|Posted by Canaan Community Church on June 22, 2012 at 8:10 PM|
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for thou art with me... Psalm 23:4
Today we participated in a conference being held at the Instiute for Urban Workers called the United Church for Urban Concern Conference. The focus of the conference was homelessness in Addis and how the church could come together to alleviate the issue.
Once the conference was over we took a bus to visit the new site of IHA/UDP's first homeless shelter which was donated to them by Holy Trinity Orthodox Church a very prestigious church right next door to The Congressional buildings here in Addis.
What I didn't expect was that the building would be the tomb of of former Empress Zewditu and would be in the center of an ancient cemetery behind the church filled with mosoleums, above ground tombs and grave sites. Stranger still, as we walked through the cemetery the doors of the tombs began to crack open and eyes began to peer out at us. At this point I was ready to go the other way! Then I realized that people were living in the tombs, the church was obviously allowing the homeless to use the tombs as shelter. At that moment I realized the homeless shelter was not an isolated building in the middle of a cemetery but a beacon of hope in a community of the forgotten! God was giving hope and life in a place where you would expect to only find death!
I encourage you back at home with these words as we walk through the valley in our city: the valley of violence, the valley of educational turmoil, the valley of economic struggle, the valley of joblessness and hopelessness. I remind you that even in the valley... GOD is with us!
Today we also visited HIDA a ministry serving children with HIV/AIDS providing nutritious meals, health care and education for these highly vulnerable children. A nurse by the name of Tibebo Maco started it 10 years ago and has served more than 15,000 children and recieved 6 international awards for her work! Proof again that all God needs is your ordinary and he'll put it with his extra and make the extraordinary happen.
Lastly, I asked myself, as we were leaving Holy Trinity, if I would be able to live in an old tomb and I am still not sure if I could? But I imagine as the torrential rains of the rainy season here in Ethiopia began to barrel down on me I would look for the first bit of shelter I could find. Just the same, there are so many who when facing the storms of life just look for the first bit of shelter they can find, whether drugs, sex, gangs, money or power. As Christians we have access to the true shelter and have to be willing to be with people in their various temporary shelters until we can show them what true shelter looks like. We must preach new life even in the middle of death!
He that dwells in ths shelter of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1
From the valley ,