- Grief over children who have recently died.
- Fear of their houses being bulldozed.
- Lack of a place to use the bathroom.
- Injuries from childbirth that make it hard for them to carry water.
- Above all, the fear of dying before their children are raised.
This is the humbling, sobering list of problems that ladies bring to a support group led by Liz Polk in Ethiopia. She and her husband Jason are friends of mine who serve families struggling with extreme poverty, HIV/AIDS, and a shortage of hope.
There is one woman in Liz’ group, however, who shines in the midst of it all; her name is Tigist. It’s not that Tigist doesn’t have the sorts of problems listed above. But, in the midst of them she exudes joy, reaches out to others, and gives glory to God for the way he is caring for her in the profound struggles of her life.
Liz first got a sense of how special Tigist is when another group member thanked Tigist publically, saying, “Several months ago I was so sick I couldn’t get out of bed; I had no one to care for me. I might have died if Tigist didn’t bring me food and water until I could get out of bed again.”
Liz says this about Tigist: “This is a woman whose life has been ravaged by HIV/AIDS, who lives with suffering beyond what many of us can imagine, and who we might be tempted to say is entitled to complain a little. Instead she visits neighbors who are sicker than she and holds out words of truth and life — words made credible by her own suffering.”
Tigist’s ministry brings these words to life, don’t you think?
Do all things without grumbling or complaining that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life. —Philippians 2:14-15
The Polks and the rest of their team are not only addressing the very dire physical needs in their community. They are also planting churches, and preaching the truth about Jesus.
That’s Tangible Theology, isn’t it? To “shine like lights in the world” so the message of the gospel will be proclaimed with credibility, and will draw the hurting and lost into the arms of Christ.
Click here to learn more about the Polks’ ministry, and even how you can go there on a short-term missions trip and participate in God’s ministry of mercy in Ethiopia.