It was a huge privilege to spend a few days in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia recently. I travelled there with Edward and Fridah Buria and stayed with a beautiful family who live in this vast capital city. We spent time with the leadership team of Eden Genet (Garden of Eden) church on the Saturday morning; I had met some of them before so it was excellent to see them again. They are a humble, faith filled and courageous team who are leading a great church in a hard place.
It was wonderful to preach in this church on the Sunday and speak about the values that connect our church in Mid-Sussex to their church in Addis; grace, apostolic ministry, welcoming the Spirit, making Jesus famous.
DukemOn the Saturday afternoon we travelled for about an hour outside of the city to a town called Dukem. Dukem has a population of about 40,000 and is on the main road into Addis Ababa.
In this city, prostitution is rife and as a result there is an HIV/AIDS crisis. In this town there is also a church, planted by Eden Genet in Addis Ababa, that gathers about 30 people. As far as we know there are no other evangelical churches in this town.
They are a shining light in a dark place and it was a joy to visit them. Their building is simple; their vision is huge. When we were there a team came with us from Kenya to do some work on this basic structure to make it more robust.
Kenyans, Ethiopians, Brits all working together to see the Kingdom of God advance - I love it!
In the New Testament we see a precedent for churches in one city and nation serving and supporting other churches in different cities and nations. Paul wrote to the church in Rome about the generosity of the church in Macedonia who supported the church in Jerusalem.
I find this so inspiring as the local church was never meant to have a small vision, I believe God's intention was that local churches cared about and were committed to God's Kingdom advancing to the ends of the earth.
I shared some of my stories from my recent travels to Kenya and Ethiopia last Sunday at The King's Church Mid-Sussex and spoke about ways that we can get involved in serving these churches. To hear that message click on this link:
This coming Sunday 10 November and the week after, Sunday 17 November, we have Gift Days at The King's Church Mid-Sussex. We have an amazing opportunity to serve and support this church in Dukem, Ethiopia. We also have an opportunity to serve and support the church in Kambakia, Kenya as well as invest into what God is doing here in Mid-Sussex.
We have so many resources in the west and have an amazing opportunity to bless others as we give. Every £1 makes a difference. Let me encourage you to pray and to plan for the gift days coming up. Paul says this about the church in Macedonia in 2 Corinthians 8:
"And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. 2 In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. 3 For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, 4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people."
Let's follow this inspirational example and see what God might do over the next couple of weeks.