Two weeks from today, I leave for 16 days in Ethiopia and Tanzania. This trip has been planned for more than a year. The purpose of this trip is for several reasons. I will be going with a group from First Baptist Church in Athens, TX, and First Baptist Church in Shreveport LA, to host the Global Leadership Summit for Christian leaders in Ethiopia. We will be hosting two conferences — one in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and one in Awasa. Last I heard, we were expecting somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 leaders to be challenged and inspired and given some new tools to help them in ministry. I will also be looking at possible ways First Baptist Church Temple might partner with some of these leaders in helping support the Gospel of Christ in this country.
Over the past few days, there has been some questions of concern to me from those who know I am going. With the rise of the Ebola virus, there are some concerns as to my safety and health with travel to the continent of Africa. I have explained it this way:
West Africa, mainly Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, has seen the rise of Ebola. I will be on the eastern side of the continent, in Ethiopia and Tanzania.
My travel to Ethiopia is a non-stop flight from Washington DC to Addis Ababa and on the return is back to Washington DC via Rome. I am not terribly concerned about my flight arrangements; though they are very long flights.
I am closer to the Ebola threat here in Texas than I will be in Africa. Dallas is only 150 miles away.
I am going with a group that has travelled many times to this area. They know what I am supposed to do and I will be with them the entire time.
I was singing the song “Oceans” just a few days ago. The lines that struck me very clearly were these:
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters where ever You would call me.
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.
My prayer is now, and has always been, that God would use me to expand His kingdom. This is a great opportunity to do so. There is always risk involved, but there’s always risk involved with life –period. I want to make a difference and see
people come to know Christ. That is what our church is about as well, remember? We want to see people who are far from God encounter him and grow in the ways of Christ.