"So, what are you going to do there?" I love it when people ask me that question. It is what I affectionately call "the opening question" as it opens the door for me to share about Jesus and what He is doing in Gambela.
Most Christians, if you ask them on a good day, will say they believe in the sovereignty of God and in divine providence. Ask them on a bad day and you might get a different response. Today, we were put to the test. Driving into Santa Fe, excited to be in a place we never thought we would ever see, steam starting to spew out from under the hood of our dear old car. Praise God for AAA! But this kind of event is never planned as far as budgets go and to be told that it would cost us $XYZ and that we would have to get a hotel room for the night and that we would have to rent a car to get to our meeting with the church in Albuquerque was a hard thing to hear. But, we had just been praying that the Lord would continue to lead and guide us as He has been all along this trip and we had to believe that somehow this was part of His sovereign plan too.
We asked some of our dear friends to pray with us via email and they did...and then...we received a message that the cost of the repairs would be covered. When one of these dear friends saw the email they responded immediately. Give me their number and I will call them to settle the account.
But if that wasn't enough of a blessing, as we were strolling downtown Santa Fe in the evening, we got talking with a saleslady in a local shop. She asked the usual questions. "Where are you from?' 'What brings you to Santa Fe?" And then, on hearing that we were going to work in Ethiopia, she asked the question.
"So, what are you going to do there?"
I told her about the South Sudan war. She knew nothing about it. I told her that the UN was predicting that this could be one of the worst famines of all time. She had never heard this before. I told her that the church was growing by leaps and bounds in the Gambela Region. She thought that was strange. Then I told her why. I told her that these people found in Jesus a God Who understood their suffering. That at the foot of the cross...that symbol of unjust suffering and undeserved hatred...they came to realize that they are not alone in their sorrow. In Jesus, these people who have suffered unimaginable things find hope. While she quickly ended the discussion with a "Well, I wish you all the best", Louise and I knew the seed had been sown. She had heard of a God Who knows and Who understands...
And we now know why we were meant to be in downtown Santa Fe...