This morning’s worship at Korah Baptist Church was an experience I will take with me for quite some time. It was certainly very lively and Spirit-filled, but a good reminder and expression of the larger picture of Christ’s bride made up of people from every tribe tongue and nation.
From the moment we got out of the van and continuing all througout our time of worship, the children wanted to be touched or held. While we certainly were able to put Christ’s love on display and be a blessing in a real tangible way, the blessing was certainly ours, too, in seeing Christ’s church exude humble hospitality.
The service opened in a call and response prayer time in the Amharic language, followed by some traditional songs. I then was given the opportunity to share God’s Word with this local group of believers. I preached on Psalm 73, which is the text I chose for our summer sermon series through the Psalms. This was a very interesting text to preach in an environment where they have very litte. And yet, the prosperity gospel is very pervasive even in such a culture. People long to receive blessing thorugh prospering out of the plight they find themselves in, rather than finding their ultimate prize in Christ.
I was able to have a translator, Etaye, who is the ministry coordinator at Onesimus. He has been a pastor/evangelist for 17 years. He certainly expounded on every word I preached, such that the people receiving it could more appropriately apply it in their own context. Jimmy would later joke with me saying I needed to be a bit more lively, like Etaye was! Pretty sure the four hours of sleep and jet lag contributed nevertheless! Etaye would later comment that he was grateful for my choosing this text as it was a key word from God, for these people.
Pray for this church and their pastor Teshom Temeqen. Their greatest need is to be able to own their own land where they can meet on a consistent basis. They are currently renting the tin roofed shack with plastic sheet walls they are meeting in. The community is trying to push the unbelieving land owner to relinquish rental rights. This church desires to stay in this community and continue to be salt and light within the community they are meeting.
After sharing in a meal with the church, we each shared our heartfelt thanks for the warm welcoming this church gave to us, in provision of food and in worshipping alongside them. We left the church and drove by the area of Korah known as the dump. This is literally a ‘garbage city’ where people live and rummage through the trash seeking to find food. We weren’t able to go inside, as the government has prohibited foreigners from walking amidst the trash. It was quite sad even seeing at a distance the people pilfering thorugh the rubbish seeking to find sustinence.
It calls me back to the song of Asaph, Psalm 73, as a prayer for this city, that “God would be the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Written by Ryan Martin