Meeting Others Where they Are: Rev. Pool’s Lesson in Ethiopia

Meeting Others Where they Are: Rev. Pool’s Lesson in EthiopiacandlewickHOLIDAY

(Rev. Jim Pool, Renaissance Vineyard Church, Dec. 28, 2014)

On my first trip to Ethiopia, 2008,  I and fellow members of Renaissance Vineyard visited a village called Minke, a few hours outside of Addis Ababa. Abera, the young man pictured in the middle below, had come into contact with a Vineyard church in another town, gotten inspired, and started a new church among his people in his home village.

We were gallowaycollens1there to encourage this new community and serve them that day. The area was gorgeous – high rolling plateau at an elevation of 10,500 feet. The challenge: the village was at least several hundred feet below in a deep valley.

Our contact guide and friend, Woudineh, said that he would call the villagers up to meet us. This is what typically happened, he said, when guests came from outside the area. At the risk of being rude, our team said that we would rather go down to visit them. Not only did it seem unkind to make the 100 of them come all the way up to visit the 4 of us, when we had come to serve them!, But more than that we said, modern natural baby inprogressJesus had done the hard work of descending to meet with us where we are at, so it seemed to us like we should follow his example. Which is exactly what we did. And when we told this story at the bottom of the valley, there were tears all the way around!

This Christmas as we celebrated the birth of Jesus, we celebrate the God who descended into the cheers and tears and fears of our everyday lives, experiencing the human condition from the inside out, so that God might bless all that is good and redeem all that seed010_todd_blakenshipis broken.

We were there as a group of churches forming a partnership to build relationship, encourage and empower local leaders as they sought to support tier local communities. This was the first scouting trip. These faith communities now have schools for young girls who otherwise would not have early access to education. We’re working to install water purifiers in another community in the south.

On this trip we definitely received at least as much or more, than we gave. The people of Ethiopia are gracious and hospitable and have a natural grasp of community. It wouldn’t be too far to say that some of what I’ve learned about community and try to implement in Ferndale I learned from being with my Ethiopian friends and watching and learning from them. Truly, as we serve, we receive back.

Learn more about Renaissance Vineyard at

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