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I wanted to capture the moments from beginning to end of our short visit; I didn’t want to forget a single thing. Excited and anxious to meet the women I’d been praying for and see the place where they transformed fabric samples into beautiful bags, I paused to record the memory with a picture.
Many children ran to greet us and ushered the team into the compound. Peering shyly through the galvanized fence and standing ready at the door, I suspect some were as curious about us as we were about them.
Beautiful plants stood guard outside of the workroom.
I was surprised to find this beauty amidst the poverty of Korah. It was if God was saying to me, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19
Beautiful children gathered outside of the workroom as well. Their obvious delight in playing together added more joy to our visit. I am reminded of Isaiah 44:3 “I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow…” I pray that these children will” spring up” to be as mighty in spirit as their mamas.
My love for the women of Korah began three years ago when Henok and Sammi, translators turned friends, took us to visit Mission Ethiopia. Several women were gathered in a dimly lit room. In the midst of pain and poverty, their pursuit of God was humbling and inspiring. Joy radiated on their faces as they sang praises to the Lord while rolling beads from strips of old magazines and clay. Some were using handmade looms to weave cloth. It was a holy honor to be among them; I will never forget that visit. Tears streamed down my face as the pastor of the neighboring church told some of their stories. Korah had begun as a leper colony and the disease was still active. HIV and Aids had taken the lives of many fathers in the community and their wives lived in fear of getting “the sickness”. Others had been begging for food before they were able to work there. Unfortunately, the government shut down the ministry.
Fortunately, the Lord raised up Henok and Sammi to continue providing opportunities for these women to support their families. Carry 117 was born out of their love for the Lord, and their desire to serve and love his people.
Based on Isaiah 1:17, the mission of Carry 117 is to “Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” With the Lord’s direction and the aid of many friends, the ministry is growing.
Five women and one man provide support for their families because of Carry 117.
Alem is one of those women. Widowed with three children, she is the cook for Carry 117. I felt an immediate connection to her. My friend Sue, had written notes of encouragement to the women and I had the blessing of reading one to her. During my brief visit, I learned that Alem loves to pray. Back in the states, Sue was praying for us. No wonder the Lord knit our hearts together so quickly! After reading the card, I knelt to pray over Alem.
As I placed my hand on her shoulder I realized that she was wearing a young child. Her main request was for her children, and so I prayed all the more earnestly.
Later I learned that her children were older.Her oldest son Joseph had recently left the compound to look for work. She is worried about him; please pray for his safety and for him to find work. Since her children were too old to be carried, who was she carrying on her back? It turns out that she was wearing the young child of her co-worker Tigist. As I reflect on that moment, I am struck by a beautiful picture of Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Alem, bearing the weight of another woman’s child, allowing her to carry on her work. Me, sharing the spiritual weight of another woman’s burden in prayer. Sue and the rest of the prayer warriors back home bearing both the physical and spiritual weight of our team as they covered all of us in prayer that week.
My experience at Carry 117 became a physical reality of the spiritual truth of Galatians 6:2. Look around, we don’t have to go to Ethiopia to bear another’s burdens. He can use our prayers, gifts of time, talents, and resources right where we are .How might the Lord want to use you today?
“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”Psalm 68:19
If you’d like to be part of Carry 117’s mission to help carry the burden of the women of Korah, please click here .
Has someone helped you carry your burden recently? I’d love to hear your story!