Yesterday morning I finished the training for the pastors from the Addis Kidan Baptist Association. I really love spending time with them talking through their ministries and applying the Word of God to their situations. Most of these pastors live in or around the city of Addis Ababa. There were a couple of pastors that came from almost 200 miles away, which is a long way to travel in Ethiopia. For me, the highlight of our training was our times of prayer. Wow, do these men pray with passion and fervency. One of the pastors I befriended invited our team to come to his church for worship. We wanted to worship with the national believers and were excited to have this opportunity.
On Saturday night I received a call from the director of Onesimus (Nega) asking if I would preach at his church. How could I turn down such a sweet request and opportunity. Luckily, Christmas occurs this coming Wednesday here in Ethiopia, so I was able to preach one of the Christmas messages that I shared at UBC during our Christmas season. This church was a sweet fellowship of people. They are a new church plant, but they had around 40-50 people there this Sunday. I particularly enjoyed the lady leading worship. She had a beautiful voice and truly loved the Lord as she sang. After I preached, we left to go the church of my pastor friend. As we were getting into our van, I was told that our plans had been changed. The head of the Kidan Baptist Association had arranged for me to preach at another church in the heart of the city. This church runs around 400. We arrived as they were worshiping in song. We could hear them from the streets. As we entered into the building, it was filled with joyful believers literally worshiping with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength. They were singing, dancing, and shouting. Everyone was engaged in all-out worship including the children. I joked with the congregation that I wanted to either bottle some of their worship joy and bring it back with me or better yet, pack up a few of them in my large suitcase. They asked me to preach for an hour which is not too difficult when you have to have everything translated.
Tomorrow is our last day here in Addis Ababa. We’ll lead a training time with the Onesimus staff in the morning and then close out our time here. It has been an incredible joy serving with this UBC team. They have poured themselves out so faithfully, have been so flexible to constant change, and have been a tremendous blessing to so many, especially me. This is one of the great privileges of being on a mission trip – knitting hearts with the other team members. We look forward to returning to our church family and sharing about God’s good and faithful work in and through us.
Written by John Mueller