Five years ago I took my first trip to Africa. The church I was serving at the time had embarked on a five year focus of outreach to Ethiopia and I traveled there with a team to establish relationships and plan for future trips. We spent time both in the capital of Addis Ababa (which translates as new flower) as well as in remote villages.
For two weeks my head and heart were filled with images of those who cared for the living and the dying. I gained a greater appreciation for the transforming power of Jesus’ love that brings hope and healing to street kids and prostitutes and people victimized by AIDS.
We spent one afternoon at a small village in the Rift Valley. I preached in a small wooden church surrounded by a cluster of grass huts (it was the first time I needed a sermon translated into three different languages to reach everyone present). Afterwards we sat down with the elders of the village to discuss the needs of the community. As we talked I had a growing sense that more than clinics or schools or wells what the community needed was for it to rain. That part of Ethiopia was suffering from severe drought. The one thing they needed most of all, was the one thing only God could provide. Rain.
There’s hardly a day that’s gone by over the last five years that I don’t pray for rain in Ethiopia.
As individuals and families and as a community we also face needs. Just like the women and men we are reading about in Mark’s gospel we need healing for our hearts, our relationships and our bodies. Often the one thing we need the most is healing that only God can provide. And in reality the one thing we really need the most is God Himself.
Our current healing series, Daybreak, has encouraged me to consider where I most need Jesus’ healing touch. Where is that place for you? Are you willing to reach out to Him for healing? Would you dig a hole through a roof or push your way through a crowd or even argue with Him (just a few of the examples we are exploring in our message series).
What if you brought that need to Jesus today? The Sun of Righteous has risen and there is healing in His wings!
This week I am returning to Africa. Along with our Mission Director, Melissa Brown, Elder Ted Teinart, and my daughter Jamie, I will be in Kenya until March 11. So I may be even more sporadic with blog posts. While in Kenya we will visit with our mission partners and most importantly begin developing plans for a project to bring Living Water and living water to thirsty people. I look forward to sharing more about what God is doing. He is on the move and it's going to be an exciting year.