Monday, December 21, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009
I am not sure what round to call the upcoming training in June. We are in the process of morphing the Institute from what it was—sixty-plus men traveling to the city for approximately thirty-five hours of Bible teaching and preaching—to what it will be for the near future, Lord willing. I will be meeting two Zambian pastors in Addis, and from there we will make our way to a city called Jimma in southwestern Ethiopia. Our teaching will be regionally-based, and all of the nearby pastors, ministers, evangelists, missionaries, and church planters will be welcomed.
Basically, the ministry is transitioning from training only men who want to start new churches to training all ministers within the Baptist denomination. Our hope is to keep the training quarterly and enter into a different region each time. We will continue teaching the major doctrines of Christianity in an immensely practical way.
Because so much of what we are attempting this time around is uncharted territory for us, we appreciate your prayers. The logistics are always a nightmare, but changing everything will only increase the difficulty. Transportation, lodging, travel visas, and meals are merely a few of the obvious changes for us this time. With the ever-changing, always inflating economy in Ethiopia, it is impossible to budget for something like this. Yet, I do feel strongly that this method of training is more cost-efficient than our previous system. However, the main reason for the transition has little to do with finances and everything to do with getting the Christocentric Gospel to the local pastors and ministers in order to affect their lives, ministries, and churches.
We need God to supply all of our needs—from the wisdom of what and how to teach to the dollars and cents that will feed the men their daily injera.
Our continued prayer is that the Lamb Who was slain will indeed receive the reward of His sufferings and the nations as His inheritance.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Late Last Summer
I began working two days a week in June of last year at Wright Glass here in New Albany. In late July, I approached Donnie about the possibility of spending time with Hannah and considering a serious relationship together. With all pertinent parties considered and with each of their blessings, Hannah and I began to see each other more regularly and discuss what the Lord might have for our future. She was willing to give up the 'ideal' that little girls grow up dreaming about for the plan that God had orchestrated on her behalf. I was and will be forever grateful.
The fall was busy to say the least. With two trips to Ethiopia in back to back months, working a couple of days a week at the glass shop, and preaching most Sundays out of town, I stayed fairly occupied with life and what it required of me. The help from Hannah was immense during these months. She was with Ellie and Isaac day after day, caring for them, assisting me in whatever needed to be done. On her birthday (October 31) I asked her if she would marry me. She responded, "yes, uh huh." So, we began preparing for a wedding the following year.
I suppose the holiday season is similar for everyone: BUSY. For us, it was no different. With family functions and other gatherings we maintained a booked schedule while at the same time doing some of the preparations required for a then scheduled March 6 wedding. Christmas was fun with the kids. On Christmas Eve we were in Jackson for the traditional "breakfast for supper" with my family. On Christmas morning Hannah came over and cooked breakfast. We then watched Ellie and Isaac open their gifts from us; this was followed by us going to Hannah's parents for the evening and having Christmas there. From there it was off to Atlanta for the weekend to visit Hannah's two sisters and their families.
Two Thousand Nine
Wow, has this year been flying by? We only had nine weeks following the holidays to finish the wedding preparations, and I traveled to Ethiopia in the midst of this short time. Even still, everything came together wonderfully, and last Friday night Hannah and I exchanged vows and she became Mrs. Hannah K. Mathenia. The wedding was really so much fun. Though we held it in an unfinished, unlit shell of a building with minimal electricity that was piped in the week of the wedding, it was comfortable and enjoyable for both Hannah and me. One memorable moment for me was immediately following the recessional while waiting for the crowd to clear so we could take pictures. Ellie came up behind us reaching her arms up to hug Hannah's neck and said, "I am so glad you're my momma now." We chose the faithfulness of God to be the theme for our wedding because it sums up so well what He has been to us all: amazingly faithful. As a result of His faithfulness we are extremely grateful and pray that He would receive much honor and glory from our lives as we live them out in Christ.
We have little to no idea where life will take us from this point. We are open to the Lord's good pleasure and trust Him for everything.