Tates Creek Christian Church

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Archive for the tag “Weeks”

News from the Weeks

Hello Tates Creek Friends!
The past few months have been eventful for the Weeks family in Ethiopia. The summer for you is rainy season for us, and we’ve seen the rain transform the landscape from a scrubby, brown, dustbowl to a lush, green, garden of Eden. With all the rain, the Farming God’s Way garden test plots in both Nekempte and Mojo have taken off and the corn is almost ready for harvest. We’re excited to see what the yield is, but we know that no matter what the outcome, our harvest is not just in corn. We have been sowing the seed of friendship as well, and we believe that harvest will not come back lacking.
Travis has also been busy traveling to many villages doing biblical training, income generating activity (IGA) training, and repairing Solar Recharging Stations. At the end of July, our whole family traveled north to Yamp, a Gumuz village where our teammates the Moores currently live. Using a manual he created himself, Travis led training on how to manage and repair Solar Recharging Stations. Jake also taught on giving and stewardship. We believe our job in helping our Ethiopian partner churches to become more financially sustainable is not solely in creating a well-functioning IGA program. It is also to instill the biblical idea of generous and joyful giving. There was a good response from the evangelists at the meeting, and we are excited to move forward with similar trainings in other areas in the future.
In other news, we are excited to announce that Baby Weeks #2 is a girl! She is due to arrive December 26. At the end of October, I (Emily) will be traveling back to Georgia with Clare and my mom, who is coming to spend the month of October with us in Nekempte! We are excited to host both of my parents in Ethiopia and show them our life and ministry here. Travis will join us in Savannah at the end of November where we will eagerly await our baby’s arrival at Christmas time. Because returning to Ethiopia with a newborn requires all sorts of documentation and immunizations, we plan to return the first week of March. That being said, we would love to come visit all of you at Tates Creek after the baby is born! We are currently discussing dates and will be excited to see all of you this winter!
And last but not least, we would like to say a big THANK YOU for all of your prayers and financial support. Travis and I are almost 2 years into our first term and we are in the thick of things—starting a new life and ministry in a different culture is hard work. We cannot imagine doing this without you all behind us, encouraging us, and praying that God’s will be done. So thank you. We look forward to a sweet reunion with you this winter!

Travis, Emily, Clare, & Baby #2

Weeks Update

Travis has been taking quite a few trips to our partner churches, most of which are in remote areas of Ethiopia. One village he’s made several trips to recently is a place called Mojo. The church there is relatively new but it has a strong and vibrant ministry. Their pastor, like many of our rural KAC pastors, is bi-vocational because the church lacks the funds to pay him a full salary. Every Thursday Gutama walks 2-3 hours to get to the church in Mojo where he ministers to the congregation Thursday through Sunday. Then, after church on Sunday, he walks back to his home and works his farm the rest of the week. His commitment to this new, growing church is astounding, and his leadership is certainly having a great affect.
At this point, the Mojo church is one with a lot of faith and energy, but it struggles in terms of its resources. The people in Mojo give their offering partially with money, but mostly it comes in the form of grains – these folks are all farmers. When Travis visited a month ago he was amazed at the big bags of corn, sorghum, and sesame they had stored up in the church. These were the congregation’s tithes and offerings. Some of it came from family farms, but the rest came from land that the church farms collectively. Church members give from their own harvest, but they also give in the form of time and labor by working the church’s land.
Having seen the faith and resourcefulness of this congregation and the commitment of their pastor Gutama, Travis is moving forward with a new Income Generating Activity in Mojo. CMF will provide the church a loan that will allow them to buy fertilizer and better quality seed. Better inputs yield better results. We believe this will provide a bigger harvest and therefore more resources for this church’s ministry. We are all excited to see where this IGA takes Mojo!
We’re also installing a “Farming God’s Way” demonstration garden that we hope will encourage the community to adopt some different farming techniques. This, however, we expect will probably take several planting seasons to catch on.
We wanted to share this story from Mojo because it illustrates the way Travis and I fit into CMF’s work of helping to establish a strong, indigenous church in Ethiopia. If we did not have you behind us, supporting our ministry, we would not be able to offer loans like this to Mojo. Your giving to our ministry means helping Mojo, and other churches like it, in rural Ethiopia. So thank you!

Travis, Emily, & Clare Weeks

Update from the Weeks

We miss y’all a ton! We’re so glad for Facebook, the Herald, and Tommy’s “Tidbits” because they keep us up-to-date with news from Lexington. We are (just to name a few examples) glad that Don is recovering well from his knee replacement and we were so thrilled to hear of the birth of Steven and Lindsey Clem’s new baby!

By the time you read this, Emily and I will be just weeks away from finishing our year of language study (yay!) and for the past few months we have been hammering out details for our move to Nekempte (our ministry site). We have been meeting with teammates, the Ethiopian leaders we work with, and visiting other ministries around Ethiopia so that we can move forward strategically. The plan is to find a piece of land just outside of the town of Nekempte where we will pilot Income Generating Projects, set up a training center, and build a traditional-ish house (typical wood and mud construction with some “western flare”).

These Income Generating Projects help support new church plants and the national pastors we work with. Our team already has a few underway and we are continually fielding ideas from our churches for new IGA’s that they would like to start. Emily and I are excited to be able to turn our attention to this full-time. In November, we will be “full steam ahead” with getting set up for this work in Nekempte.

Please pray for this transition! We have always known that our being here in Addis Ababa would be temporary; nevertheless, we built a life here. We know our way around. We set up a house. We’ve made friends. And now we’re getting ready to uproot again and start over in another completely new place. We look forward to this, but we know it’s going to take everything we’ve got and a lot of leaning on God.

Thank you for being so good to Emily, Clare, and me. We couldn’t do what we’re doing without you!

Travis, Emily, & Clare Weeks

News from the Weeks in Ethiopia

For people like Emily and me who have ministry jobs, oftentimes, opportunities to serve don’t fall within our stated job descriptions. This puts us in company with the rest of the Body of Christ – you’re all called to live out your faith outside of work, so it is with us.
In January we moved into a house on a seminary campus in Addis Ababa. The main reason we chose to live here is because it put us within a five-minute walk of our language school. What we didn’t realize was that living here would also present us with opportunities to help some of the students we’ve been able to become friends with.
One of these students is Gatwech. He’s very smart, very humble, and has an amazing story. He is one of Sudan’s “Lost Boys.” Because of fighting in his home village (and after hearing that his family had been killed), he fled the country when he was young. He ended up in southern Ethiopia and was taken in by a Christian woman. This woman opened her home to him, raised him, and shared her faith with him. For years, Gatwech has wanted to return to his home area in South Sudan to make an impact there for the Kingdom of God.
Gatwech is a student on the campus where we live and has been worshiping with our house church. When fighting in South Sudan broke out again a few months ago, his wife and eighteen-month old daughter had to flee the country. Our house church was able to help them get here safely and set up in a house.
Gatwech is spending this month in a refugee camp in southern Ethiopia with thousands of his South Sudanese brothers and sisters. As a cultural insider, he is there to encourage them and to collect data that will help aid agencies serve the refugees better. Our house church helped make this trip possible.
I say all this to say, “Thank you for sending Emily and me to Ethiopia.” By putting us right here, right now, you, Tates Creek, are helping a young Sudanese minister and his family, a minister that is making a big impact in his community for the Kingdom of God. Please continue to pray for us, Gatwech, Nyaluok (his wife), and Nyatwech (their daughter).

Travis, Emily, & Clare Weeks

Balance is Upset

Life in Addis is starting to become more routine and predictable for us. Heavy emphasis on “more” because when you are adjusting to a new country and culture you start at the bottom of the “predictability” scale and slowly work your way up. That being said, we saw something the other day that shook us from our current state of homeostasis.
This past Sunday we spent the morning worshipping with our house church, and on our way home, as we were driving back into the city, we saw a woman get hit by a car.
My mind replays the image of her body being thrown into the median, her dazed face of confusion as she tried to lift herself up off the ground, the driver and passengers running out to her, the crowd forming, and the driver hastily putting her in the van and driving off to, I’m assuming, the closest hospital. Travis and I pulled our car over, to watch to see what would unfold and if/how we could help. But we have no medical training, so besides having a car we did not know what we could do to help. We watched helplessly as several lives unraveled.
In a blink of an eye, we can only assume that both the woman who was hit and the van driver’s lives were changed forever. Only 5 minutes after the accident the street was empty and the crowd dispersed. All signs that a terrible event had just occurred were gone.
However, instead of being completely swallowed up by the stress and fear of driving here, we are trying to allow what we have seen to make us more mindful of how precious the lives are around us. Each life has been miraculously woven together by God’s own hand because he willed it and he loves us. I pray we can see the image of God in each pedestrian, taxi driver, and bicyclist we pass as we drive down the road. God help us.

Travis, Emily, & Clare Weeks

First Six Months

Six months!? Emily and I have been in Ethiopia for six months and, oh my, what a busy six months it has been! We’re constantly amazed at how God provides for us at every step of the way. Through His people, God has provided us the resources we need to live and work here, with knowledge to navigate a new place, with wonderful teammates and friends, and life-giving, fulfilling work.
We give thanks to God for the grace and provisions that have carried us through these crucial first few months. Our biggest task, so far, has been learning as much Amharic (the main language spoken in Ethiopia) and building as many relationships as we can. And, so far, everything has been right on track. (In fact, we just passed our most recent exam and are officially in “Phase 3” of our language program. I know that doesn’t mean anything to y’all, but it’s a big deal for us).
In the last six months. We have…
• Moved twice…and we couldn’t be more thankful for the home we are in.
• Secured our work permits! Woo Hoo! This was a long, complicated process and we’re so happy it’s complete because without work permits we can’t continue ministry in Ethiopia!
• Made two visits to Nekempte to meet with key church leaders (Nekempte is the city we’ll eventually be stationed in after our year of language study).
• Preached at a conference where over a hundred leaders from the churches we’re working with gathered for three days of worship, fellowship, and teaching.
We were also thrilled to have Dan and Sue Burton back in Ethiopia for the conference! Dan and Sue used to be on the CMF team in Ethiopia and were Tates Creek’s first Living Link missionaries! Emily and I felt fortunate to get to spend some time with them while they were here. They have a lot of wisdom and experience to share!
We’re so thankful for Tates Creek! We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for your care and support. And thank you for the facebook notes and for the cards that have made it all the way over here! The Kingdom of God is changing whole communities over here. There are churches in villages now where, a year ago, people hadn’t heard about Jesus. Y’all are making this work possible!

Travis, Emily, & Clare Weeks

Weeks in Ethiopia

This past weekend, Travis, Clare, and I made our first trip to Nekempte since moving to Ethiopia. The occasion, we’ve got to have those work permit papers signed so we can stay legal! Travis and I were both excited about the trip…finally we get to go see the city where we will eventually make our home. Yes, we’ve been there before, but 24 hours, two years ago, hardly counts. So we made our way down to Nekempte on a beautiful, newly paved, winding road. It is dry season here, but the land and the farms still amazed us with their beauty.
We finally arrived at 8:30 in the evening, hoping to meet Negatu and Dhaba for dinner. Negatu and Dhaba are the church leaders in Nekempte who are signing our paperwork for our work permits. They are telling the Ethiopian government that we are here to provide a service to the church that cannot be filled by an Ethiopian. They believe that our seminary education and development training can help the church both in biblical training and with income generating projects. We feel the weight of responsibility- both to God and to this church- to be faithful, work hard, and do our part.
In the end, we did share a meal (even though it was late), Negatu signed our paperwork, and we spent the night at the church, because there was no room in the inn…or any inn for that matter. We also remembered something very important–we are not just here to give, we are here to receive. The church here has a lot to teach us and so much love, hospitality and friendship to extend to us…all we have to do is open our hearts and our hands.
We love and miss you all. Please keep us and the ministry here in your prayers.

Travis, Emily, & Clare Weeks

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