Greetings dear friends,
I hope you’re all doing well in Gods grace!
My time back in the States is going well…getting settled in, enjoying early morning walks at Lake Jordan, enjoying a wide variety of foods, enjoying time with family and friends, and exploring my next steps. I have a lot of ideas but am taking time to talk with trusted friends, family and advisors and to pray as I seek Gods will for this next season of my life. I want to make this coming season count. Thank your for your encouragement and support in this time and please do continue to pray for me as I navigate the decision process and the different emotions that come with a time of transition like this.
“Freely you have received, freely give,” Matthew 10:8. As I began preparing to leave Ethiopia I sensed God leading me to invest all of my personal belongings that I had there into the lives of others. Many of you have sown into my life over the years enabling me to do what God called me to do there and felt like God wanted me to “freely give as I have freely received,” in a sense reinvesting your investments…”gifts that keep on giving.”
I began with selling my car at a steeply discounted price to Juste, a young man who has worked for me at different times and has helped me in immeasurable ways over the almost 19 years that I lived in Ethiopia. Juste’s dream was to own a car so that he could start his own transportation business. I sold it to him at a price that he could afford and which reflected the years of his faithful service. Keep in mind that only a small percentage of the population of Ethiopia own cars. Cars in Ethiopia are considered luxury items and are are taxed at incredibly high rates. Most cars there actually appreciate in value…to give you perspective, my car was a 2003 Toyota Corolla and the current value is close to $20,000.
I felt like God wanted me to sell my car to Juste at a price that would be a blessing to him and then to invest the proceeds in some of the different ministries that I am connected to there and into the lives of some individuals that have worked for me and/or who have helped me greatly over the years. A couple of examples include buying sound equipment for an up and coming ministry and giving a significant appreciation gift (almost 2 years salary) to Filiketch, a lady who has worked faithfully for me for
almost my entire time in Ethiopia. I also gave her all of my kitchen ware. Juste and Filikitch have not only been employees, they have been family to me. I could truly not have made it there over the years without them.
I was able to give away a lot of clothes, shoes and other miscellaneous personal items and I gave all of my furniture to Dr. Fejiro and his family. He is the new pastor of our church and is doing an amazing job. He sacrificed his career as a medical doctor to serve God in full time ministry and is truly giving his life for Gods purposes. Dr. Fejiro has been a blessing beyond description to me personally as well as to the church. He and his family recently moved into a new (new in the sense of being new for them) home and my furniture fits perfectly in the space they now have.
I hope you will understand that I am not sharing all of this to talk about myself or anything that I have done. I am sharing this so that you will be able to share in the joy of knowing that your gifts are continuing to give, that others are continuing to be blessed and empowered and the purposes of Gods Kingdom are continuing to advance through the seeds that you have sown. I hope that in some way you will experience through this email the immeasurable joy that I had sowing these gifts and the joy with which they were received. Those moments were times of great joy and were truly some of my most special times in Ethiopia.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for the difference that you have made in my life and are continuing to make in the lives of many, many people in Ethiopia. My heart is fully rejoicing as I write this and as I think of all that God has done, is doing and will continue to do through your investments! What a privilege we have to know Him and to serve Him!! May Gods richest blessings be yours!!
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