Sorry it has taken us a while to follow up on our last update. There’s been a lot going on!
The meeting with the community elders went well. Thank you for all the prayers and encouraging emails. The elders came last Friday to apologize to Shane, Brian, and Yonas. Shane told them the story of the servant whose large debt was forgiven and yet was unwilling to forgive a lesser debt owed to him. Shane explained that through Christ he had been forgiven a large debt and was able to forgive them. Shane told them that although he forgave them (the shamalgales), the forgiveness that they really need comes from Christ. Brian then accepted their apology and told them the story of Jesus being falsely accused (and even put to death) by his community and how he forgave them, even as he was dying. Brian explained to them that since he models his life after “this man” Jesus, then he must also forgive our Langano community after they had falsely accused him. I think both stories really fit well with the situation. Everyone seemed to listen intently and afterwards they were hugging Brian and Shane. Some more seeds were definitely planted and hopefully this can be a strong building block for the missionaries there in Langano as they continue to minister.
Please pray for the rest of our teammates who remain in Langano. This whole drawn out, longstanding thief situation, and the ugliness that came with it really took a toll on all of us. It was so disillusioning to see so many of the Oromo people who we thought were our friends turn against us all so quickly. It was yet another reminder that we will always be outsiders, especially in the Oromo culture. Their default is to their own tribe. We have seen this over and over again. Even the Oromo Christians put their tribe and their tribal values over their relationship with Jesus and his teachings. For example, they still participate in revenge killings (remember our guard that was recently killed), they still go to the local “wisdom woman” (witch doctor), etc. I know some of our teammates have felt quite discouraged by it all. Please keep them in your prayers as they press on in Langano.
We moved out of Langano last Thursday and we are in Addis now. Tonight we are flying out to Switzerland to a missions retreat/conference there, which we are really looking forward to. It came at a great time. It will be really good for us to have a chance to process everything that we have been through (both good and bad) over the past 5 years and also help us look forward to this new chapter we will be starting in Kenya. With all our hearts we want to serve well there and go in as fresh as possible! We are very thankful for this opportunity.
You have no idea how much your prayers and emails of support have meant to us. Please keep us in your prayers as we continue in our transition. Once we get back from Switzerland, we will be in Addis 4 more days closing things down, and then on July 5th we move to Kenya.