While I was in Addis Ababa last week, the General Secretary of the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church, Dr. Yacob, mentioned a couple of contrasts that really stuck with me.

The first is a rendition of an old African proverb:

"He who wants to win, runs alone. He who wants to go longer, takes others with him."

The second is a simple cultural and scriptural observation:

"In our economy, the widow and the orphan are the lowliest. In God’s economy, they are the priority."

Ethiopianlady 

(SURVIVAL MODE. An Ethiopian lady, sells tea kettles in the middle of a busy street in Addis Ababa)

God looks at the disenfranchised and downtrodden as the key to his heart and the expansion of his Kingdom. He has also ordained his Church, working "as one," to be the mechanism of care and redemption.

God came as a vulnerable baby, born in a feeding trough to impoverished parents who then became refugees for his safety. He was raised by an adoptive parent. Even though he is the greatest in the universe, he knows what it means to be one of the "least of these." Isn’t it just like God, then, to use the "lowliest" to see his purposes accomplished? Isn’t it just like God to see millions come to him through widows and orphans, to use them as a primary means for the growth of his Church?

Ethiopianorphanspraying

(FROM THIEVES TO WORSHIPPERS. These rescued children in one of our church-based homes in Ethiopia are very aware of who they need to thank)

143 million orphans. 143 million potential believers. 143 million potential missionaries. Probably the greatest opportunity of our time.

It can only be accomplished in partnership. There is no room for Lone Rangers and little fiefdoms. There is only space for concerted action as the Church being…the Church.

Paulwithethiopianorphans

(THE CHURCH. This children’s home required the Church – the Church to rescue the children; the Church to care for them; the Church to provide funding and counsel. They are the Church. We are the Church. Working together as one.)