On Sunday, June 25th, I had the wonderful privilege of teaching at the Ethiopian Evangelical Church of Charlotte, pastored by Israel Gebeyehu.
I came to know Pastor Israel through an initiative of Radical Fitness Ministries, based out of Atlanta, GA.. In 2016, I was part of a team that provided some teaching to a group of refugee pastors who were engaged with the Project 658 Ministry in Charlotte, NC. In the picture to the right, Pastor Israel is to my immediate left. I spent four hours over a three week period sharing with these refugee pastors about the connection between spiritual, physical, relational and physical health. That experience certainly was a blessing to me.
Kelsey Elmore, who now heads up MissionFit Ministry in Charlotte, coordinated the training at Project 658 and had stayed in touch with Pastor Israel. Pastor Israel reconnected with me through Kelsey to ask if I’d be willing to provide a similar teaching for his congregation. I gladly accepted the opportunity!
In my teaching at the church on the 25th, I focused on the following spiritual risk factors for poor health and their corresponding biblical principles:
Spiritual Risk Factors:
- Worry, anxiety and fear
- Bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness
- Self indulgence
- Self effort (in making behavior changes)
- Trust God more completely
- Forgive others
- Honor God with your body
- Live by the power of the Holy Spirit
Although there was a slight language barrier, the handouts I provided seemed to supplement my verbal message and be of help to the 35 people in attendance.
Fellowship Following the Service
After the teaching was over, I joined the members of the congregation for lunch and a time of fellowship. I enjoyed speaking with many of the people on a wide range of topics and especially liked my time spent with the older men of the congregation. This was the first time I had eaten traditional Ethiopian cuisine. There were several bowls of wat (stew) served along with a type of flatbread called injera. Lunch was followed by a traditional cup of freshly roasted and ground Ethiopian coffee!
Finally, I’ll add a few pictures that capture the essence of my time in fellowship.