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A letter from Larry and Barbara Moir in Ethiopia

 September 15, 2011

An Ethiopian Journal

He leads me in the paths of righteousness . . .

There is a challenge in this phrase from the 23rd Psalm. God has set me on a path, but have I been true to the direction I have been given? Have I shown righteousness along the way?  Have I walked with Jesus in a way that glorifies him? It is hard to admit, but no, I have not always been true.

I have been pondering this phrase and its challenge since early this summer when we met with folks at the PC(USA) World Mission offices. We were given the task of providing information to be included on a prayer card for our mission and ministry in Ethiopia. It contains a picture of Barbara and me and Dinke Lamessa, whom we seek to adopt. Dinke traveled with us to the United States this summer and had a taste of America, including mashed potatoes and gravy, pizzeria pizza, and ice cream, all of which she loves, and hot dogs, which she does not like. When we were asked what Bible verse we would choose for the prayer card I asked Dinke what her favorite verse was. “He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name sake,” she said. So, this is what we put on our card.

Now, for Barbara, Dinke and me, as well as her family and ours, the path toward adoption appears to be the right path, and a righteous one. We love each other very much. Barbara and I thank God daily that Dinke was sent to our door seeking assistance with her school fees, and that our lives have blended together so well.

But it’s tough, you know. How does one live the righteous life, or walk the righteous path, especially during the day-to-day movements of life when things don’t happen as planned. For instance, I experienced a long delay at the Washington Dulles International Airport over whether or not I had paid for my extra baggage. While we discussed this the computer entry person I spoke to the day before updated her files, which showed that I had made the payment only minutes before, while I was discussing the matter at check-in. Then it was discovered that our dog's ID chip number was not on his health form from our vet in New Holland, Pa. The vet’s office tried for over 45 minutes to fax Digger’s ID number. Then the airline discovered that their fax machine was not turned on. During this time I was not allowed to take Digger out to the dog run for one last potty break before he went through TSA (Transportation Security Administration) screening. At the last minute he was weighed and his kennel checked by TSA. Then I rushed to take him to the dog run . . . then we ran back into the terminal for his physical check-over by TSA. Meanwhile airline people were telling me to hurry. I was going to be late for my plane. Frustration was not the word for my feelings at that time.

Finally, after a long line at TSA for my security overhaul, I made it to the door of the aircraft as they were getting ready to close up. I enjoy airplane flights, but I have little love for airport and airline check-ins. It is a test of my walk with Jesus.

Oh, and I won’t get into the headache of arrival at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. Prayer and deep breathing are the recommended practices. 'Nuff said.

Our call to discipleship, to ordained ministry, or to mission service are not calls to be taken lightly. They come with the challenge of walking in “the paths of righteousness, for His name sake.”

One thing I am certain of. Dinke has been teaching us how to walk this path by her own gentle walk with Jesus, her fervent prayer life and her joyous relationship with God. With her, Barbara and I have learned to say: Galataa Waqaayyoo. “Thanks be to God.”

Barbara and Larry 

The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 57
The 2012 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 95

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