This is the second Sunday of our Missions Month. Over the years, as CLA’s Missions Director, I’ve gotten to know various missionaries. One of them, Brian Rutten, shared with our church what God was doing in Ethiopia. Something he shared that day impacted me so much I wrote it down and put in my Bible. “True obedience leads us into a deeper relationship with God...allows us to do Kingdom work. Puts us in a position to do something great for God...at home and around the world.”
One of the first opportunities I had as Missions Director was to see the work in Ethiopia. We landed in Addis Ababa, saw the work there then travelled into rural areas and saw church planting up close. I remember travelling over dusty roads for hours, then walking for another hour. In the distance was a large tree and as we approached it, we could hear singing. There were about 100 people sitting under the tree singing familiar worship songs in Amharic. I was so moved to see these new believers, which was a church, meeting under that tree. I could sense the presence of God there. Just a few years before, it was so dangerous in this region because of the control of vicious warlords. Yet, the place had been transformed because church planters had been sent to proclaim the gospel in hard areas and hundreds came to Christ! We were able to bless this church with two donkeys, so the pastors could travel greater distances and go into even more remote areas in order to bring the gospel. Last year we completed the purchase of two Ethiopian properties with buildings, now open and used as training centres. Hundreds of leaders and church planters, as well as new converts, are being trained there. This year we plan to assist with the cost of travel for leaders to come to these centres. They come from all over Ethiopia as well as other regions of North Africa. These centres are very significant and strategic in the overall strategy in spreading the gospel to the nation and Northern Africa.
In addition to supporting three missionary families in Ethiopia, we are pleased to send $70,000 to support four new projects, including ‘Africa Arise’. This event challenges leaders from across the African continent to spiritual well-being and greater unity to impact the nations of Africa and help Africa take its place on the world Christian stage. This morning, we will hear from Andrew and Julie Hawkes. You will be amazed and inspired by their journey of obedience in following the call of God on their lives. It took sacrifice and determination. We will hear how the Lord led them and is changing lives because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What is God calling you to do? Where is He calling you to go? Let’s open our hearts and be obedient to the call, seeing what God will do in and through us as we follow Jesus. “But life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned to me by the Lord Jesus, the work of telling others the Good News.” Acts 20:24
To God Be the Glory!
–Steve Nicholson Missions Director