I am writing on Ethiopia in November.
For the month of November I am writing on Ethiopia. This week’s post I am highlighting Jason Jerman, who is currently in Ethiopia, ministering in areas New Covenant has not been as active. One area of interest while Jason is in Ethiopia are fellowshipping with church planters.
These church planters are trained for two years in a local Bible school in Dilla. Once they receive their funding (often waiting a year or two), they go to their assigned place, usually a remote village who has never even heard the name of Jesus, and take with them their families. These families go to these villages and commit to living there at least two years to build relationships, trust and teach them ways to reduce illnesses and deaths.
Once trust has been built, then the door is open for the villagers to hear about Jesus. It is difficult, both physically and spiritually. These families give up everything, just so people who otherwise wouldn’t have any opportunity to become believers, now have a chance. There is a demonic presence in many of these villages with the witch doctors running the roost and often that is the first obstacle to overcome.
Asking God to tear down the high places.
These words were written by Jason, who shared with our church via email, his current experience:
Our meetings with the church planters have been outstanding! We have been blessed by the presence of the Holy Spirit as we have prayed with the church planters-we have laid hands on them and yesterday they laid hands on us as well. God is showing his faithfulness and has been answering many prayers on behalf of the people.
There is a powerful presence of idolatry and animism with many witchdoctors and places of animal sacrifice in the Addis Abbebe vicinity. We have begun to ask the Lord to tear down all of the high places and reveal himself as the only Name worthy of worship.
As I write this, I can hear the morning call to prayer fom the Orthodox church to the west of me and from the mosque to the east.
I have prepared a brief blog entry that will be posted to the Life Center love360 web page soon that describes a little bit of what we heard from the church planters we met with on Saturday.
Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown. (Revelation 2:10)
Rev 2:10 is a perfect summary of what we heard. These men and their wives have applied that verse to themselves and I was challenged to apply the word in service to Christ myself as well.
In just a few short hours the team will be worshipping with a church that none of us have ever visited. Please pray that the Spirit will overcome the language barrier for all of us in worship and that he will put the words that he wants to speak to the body as I will be preaching today if it is the Lord’s will.
Jason shared these words to our pastor and on the blog:
Praying for you and the body at His Place Church. May God be lifted high as you worship.
This warning and promise in Revelation 2:10 was spoken by Jesus to the church in Smyrna.
A couple willing to die for the sake of the gospel.
Today we had the privilege to meet an Ethiopian church planter and his wife who have experienced the imprisonment because they preached the good news of the risen Christ. This couple clearly exhibit faith that is willing to die for the sake of the Gospel.
In support of her husband this lovely woman encouraged him to persevere through a very difficult trial by telling him that they must be willing to be faithful to Jesus unto death. Wow! How many of us are willing to apply this verse to our own lives like that?
Challenged to count the cost and live boldly for Christ.
Through this encounter today I have been personally challenged and encouraged to count the cost and live boldly and completely for Christ because of the gain, who is my hope. I thank God for gently and graciously teaching me through these wonderful Ethiopian brothers and sisters. I praise our Heavenly Father as he has saved and healed thousands of souls through this couple and the hundreds of other faithful Ethiopian church planters.
As we all can dwell on these words by Jason and he is challenged to live body and completely for Christ, what is our challenge that lies before us?
Does my life embody Jesus?
Am I a sweet fragrance or do people shudder when I pass?
Am I too concerned over my lukewarm latte instead of counting the cost of what it means to truly live for Christ?
I am challenged with these words as well. My prayer for us in America and for myself, to wake up and recognize when my faith is too wimpy and goes unchallenged and I end up in Lazyville. Father, show us how to live boldly for You, not looking for our next comfort and our next latte, but instead to pursue You.
Will you pray for these church planters who literally put their lives out there and not only risk imprisonment, but death as well?