Tuesday, December 4


Three weeks from today we will all be observing Christmas. The day we all give each other gifts to celebrate Someone else. Go figure! And two weeks after that the Ethiopians will be celebrating their Christmas, but in a much different way than us. The exchanging of gifts is absent, for the most part, from the culture, but the enjoyment of food and fellowship is not. Families and friends will gather and feast on whatever meat they can afford after pooling their funds together. For the more well off, an ox will be slaughtered. From four o’clock in the morning when the process begins they will begin consuming the ox, red meat (lean) and white (fat), and eventually even cook some of it to enjoy also. Other families will merely have a chicken or two to commemorate the day together, and some will delight themselves in sheep or goat, roasted or stir-fried.

For about sixty-five men, this will be their last meal before they board a small 65-passenger bus with 110 other people and make the several hour (or in some cases all day) journey into the city for ten days.
Why would they succumb to such misery as being cramped on to a stuffy 105-degree bus in which no one will dare open a window for fear of moving air making them deathly ill? And ride that way for so long only to finally arrive in a city that is not their home and to a thin piece of foam (AKA a bed) while being fed crushed peas, some boiled veggies and sour fermented mush made from a grain that we have for the most part never even heard of in our country.


I am glad you asked! Primarily, the reason these men are willing to come and suffer the hardship that they face is so that they can learn about Jesus of Nazareth. These sixty-five men are coming to Addis Ababa for round four of the Pastor's Training Institute.

The content/curriculum of PTI-4 that these men are coming to consider will be proclaimed through the preaching of the scriptures. That Jesus was promised of old and that He was born of the Virgin Mary, and that His life was remarkable, not to mention His relentless ministry toward us and for us, His children, will be the beginning point. They will be confronted with the two natures of this God-Man and see clearly the three offices that were combined in Him as Prophet, Priest, and King. Though these men come from impoverished situations, none can compare to the transition that the Christ made by leaving His home of heavenly bliss to dwell on the dusty, dirty streets of His hometown, where He had no honor or a foam mattress in any corner of the village. And following this unthinkable stooping, this Man was murdered by us-type godless men for us-type sinners.

These Habesha men will God-willing begin to consider the real necessity of the atonement that Christ made and also seriously consider its nature and extent. But, they will not have to leave on such a dreary note. They will be expected also to contemplate Jesus even now, in His exaltation, following His physical resurrection and ascension. The Lord’s intercession and representation on their behalf ought to be a great encouragement to these men who have no one representing them on this earth. And in closing all the focus of these men will be on the Holy Spirit of God. His regenerating work, sanctifying grace, and constant comfort should enhance their desire to know and love this Man, Jesus.

May we too be enthralled with Him and His glory among the nations.
Here is one way we can send forth His glory.