Friday, May 7, 2010

Trip Update from Tom Sanchez

Tom Sanchez, the Global Outreach pastor of Grace Covenant, went to Zeway with his brother who specializes in grief and loss counseling. As part of the Partnership, we are to provide a variety of training for the social workers and staff. Read below from Tom:

On April 11th, Stephen, my older brother, and I arrived in Zeway, Ethiopia. We spent the evening visiting three of the child headed households that are the primary target of Grace’s partnership with Food for the Hungry and the Zeway Evangelical Alliance of Churches. The purpose of these visits was to expose Stephen to the actual living situations and stories that the social workers with Food for the Hungry deal with day in and day out.

On Monday morning, Stephen began a 4 ½ day seminar on Trauma, Grief and Loss for 50 social workers from three different ministry centers in Ethiopia. Although most of these social workers have college degrees, they have never been exposed to specific training regarding grief and loss in children. Since this has been Stephen’s specialty in his career as a school counselor for the last 20 years, his teaching was filled with real-life examples and stories that took it out of the theoretical arena to the very practical. The comments of some of the social workers at the end of the week demonstrated what a huge unmet need this had been and how very grateful they were for the training Stephen brought.

Meanwhile, I had a chance to interact with 9 missionaries that have been sent out of the Zeway evangelical community to mostly Muslim villages in the larger region around Zeway. One of these men is named Abei. For the last 10 months he has been spending eleven out of every fourteen days in a community about 15 miles out of Zeway. He is homeless, has no job, and carries a small leather bag with his personal possessions and a well worn Bible. His wife and children, Marta, Abram (5), and Lydia (6 months), live in Zeway. Marta shared with me that after he spends a weekend at home, on Monday morning she has his bag packet with clean cloths and she pushes him out the door, eager for him to return to the mission of carrying Jesus Christ to this community. In 10 months, Abei has seen 20-25 people come to faith in Jesus. He is considered a holy man in the community. He was asked to deliver the commencement speech and pass out diplomas at the local k-8 grade school. The “chief” of this village, a Muslim, has given him land for the purpose of building a church that will also function as his home.

I was deeply humbled by the price both Abei and Marta are paying with joyful hearts in order to fulfill God’s call on their lives. They are one of five missionaries that are supported through the partnership we have with this city and Food for the hungry. Praise God for the opportunity that He is giving us to be part of the miracles happening in this place.

Thank you Tom and Stephen for giving of your time and talents. Pictures from this trip will soon be posted!

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