The Bradley Family
Pardon our lack of communication, the country’s internet is experiencing unusual problems preventing us from receiving and sending regular emails and updates. Thanks for your support and understanding!
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
The COVID 19 numbers continue to increase in Ethiopia. We now have ~12,000 confirmed cases in the country. We choose, though, not to live in a state of fear but rather to lean on God as our strength and help in times of trouble. We’re grateful there are no new recorded cases in our town of Bahir Dar since the two week lockdown in April.
Life has returned to a new sense of normal for our family. We go to outdoor restaurants and take lots of walks. Many people, however, are fearful of the virus, so restaurants and businesses are hurting financially. Also, the Ethiopian currency continues to devalue against the US dollar, which increases the cost of living for many people. With business closures and a rise of cost of living, many people are hurting and waiting anxiously for what the future might hold.
Supporting People & Ministries During Covid Times
We continue to support a local Christian ministry, The Grace Center, which is a government approved food distribution center. This ministry has been providing food for hundreds of individuals during this time who are in great need.
By God’s leading we entered a relief pact with our partner denomination, the Word of Life Church, also known as EKHC. With church gatherings closed due to the state of emergency, and no option to give online, the local churches presently do not have the income to pay its ministers. In response to this pressing need, several meetings were held between the EKHC regional church leaders and Chad and another foreign missionary who works at the college. A relief agreement was created to provide financial support for six months (May-October) for four church regions in northwest Ethiopia, totaling approximately 50 pastors, evangelists, and missionaries. The motivation was to meet basic needs during a genuine crisis as well as provide the time necessary for the denominational leaders to re-evaluate and prepare for a new strategy of ministry due to Covid. Even after Covid, the economic situation in Ethiopia might not recover to pre-Covid form for a long time. So the churches must adapt in order to achieve a sustainable future and not depend on foreign money to maintain a form of ministry that might no longer be sustainable. A big ‘Thank You’ to all our ministry partners who made the Pastor’s Pandemic Relief possible. God is using our partnership with you to meet the life essential needs of these 50 ministers as well as hopefully give the denomination a leg-up in preparing for sustainable ministry in the future.
Bible College by Extension
Students traveled to t
he Bible College to receive TEE course materials.
With schools closed in Ethiopia, Chad and the College’s professors altered the format of education to Theological Education by Extension (TEE). Chad prepared a course on Christ and Salvation by using material written by a former SIM missionary named Dr. Steve Strauss, who’s life had a tremendous impact on Ethiopia during his years of service. Chad and the other professors printed out and distributed the course materials to the students so that they might study and learn at home. One student from each NW region traveled to Bahir Dar to receive the course materials and receive instructions and then returned home to distribute everything to the students in their region. It is a season of learning and growing for everyone involved.
Nancy has had the opportunity to disciple two teenagers who live in our neighborhood. Shalom (14) and Axan (12) come to our house Monday and Wednesday afternoons and meet outside in our backyard. They’ve been studying biblical perspectives on topics such as integrity, guilt, stress, self imagine and how to handle anger. It’s been a sweet time of reading God’s word together and applying God’s truth to different areas of life where the girls might be struggling.
Loving Our Neighbors
Last month Nancy hosted her first neighborhood Mahaber meeting. Each month the meeting location rotates homes, and Nancy’s turn finally came after two years! We had a socially distanced meeting, where Nancy served Ethiopian coffee and tea along with the traditional Ethiopian bread, Difo Dabo. During the meeting we all prayed for our country and the Covid situation; Protestants, Orthodox’s, and Muslims all bowed their head together and prayed in the name of Jesus. It was a sweet moment.
These neighborhood meetings meet a great need in the community. During our time together it was discussed that one of our neighbors, currently not present, was about to undergo a divorce. Three women were chosen to go and visit her that week, to encourage her and offer emotional support during this hard time. A couple weeks later, another neighbor’s mother-in-law passed away. Nancy and ten of the women took bread, coffee and tea to her house and sat with her and her family in order to mourn the loss of a family member. Chad and Nancy are grateful for experiences like this, to see how we can learn from our Ethiopian brothers and sisters in ways to serve and love those God has placed around us. How amazing would it be to start a neighborhood group like this in your own neighborhood?
Faith and Charity
Although the playgrounds and swimming pools are still closed, we’ve found creative ways to stay active and have fun! At the end of April, Faith turned 4. God was kind as we celebrated with a few close friends who remained in Bahir Dar. Faith has started taking gymnastics class with three other kids and also has a preschool tutor come once a week to work with her. She’s growing physically and intelligently! Charity loves everything Faith does. She struts around following her big sister using all the words she knows to communicate all that’s on her mind. We thank God everyday for these two little blessings that bring so much joy to our lives!
We’ve also been on a few adventures! We went camping with two other families at a friend’s compound. We grilled then the moms spent the night with the big kids in tents while the dads went home with the babies! It was a ton of fun! We also took a day trip with some friends to the largest waterfall in Ethiopia, ‘Tis Aby, only one hour from our house. It was fun to get out of the house and be at a beautiful site. This past week we took a big trip to Simien National Park, a World Heritage Site, five hours north of us. The mountains were majestic and the views were breath taking. We enjoying standing amongst the Gelada monkeys, hiking on horse back, and being in awe of Gods gorgeous creation. Praise the Lord, O my soul!
Prayers and Praises
Join us in prayer.
Father, Thank you for the Bible College students and their desires to continue learning, albeit through the distance education format. May they always have a learner’s attitude seeking to grow in their knowledge of the Lord through personal study and public teaching of the Bible. Father, we ask you to open their minds enabling them to read English well and understand the courses’ materials. Lord you know as oral learners they prefer education through lecture and discussion, so please help them with their increased reading and writing assignments. Give the professors wisdom regarding how they can continue to improve the distance education format in order to equip the students to serve well as pastors, evangelists, and missionaries.
Father, truly you know how people are suffering all over the world due to Covid and the economic downturn. Nothing is behind you. We know and trust that you love and care for your image bearers. We pray that you weave your saving mercy, grace, and truth into countless lives so that not only are you meeting the daily needs of Ethiopians, but also their ultimate need of redemption from sin and reconciliation with you, all through faith in the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. May the fragile and fleeting nature of life apart from you drive people to trust in your Son so that many may experience eternal life and be free from the overpowering fear of death. Please use Covid and the economic instability to draw a multitude to your Son, in whom we have a sure hope for all things to be made right and good upon His return.
Father, we pray for the leadership of the Word of Life Church in Ethiopia. Give the denominational leaders insight and humility regarding how to faithfully lead the church to adjust to Covid and its possible long-lasting economic effects. May they wisely use this time of aid from the Pastor’s Pandemic Relief to enact necessary changes in order to be self-sustaining under a ‘new normal’ of life and ministry. Give them a confidence and dependence on you, and not foreigners, trusting you to work through the generosity of their own members. Help them to look to you for provision and power to be effective in ministry. Help them also to properly prioritize ministry strategies and goals in accordance with the gospel and your word. Give the Bradleys and other foreign missionaries wisdom how to help, serve, and encourage the Word of Life denomination for the sake of its own growth and maturity into Christlikeness.
Father, thank you for the kindness you’ve extended the Bradleys during Covid and Ethiopia’s state of emergency. Help Chad, Nancy, Faith and Charity to choose attitudes of contentment based on gratitude. May Chad and Nancy walk confidently by faith in Christ as foreigners and strangers on earth trusting that no work done for Christ’ sake is in vain. May Faith and Charity see the living faith of their parents and desire to also walk with God in faithful obedience. Use and strengthen this family for your purposes and glory.
Hear our prayers, O God. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen