ZAY PEOPLE :: An amazing report
First a little background: Some of you know that our two youngest kids are from Ethiopia. Through the adoption process we discovered that they were born on an island in the middle of Lake Zway. We also discovered that they are part of a particular tribal group called the Zay People. There are about 6000-8000 Zay People and they primarily inhabit the three islands that are clustered together on the eastern side of Lake Zway. The Zay people have been listed as an unreached people group – meaning they have no consistent gospel presence in their language or living among them. There are many physical needs that the Zay people have, and we have sought to meet those needs over the past two years. A few months after we adopted Tia and Garrett, some friends of ours began an organization called Garrett’s Heart to raise money to help the Zay People. It was formed primarily because of Garrett’s true heartfelt, consistent concern for his family and their living conditions. In the first year we installed three clean water wells on the island, which are providing clean water each day for the people on Zadecha Island. When we met with the elders of the island, they listed clean water as their top priority, with a medical clinic being second on the list and an irrigation system as their third desire. Another group has recently built a new medical clinic on the largest island, Debra Tsion. I am looking forward to seeing how this clinic can also serve the needs of all three islands so that we can turn our main attention toward installing an irrigation system that will triple their ability to produce crops. Now for the good part: But there is a deeper need that the Zay People have. They need to be able to hear the good news of Jesus Christ in their own language so that they can have the opportunity to respond to the hope found in Him. 12 months ago through a contact at E3 Partners (The “I Am Second” people), I met Joseph Menna who is a native Ethiopian and works for E3 Partners in Ethiopia. I traveled with Joseph out to the islands and watched as he led Tia and Garrett’s birth-mom and their oldest sister to put their faith in Jesus. I also met with a group of pastors that work with Joseph and we began planning a larger strategy to get the gospel to the Zay people consistently. I told them that if they would figure out the best way to spread the gospel throughout the Zway region and focus specifically on the Zay People then I would help them fund it. They sent me a three year plan and began preparing for the first event – a training retreat for 70 pastors in the region. E3 Partners is an incredible mission organization that knows what they are doing and does it well by contextualizing the gospel for the various settings that they are in worldwide. A few weeks ago this training event happened. The email I received was a short report of the training event and a few pictures of the event. I know this training will lead to many people in and around the Zay People hearing the gospel and receiving a chance to respond to it. This picture is part of the group that took part of their day to go to the lake and pray for the people in the islands.