The Evangelist

By Scott Thacker

Whether by nature or by nurture (probably both) I am a skeptic.  This doubter’s view permeates all of my life, even spiritual things.  To be clear, it is not that I doubt the existence of God; I’m all in on Him.   But I do often doubt the things people claim that God is a part of.  In my head (never out loud) I question the validity when people claim “this was God”.  How do they know that it was God that made their cold get better?  How do they know that it was God that caused them to meet up with an old friend in an airport?  Many people see God in these things; I question, “Is He really there?”

Believe me; I don’t like being a skeptic.  While there is value in questioning things, it is not much fun to live your whole life on the pessimistic side of the glass.  So when I see things where there is no other explanation than God himself, I grab on to them.   When we were in Ethiopia in June I got to see one of those things.

Me, Miki (back), Sami (front)

We were at the end of a long day and making one last visit to a new de facto family in our Partnership.  The mother’s name is Meseret and she has three children – all boys.  We spent time visiting with Meseret and hearing the story of her husband’s death from HIV and the pain of being shunned by her family for also being a carrier of the disease.  She then introduced us to her children: Seadam, Miki and Sami.  When she got to Miki she said, “He is the evangelist”.  It’s not often you hear a six-year-old being called “the evangelist” so I was curious to hear more.  She told us how Miki had almost died when he was younger, and that she had told God that she would give Miki to Him if He would save his life.  Despite the doubts of the doctors, Miki survived and Meseret pledged him to the Lord.  She told us stories of Miki and how he shares Jesus with the homeless, how he prays for the sick and how he proclaims the truth of Jesus throughout Zeway (see video below).

Really?  All of this from a six-year-old?  It sounded like a great story, but it felt embellished.  I’ve got kids that age…I know what six-year-olds are like…they are not out on the street corner sharing Jesus with the homeless.  My doubting heart would have stayed there, but then I heard Miki pray.  This little boy, whose body is strained by the scars of his own HIV, prayed like an adult mature in his faith and understanding of the Lord.  Was God there?  No other way to explain it.

A friend told me recently that you need to remember the faithfulness of God.  Like God told Israel, build a monument of stone to remember how He has delivered us.  That way, when you are in doubt, you can think back to those times and believe again.  This friend also told me to look for God in your everyday life – in the sway of the trees, the kindness of a stranger, the prayer of a child.  Is He there?  I sure hope so.

Children Transformed – Here and There

The core tenet of the Hope in Ethiopia partnership is transformation.  Transformation in Ethiopia and transformation here in Austin.  It’s a neat thing when we get to see our kids involved in that transformation as they too care for the least of these.  Below is a note from friends Joy and Zach Rener about their 5 year old daughter Ava and how she is helping to bring clean water to the community of Jido.

From Joy Rener…

Ava Art ShowAfter hearing about Hope in Ethiopia and the need for clean water in Jido, our family wanted to see how we could fill up a jerry can to donate to the project.  We asked Ava how she thought she could make money.  She said, “I could sell my art.” (She had done this before at a garage sale to make money to buy a toy she wanted)  She has been to art shows before so she understood the idea.  As we started talking she came up with idea of making 30 new pieces of art work for the show.  We put together an online invitation and sent it out.  [Read more…]

Water to Jido — Update

Our friend Dick Moeller at Water to Thrive is helping us to bring clean water to Jido, Ethiopia.  Dick is in Ethiopia this week — below is an update we received from him about his visit to Jido.  Encouraging!

This morning got off to an early start.  We met our partners from Mekane Yesus Development and Social Services Commission (MY-DASSC) at 7:30 to start a three hour drive to the community of Jido, south of Addis.  We, of course got caught in the Monday morning rush hour of Addis!

Our first stop was in Zeway, a town close to Jido that is the office of the local South Central Synod DASSC office.  We met with DASSC to discuss the possibilities of a major pipeline extension project that could bring clean safe water to Jido, a community in desperate need.  If complete, the project would be a partnership with MY-DASSC, Food for the Hungry, the local community, the local water bureau and Water to Thrive.

jido women

Jido Women Attending the Water Discussion

After our stop in Zeway, we made our way south about 25 kilometers to Jido.  Jido has a well, built by the government, but it is heavily contaminated by fluoride.  So much so, that it is unsafe for human consumption.  But, much of the year the community is forced to use this source because it is the only water available in the dry season.  [Read more…]

But What Can I Do?

Hope in Ethiopia is attedning the Together for Adoption Conference this week in Arizona.  This is a post from Noel Piper mentioning HiE and our good friend Dawn Patterson.

But What Can I Do? By Noel Piper

There are millions of orphans in the world–163 million, I heard yesterday at the Together for Adoption Conference.

What can I do? That is exactly the right question to ask–twice.

First time: What can I do–what can just one person do? That’s the normal feeling we have when we learn about such a widespread, huge pain that seems to need millions of people working to make a dent. [Read more…]

Ibsa’s X-ray

Click to Enlarge

This is a picture of Ibsa’s hand. He injured his hand during a soccer game and he went to the FH offices to see if someone could help. Typically, Ibsa would not have seen that as an option, but with the support of the partnership, medical care is very much an option.

It seems simple enough to fix a sprained or broken finger, but many cases in Zeway and other parts of Ethiopia, it isn’t simple at all. Many children who break a finger, arm or foot when young never get it medically treated and the bone realigns improperly and causes other related problems. It is very common to see a foot or a finger that has healed in a crooked and painful way.

We are thankful for the support of the partnership that Ibsa had his hand x-rayed and treated properly. He should be well on his way to recovery.

Faith Comes by Hearing

One of the amazing things that happened on our trip to Zeway this past June was being able to take a “Proclaimer” audio bible (www.faithcomesbyhearing.com), recorded in Amharic, the most widely-spoken Ethiopian dialect, as a gift for the Zeway Evangelical Church leaders. They had literally just started to tell us how they were struggling with being able to get the Gospel story out to people when we were able to give them this gift! It was a Holy Spirit moment, and as these pictures show, they are making great use of this very cool little black box. Praise God for this!