I think DTS students can all agree that one of the most exciting parts of a DTS is finding out where we are going on outreach, and learning about the ministry we will be doing there. For me, that would be more of an understatement. Going on outreach and serving the people overseas was something I’d been wanting to do for a long time.


Early on into my DTS, God laid it on my heart to go to Ethiopia for the two month outreach. At first, I was a bit confused because Ethiopia would have never been on my radar. I would have wanted to stick with something more comfortable, more familiar. I would’ve wanted to go somewhere I had been before. I think it is safe to say though God had different plans for me. He had plans that turned my entire life upside down and challenged me in ways I couldn’t comprehend.


Looking back, now that it’s over, the way I was challenged created so many stories and lessons from God that were so beneficial for my growth. One example of that growth came from understanding the greatest commandment Christians could ever live- unconditionally loving one another just as Jesus would.


Although I could choose from many lessons and situations that God taught me, I will just share one right now. In this situation God taught me very early on into our trip to remember why we were there in the first place. A theme that we seemed to carry throughout our ministry and interactions with the locals was to be kind to everyone you encounter, and to love like Jesus.


One specific example occurred in our first week in Ethiopia. Everyone’s spirits seemed to be pretty low as our ministry plans ended up changing throughout the week and we were in a place where we needed to create a new ministry plan. As we kept praying, we decided to do a prayer walk around the area and to hand out candy to families.


It was pitch black at night, with only the street lights shining brightly enough to cast a light onto the gray cobblestone that paved the streets of Korah. I was pretty skeptical about going out and giving out candy. I had heard stories from locals that it can cause massive fights, and that it can ultimately do more harm than it does good. But still, I was willing to try.


We are about thirty minutes into our prayer walk when we find a little boy sitting outside the compound gate on a piece of cardboard. I looked up at him and I saw a very familiar face. I saw a face of hopelessness and fear, as though he had lost everything and had nothing to rejoice over. He looked very disheveled – dust all over his face, holes in his jeans, and no shoes with him in sight.


I look over to one of my teammates to see her pulling out a bag of Carmela, the Amharic word for “candy”, out of her brown backpack. She then walked up and offered the candy to him. His expression when he saw that piece of candy was the most heartwarming feeling ever, so full of joy and happiness over such a small act of kindness.


That day God reminded me of two verses: Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet, a light for my path,” and Matthew 5:15-16 “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”


These two verses made me think of how the street lights were shining through the shadows to reveal us, just the same as when we spread joy and show kindness, we illuminate and give a glimpse of Jesus’ character shining through us. It’s amazing how the simplest acts of generosity and love can actually shine so bright!



Written by Hailey Arraf