Ethiopian Spring (May 2006): Part 5
I was introduced to a song by Phil McHugh about 14 years ago. The occasion was the first anniversary of the overthrow of the Communist government in Ethiopia. I was with my parents in what had been the great hall of the Soviet government, surrounded by lush red carpet and drapes edged in gold embroidery. That government, which had proclaimed God was dead, was now overthrown and in shambles. I thought then, as I think now, how many of us live as if God is dead, He has so little authority in our lives. One day there will come a day of reckoning.
God, and God alone, created all these things we call our own;
From the mighty to the small, the glory in them all is God’s, and God’s alone!
God, and God alone, reveals the truth of all we call unknown;
And all the best and worst of man can’t change the Master Plan,
It’s God’s, and God’s alone!
God, and God alone, will be the joy of our eternal home;
He will be our one desire, our hearts will never tire
Of God, and God alone!
God, and God alone, is fit to take the universal throne.
Let everything that lives reserve its truest praise for God, and God alone!
As we bring this final report of our trip to Ethiopia in May, 2006, may our Lord receive all the glory! May our truest praise be for Him and Him alone!
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This completes our fourth trip to Ethiopia. Five and a half months of the last 18 have been spent in this land far away. We never dreamed that our Lord had this work planned for us when we went back “just to see things” in the Fall, 2004! Our primary role is to act as a bridge between His church here in America and His church in Ethiopia. If our Lord wills, we will return to Ethiopia in December, 2006. Here are the things our Lord has appointed us to do now:
· Health ministry…In the past we have collected reading glasses. Now we will collect multi-vitamins and protein bars. These will be used for evangelists and young mothers who cannot get the food they need. Will you help us collect these bars & vitamins? (The protein bars should have about15 grams of protein as well as other vitamins and minerals; they are not the plain granola bars. The vitamins should have folic acid and iron; large bottles are easiest for distribution.)
· Bible distribution… We expect to distribute about 2,500 Bibles this Fall to those who have memorized these passages of Scripture:
John 3 & 14, I Corinthians 13, Psalm 1 & 23, James 1, Romans 8, Philippians 4.
Each Bible costs $4.
· Flannel graph…We will complete the sets for teaching the New Testament. Each set includes the flannel graph pieces, the backgrounds, lesson plans, and a carrying satchel. Because these lessons are so critical, we will make several copies of the sets. (Expected cost is about $75 for the additional sets.)
· Buildings for rural Alaba congregations…As our Lord provides the funds, we will continue to build simple structures for the persecuted congregations in Alaba. Each structure is made of mud and sticks, with a concrete perimeter foundation, tin roof and solid wood window shutters, and doors. There is no electricity or running water; the floor is mud. Each building costs only $3,000; this price is up from previous quotes because cement has had a 100% increase in price in just the past 2 months! (Even with that inflation, where in the USA can you build a church for such a low amount?) Four of these Alaba churches have already been “adopted” by rural churches here in America. Will you help build a church for one of these congregations?
These Ethiopians are SO happy to have their own Bibles; each Bible costs $4. On the right is a typical rural church like those we are building in Alaba; each building costs $3,000.
In addition to these assignments, we are researching and praying about the following:
· Wells…Is it feasible to dig a simple well by each of the rural Alaba churches? These wells will not only provide safe water for our brothers and sisters, they will also provide a constant testimony to our Lord Jesus as the Living Water.
· Puppet ministry…Would a puppet ministry aid in evangelism and teaching? It seems to us that it would be a very simple thing to do and could have a big impact.
· Book…We have been encouraged to write a book about what our Lord has been doing in Alaba in the past 15 years; the stories of His working need to be told! This, of course, means spending time in the bush to collect the stories, verify information, write it up, find a publisher, etc. Lots of work! But, oh! The glory that could be brought to our Lord for all His wondrous works!
· Rural leadership training…We are exploring various ways of teaching the Scriptures to the leaders of the rural Alaba churches. These leaders are young ex-Muslims. Their churches are growing, but they need a strong understanding of the Scriptures so that they can adequately teach their people. We’re looking at a combination of correspondence courses, cassette tape teaching, and in-person teaching.
Please, pray for us!
We live in desperate times. The world seems to be exploding. Hatred flows without restraint. Selfishness abounds. Ignorance is deep. Apathy is rampant. And in the midst of this, people are dying for lack of the Gospel.
By His providence, God has placed us in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. We have a very easy life by comparison with most of the world. We are blessed not only financially and materially, but also spiritually. Our spiritual heritage is far beyond what any other nation on earth has been given. Oh, that we would be faithful stewards!
One day you and I will be dead and gone from this earth. What will remain of our lives? The Scriptures say very clearly that all is vanity here, and only what is done for our dear Savior is of lasting consequence. Time is short…we dare not waste it. Money is fleeting…we dare not squander it. Health is delicate…we dare not take it for granted. Opportunities for the Kingdom pass…we dare not turn aside from them.
Today may be our last day here. Let us make it count for Him!
Sunset in Ethiopia
He is God, and God alone. Let us live for Him!
This report has been prepared by Becky Lynn (Lapsley) Black
If our Lord wants you to become involved with us in Ethiopia, please make your check payable to Becky Lynn Black. No tax-deductible receipt will be given, but a sincere thank-you note will be sent. 100% of your gift goes directly to the Lord’s church in Ethiopia. We pay our own expenses and we do not deduct for “administrative costs.” May our Lord bless you for your kindnesses to us and our brethren in Ethiopia.
August 25, 2006