Tag Archives: Ethiopia

Sharing the Love of Jesus in Ethiopia

8 Oct

Each year about this time, a small group of women travel to Ethiopia to share the love of Jesus, touching the lives of HIV/AIDS patients in a small rural village outside of Addis Ababa.  They work together as a team to raise the money to pay for the trip and there is a sweet andSendafa Jan 2014 221 beautiful fellowship that grows through that time.    As they arrive they connect with our Ethiopian team who introduces them to single moms, orphans, and others who are suffering from hunger, neglect and extremely poor living conditions.   One by one they reach out and minister to these dear people to express gentle kindness and to pray for them.   They also help distribute vitamins to the children, encourage families and distribute needed shoes and clothes.

There are so many opportunities to share Jesus’ love and to be a practical, real representation of Jesus in these homes. We at Living Word are truly ‘blessed to be a blessing’ and the six women who are there right now are doing just that.

Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

10 Sep

A few years ago there was a game show hosted by Jeff Foxworthy called “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?”  I am always up for a challenge like that and so I would try to answer the questions.  Now it’s been a long time since I was a 5th grader…way too long.  I don’t remember learning about the stuff they suggest a 5th grader should know.  Even some of the 1st and 2nd grade questions are pretty challenging for an old guy like me.   5th grader

One of the general categories is “Geography“.  I like geography and generally do pretty well except when it comes to some of the continents far away, like Africa.   I am finding out I am not alone.   We send teams to minister in Ethiopia three times a year from Living Word.  Ethiopia is definitely in Africa. I knew that, but where in Africa?  Surprisingly, the continent of Africa is big it is 3 times larger than the United States.

Africa mapBut isn’t the Ebola outbreak in Africa?  This medical crisis leads people to be cautious about sending people to Africa. So where is this outbreak?  The Ebola crisis is on the western side of the continent, in Sierra Leon, Liberia, Senegal and other surrounding countries.

While it is a significant crisis and something to be concerned about, it is occuring far  from Ethiopia (about the same distance as we are from Seattle, Washington).  Ethiopia is actually located on the eastern side of Africa. There are 8 countries between the center of the crisis and where we minister.  So even though I may not be smarter than a 5th grader, a look at the map of Africa sure helps me understand the situation better.

We monitor the conditions on the ground with each place we go.  While there is always some risk everywhere we travel, even here in the states, we don’t knowingly put our people in harms way.

The Joy Found on Mission Trips

6 Aug

Whenever I am in a new or different culture I am aware of the differences.   When I was in college I was able to travel in Europe.  While staying with some friends in Germany one of the neighbor girls came to visit.  She was about 4 years old.  She started talking to them in perfect German.  I was taken aback, which shows how little I knew about different cultures.   Of course she spoke perfect German, and there are billions of Chinese children that speak perfect Mandarin.  That is one of the joys of these trips.
Sendafa Jan 2014 162

It’s not just about languages either.  On a recently trip to Sendafa, Ethiopia one of the team members started to play with one of the young Ethiopian girls.  They were doing a game where they clap each others hands, slap their knees and things like that.  No words needed to be spoken but there was a connection there.  She got it and actually taught the team member a few new moves that she didn’t know.   I was fascinated watching the process.  This and so many more things are where joy is found on missions trips.  Ready to go yet?

Ministry of healing the sick

16 Jul

photoWe are blessed here in York to have very good medical care. The many health care providers can diagnose and treat nearly any kind of disease or injury that we might incur. If they are not able to determine the problem we are close to Hershey Medical Center, Johns Hopkins University and even places like Sloan Kettering, or the Mayo Clinic. There are world class experts who can treat the most challenging and unique problems that we might have.   In most of the rest of the world it is not the same.   They just have to deal the best they can with the illnesses and injuries they sustain.   The infant mortality rate is very high, life expectancy much lower than ours and the quality of life is to say the least ‘hard’.

As part of our ministry to the world Living Word sends 4 medical teams a year to minister to the poor.  A team just returned from Sendafa where they treated hundreds of people with a variety of medical conditions.  One of the most significant procedures is cataract surgery where the doctors can literally give sight to the blind.  What an amazing gift and all given in the name of Jesus.  I praise God for the medical professionals as well as those who are used to support them.  They are truly ‘Jesus with skin on’ to the patients they serve.

Where is Jesus?

7 Jul

Where's WaldoWhen my kids were younger there was a popular game called “Where’s Waldo?” which had very detailed pictures and you had to find “Waldo” in the midst of the busyness. That got me to thinking about “Where’s Jesus?” Our lives are so busy with so many distractions that sometimes I go through the whole day and miss seeing Him. But when I really think about it He was in many places, I just didn’t see Him.

He was on the corner in downtown York, a poor looking older man who needed something to eat. He was the person that used to come into my office that didn’t have the best hygiene and needed a lot of my time. He was the friend who needed me to sit with him while he struggled with the brokeness of his marriage.

He is also in Sendafa, Ethiopia. He is there in the clinic needing to have cataracts removed. He is in the small mud walled and floor hut of the HIV patient who is appreciative for any small thing we are able to provide. Living Word has a team in Ethiopia right now ministering to many who look just like Jesus. Please pray for them as they give of themselves to touch the others lives. While you’re at it you might want to open your eyes and see if Jesus is near you right now.

Water Project in Ethiopia

16 Jun

When we began our ministry with the Project Adopt A Village (PAAV) team in Sendafa, Ethiopia there were so many things that needed to be worked on.  The health of this rural community outside Addis Ababa was poor, often because of poor sources of water and no sewers.   Disease is easily transmitted when the sanitary conditions are bad.  Here in the York area we don’t think twice about the possibility of sickness and disease because our water and sewer systems are very good.

To have an impact on these disease causing problems we have had a number of projects through the Christmas offering and the Global Missions budget.   Through those offerings and a lot of hard work we have successfully drilled a high producing well AND a water storage reservoir that will provide safe drinking water for the city.  There are still a few details that need to be worked out but much of the work has been done.  Your donations and prayers have been felt and you have made a difference in the lives of the people of Sendafa

Following God’s call to short term missions

26 Mar

In July 2014 Living Word sent a team of people on a medical mission to Sendafa, Ethiopia.  Being able to provide for the medical needs of the people of Sendafa is one of the main purposes of the summer trip.  The team was able to care for over 2,000 patients including almost 50 cataract surgeries.  Having an impact on the physical needs of the people of Sendafa opens the doors for meeting their spiritual needs.

It is not uncommon for people to sign-up for these trips not quite sure how God is going to use them and what skills they bring to the team.  This trip was no exception to that.  Greg Leiberknecht had not been on a trip like this before and was questioning what he had to offer.  He was obedient and followed God’s leading and that’s when God showed up in a marvelous way.  This past Sunday we showed the video story of that trip. God used a couple of ‘non-medical’ guys to fix a problem that would have stopped the team from caring for hundreds of patients.   Dr. Ed Nelson helps Greg tell the story of how it happened.

Equipment Miracle Repair – Sendafa Story from Living Word Community Church on Vimeo.

One Person’s Reflections on Sendafa

17 Mar

In the middle of January I had a great adventure joining the team on a journey to Sendafa.  There were eleven of us who got on the plane at Dulles International Airport heading for Addis Ababa.  I knew a few of my fellow travelers but most of them were new friends that had chosen the same adventure I had.  After almost 24 hours of travel we landed at the Bole International Airport ready to experience a new culture.

The wonders of Ethiopia were evident in the sights, sounds and smells.  We all were touched by the incredible poverty of Sendafa and yet equally touched by the gentle spirit of the people.  We had the opportunity to love them, help them with small acts of kindness and to see the amazing work of the Project Adopt A Village (PAAV) team.  One of our team members captured it well with a video that we shared in church yesterday.  I have attached it for you to catch a glimpse of what it was like.  I hope you enjoy it.

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