Day by Day.

It is now my LAST week in Africa! I cannot believe how fast my time here has flown by. Interestingly, I am beginning to feel exactly how I felt in Kentucky at our retreat/training two days prior to embarking on our journey to Kenya. During those couple days I was feeling some anticipation and anxiety about what God had called me into. Our preparation for the trip consisted of everything but the slightest clue of what the day to day would look like in country. Basically, my calendar was clear. I don’t remember the last time I didn’t know what I would be doing the next month much less the next day. But God had a plan. His agenda for me was intentionally scheduled down to the minute leaving no room for Win to form any expectations. As I prepare to head home and back to “reality” I struggle to remember what that looks like. However, I eagerly await a new reality with an eternal life with my Father in Heaven being the end and only goal and anything in between in His hands.

Yesterday, our team arrived back in Addis Ababa. This past week we were in Adama and Jimma. Taking on two communities in one week was different, but a testament to how much work there is to be done.

Our first experience in Adama was a church service at an LIA partner church, Gospel Light International. In all my life I have never seen people worship like this. It was like each body in that room was created solely for that purpose; to praise without any emotional, mental or physical limitations. When people talk about God’s presence I will always remember that service. God was truly in that room with us, soaking it all in, smiling big. In Adama we had the opportunity to visit another one of LIA’s past projects. The Green-school Project was an environmental program started a couple years ago. A team came in and built over 300 trees on school grounds. We were lucky to join in and each literally plant a seed in that community. I am thankful for the chance to be a part of such a project and take time to interact with the kids at the school. I crave the connections you can make through sports especially when there is a language barrier. There is nothing better than being on a team. Any chance I get to form bonds like that with these kids, I’m taking it. And if you were wondering, yes, my team got the win 3-2!

We were in Jimma the last few days of this past week. There I was blown away by the statistics we were given in one of our training sessions. I’ll share a couple of those with you now: out of 2.7 million people in the town of Jimma, 89.1% are Muslim, 7.1% are Orthodox Christian, and 1.29% are Evangelical Christians. Such a small percentage of that population has been saved. If we had any doubts about why God had called us to Jimma there was no question why after reading that stat. Thinking about what you would say if someone asked you about your faith can be intimidating. Being surrounded by majority non-believers really tests you and makes you think about why it is that you do believe. 1 Peter 3: 15-16 says”....and if you are asked about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But you must do this in a gentle and respectful way.” God calls us into these people groups to bring them home to Him. I’m thankful that after this trip I feel more equipped to play a small part in the salvation of lost souls.

On one of our last days in Jimma we visited a site where the Compassion Project was getting to work with the vulnerable children population. Like I mentioned previously, the language barrier in Ethiopia is great. We were really challenged to connect with these kids and communicate the message we came to share. We are thankful that the Holy Spirit moves in crazy ways. The language thankfully never felt like an obstacle we had to overcome. In those moments we are able to see more clearly what it is that God calls us to ALWAYS. Galatians 5: 6 says...”what is important is faith expressing itself in love.”

It’s been an unreal trip so far. We have one week left, and I am sure the Lord has big plans for each second. Thank you all for sticking with me on this journey. Hopefully, something I’ve been able to share brings you joy. Next time you hear from me I’ll be back in the States! Looking forward to sending out my final update:)

God is good; All the time.
All the time; God is good.

With love,

Win Woodson

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