Dear fellow servants of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Now I have had the opportunity to reflect and write down some of my thoughts concerning the trip to Addis Ababa(Ethiopia) which I am eager to share with you. You have been an essential aspect for this journey which helped us clarify God’s calling on our lives.
The trip in and of itself was already clearly guided by God’s providential care for His people. As we missed our connection-flight In London, no airline was willing to pay for our new flight tickets to get us to Addis Ababa sooner than later. Some of us would have had only a few hours at our house in Addis before they would have had to be in class to teach. But as our team leader (Jason C. Meyer) and another team member were in different talks with many people/airlines they could see the change in the countenance of one of the ladies behind the desk. We were praying a lot and God melted the hearts of those in charge and we were able to fly out (11 hours later than planned) and arrive in Addis at 9:00am on Monday morning (which would have been the starting time of the first class for some of us) without any additional cost!
Let me tell you a bit about the class I had the privilege of teaching. Everyday for two weeks we were meeting to learn and study the book of 1 Corinthians. The class started officially at 5pm and ended at around 7:45pm. It took me some time to learn all the names, but God finally helped me with that and I thoroughly enjoyed having such amazing students—willing to study and listen to God’s Word.
One of my biggest goals was not to lecture at all times but to have the class involved in discussions and thus get the class to a point where they would be able to solve their questions themselves by looking deeper into the context of God’s Word. Many students in Ethiopia have not learned to think critically and that it is OK to question authority figures. Thus I was often put on a pedestal which would have caused me to be puffed up. But the exact opposite happened—fear and respect for the position entered my heart and I needed to rely even more on God.
So, I would argue, that the area of weakness and development got strengthened by His grace. I also learned to be more and more patient as the students had different skills and educational backgrounds and that actually made the teaching opportunity a lot more special.
We had a very special class session on 1 Cor 8-10 (food sacrificed to idols) which in the Ethiopian context is a lot closer to life than for many of us. As we were talking about these chapters questions like “Can I buy meat from a Muslim meat market?” and others were talked about with the argument of the apostle in mind. My hope and prayer is that this was a fruitful endevour and that the students would be encouraged to think more clearly about the gospel and how it takes shape in those regards.
One of the greatest joys I was able to initially observe was how the course material and commentaries I was able to distribute to the students were received. They were thrilled and utterly excited about these generous hearts of yours.
It was (and is!) such a tremendous gift you provided by God’s grace and I hope and pray that the material will edify the church in Ethiopiaand ultimately glorify God and His kingdom work! Again, many of the students told me specifically to thank you for that contribution.
On my way back to ChicagoI was able to have a 2.5 day stay in Germany to visit my family. We were able to keep it a secret and so my entire family (and especially my grandpa) was very happy to see me. Many things have changed but my short stay in Germany has put a longing into my heart to return in December and be involved at our local church in Darmstadt. There are many needs—and theological education is one of the more prevalent ones.
We are still praying for God to show us open doors concerning doctoral studies in Germany. For sure we would like to tell everyone that come December we know exactly how things are going to proceed but that is not the case. Many things are not clear yet and therefore we would appreciate your prayer in those regards as well.
Finally I want to thank everyone who made this trip possible for me (either financially or prayerfully!).
Candidate for M.A. New Testament Studies, Trinity International University
B.A. Biblical Language (Greek), Moody Bible Institute