During the first week of this summer, I was a counselor at my church’s children's camp, Camp Tsungani. This camp for elementary school students has a Native American theme, and we all had to pick a Native American name for ourselves for camp. I picked the name “Joyful Branch.” It served as a constant reminder that I am totally dependent on God because He is my vine (John 15:5). Another type of branch jumped out of the Bible for me last week. There are two olive branches mentioned in Zechariah 4:12. The temple is being rebuilt, and God is giving Zechariah, the prophet, visions. Zechariah’s vision in Chapter 4 has three components: the promise of completion of the temple, two olive branches, and, most importantly, the oil of the lampstand. The two branches represent two leaders, and the oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Without the oil, the branches are worthless and weak.
TFC is branching out, and I’m the new branch. As Joe Bridges and his family prepare to move back to Ethiopia at the end of the year, I will transition into the role of U.S. Director of The Forsaken Children...
As I’m writing this, I am just checking with God one last time to make sure this is real.
Joe asked me to introduce myself to you. But all I can think to say is that I’m a weak and feeble branch. But isn’t that just like God to call someone like me? After all, He often uses the weak so that His power may shine perfectly (2 Corinthians 12:9)!
My passion for the street kids of Ethiopia was ignited during a Central Church mission trip in June of 2011. I returned to Ethiopia again in June of 2012. From that point onward, God opened my eyes to the fact that my place was in the U.S. I was to help Ethiopian street orphans from Memphis, TN. I’ve served on the TFC board of directors for 3 years, moving into the position of Vice Chair last year.
The word “branch” is mentioned again in Zechariah 6:12. The Branch is Jesus. “Tell him what the Lord almighty says: Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord.” (Zechariah 6:12)
The Lord is our true vine and our true branch. The Holy Spirit is the oil that lights the way. TFC is ready to branch out. Joe will go to Ethiopia. I will step into the role of U.S. Director. The ministry of TFC will continue to be pruned and bear fruit allowing God to lead the way. But we need your help! Your prayers, your support and your love will help us all make this a smooth transition. Thank you for your support of The Forsaken Children.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
Please make plans to come to The Forsaken Children's Lasting Hope Gala on October 2nd to wish Joe and Karyn well on their move to Ethiopia, and I would also love to see you there!