by Joy Casey in Ethiopia
The retreat for the missionaries and their wives ended at noon on Saturday. It was a joyous time for the amazing men and their wives who serve in hard places and they left recharged and restored. Goal accomplished! It was so nice to see groups of them visiting and drinking buna (coffee) together, just relaxing. I had personal time with each missionary and gleaned a much deeper understanding of the challenges they face and heard some wonderful stories of God’s healing and drawing people to Himself.
Dinah and Kelli made sure the wives of our missionaries were pampered. One afternoon the ladies gathered and made bead necklaces and bracelets from the supplies Dinah brought.
They laughed together enjoying the fun of creating something beautiful.
In typical Dinah style, she had lovely skirts for each lady and a Psalm Fifty One tee-shirt to go with. Psalm Fifty.One is Dinah’s ministry to women; and I can vouch that it is a wonderful life-affirming ministry like none other.
New clothes and jewelry put a smile on any girl’s face, and we relished in the fun they were having.
The men were given solar powered chargers… an incredibly thoughtful gift from Dinah. Most of the men live in areas where there is no electrical power and their cell phones are chronically off due to no charge. This battery pack will solve this problem and they will now be able to consistently communicate with our Evangelism Director. Truly a wonderful gift – thank you so much Dinah! Two supporters also provided a small monetary gift for each missionary that cheered them immensely. The men were extremely surprised… and blessed!
The start of our day was challenged because of Muslim demonstrations in the town. We were prevented from driving and our plans had to be adjusted. During the hours the missionaries and wives waited for us to come, they gathered and prayed. When we finally arrived, we walked in to an amazing prayer meeting – and it was not quiet or pious or boring! Rather it reminded me of something Walter Wink wrote: Biblical prayer is impertinent, persistent, shameless, indecorous. It is more like haggling in an outdoor bazaar than the polite monologues of the church.
Prayer is an essential part of any evangelism work. The missionaries live and serve an area with a fellow missionary, and they set aside one day a week for prayer. Once a month, all the missionaries meet in one outreach village and spend the whole day fasting and praying for that particular outreach. I saw a video of one of their group prayer times – outdoors in a field – worshiping and praying with abandon. Watching their fervor, even not understanding the language, made me want to rise up and call on our all-powerful God expecting strongholds to be broken, people’s lives healed and needs provided for. I was challenged big time!
One of the main thrusts of our trip, this retreat, was a huge success. I reconnected with the missionaries, hugged their wives and kissed their babies (how can you not kiss a baby?). They energized me, I know our team encouraged them (and them us!) and they returned to their mission field refreshed.