Monday, December 9, 2013

By Robert Strickland (Photo by Harvey Mayton)
The location was South-Central Ethiopia, several miles of treacherous, unnamed dirt roads off the two-lane Trans-Africa highway that connects Cairo to Capetown. Next to a small church building, we met in the middle of the day on the lawn under shade trees with members of five Sustainable Livelihood Groups (SLG) and their facilitator, about 40 Ethiopians. I don't think anyone stopped to check messages although many had phones. Can you imagine getting 40 working people together for a meeting at in the middle of the day at First Austin?

Today in Kampala, Uganda we taught children. Think of a one day, rotation-style, Christmas-themed VBS with 150 children with varying abilities in English. Our teaching partners were refugee teens from all over East Africa and the DR Congo. Their amazing leader, Haryet, leads these teens for three hours a day, five days a week and sometimes on weekends. Many of these teens are believers in Jesus, but some are Muslim. After a blessed day, we went out with several of our hosts for (nearly) Mexican food. One of the topics for talk around the table was the similarities and differences between our youth groups. We found out that Haryet spends about 50 times as much time with her youth as our leaders spend with our youth.

In the communities of faith we have visited so far in Africa, it is many times easier to gather, spend time with, and be truly present with people. This is much of what faith communities are about. Why is the Church growing many times faster in Africa than in the West? You do the math.



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