“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” C.S. Lewis

Gewdegna… Amharic for “friend”.  I miss my friends today.  I miss them and yet I am aware of their influence in my life nearly every day.  I am aware of how God is using them to challenge me, to teach me, to change me.  I am also aware that so many of my friendships would not exist if it weren’t for Christ and the boundaries and barriers He breaks down between us.  I am struck by how different some of my friends and I are, and with others, I am struck by how very alike we are.  God uses both constantly in order to teach me about Himself.

I miss my friends in Ethiopia.  I saw a picture of some of the boys in Ambo the other day.  I saw the faces of Berhanu, Danny, Kaiyo and Tura and I thought, “Goodness, I miss those boys.”  I remembered sitting on the bus in Ambo pulling apart a loaf of bread and dipping it in Nutella with Kaiyo and my teammates and laughing at how aggressive we all were in getting to the Nutella first.  I also remember Kaiyo, ever the gentleman, making sure we got our lunch before he did.  Kaiyo, the boy who scrapes up just enough money to rent a small room with two of his best friends, the boy who probably struggles to eat (if he’s able to at all), and he made sure we got our meal.  Yes, my friends have a lot to teach me.

I miss Kathryn, my kindred spirit and my sister.  I find it mind-boggling that God orchestrated the events of our lives in order to bring us to Ethiopia to serve Him alongside each other.  I’m thankful as we continue to encourage each other, share our struggles and our fears, and grow in grace.  When I think of Kathryn, I think of that C.S. Lewis quote, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”  I am reminded through our many lengthy phone calls and Skype sessions of how the Lord uses the people in our lives to teach us and challenge us and encourage us.  I am learning that although transparency and honesty with others can be scary and difficult at times, it is in those moments that God teaches big lessons and brings healing.  He also reminds us we are not alone.

I miss so many of you today, friends.  I want you to know how thankful I am each day for you.  I want you to know that Christ’s love has been on display through you.  I want you to know that you are a gift.  I pray I can be as loving, encouraging, gracious, humble, patient, faithful, honest, gentle and kind a friend to each of you as you have been to me.

Whose friendship are you thankful for today?

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.  For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:3-6


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