Every minute spent in the company of another Christian is a minute that should be cherished and enjoyed as another of God’s many blessings along our Christian journey.  Today is a day I enjoyed and will cherish. 

We got up early this morning and got ready.  We were excited to join Blake , Meagan, and Ben Fortner at their home for breakfast.  The breakfast was excellent – BACON, SCRAMBLED EGGS, PANCAKES, COFFEE!  AMEN!  This young couple just arrived on the field two months ago and they are just getting started.  They are filled with all the enthusiasm that comes with being young and beginning to experience the taste of a dream come true.  They are fired up to be here.  His eyes are wide open.  He is watching as God is opening doors and he is anxious to go through them.   Both he and Meagan realize that they will never be able to have the ministry they believe God wants for them until they become fluent in the language (Amharic).  So for now they are focusing on language and culture adjustment.  They son Ben is just a couple months older than my son Zeke.  I could have spend all day with him.  It was great to hold him, tickle him and try to get him to warm up to me.  Please pray that the Fortner’s have a long and fruitful ministry here in Ethiopia.   Quick Fact:  Rod and I have the distinct privilege of being the first non- residence to be hosted in their Ethiopian home.  Missionaries count it an honor to host people from the states in their home and often invite you to sign their guest book.

After a short time of fellowship Blake took us to the drop off point in Addis Abba where veteran missionary Ray Hoover picked us up.  There we meet the first of four Godly Ethiopian Pastors who joined us for a short trip out to Sabeto and lunch (Pastor Wondesen).  This was my first real chance to meet brother Ray so we had much to talk about.  It was joy to here of God’s hand upon his life and how He ordered his steps.  On our way out to Sabeto we kept filling the van with more and more men of God.  Pastor  Tesfay is a blind man who has known the Lord of over forty years and suffered much persecution at the hands of the communist government that rule Ethiopia in the 70’s and early 80’s.  His testimony humbled me as I realized I was talking to a man who knew the literal meaning of “fellowship of his sufferings.”  Pastor Bekele is also a Godly man who is pastoring two works in and around Addis.  I asked him how many Timothy’s he is training and he said 14 or 15.  Pasto Bezayu is deaf.  But he has not allowed his handicap to stand in the way of serving God.  He has started or still ministers in over ten churches in Ethiopia.  All of which are deaf churches.  The other pastors made a comment about the fact that he is always smiling.  I watched him all afternoon, and they were right!  What a wonderful privilege it was for me to sit in Bro. Hoovers van and visit with these shining examples of Godliness and faithfulness.  I was humbled yet they continually gave me preference.    After touring Bro. Hoovers church plant in Sabeto, I turned on my video camera and began to interview these men to find out about the needs and opportunities for the Baptist churches in Ethiopia.  I look forward to sharing that video with the Fellowship office and any future missionaries to this needy field.  (by the way is God calling you?)  We ate a late lunch and then headed back to the capital dropping the men off along the way. 

After a brief rest at Bro Hoovers home we arrived at the Bethel Baptist church for the usual Wednesday night gathering of the Bible Institute.  They were excited to welcome us.  They prepared us a wonderful dinner of Roasted Lamb with all the fixes (yes more Injera)!   I had an opportunity to talk to them about the foundations of ministry.  Pastor Wondesen translated.  They received the truth warmly and then they graciously served us dinner.  I sat next to a man named “Happy”.  He told me how pastor Wondesen came to his house every Saturday morning to hold a bible study so that he would know about Jesus.   I love hearing stories like that.  On the way back to the Shadles tonight I spent time thanking Bro. Hoover for the fellowship enjoyed throughout the day.   Before we said goodbye we joined hands and thanked God for his goodness.  I was reminded how blessed I was today to be in the fellowship of Godly people.  

To all the Americans who are too busy for others and to independent to connect, I humble ask you to try the on the fellowship of Godly people for a day.  You will be blessed. 


PS:  To my Care Group:  I love you all and look forward to fellowshipping with you when I return.