I learned a bit about another one of our translators today. Fatana was part of an Ethiopian Orthodox Church. He and a large group of people from EO churches were interested in studying the Bible for themselves, so they formed their own study. They started reading the gospel of John together. Somewhere along the way, they came to realize that what they had been taught about the gospel was wrong. They repented and asked God for forgiveness. Many came to faith. These kinds of stories about the EO Church are not uncommon, unfortunately.
This trip we have about 55 leaders in Class #3. My room is predominantly a younger group of leaders, and this is my first time with the Oromifa language group.
The last two days I have been so blessed to really connect with these men. A few of them are already young pastors. All of them are obvious leaders. And their joy in learning how to study has been evident. Partnering and sharing the teaching with Pastor Raata has also been a sheer pleasure.
- Daniel has the voice of a 23-year old James Earl Jones. When he reads Scripture, he booms! And he is serious about the Word. He was the first to present, and established a strong model. Since then, he has jumped on every insight, is quick on observations, and has all the right questions! I have no idea what the Lord will do with this man, but I am very excited for eternity to hear the stories.
- Degefa is quieter, but his eagerness shines through. He anticipates well, and loves to learn. Always cheerful, he serves in the same spirit, too. He was carrying chairs after lunch to clean up, and then came to me as I sat holding my empty plate, to honor me by taking it away.
- Ifa has been a surprise. Arriving two days late, I was wrong to think that he might have less interest. Instead, he caught up, worked hard on his passage, and helped us go further in our study because of his work.
- Kassahun struggles a bit more in finding his way around in his Bible. But man, when he gets something, the passion bridges the language gap! I know that he is a powerful influence wherever he ministers, and he was clearly listening well this week!
- Getahun never stops thinking. Quietly confident, he is engaged on every question. His comport is that of a steady guide. I think he has to be one of the men who learned the most in the course. Partly because of all of his correct observations, and partly because of his incorrect ones. Though the latter were fewer to be sure.
- Yai is lithe, respectful, and happily animated when he talks. He worked hard at one of the most difficult passages we had. And he was hilariously honest when he had no idea about something.
Tomorrow will be our last teaching with these men. I am very excited for the presentations and our last lessons. It has been an intensive week. I am impressed that these men will sit for long hours every day, and then spring up to praise God when He reveals something new to us! Wrestling in the Word together has been sweet.