Most of you know that I am going to Ethiopia at the end of this month (January 29-February 6). I am so excited to see firsthand a part of the world where God is doing wonderful things. I am going with a group of pastors and leaders from East Texas, there will be 7 of us traveling together. The purpose is to instill in us and the churches we serve a vision for the work that God is doing among the peoples of East Africa and to challenge us with what we can do to help and encourage them. We will see firsthand the impact that poverty and HIV/AIDS is having and what is being done to minister to those in their destructive wake. For the last three years, Buckner International Missions has been teaming up with Bright Hope Ministries, in Ethiopia, to provide foster care programs for street children, educational opportunities, basic skills development, and support for people living with HIV/AIDS. As the church has become involved in ministering to the practical needs of Ethiopians, local churches along with men called to lead them have become more numerous. One of our objectives for the trip is to encourage these men in their preaching and teaching ministries. We will do that by preaching and teaching to them. We have been asked to and will take one of our days there to share of God’s grace and forgiveness. We will also visit the community of Bantu where Buckner has been instrumental in building and developing a school and an orphanage.
You are such a wonderful church to serve, from your many gifts of appreciation and kind words, to your encouragement to take advantage of this chance to be a part of God’s story in Ethiopia. I will not waste this opportunity to use the gifts that God has given me to share His Word and my heart to encourage those called to lead His church in Ethiopia. Here are some fast facts about the nation of Ethiopia:
Capital city – Addis Ababa, population: 3 million
Size – In land mass it is about twice as large as Texas; population: 70 million
Climate – Ethiopia has a moderate climate year around. The average low is in the 40’s; the average high is around 80.
Spirituality – Christian (primarily the Orthodox Church) and Islam; 17% of the people groups in Ethiopia have not been reached with the gospel.
As I prepare to leave for Ethiopia at the end of the month, I am in the grips of a curious uncertainty/excitement. Uncertain about what I will encounter, excited about being a part of something that is beyond my comfort zone. Please pray that I will be prepared spiritually and physically for all that is ahead, and pray for our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia, that they will be encouraged and energized because of Christ in us, the hope of glory.
Love you, David