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Monday, July 28, 2008

Red Letters Campaign- An Amharic Service

Kim called me and asked if I wanted to head over to Pastor Surefel's church on Sunday. It would be Netty's first time to be surrounded by Ethiopian culture since arriving home. Dustin didn't mind so I said "Yes!"

I've been looking forward to going for some time. In fact, I was so excited to go I stayed up all night praying. I wasn't praying merely about going but that excitement drove my all-nighter. While I was in prayer Saturday night God gave me two words. I knew they were Amharic. Had NOT A CLUE what they meant. I thought I should ask Surefel but I would feel a little embarrassed if it turned out to be my overactive imagination or something I ate that night.... though that was just fear and double mindedness creeping up in me once more. I knew God had spoken to me and I felt there would be a gift for me in pursuing an answer to what those words meant.

Upon arriving at the Central Methodist Church (the Methodist Church Hosts Pastor Surefel's church) in downtown Phoenix, Kim and her precious family with myself in tow headed to the little Pioneer Chapel where about 20 adults and numerous children worship the Lord Jesus Christ under the teaching of Pastor Surefel in an all Amharic service. Music had already begun.

We walked in and were greeted warmly with big smiles and deep nods. Space was made for us to sit. Soon we stood swaying with the rest of the congregation and clapping to the beat. The music was beautiful and worshipful. It was very repetitive which made it easy for us to pick up on a few words. We sang the words we recognized; "Hallelujah" and "A-meu-seu-ge-nal-lo" (I've spelled it like my Amharic Phrase Book gives the pronunciation... is "Thank You"). Netty did some dancing and clapping. It was a joy for me to be able to hold her for a while and spend more time with her.

Surefel invited "Sister Kim" to the front to introduce Netsanet to the congregation. They listened intently. He made sure to point out the rest of our group in the back of the room.

Surefel is the most gentle spirited man I think I've ever met. He's speaks in tones barely above a whisper. yet, when the man began to read from the Word of God his voice became loud and sure. He ignited in a furry of activity which included pointing to heaven repeatedly, eyes shifting an earnest gaze from person to person and utterances of Amen after points of particular interest. I couldn't understand much! But I was enthralled. His passion came across no matter what language he spoke and "Christos"........ I knew that word. He was calling on Christ's name.

As Service was over we were offered dabo (bread) in large fresh chunks. It was a spicy sweet bread. My little chunk was extremely filling as much Ethiopian cuisine is. Everyone gathered in small chatty groups eating their dabo and connecting with their friends. Buna (coffee) was brewing.

Before we left Kim said, "Hey, don't you have something you want to ask Surefel about?" yes, she had busted me. By that time I had lost my nerve and was willing to slink out of there without finding out what the two words meant.

I walked up to Surefel nervous and insecure when I asked him in a hushed voice that they meant. He told me HOPE and FLOWER. I couldn't hold back the tears when I heard this. I tried to turn and walk toward my car after saying thank you but Surefel had already asked Kim if they should pray over me and quickly he grabbed my arm. That's when all three of us began crying and I felt trembles run up and down my limbs. Surefel thanked Jesus for being my hope and for making hope flower once more then he said a few other things which were lost to me in his thick accent laced with tears. After the quick prayer was finished he repeated Amen a few more times as he swept the tears away from his eyes. By this time I had completely fallen apart and tears had run everywhere. Kim looked the same. (there's nothing like a dear sister who's willing to get her face all jacked up in public to pray over you!) So we hot footed it out of there so as not to cause any more scene than had already been made.

On the way back to the car Gary, Kim's husband, reminded us that Surefel's orphanage is named Hope for the Hopeless and it's located in the city named new flower in Amharic. I can't wait for the opportunity to visits the children st Hope for the Hopeless as Kim and Brooke have done and to meet the child the Lord has gifted me and Dustin with the privilege of parenting.

A while back I told the Lord that I would be watching for Him like a watchman on the wall. Looking for Him to reveal the culmination of His work behind the scenes regarding the adoption. I would look for the signs that things were wrapping up and that the fruit of all He had been working on through this process was coming to bear. Our time to travel is coming. He renewed my hope. Thank you Jesus.


Rob & Candy said...

Wow! What an awesome time of worship. I love your heart and the words God gave you.

Carpenters said...

What a beautiful gift! The service sounds wonderful. I'm so glad that God has answered prayer and renewed your hope.

With Love,

P.S. It sounds like you are learning a lot of Amharic. You go girl!