Everyone has a story. When meeting people for the first time I am eager to learn their story. Good stories grab our imagination, invite us in and broaden our understanding!
Someone once said that God created human beings because He loves stories. As proof, consider that over 70% of the Bible was written in story form. The Old Testament tells about God through the stories of His people. Even Jesus used imaginative stories to tell the world about God’s outrageous love for human beings.
I’ve just returned from Awash, Ethiopia—a market town situated in the central region about a 4.5 hour drive from the capital city of Addis Ababa. The city sits atop a large gorge overlooking the Awash River, part of Africa’s famous Rift Valley. And oh—did I mention it was hot, dusty and desert-like!
The week was spent teaching and training 75 pastors and church leaders, all of whom minister among the Afar people (an unreached people group). Having little to no access to a Bible School or formal training, these men and women showed up promptly each day eager to learn how to study and teach the Bible.
One highlight of my week was inviting men and women to immerse themselves in the giant storyline of the Bible. Africans by and large are ‘storied’ people—stories feature prominently in their cultures. No wonder that seeing God as the Master Storyteller and the Bible as the epic story is so captivating!
Here’s the really cool part—God not only writes His—story, but He writes the lines of my story and your story too! And oftentimes He writes the storyline of our lives to make something known about His!
Lee, Luelseged (translator) and Pastor James
Imagine how thrilled I was to hear this kind of feedback from our week together:
- Understanding the Bible as a story opened our minds about the whole Bible and it feels that we have got the whole key for biblical translation and understanding.
- I never knew the difference in the literature of the Bible books. Having this different literature and written with a completely different time, political and geographical situation it is marvelous that the truth is the same.
- The three days has motivated and inspired me to be more close to God and to be more devoted in my life for God and the proclamation of the Gospel.
How gratifying it is when church leaders not only grasp the Story of the Bible, but the Story of the Bible grasps them.
At the conclusion of our time together Pastor James and I gave each one a copy of the book, How To Understand the Bible by Mel Lawrenz. Best of all, the book had been translated into the official language of Ethiopians—Amharic!
Lee with Pastors with their book
Soon after my trip to Ethiopia I was invited to teach a Perspectives Class at Elmbrook, Eastbrook and Kettlebrook Churches in Wisconsin on “The Unfinished Task.” Fresh off a ministry experience among an unreached people group, it was a good reminder of our Lord’s desire to ransom people from “every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9).
Next week I will be returning to Turkey where I have been invited to minister among a scattered people group of refugees in two cities. We invite you to pray for us. Stay tuned! And remember you can always stay up to date by visiting our website.
Wherever I go, I meet people serving Jesus on the front lines who tell me that BrookLink’s ministry has made a lasting impact in their lives. They not only share how the training and teaching has influenced them, they are excitingly asking us for more! We want to prayerfully and strategically say “yes” to many of these invitations.
At the same time, you should know that BrookLink has a modest budget, no endowment and this time of year we rarely have more than a few weeks’ operating budget on hand. We are not panicking or wracking our nerves because we know we have faithful supporters like you who stand with us and give generously!
Would you consider making a gift to BrookLink in this season as you are able, so we can continue to equip, empower and release pastors and church leaders for effective ministry?
Thank you for giving generously. And thank you for praying for us as we travel and train across the globe.
In His Grip,
PS: You are invited to Meadowbrook Church in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin on Sunday, May 1, 2016 at 6:30pm for our annual “Windows to the World” event. Come hear what God continues to do with his ‘scattered people’ across the world.