The first time I saw him, I was drawn to him.
Though I had only been in this country for a few hours, and had no experience with its customs, even I could readily see his Spirit-borne purpose. His demeanor was easy and joyful. He was earnest and peaceful at worship, and even more so with everyone that he met.
From the first time that I saw him, I can honestly say that I thanked the Lord for him.
That was two years ago.
Since then, Orano has been in all three of the groups that I have taught. He has served me as an interpreter in many of those class days.
And I am grateful, in God’s providence, that a friendship has grown between us.
I spoke with him for a while before class this morning. Rather casually, I asked him how his evening was, and what he had done last night.
“Well, I went to teach the Kingdom curriculum with a family here in Awassa last night, and then I went to preach in a church.”
I was stunned.
You see, we are in class from 9 to 5 each day this week. This is a significant commitment for the students, especially since they had homework Monday night - to create an outline of the entire book of Galatians for Tuesday morning; and then they had a 10-minute presentation of an assigned passage due today (Thursday).
But in addition to these things, Orano is spending each night this week, 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., teaching the curriculum that he helped to write, to a pastor and his family of six.
Then, last night, he also went to a church here in town, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., where he had been invited to come and share a message.
Most of us go home at the end of the day pretty tired, having spent the day studying and wrestling together.
He leaves from our teaching site - where he’s usually also been translating back-and-forth all day - and his ministry day is really just getting going.
The best part of it all? He was joyful again this morning, and had I not specifically asked, I would not have known anything of these labors.
In the end, I was humbled to think of the way that many of these students are willingly making sacrifices, just like Orano. And I’m supremely grateful for the daily and weekly sacrifices that are made by many of you; to tirelessly serve your families, to serve the Lord at work, and to seek the Lord in your daily lives.
The grace of God does not simply make us driven, bitter-hard workers. The grace of God changes our soul, so that our work becomes a source and a chance for our joy.
Oh yeah. And did I mention that he did a really nice job on his presentation this morning?
In the comment section tell us which relationships you are grateful for, that the Lord has provided in His providence!
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Please join us THIS SUNDAY for our potluck at 2:00! Meet us at Los Vecinos with your favorite side dish and celebrate with us!
International Students Inc. (ISI) has a fantastic volunteer opportunity for anyone willing to share their Thanksgiving with the students! There are options for large dinners hosted by churches, mid-size dinners hosted by smaller churches or church community groups, and several small dinners hosted by individuals or families. If you are interested in hosting one or more students for a Thanksgiving meal, contact Vince Tidwell for more information!
Shine will be putting together Winter Break boxes for A. Montoya families in need. Each box will provide breakfast and lunch items for a student every day of winter break! We will have a tree set up next Sunday, November 25 in the foyer that will have tags with specific items that we need to fill the boxes. Please take as many tags as you like and return the items on Friday, December 21. Also, please join us on Saturday, December 22 from 10:00am-12:00pm at the A. Montoya parking lot to have coffee and doughnuts with the families when they come to pick up their boxes! Contact Ashley Procter for more information.
The 2019 Clarus Conference is March 1st-3rd. The topic is “Letters to the 7 Churches” by guest speakers Kevin DeYoung and H. B. Charles Jr. There are postcards in the foyer if you want more information. If you are interested in the Early Group Registration rate of $30 per person, please let Elizabeth know by November 27th.