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!