Day 4: Our morning began without electricity; however, tea by candle light really set the stage for a day where we would learn to work with flexibility. Before our breakfast we all joined together for morning devotional focused on Luke 10:25-37. We reflected on what it really meant to be a Good Samaritan. Writings from C. S. Lewis reminded us that "Our Charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feelings for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner". Our perceptions of people and our treatment of people are very powerful. Jesus says that what you have done for the least of these, you have done for Him. We prayed that as we went through our day that we would see our teammates, each of the local leaders, and each of patients as the face of Jesus.

Just as the sun was rising, the electricity was restored and the Ethiopia coffee was brewing. Following our breakfast, we were off for our first out-patient clinic. This was the opening day for the new Bole-District Clinic. Special mission offerings from MPPC were given for partnership of this new clinic. What a joy that our medical team was there for the opening day. Due to the tremendous pre-planning and organizational abilities of team members, Gayle and Nancy, we were up and running and seeing patients within 1 hour after our arrival. Our expert ER Nurse, Mike served as triage and patients were soon being seen by our team doctors, Hardwin, Doug, Burt and Paul, assisted by our very capable medical student, Amy. Gayle and Nancy ran our pharmacy; Julie assisted Mike taking vital signs, and served as the consultant for eye patients. Chelesa became a quick study and assisted the microbiologist with lab testing. Linda and Duane were busy getting acquainted with the children and praying with those in need. In all, we estimated to see approximately 120 patients from 60 families. A wide variety of patient problems were presented utilizing all the various expertise of our medical team members. In the more sobering moments, we all realized that all of the patients were suffering with HIV/AIDS, many of the children also victims of this disease. But God proves to be faithful even in the suffering.

About mid morning, 10 beautiful Ethiopian women entered the waiting area and prepared for the traditional Ethiopia Coffee ceremony. We later learned that these 10 women were some of the very first beneficiaries of the SIM program and recipients of antiretroviral therapy. These 10 women have formed a support group and many of them are now "expert patients" and they now counsel new beneficiaries coming into the program. These women contribute "3 Birr" a month - (in our currency 35 cents) to meet needs within their small group. We learned at the coffee ceremony that these beautiful women contributed money from their community fund to honor us with this coffee ceremony, complete with popcorn and home made bread. This is just what we needed to give us strength for busy afternoon clinic. This gift to us was scripture coming alive as we reflected on Luke 21:1-4. "As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. 'I tell you the truth', he said, 'this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.'" To be honored by these women will be a moment none of our team members will ever forget. We all learned today what selfless love really looks like.

Our Elder Linda had a joyous day. Linda and Duane started off by entertaining the children with games, coloring, blowing bubbles, playing jacks and ball. After Linda had become quick friends with these beautiful children, she decided to tell them a story. And that story was the Good News of Jesus. Linda was joined by a local Pastor from the Lutheran Church who served as her interpreter. Linda began to share with the children about her friend Jesus. She told them that Jesus could be their forever friend. Linda had the children look into the sky and the clouds were moving swiftly - she told them - see the clouds, they are just temporary. The clouds come and go, they are temporary, but Jesus is forever. She told them that our bodies are temporary, but we will live with Jesus forever. She shared that faith is believing in what you cannot see with your eyes, but you know it is true. She talked to the children about what they were learning in school. But she told them that the most import book in life with all the answers to life's tough questions was the BIBLE. The conclusion of this story telling session is that 8 children accepted Jesus into their hearts and publically shared that with the other children in the group. They all joined hands in prayer and Linda told them there were all family now, brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. Just imagine the impact of this decision for these children living in families with mothers and fathers who are HIV/AIDS victims, some children already infected and others at high risk. We do believe the angels are rejoicing in heaven tonight. Our sister Linda put into practice the teachings of 2 Timothy 1:6-8 "For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of hands. For God did not give you us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord."

So as the sun was setting, we were seeing the last of the patients in the clinic and finished up about 7:00 pm. Our bodies may be weary but our souls were bursting with joy. We meditated in the morning on a reading from Mother Theresa where she reminded us to go through our day and say "Sweet Jesus, what a privilege it is to serve you today." And just in case you think I forgot to tell you how our team member Mimi was serving today, well, so like Mimi she was our prayer warrior. Mimi did not feel 100 % when we left for clinic and stayed at the guest house to rest. She told us upon our arrival home that she felt much better early in morning and prayed for us all day. Mimi was truly the wind beneath our sails today. We were reminded of Isaiah 40:31 "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint."

Our dinner was a feast of traditional Ethiopian dishes, with joy multiplied in the fellowship of our team members each sharing stories from their day. This is the day the Lord has made and IT WAS GOOD ! : In the midst of tragedy and terminal illness, we heard laughter, we saw joy, there were hugs, we participated in true Christian fellowship and we saw little children welcomed into the family of God. We serve a God who is faithful in every corner of the world. But we were recipients today as well, because we learned how to love more deeply.

As you glance into the photos on this page, reflect on James 2:5 "Listen my dear brothers; has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of this world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love Him?"