Lesson # 2: Sacrifices Worth Seeing

Dale bringing smiles to little faces

I suppose anytime we travel we have preconceived notions about what lies ahead: We imagine what the weather will be like, we envision how the people will welcome us, we worry how our stomachs will welcome their food.   

In preparation for our trip, I anticipated that I would encounter great sacrifice in the leadership of the churches we visited. I just knew that I would be inspired and invigorated by the elders/pastors. I couldn’t wait to get back home to share with our church these great stories of sacrifice that I observed first hand.   

However, for a number of reasons, the sacrifices that God impressed upon me were not the sacrifices of the Ethiopian church leaders, but the sacrifices that were made by my teammates and translators! Without a doubt, there are shining examples of self denial among the Burji leaders we worked beside. However, the scope and pace of our ministry never put me in close proximity to pastors, but with other people.

Jamie counting pills in the dark w/his flashlight in his mouth

One of those “other people” was Jamie Huff. Jamie’s sacrifices touched me.  Jamie is a pharmacist in Roxboro. Jamie has traveled to Ethiopia two times. The first trip to Ethiopia Jamie paid his own way.  Both trips Jamie used his own vacation time in order to minister. He left the comfortable confines of his Pharmacy desk to dispense malaria and typhoid meds in the dark of night.    

I also served together with Dale Jennings in Gugi land.  Dale reminded me of the prophet Jeremiah.  When he open his mouth to share Jesus often his eyes fill with tears.  I couldn’t help but think of Psalm 126:5, “Those who sow in tears will reap with joyful shouting.”    

 God used Dale’s testimony to encourage me.  Dale worked an additional part-time job at a local book store in order to come to Burji.    Both of these brothers are soft-spoken, but their sacrificial example spoke loud and clear to me!   

Joseph & I awaiting breakfast

God blessed my life through my friendship with Joseph, one of our translators.  If you would have been with me, you would have noticed Joseph language proficiency: he speaks at least five languages.  If you had served with Joseph, you would have noted his technical savvy: if it were possible he could hot wire a wireless network.   However, Joseph too, like so many others, made personal sacrifices in order to do kingdom work.       Joseph left his IT Job in Awassa for over a week to volunteer.  Then Joseph stayed on another week to translate for us in Gugi land.  He worked tirelessly, preached passionately, endured hardship patiently for God’s glory.

 What a blessing to work hand in hand with men whose sacrifices point us to one who made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf!  (Ephesians 5:1-2)!


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Dale Jennings on August 5, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    I am moved by the kind words. I am glad God lead me to this today. I spoke of Joseph to a couple of my friends today. Joseph was such a blessing and encouragement. As were you.


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