The Holy Spirit’s First Name
David’s Second Photo Blog from Ethiopia
Ethiopia runs on a biblical clock, starting with the sun’s consistent rising around 6am (we’re near the equator), which is considered the start of “the first hour of the day.” Today (Sunday), church began at 10:00 on my watch, but at 4:00 Ethiopian time.
Today’s first lesson: Cathedral not needed for Holy Spirit to feel welcome. Jesus said, “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” We more than met that criteria with about 150 saints crowded inside the stick building in the photo below, a church with crude plank pews (no backs on them) and a dirt floor:
And here is an interior view:
When our team arrived, it was evident that we were not about to suffer through a seeker-sensitive service with a watered-down message about American Jesus. The saints were praying. All of them. Out loud. At the same time. Like in the book of Acts. Prayers were punctuated by the assistant pastor’s exhortations to pray. It lasted at least 30 minutes.
Joy permeated the atmosphere. When the worship began, it was alive. There were no hymnals or projected lyrics. When the choir later sang—a cappella except for a single drum—the singers swayed and moved, but they kept their eyes closed and their heads bowed in reverence. The preaching was obviously anointed, although I could not understand a single word.
It was amazing to think that all of these believers—Borena tribes people—were less than three years old, spiritually. But they were acting like they were born again, filled with the Spirit, and excited about Jesus, because they actually were! Most have come to Christ because of a miraculous healing or deliverance they’ve experienced or witnessed.
This was a genuine Seeker-sensitive church, and if an unbeliever wandered in, he had a good chance of being convicted of not loving the Seeker with all his heart, mind, soul and strength!
When the service was over, joyful saints returned to their homes—dirt floor huts that bear no resemblance to the dwellings that await them in heaven. Many must walk miles from their homes to gather dirty drinking water in yellow jerry cans. Which is why I was happy to join some of them that afternoon at the dedication of a new well funded by Heaven’s Family’s Safe Water Ministry. I’ll tell you about that in my next blog. A few more photos are below.