For those of us closest to ACTS it is an exciting time.
First, for the last two weeks of March, Bill and Karen Cornell will be visiting Ethiopia and the schools. We will get to see and interact with our 402 current students as well as with many whom have passed through our program. And, our 15 year old granddaughter, Champney, will be traveling with us again. Since her first visit last year, she has been yearning to return and to reconnect with the Woja and Koshe communities. Please pray for us from March 20-April 1. We pray for travel mercies and God’s protection and direction for our time in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is among the top twenty hardest countries on earth to live in as an Evangelical Christian (according to Open Doors). Persecution comes from the Muslim dominant peoples in the rural communities and from the Orthodox dominated population in the metropolitan areas. We have come to realize that the friends we have made, as well as those people who have become new believers, look to us for encouragement and moral support. God has used us to lift their spirits as He uses them to grow His Kingdom.
That being said, the local governments in the two areas where our schools are operating are becoming easier and easier to work with as they continue to recognize the value of what ACTS brings to their communities at large. For the first time ever, ACTS will be named as the lessee on its own property. This move clears the final big hurdle that has stood in the way of the well being drilled near the Woja School. With a deep water well and a solar pump, that community will have clean water and a limited power supply for the very first time. While the monies are available to complete the well, any additional funds that are raised will be put into infrastructure. We hope to be able to pump to an above ground storage tank and from there to gravity feed water to the kitchen, to an expanded garden out of which we can improve the student feeding program, to a bathing station
at which moms can wash their toddlers, as well as to make potable water available to the surrounding households for their daily needs.
We also will be looking at plans to build a second building at Woja. During the week it would be used as a community center at which we could expand our curriculum offerings to include continuing English teaching with the little ones after they go on to government school and offering adult English classes. On Sunday the building would be used as the church where local believers will be able to worship. We trust that God will provide the resources needed to accomplish these projects.
While in Ethiopia, we also plan to visit two areas whose leaders have asked us to consider duplicating what we have done in Koshe and Woja. One opportunity is in the village in which Woudineh, our in-country Director, was raised. The other rests in another area with a minimal number of Christians living amongst a large Muslim population. There has been recent unrest in this area and it depends on the climate at the time whether or not we will be able to visit. It will be interesting to see how and if God leads us to one of these villages.
We currently have eight boxes of shoes in our garage. Each weighs about fifty pounds and contains fifty pairs of shoes. Somehow or another, we plan to take those with us when we go and to distribute a pair to each of the current students. Our heartfelt thanks goes to each of you who contributed either monetarily or through prayer to make this possible. We can’t wait to see the excitement on the children’s faces when they receive this gift.
Finally, and I could emphasize finally, Bill has finished his book on the story of Little Elsa and her miracle. A publisher has picked up the rights to publish the manuscript and it should be available in September. Profits from the book will be used to assist Elsa with her continuing education and to further the work of ACTS. We will let you know when it is in print.