Philemon

October 26, 2009

The compound (gated area) I am living on consists of several rental houses/rooms.  These are all rented by missionaries, or short term mission teams.  It is nice to be around other missionaries, but I like to be able to interact with the nationals too (that is why I am here, after all J).  Each week, there is a group of teenage Ethiopian boys who come and play basketball on the compound.  The first time I saw them, my friend, Eyob, was with them (I knew Eyob from the last time I was here).  He told me that he is the coach, and they come to play each week.  They asked me to come watch and to talk with them, so I did.  Since then, I have gone and watched a couple more times.  It has been good for me to sit and chat with them for more than one reason.  First, it is really good for me to practice my Amharic language with them, but it has also been an open door to share my faith with them.  The first time, I happened to have my Bible with me, so a few of them asked me about it.  A couple of them knew passages to look up, so they asked me and I looked them up. 

Last Tuesday night was the third time I came, and one of the boys I had not met yet came and sat by me.  He was probably around 18 years old.  He said his name was Philemon, and I said “that’s from the Bible.”  He began telling me that he used to be Catholic, but now he is nothing.  I asked him why, and he kind of shrugged and said “I don’t know, I guess there have just been a lot of circumstances that have made me question my faith in God.”  I shared with him something that I have been reminded of a lot lately myself: that we cannot let circumstances dictate Truth, and that the only Truth comes from the Word of God.  He nodded, and we talked some more about what faith looks like.  He said he actually started praying again recently, but he wasn’t sure how to pray really.  He also talked about a 12 year old girl he knew who had encouraged him to read scripture.  Apparently, she would text him scriptures to read for the day, and encouraged him to pray.  Sadly, he said she is now in the hospital, and she has not sent any messages to him for a while.  So, he asked me what scriptures he should read for the day.  Since he has going through a really rough time and questioning God I made the suggestion that He read the last few chapters of Job.  He said he would read, and I told him I would be praying for him.  I hope to see him again this week and be able to talk with him some more.  Please be praying for him too.

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