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The Holy Spirit’s First Name

28 Aug

The Holy Spirit’s First Name

woman from Ethiopia's Borena tribe holding child
A sister in Christ from Ethiopia’s Borena tribe, holding one of our teachers (Matt. 18:3)

The Holy Spirit’s First Name

David’s Second Photo Blog from Ethiopia

Dear Friends,

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:


The Pristine Chapel: Tarps are tacked to the exterior of the church to mitigate dust from blowing onto worshippers through the stick walls

And here is an interior view:

Ethiopian team preaching to church in Amharic, with translation into Borena
One of our Ethiopian team preaching in Amharic, with translation into Borena, one of Ethiopia’s 80-some languages.

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.

children praying during pre-service prayer time
Little kids praying during the pre-service prayer time

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.

David Servant
Founder and President, Heaven’s Family

serious Borena child
A serious little Borena saint

dirt floor huts in Ethiopia
It may look idyllic, but the reality is that the Ethiopians who live in dirt floor huts like these are among the world’s poorest people. Jesus died for all of them, and some of the people who live in huts like these are our brothers and sisters in Christ.

American preacher delivering sermon
This second sermon of the morning was delivered by my American companion, who must remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of his ministry (and for that reason, I’ve blurred his face). My favorite line of his sermon was, “The Holy Spirit’s first name is Holy!”

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1 Recent Comments

  • Tenney Singer

    This is so awesome. The most on fire churches I’ve ever visited have all been in other countries: Hong Kong and India. I’m sure it’s amazing to be part of the church in Africa.

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