people, all subsistence farmers. Just a month ago, twenty-two recent converts were baptized in the nearby lake! The pastor told me that since houses have been constructed for the most poor and Mission 1:27 gave seed money for one widow to start a goat-selling business, the whole community is expressing admiration for the way Christians are blessing their village with no discrimination between Christ-followers and M*slims. They also are extremely grateful for the kindergarten and see it as a major investment in their village. He said the climate for evangelism is changing from resistance to openness.
I visited two dear ladies today who had new houses built for them and was once again reminded of the tribal culture they live in. One widow’s house was blown down in a storm and she and her children were living in what basically was a pile of sticks. Her name is Rahima and she is eager for the finishing touches to be done (windows and door) so she can once again set up proper housekeeping. She was profoundly grateful as were all her neighbors. They were as appreciative as she was for the house and could not stop expressing their thanks. It was quite touching to see the camaraderie between the neighbors. Blessing one blesses all.
My second stop was to visit a blind grandmother who I remember from years past. Lighthouse Christian Center, our partner church, is building her a house next to the stick and mud house she is currently in that is in terrible shape.
I laughed so hard as she couldn’t stop hugging me and blessing, blessing, blessing the Mana Gammachuu organization for providing her such a luxurious house in her old age. I’d forgotten how delightful Granny Ansede was; her enthusiasm certainly put a smile on my face! A wonderful day in the village!