Greetings from Addis!

Hi Everyone,

God is at work in mighty and powerful ways, and we are encouraged by the good things happening here in Korah, the place many of you know--where there is great need in so many ways.  Nevertheless, we entrust our work to the Lord God, praying for his provision to help these destitute people, as we are his humble servants.  We serve with joy, knowing His plan is for good.  

The fun starts early.  No sooner have I taken my seat and lo and behold, the woman sitting across the aisle from is me is from a nearby Church in San Jose.  We naturally hit it off, speaking of ministry and the kingdom of God and service to the poorest of the poor (sit next to a “talker” like me, and you’ll be busy!).  Her destination is nearer than mine, along with others on a mission trip to India.  My new friend is very excited to hear of the ministry of Transformation Love, and she tells me she plans to connect me with her church’s Missions Director upon home’s arrival.  As Jubilee doesn't do any mission work in Ethiopia, she foresees a future in joining with Transformation Love's work.  These conversations weigh in on the encouragement scale!  Please pray this happens.  

Listen to this story:  While in Dubai, I hand my ticket to the woman operating the scanner, but then she says, “Wait one minute please.”  Without missing a beat, she prints me a new ticket, saying, “Enjoy the flight.  You have been moved to first class.”  To my chagrin, I respond, “Are you serious?”  She just smiles and says, “Yes.”  I just have to laugh and smile as I go down the escalator to board the plane.  Then of course, I even get a little teary-eyed.  Here’s the deal: my sweet husband had prayed for me to get bumped up to first class.  I’m not even in Ethiopia yet, and God answers prayer—even the little ones in our lives.  It makes my love for Him leap!  

Arriving safely, rested and spoiled, I’m greeted at the guest house with a fan club of people waiting for me.  Ah, it is so wonderful to see all of my Ethiopian friends.  We talk until 9:00 p.m., but then  they leave me to a proper slumber.

But, oh, how busy I have been!  First, let me say we are so blessed to have Nebiyu as our Director for the Child Sponsorship Ministry here at Mekanisa Addis Kidan Baptist Church.  He is doing an amazing job.  We have been blessed with a wonderful staff of volunteers here as well.  I start off with teaching and training all 15 Transformation Love volunteers for one whole day.  I share with them the vision of Transformation Love and I teach them from 1 Corinthians 13.  Without love, we truly are nothing.  We hear this passage all the time at weddings in America, but in places like Korah, love as primary in our lives takes on a whole new meaning.   Someone said once that Jesus Christ offers us the constant challenge of seeing the contradictions within ourselves, and it is his purity that destroys that contradiction, as we live not to ourselves, but for the one who calls us by name, to his name, and for his name’s sake (Romans 1:1-5).    

At the church, we have a lovely day together as the Lord God has bound us together as one in Christ Jesus.  All of us are ready to shine Jesus' light in and through Transformation Love, and we are blessed to have a wonderful group of strong, Christian, men and women reaching out to the Korah area.  These volunteers are the heart of Transformation Love’s ministry through the church, of which Jesus Christ is the head.  When Christian brothers and sisters work together in union, it is wonderful to behold.  May the Lord receive all praise and glory due him!

Next, I spend a whole day with all our sponsored children, and we make Easter cards for our sponsors.  In addition to making the cards and playing games, we finish our day with cookies and soda.  Surrounded by 62 children all day, they all clamor over who gets to sit on my lap.  Then they start to play with my hair--of which I’m missing a lot, what with their tugging, pulling, playing, and tossing it about with such glee.  They keep telling me how soft it is, and they love to smell it (I think they like the smell of clean hair--something they don’t experience much, if at all).  Most important is that I tell them about the Easter story: the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This Easter story is the one upon which the hope of our forgiveness of sins and right to eternal life rests!  And it gives us hope for today, does it not?  He sends his Spirit while we eagerly await the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8), and we serve in his holy name in the meantime. 

An entire day is spent with Ayne (our new Regional Representative for Transformation Love Ethiopia).  We are working on a five-year plan, so we spend a lot of time praying and discussing of this plan, requesting God’s wisdom.  Ayne is an amazing woman and full of knowledge in micro-loan financing and child sponsorship.  She used to work for Compassion International, and because of her experience, we are so blessed to have her on board.  She has already helped me so much with understanding the culture here and how things work in Ethiopia.  God is so good and is putting the right people in place to do His work here.  I stand in awe of his providential care!  

On Sunday, I teach the children that are going through Baptism classes.  I teach them about John 15:5 (the vine and the branches illustration) and how vital--essential-- it is to always stay connected to Jesus.  This is a lovely group of children (all sponsored through TL) who are in the 8th and 9th grade, with a total of 9 in the class.  One of the boys wants to be a pastor.  He is a double orphan and one of our volunteers has taken him into her home to raise him.  What an incredible young man of God!  I tell him I am very impressed with his strong faith in God already.  I take his picture and I tell him I will pray and ask God to find someone to put him through school to become a pastor.  So join me in prayer.  This young man senses a calling on his life from God already, and he has a tender, listening heart.  Think of this for his future: a four-year seminary degree in Addis costs a mere $700 U.S.  In America, it costs $30,000 or more!  So please pray for this young man, and consider sponsoring him, okay?

Today, I am with all of the parents of the sponsored children.  This is an entire day of work.  Again, I say to you that God is doing amazing things through Transformation Love.  This is because today, five fathers show up curious about this ministry.  "What is this all about?"  Again, we take a long, hard look at 1 Cor. 13, and we don’t finish until 3:00 pm.  It is amazing and wonderful: as I'm standing there teaching and training, I feel as if I am a mere vessel moved about by another being.  In other words, it is the Holy Spirit using me to teach them the gospel: true love that only comes from Jesus Christ.  Sharing my painful past and God's provision of healing in me, I tell them of the power of Jesus to make me a new person, and of his power to make them new, too.  

With more exposition from 1 Cor. 13, they hear the vision of Transformation Love and take up the challenge to join this ministry, sharing the love of Jesus with their friends and neighbors.  They all agree: to work together in love, and to reach their neighbors with the good news of Jesus!  Afterward, we enjoy coffee together, while several of them stand up and thank God for Transformation Love, saying they are going to be warriors for Jesus and tell people the truth about Him that they just heard today.  God is empowering them to move and to be strong.  God is amazing, as are these people.  Their love for God is strong and real.  What a day!  Pray these men will hold fast to their commitment, even as the church disciples them.  Your prayers for this place are being answered, dear friends--keep it up. 

Thus far is my week.  May I ask you to pray for me?  I am sick. I have caught a flu-like cold and it is going into my lungs.  Please pray for me.  I am holding up, but it is making me very weak and tired.  I pray every morning for God to give me the strength to make it through the day.  So far I have made it, but it is frustrating to be ill and you have so much work to do and so little of time.  Thank you for all of your prayers and support.  I love this journey with God and I am thrilled to be involved in His work of visiting widows and orphans in their distress while preaching the good news of Jesus, all to the glory of His name.  

Dear friends and family, you have my deepest appreciate and love.  

Blessings,

Sherry