Letter from Cody: Ethiopia – July 2016
I was recently blessed with the beautiful thought found in Titus 3:4, 5: “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” According to His great mercy and grace, He has saved us through nothing that we could do ourselves. We must cooperate with His cleansing and allow Christ to live out His life within us, but still our efforts amount to nothing. Paul goes on to say, “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.” Titus 3:8. We are to affirm these beautiful truths constantly—they are never to get old. Why? So that we can maintain good works. If we do not keep constantly in mind where we came from, what Jesus has done and how He saves us by His love and mercy, our faith will grow cold. “Our acceptance with God is sure only through His beloved Son, and good works are but the result of the working of His sin-pardoning love. They are no credit to us, and we have nothing accorded to us for our good works by which we may claim a part in the salvation of our souls…. It is the fragrance of the merit of Christ that makes our good works acceptable to God, and it is grace that enables us to do the works for which He rewards us.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1122. May we constantly keep these beautiful truths in mind that our works may be fragrant with Christ’s merit!
As I write, I am on my way back from Ethiopia, and I am praising God for what He has done in reaching out to perishing souls. We had a busy trip with evangelistic meetings each evening, worker training in the morning and visits to various churches in the afternoon. As soon as we landed in the town of Donga-Tunto a Pathfinder group from another city was on the ground and marching through the streets to let everyone in the community know about the meetings. It caused quite an attraction, and they marched many people right to the meetings. The town where the meetings were held was chosen because of the difficulties the workers had experienced in working the area. A large Saturday market draws many people and the Pentecostal churches are very strong in the area. The Lord really blessed with multiple miracles. One of those miracles was that the Lord held off the rain every night so that it never disturbed our meetings. It rained many other times, but never did the rain interfere with the evangelism. An even greater miracle, though, was the very strong interest throughout the meetings. While the numbers were hard to estimate, attendance kept growing with somewhere around three to five hundred people coming out each evening. At the end of each meeting, we opened up the floor for questions, and always received quite a number. Many people wondered why our worship style was different from what they were used to since we
didn’t shout, jump or clap, so we covered an entire night on the false worship of Babylon. The night that we presented the mark of the beast, we were told that the local churches had been saying that we were the fulfillment of 666 coming to deceive the people. Once again the Bible was allowed to answer the questions. We are so grateful for how the Lord has worked in this difficult territory, with many people making decisions to continue studying and to join the local church. The challenges certainly are not over, but the Lord has worked. Please pray for the follow-up efforts as the workers now have an extensive interest to work with in this previously challenging field.
Yours in working for the Master,