Last night at our evening church service, Melissa talked about her 6 month mission trip to Ethiopia. She showed many pictures and shared her experiences, followed by a time of questions. There were two striking moments for me Sunday night. The first was a story told of the children who came to their children's ministry and being very lethargic. They tried to do excercises to liven the children up but that did not work. They finally figured out that the reason the children were so weak was because they were not eating. They simply had nothing to eat. So at the beginning of their time together, they gave them something to eat and drink.
The second moment was the pictures of children/teens in boys and girls homes, without parents. Beautiful children and teens but with no family. Melissa mentioned the times she would be with both groups and seek to love them, in the name of Jesus.
And that is the value of doing more than social work in Ethiopia on a mission's trip. Melissa not only fed the children and developed relationships with those in the groups homes but she also was able to speak of the living water, the living bread and a heavenly Father. The gospel as it goes forward meets the ultimate need - pointing others to the death and love of Jesus Christ.
I thank the Lord Melissa was able to go to Ethiopia to feed the children and encourage the teens. But I also thank the Lord that she was able to take the great message of Jesus half way across the world and tell them of a gracious Father, a loving Christ and a Christian family.