by Pat Franklin
While church buildings fall empty in Britain, dozens of new ones are being built in poverty-stricken Ethiopia. In the last 15 years 108 churches have been established there, with Sunday Schools so large that they have to meet on Saturdays.
Pastor Fikre H. Norcha, President of the Presbyterian Church of Ethiopia (PCE) visited the small fellowship we attend in Britain and told us the situation in his country.
His denomination was established in 1997. It now has 75,000 members, five elementary schools and 108 churches.
One of our church members, a retired lawyer, helped build one of the schools this year, doing laboring work for the builders. So we now have a connection with the country where the Holy Spirit is obviously finding open hearts for Jesus. As the doors shut in England to the gospel, they are wide open in Ethiopia and it sounds like many are being saved there now.
The poverty is terrible. Pastor Norcha did not mention it, but we have heard from a mission team which went there. As the team was leaving, some of the children approached an English lady and begged for shoes. They were frightened of getting leprosy by going barefoot. The leprosy virus is in the soil. Can anyone out there start a shoe ministry for these poor kids?
The church we attend sponsors one little girl at the new school.
If any readers want to help or arrange a mission visit, they can contact Pastor Norcha. His cell phone is +251-911-214623. His email is email@example.com and also firstname.lastname@example.org
Maybe some of you are thinking: 'Oh no, not another good cause we are asked to support!' Let me just tell you something else that was said at that same church service. The sermon was by Chris Roden, one of our three elders (we have no pastor and no one is paid a salary). Chris was talking about the Bema seat of Christ, where rewards for service will be handed out. The rewards will be roles assigned by Jesus in His Millennial (thousand year) reign. But for some Christians, although they will be saved, they will get no reward because they will have done nothing for Christ during their time on earth. They will live in the thousand year kingdom, but have no authority over anything.
Remember what Jesus said: if you are faithful in the small things now, He will set you over many things when He returns, which we believe will be soon.
So what should you be doing now to make sure the Lord Jesus will bless you with some role in His kingdom? Daily Bible reading is essential, because that is how God communicates with His children. Prayer is next: as Chris said, get used to talking to Jesus now, because you will surely be giving an account of yourself to Him at the Bema seat.
Study the Bible, be a disciple, a disciplined person who lives a quiet life, working with your hands (1 Thes 4:9); be ambitious to be acceptable to God, presenting your body as a living sacrifice according to Romans 12:1-2, well pleasing to the Lord.
Don't just do what you want. Ask the Lord what He wants you to do. Ask Him to help you do it His way, not your way.
'...abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.' 1 John 2:28 That is a prayer I often say: 'Lord, please grant that I will be happy to see You, and not ashamed.' And that is my hope for all our readers too. How tragic it will be for those who can't be bothered to serve the Lord now.