Ethiopia’s on my mind.
The years I had there were less than four but the experiences, the people, and the lessons I learned were abundant. I want to blog some of my African stories.
This first one is the first one that happened. I love how it gave me a way forward.
When Jake and I left Bolivia in 2005, we fully expected God would have us move to another Spanish-speaking country.
We were looking in Spain, but no doors – not even a small window – opened up.
At the same time, two American men needed a seasoned international camp director to fulfill their vision for a sports camp in Ethiopia. They met Jake and asked him to go.
For several months I didn’t pay much attention. We knew nothing about soccer and we were too old to go to a new country and learn an exotic language. Maybe Jake would make periodic work trips, but us move there? Nope.
Only thing: Jake thought it was God’s plan for us.
Huh? How could that be since God hadn’t told me?
I did NOT want to go to Ethiopia.
After weeks of restless conflict, one Saturday morning, I had it out with God.
All my objections.
I was out loud and clear, as if God didn’t know it all already.
Then I sat.
God didn’t answer any of my questions. He didn’t explain anything to me. He didn’t comfort me. But as I read the Bible, I ‘heard’: Sarah, your heart is trying to understand, instead of just trusting Me.
Not out loud but it was clear.
I had to give up what I wanted and trust what God was giving.
“Okay, Jesus. You are right. I am wrong for not trusting You.”
Then: Amazing. My anger left and peace came. I felt joy rising, with new strength and courage.
I needed that heart miracle.
The nine months as we prepared to move to Africa, and during the next four years, God’s peace, joy, strength, and courage ebbed and flowed, according to how close I stayed to Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
It was a time of frequent objections, questions, disappointments and fears and I had to remember that miracle often.
I had to return to trusting Jesus often.
And I still do . . .
Before my miracle, the two American men had come to see us in Montreat, bringing an Ethiopian gentleman Ato B. We were privileged to hear his God-story and to talk with them about my fears.
After lunch, true to his culture, (I learned later that when an Ethiopian Christian visits someone, they end the visit with an offer to pray.) Ato B. stood up by his chair and spoke loudly to God in Amharic.
I understood not a word, but a serious awe filled me as I listened. I figured Ato B. was praying for me to go to Ethiopia, and that God was bound to answer his prayer.
Perhaps that is how I got that Proverbs 3:5 peace-joy-strength-courage miracle, the miracle that has helped my faith life ever since.