In April 2009 and June 2011, documenting trips to Ethiopia were life changing experiences. Pastor Asfaw Bekele from El Bethel Church and Pastor Nathan Byrd (at the time at Historic First Presbyterian Church, Phoenix) were the leaders. El Bethel was an Ethiopian church that met in downtown Phoenix. We visited just a few of the 42 churches that El Bethel had planted in the rural areas of Ethiopia primarily working with the Borana people. It was amazing to see the incredible impact that a small congregation in America was having on thousands of people in the southern region of Ethiopia.
Amidst our visit to Ethiopia, we grew to understand and embrace the untiring efforts of Pastor Tezara and his many pastors on the ground in Ethiopia. We found ourselves deeply changed by the experience.
It is a sobering thought to know that the $100 that I pay to take my family out for a nice dinner in America would pay for an entire year of education for a child in Ethiopia. Kind of puts things into perspective. The trip to Ethiopia was a reminder to be grateful for the blessings we enjoy in America.
It is easy to look out over a sea of faces and see just one mass group of people but when you begin to interact with individuals one on one by touching their hands and exchanging smiles, you suddenly realize that it’s not simply a mass group of people, but several individual people. Individuals knit together with unique likes and dislikes, a personality and a passion. When you take the time to look them in the eye, you no longer look across the masses, but suddenly long for a way to make a difference for that human being.