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First day in Ethiopia...

by Pastor Jerry Theckston

 

June 12th was my first day in Addis Ababa, the capitol of Ethiopia, it started when I arrived at around 3am from Nairobi!  Our dear brother Ben waited for at least an hour in the middle of the night to pick me up and take me to a hotel they prepared for me for the next two days! 


Ben lived with Sue and I earlier this Spring and it was a great privilege to see some of the beautiful things God has done in his life since we first met him as an orphaned street boy nearly 20 years ago!  He is an amazing artist and Architect!  He now has over 150 employees and is pouring his resources and success back into young people’s lives!  Ben loves the Lord with all his heart and everybody around him can see and feel the power of God in a life fully devoted to Jesus!!  


Ben and our dear sister Konjit (Koni) took the day to show me all of the physical changes that are going on in Addis right now!  They have removed huge areas of slums and replaced them with beautiful parks, huge high-rise buildings and sidewalks that are 20 feet wide or more to make it a place that 1000’s flock to everyday! After our tour, Ben took us to a restaurant he designed and his company built! It was beautiful, very fancy and he even bought lunch!


There are so many friends in Ethiopia that it won’t be possible in a week to see them all!  But one of the most amazing things God has done is to use a student group in a local university (over 500 kids and faculty meet every week) that had a great spiritual movement in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Their prayer was to be used by God in leadership roles all over the Country!  The students had this dream right after the fall of communism which was happening at that time!  They prayed to have a Country that was dedicated to God and one that was learning to love each other like Jesus loves!


Now, 25 years later, they are those leaders who have brought the love and life of Christ to every segment of society here! Banking, government leadership, business, schools etc.!  Their desire is to live out the life of Jesus wherever God has called them! I meet more of them every time I come, and they are humble, gentle, loving people who are unaffected by their own success and earnestly trying to discover more ways to use every advantage they have to be a blessing to others! 


One kind of fun story that was shared during our time at the restaurant is about a weekly Bible Study and prayer time they continue to have after all these years!  The Minister of Justice for the nation was worshipping with the group last Friday and the Prime Minister called. The Justice Minister just turned his phone off and they went on with their time of prayer… afterward that Minister called the Prime Minister back and apologized, sharing they were all in prayer when the phone rang!  The Prime Minister is also a serious believer and said he was so excited to hear that, and would they mind praying for him while they were together!

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