This past Saturday, 16 people boarded an international flight and launched South Bay Church's first official mission trip. This week they will be serving in Nazaret, Ethiopia with our partnership church, Nazaret Emmanuel United Church. We were able to develop this partnership through a ministry of Compassion International called Church-to-Church (C2C).
Nazaret Emmanuel is an amazing church and we have plenty to learn from them! This church was originally started about 15 or 20 years ago by 10 college aged guys. These guys started a Bible study at the Coptic Orthodox Church, which is the predominant religion in Ethiopia. The Coptic church is similar to Catholicism in that it has it's roots in Christianity but tends toward religious tradition and hollow rituals. This Bible study that they started began to experience a fresh movement of the Spirit of God. It grew and grew and grew, which caused much concern to the leaders of the Coptic Church.
Finally these men decided to branch out to start a different church, but it was not without intense persecution. A couple of the men were actually martyred for their faith. Over the last 15-20 years, Nazaret Emmanuel has been apart of launching nearly 100 churches and have somewhere around 30,000 people connected in their network of churches.
When Andy got home from visiting there last summer, he said that worshiping with them at their Sunday service was like nothing he'd ever experienced. They start their worship service with about 45 minutes of intense prayer with everyone praying a loud at the same time.
Nazaret also has a Compassion program where they serve over 200 kids similar to an after school program here. But this program provides food, medical care, funding for school, and spiritual training.
Our team will be doing a variety of things, but one of the coolest parts is that they will be able to meet / play with a lot of the kids that people in our church sponsor through Compassion! I may or may not have snuck in a little present for them to deliver to our child!
I can hardly wait for the day that Caedmon and Sammy are old enough to take on this trip. What a special experience that will be to take Sammy back to his country of origin to love, serve, bless, and learn from them.
Will you join me in praying for our mission team this week?