One of my favorite things about working with Guitars For Glory, is having the opportunity and privilege to network with other great ministries. There are many organizations doing incredible work around the world that often go unnoticed. And while it is not recognition that drives us to do something greater, there is a sense of encouragement that we receive when shining some light on the positive things happening in the world when it feels like national media outlets would rather share the bad news.
After months of failed attempts, I finally was able to schedule a phone call with Erik Laursen. Erik is the Executive Director of New Covenant Foundation. I was blessed by our 30 minute phone call, and once again blown away by the gift of music and worship.
NCF who does the majority of their work in Ethiopia, provides a new model for partnership, a new way to empower people, and a new way to keep them going. It connects people together across geographical, cultural, social, and religious boundaries. This connection is centered on Jesus Christ who brings all things together under him. NCF empowers 143 Ethiopian Church Planters to establish churches in the Unreached areas of Ethiopia. Over 300 self sustaining churches have been planted among the 20 million Unreached! What an incredible accomplishment! As talked more, one story specifically stuck out surrounding the power of worship on a recent medical missions trip Erik had gone on with NCF. I asked Erik if he would be open to us sharing this story, and he obliged. I hope you are as encouraged by his testimony as I was. Read below for Erik's story, in his own words.
NCF Medical Missions Trip
When I was initially approached about doing a medical mission in Ethiopia, a few things entered my mind:
1.) I know nothing about medical missions!
2.) How does this fit with our ministry to Ethiopia?
3.) I know nothing about medical missions!
To be quite honest, I wanted to run away from the idea but God spoke into my heart with that gentle but loud whisper– GO!
At that season of my life, I found myself stuck in the parables of Matthew 25. In Matthew 24, Jesus is having some serious discussion with His disciples about the end of the world, He then goes into the parables of Matthew 25 to describe the Kingdom of God. As I prayed about the concept of doing a medical mission alongside our Ethiopian Church Planters, verses 37–40 continued to ring in my heart!
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25: 37–40
Just a few days after I felt God say "GO", I found myself in Arsi, Ethiopia hearing the testimonies of our Church Planters working in some of the darkest most difficult situations I had ever imagined. My heart was deeply moved by their willingness to sacrifice their own personal safety to make sure their fellow countrymen had an opportunity to hear the Gospel. As I began to build a relationship with these men, I had no idea that God would orchestrate the MT25 Medical Mission to be done in these communities!
In fact, one of the communities they had begun work in was called "The Blood Village" by locals because it was known for human sacrifices! I truthfully did not fully realize this was the same village we would do our medical mission in until a couple of days prior to our arrival.