“The next day Jesus desired and decided to go into Galilee; and He found Philip and said to him, “Join Me as My attendant and follow Me.” John 1:42 Amplified version
I have no idea how the Lord chose me. Why me? Of all people why me? Why did he choose me to be a part of a ministry that goes halfway around the world to tell a nationality of people about the love of Christ? Why do I have this desire to go to Ethiopia? Truly I have no clue. I have no ties to this country. My only tie is that my two nephews were adopted from Ethiopia. I do not know why I love this people group as I do. The only explanation I can give is, “This is God’s in birthed persuasion in my life!” Only God… Only God is the One who gives me a passion for going and telling other’s about the love of Jesus Christ. Only God gives me the compassion of Jesus as I go from home to home to give hope to those who have only known hopelessness. That is why John 1:42 from the Amplified version speaks so much to me. Out of the blue Jesus goes and finds Philip. Philip seemingly enters this drama out of nowhere. The bible does not say if Jesus had met him before. Maybe he was one of Andrew’s friends who had followed Jesus after John the Baptist had pointed Him out. I do not know. The bible only says that Philip was from the town of Bethsaida just like the brothers, Andrew and Peter.
I feel like I am a Philip in this unfolding drama of “IAMNOT4GOTTEN MINISTRIES.” I once told my sister-in-law that the next time she went to Ethiopia, the home of her sons, that I wanted to go with her. She held me to my word, and I have been hooked every since. Last week I just made my eighth trip to Addis Ababa Ethiopia. When the customs attendant asks me why so many trips, I just tell him, “I am visiting family.” That is what it feels like to me. I can’t expain my reasoning other than, “God put this desire and this love inside my heart! It is God’s in birthed persuasion moving me to join Him as His attendant and follow Him to Ethiopia.” That is the only way I can explain our trip to Ketab on Tuesday morning. “The next day Jesus desired and decided to go…” We had no idea where we were going as we traveled to the outskirts of Addis. “We are going to Keteb,” our friends explained. “Where is Keteb?” I didn’t know. I had never traveled to this sub city of ADDIS, but I trusted my God who called me and I trusted our workers in Ethiopia. I trusted that God had a story for me to be a part of; there was an event that was about to unfold before my eyes and Jesus wanted me to be His plus one.
Meet Tigest. This is the second Tigest I met that day. Again, I love that her name means patience. This was her patiently waiting so she could offer us hospitality. I have learned these people love to invite us into their homes. Ethiopians are very hospitable people. This is her son Sodiyas. I sat and listened to Tigest’s story unfold. I kept watching her eyes. There was something in those eyes. Her gaze wasn’t like the last Tigest I had met who had hopelessness written into her countenance. When I looked at this Tigest, though her story was gut wrenching, though she had known violence and abuse, she told her story with a smile. She couldn’t always do that. There had been a time in her life she had been on the edge of suicide. Death and the taking of her own life was calling out to her. Her husband had abused her. Her husband had been thrown into prison. She had been thrown to the streets. She had nowhere to go. She had no one to take her in. She had nothing. She felt her life was worthless. A Christian man came along and offered to pay her rent. The office of Women’s and Children’s Affairs told her “IAMNOT4GOTTEN ASSOCIATION” would help support her child. God showed her the love of Jesus Christ through the hands and feet of Jesus. Tigest believed in the Lord Jesus Christ because she had been visibly shown the love of Jesus Christ. Tigest could tell her story with a beautiful smile because she had the HOPE OF JESUS CHRIST living inside of her. Just like Hagar in the Old Testament, Tigest had fled abuse and violence, and El Roi, THE GOD WHO SEES, looked down and saw this beautiful child and rescued her from taking her own life.
“When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.” “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.””
John 1:47-48 NIV
Just like Nathaniel, Jesus saw Tigest when she was living on the streets helpless and alone. Just like Jesus sent Philip to find Nathaniel, Jesus sent His people to rescue Tigest. Jesus saw in Tigest a beautiful child who is worthy. She was worthy of His love and He proved it to her by offering his body as a sacrifice so that she might have eternal life.
Her story does not end here though. Tigest has finished the tenth grade. She would like to find support that would help her go back to school and graduate so she can provide for her and her beautiful son, Sodiyas. God provided for Tigest. God will provide for her again.
Philip had to leave his comfort zone. If he wanted to follow this Nazene who had just entered his life, he had to leave his fishing village of Bethsaida and follow Him. Jesus was calling Philip to be an attendant to the events that were about to transpire in Galilee. Just like Philip, I had to leave the comfort of my home in Tulsa, OK if I wanted to be an attendant to the unfolding of the beauty of Tigest’s life. For the life of me I cannot figure out why Jesus called me to Ethiopia, but I am sure thankful He did.