Knitting Hearts Together In Africa

I was knitting. We were knitting when we were in Ethiopia on a short-term mission trip recently, although the nine men on our team might give me a look of disbelief. Knitting in Ethiopia??

But let me tell you the story…
When we knit, we use two long pointed needles and a skein of yarn. We set about with a plan to create something useful and/or beautiful. We cast a certain number of “stitches” onto the needles and then we proceed to wrap the yarn around the needles thousands of times making a pattern to complete the work.

For a week this past February, we were knitting in a symbolic way. We were knitting hearts together. The needles are the foundation, the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In February 2010, three people from Tri Lakes Chapel completed the initial cast-on stitches when they visited the church and Compassion Project in Debre Zeit and made plans for a partnership (this symbolic knitting project).

The yarn for this project is all of us: our life journeys and how they intersect with the ministry in Debre Zeit.

Each touch in the preparation and execution of Tri Lakes Chapel’s mission trips to Ethiopia is like the individual stitches that combine to knit hearts together with God and with each other.

The mission trips in 2011 and 2012 continued the pattern of knitting hearts together. Then in February 2013:

  • The touches of the doctors at medical outreach said, “You are important. We care about you. God cares about you.” The doctors prayed over and blessed the patients after treatment, before they left the clinic.
  • The touches of the teachers at the Bible training classes said, “God loves you, wants you to know Him in a deeper way, and to share your knowledge and wisdom teaching others.”
  • The touches to the young mothers with babies said, “God sees you. He loves you. He pursues a relationship with you. He will not forget you.”
  • The touches to the staff at the church and Compassion project in Debre Zeit said, “Be encouraged. We pray for you. We care about you. You are doing a good work. Be strong in Spirit.”
  • The touches to our sponsored children and visits to their homes said, “You are loved. You are worthy of spending time with. You are worthy of coming on a long journey to visit.”
  • The touches on Fun Day with TLC’s 140 sponsored children: hugs, games, laughter, stories, making hand prints, EvangiCube presentation, and eating together said, “Let’s share life and get to know one another.”
  • Lots of touches.
  • The touches of the one-gallon plastic bags filled with gifts from sponsors to their sponsored children said, “I want to share blessings with you.”
  • The touches of sponsor letters to their Compassion child/children say, “I think about you and pray for you often.”
  • The touches at Vacation Bible School and the teaching about Daniel in the lion’s den with over 150 Compassion sponsored children said, “Be strong in your faith as Daniel was strong in his faith.”
  • The touch of multiple visits and partnering in planning and building a Resource Center say, “You and your ministry are worthy of investing our time, talents and treasures. Your ministry is good!”
  • Yes, we are knitting, knitting hearts to each other and hearts to God.
  • The finished project will be a beautiful sight: the knitting of people and the “Body of Christ” separated by miles and miles into a relationship that causes our Heavenly Father to rejoice over us with singing.

2013 Ethiopia TeamThe LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

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