by: Jonathan (written while in Ethiopia)
Flowing slowly, but smoothly and then forcefully rushing all its energy toward the outlet, the temperament of a river ebbs and flows based on its environment. In that way, it seems as though our ministry moves like a river.
Like a river affected by its environment, our ministry ebbs and flows based on God’s pace for our work. At times we swirl aimlessly stuck behind an obstacle, other times we move slowly along and, then, there are times when we race quickly downstream.
As we sat overlooking the Awash River this weekend, Joe reminded us of a time when God used another river to show He is the one who affects the course of a river – He makes the impossible possible.
Joe shared from Joshua chapter 4 after God split the waters of the Jordan River to give passage to the Israelites into the Promised Land. This was part of God’s plan to finish the work that He had started many years before when He led His people out of Egypt through the Red Sea. As they crossed, the Israelites were instructed to take 12 stones from the river bed. These stones served as a reminder that God is in Control, that God is powerful and that God always finishes what He starts.
Joe encouraged us to remember our “stones,” those children whose lives have been transformed through TFC and Onesimus.
I easily forget, though. When the ministry seems slow and we keep waiting on God to make a move, I become discouraged so quickly. I can't stand feeling like we are spinning our wheels. I want action, but when the action comes I feel like I can barely keep up. Sure it's exciting, but the forceful rush of God’s energy is overwhelming. And yet, I still forget.
So, I've chosen 12 stones: Ephrem, Desse, Mitu, Ruth, Berikut, Hannah, Tamrat, Nati, Yared, Alemayu, Begidu, and Nebiyu. When I am discouraged these stones will remind me that if we persevere, God is faithful. When I am overwhelmed these stones will help me remain focused and trust that God will keep us on course and …
He will finish what He started.“[God] did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that [we] might always fear the LORD [our] God.” Joshua 2:24