Johannes’ story.

The helicopter took off.  Flying high with my two boys.  My heart was full.

Johannes a young evangelist who lives and works in the southern village, asked me for a ride to the bus station.  He hopped in my car and began telling me his story.

A year ago, the helicopter came on schedule for its monthly medical and evangelistic time into the T@ra villages…but this time for Johannes, it was a life or death, God-orchestrated flight…just the right day, just in time.  His wife had been laboring for days in their small hut.  Johannes knew the helicopter would land the next morning sometime in the first T@ra village.  His only hope was to hike 8 hours through the night and the thick mountainous terrain to meet the helicopter.  So he and his brother set off.  By God’s grace they arrived and the helicopter landed soon after.  They quickly took flight again to reach Johannes’ wife. Upon landing they quickly assessed that she needed to be flown back to Soddo.  Her life was in danger.

Arriving in Soddo, our amazing OB did surgery and delivered their first born son, but he was already dead.  The focus shifted quickly to the mom–to save her life.  She was admitted for two weeks, but God rescued her.

As our team buried Johannes’ son, Ben got down in the dirt with Johannes and spoke of how God identified with this pain–He had also given His first and only Son.  This was the Gospel. In the grave, in this pit…in this unthinkable life-altering moment, the Gospel was the only hope.  God would meet him in this pit, grieve with him, identify with him, and give him the strength to lift him up.  Johannes covered his son in his only jacket and climbed up out of the pit.

Returning to his village WITH his wife alive also meant that Johannes could live.  He shared with me, soberly, in the car that that day, God not only rescued his wife, but also him.  If his wife had died, the custom would be for his wife’s family to kill him , since somehow he did not care for his wife.   The son was lost–given early to Jesus, but this evangelist and his wife were redeemed by the merciful hand of God.

At this point we arrived at the bus station where he had asked me to take him.  He thanked me quietly.  I was in stunned silence, but blessed him.  He fumbled with the lock on the door and the handle.  He couldn’t get out of my car.  Maybe he had never ridden in a car before?  I was humbled.  I reached over.  He said he would go back to his Bible college where he’d be graduating in 2 weeks.  I asked if he had money for the bus ride home.  He answered he’d go by foot.  It is a 2 hour drive.  I handed him the 60 birr ($3) for the bus, he looked down with a huge smile and blessed me.  He Blessed Me.

Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?    (James 2:5)