Smiles On A Bus


As I write this, I’m on a bus with twelve other Mars Hill leaders driving from Dilla, Ethiopia to Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia to catch a flight out of the country. The bus is full of laughter as our hearts are overflowing from spending time with God’s people in Africa.

The Christians in Ethiopia live on the razor’s edge of suffering, persecution, and poverty. Yet, they are more joyful than most Christians I know in America, including myself. Their joy in Jesus has inspired me, convicted me, and given me a practical example of what a truly God-dependent life looks like. As I reflect on our trip, I smile because I have learned so much—more than I can fully understand and communicate at this moment.

I learned the most from the Christians I met in Ethiopia, seeing their relationship with Jesus. They know Jesus in a profound but practical way. They love Jesus with an infectious passion. Truly, Jesus is first in their life and most important to them—more important than all other relationships. They are 100% consumed with Jesus, and it shows in all aspects of their lives.

These brothers and sisters in Christ pray like it matters. Their prayers are long and passionate and are accompanied by shouts of joy, tears of need, and child-like faith, because they know Jesus is their only hope. When they worship God in the corporate gathering, the presence of Christ is thick in the room and the Spirit of God moves throughout the body. They worship God with their entire being. It is normal for spontaneous praise to happen through singing, clapping, dancing, and shouting.

The Ethiopian Christians are also very serious about evangelism and church planting. So much so that they incorporate the call to mission in every one of the songs they sing. And even though they are very poor, they generously fund evangelists who roam the countryside sharing the gospel with anyone who will listen and seek to plant churches in small villages. The evangelists shared testimonies about nearly being killed by angry witch doctors and Muslims. Many witch doctors and Muslims have become Christians because these men are willing to lay their lives on the line and share Jesus with those who persecute them.

We need to be in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia. They are experiencing much opposition and persecution.

By: Pastor Bubba Jennings

This post is republished material from Mars Hill Church for teaching and archive purposes only.