“From every tribe, from every nation… a great multitude, standing before the throne of the Lamb, clothed in white robes…. And He who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more…. The sun shall not strike them…. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd and he will guide them to the spring of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev 7:9, 15–17).
Seven years ago, Bethlehem College & Seminary opened its doors and hired my husband, Jason, as its first Old Testament professor. Before he even began teaching, I realized that this new ministry post was really globally focused and that I wasn’t. I grieved, and I prayed that the Lord would awaken me to treasure Christ’s work for all nations. I did not expect him, however, to answer in the way he did!
The Lord began to lay international adoption on our hearts, and, after we repressed the idea for a time, God powerfully moved us in this way! Shaking with nervousness, I was also filled with wonder. I guessed this was how God was going to enlarge my heart, figuring quite simply that embracing a child from another culture as my own would be adequate to wake up my sleeping heart.
It may have been enough, but I am deeply thankful that our Father is more thorough than I could ever imagine. He is such a merciful leader and … so adventurous! The Lord gave us more of himself, and he used the pit of a painful loss, scary trials, and four trips to Ethiopia (for the adoption of a three-year-old boy and a second adoption of twin three-year-olds a year later) to explode our family’s heart for Ethiopia, further snowballing into a love for people around the entire globe.
Our youngest three children have been home for four and five years now, yet God is showing us that our call to love the broken is not over. Through a Deuteronomy Bible study, God began to answer my persistent question of how not to forget him and his work. Eleven times in Deuteronomy alone, I read of Yahweh’s purposeful care for the fatherless, widow, and sojourner. If God’s heart is so active for these weak and forgotten, then I want to be aligned with this passion. I want to worship him and follow him. Jason and I began to ask questions about widow/orphan care and quickly realized that the more questions we asked, the more questions we had. Yet this past fall, one thing became certain: it was time to start taking steps.
This week, our family has the incredible privilege of sending husband/dad back to Ethiopia on our behalf. His team (including two of his students) plan to teach rural pastors under Baobab trees for a week. Additionally, we have a wild dream of building long-term relationships through various short-term teams to help the Ethiopian church train its leaders, care for its orphans and widows, and reproduce in a way that they become senders, even to their own unreached people groups. Jason is hoping to make initial connections toward this end. We are reading Revelation 7 with hope!
Our family is so thankful to be part of a church and school where there is an earnest drumbeat to take the beauty of Christ to the nations and where we can dream as a family and be helped by those far more seasoned than we. Would you join us and our Bethlehem College & Seminary family in praying for the gospel to run in Ethiopia and beyond?
Teresa DeRouchie Faculty Wife
Jeff Noyed’s Message at Chapel,
March 3, 2016: “Mercy Ministries in the Inner City”
1. Pray that the Ethiopian guides and students would know and feel the love our team has for them.
2. Pray for the 29 family members who are sending and supporting the five daddies/husbands.
3. Pray for sustained humility, cultural awareness, and God-dependence in the team.
4. Pray for God’s Spirit to work in power through the interpersonal connections and gospel proclamation.
5. Pray for God to continue to build his church in Africa’s horn and for the power of the gospel to heal and bring hope in the midst of brokenness.
6. Pray for Bethlehem to have an impact on the numerous Somalis and Ethiopians that reside in the neighborhoods surrounding the school.
To stay updated on the Ethiopia team ministry, look for daily posts here.