lunch at La Grace

lunch at La Grace
Orphanage in Kinshasa, Congo


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Salam No, Salam Nesh, and Salam Na Cho (Hello)

As most of you know, through reading Scripture and the Holy Spirit’s leading, I began the Master’s program in Counseling at Covenant Seminary last August. God’s call to care for the fatherless is clear but I needed to be better equipped for service to the fatherless and orphans in this world. In the past, I have led our family on mission trips to Mexico and Peru to care and encourage the fatherless. Now I sense the Lord’s leading to be a part of a special trip this Christmas season. Covenant Seminary and Mission to the World are working together to bring the love and goodness of God to the people of Ethiopia. The AIDS Care and Treatment (ACT) Project ministers to the 700 HIV positive beneficiaries and 50 orphans under its care. When I think of those fatherless children and hear Jesus, by the Holy Spirit, saying “Skip-go and encourage them,” I know he will equip me to serve once again. This Christmas season (starting January 6 in Ethiopia) will you pray that the sick and fatherless in Addis Ababa would be greatly encouraged?

Counseling Professor Dan Zink will be leading our team of medical doctors and counseling students. The primary focus will be providing a two week medical clinic to persons with HIV/AIDS within the ACT/SIM project in Addis Ababa. This will also be a time of learning and specialized counseling training to ACT workers and counseling students under Dr. Zink’s supervision. SIM is the indigenous Addis based mission group.

It was a joy for Keary and me to travel to Africa for the first time in June to serve African orphans and learn from existing models of care. We spent five days at the ACT Project walking alongside project leaders, national workers and care givers. We went into the homes of the poor and prayed for individuals who were ill and suffering from HIV/ AIDS. We spent time leading Bible Clubs after school and were able to talk intimately with beneficiaries and their children. It was a time of great sharing.

Our entire time in Africa was quite memorable, but one moment in particular struck me deeply. I had just finished sharing a story to a large wide-eyed group of boys (about my son Stephen’s age) recalling God’s faithfulness to me, while living in Virginia. At the end of the story, I looked around and asked the boys if they would like for us to return. Most of the children exclaimed a resounding “yes!” Then, as I was thinking about what that meant, a young Ethiopian boy began to pray for me and my family. God spoke deeply into my heart and the importance of strong friendship and relationships. We need each other!!!!!

I am excited about this trip because it will allow me to bring the goodness and mercy of God to the fatherless, but it will also teach me more about how to more effectively care for those in need in the African/Ethiopian context. For the past three years, Covenant Seminary has sent teams to Addis and again we anticipate experiencing valuable hands-on training during this time. I believe my return will also be of great encouragement to the national workers and individuals I met this summer. Please pray for me and considering supporting me financially. Thank you for your partnership in the gospel, again.

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