A "WILD WEST" Adventure ... Meet Fred & Mary Lil West, our friends at JESUS Film Project
"Christ has no body on earth but yours, No hands but yours, No feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion for
the world is to look out;
Yours are the feet with which He is to go
about doing good; and
Yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now."
-- Saint Teresa of Avila
For many years I felt a little pang of guilt for not having a desire to
venture out into the "mission field" ... until one day a dear friend told me
that any day God granted me was a day to plant my feet in good
soil, to strive to be the woman He created me to be, to make
"the day" my mission ~ the ability to transform my day,
the people around me, is a gift & a miracle ...
~ and then, there are those that venture out to the ends of the earth!
When I first met Fred & Mary Lil West, I was hooked!
My husband best describes them as ...
"unpretentious, fun, kind to all & very much in love with JESUS"
This story from Mary Lil is just one of what I like to call,
a "WILD WEST" adventure ~ an extraordinary trip to Ethiopia!
Take a moment today to Lavish Your Soul on
an adventure with our friends,
Fred & Mary Lil West
"DON'T THEY KNOW WE ARE DANGEROUS WARRIORS?"
~ by Mary Lil
WHAT AN UNSPEAKABLE PRIVILEGE to be among the Daasanach people deep in the heart of the tribal territory of southwest Ethiopia!
OUR TEAM OF AFRICANS AND AMERICANSreceived special permission from the government and tribal leaders to go to the Oso River region of Ethiopia, a few miles from the border of South Sudan and Kenya. We were the first commercial flight to arrive at the nearest airport (Jinka). The government sent a truckload of special forces troops to meet us at the airport and travel with us everywhere we went.
From the airport, we drove an hour on paved roads and then two hours on very dusty, bumpy, dirt roads. As we drove, our AK-47-toting soldiers stood holding on in the back of their truck leading us into the area.
From the lodge where we stayed, it was another hour to our destination. As the Daasanach people arrived on a big open field in their territory, it looked like a scene out of National Geographic. Never had we seen face to face with such primitive people. One of them asked our national staff who was with us,
"Why have these people come?
Don't they know we are dangerous warriors?"
He replied ... "They came because they have something important to tell you."
IN THE PITCH BLACK OF NIGHTabout 650 Daasanach began to assemble. Most of the men were carrying AK-47's (often part of their wedding dowries) or knives. The children and women were scantily clad, some only wrapped in thin blankets and colorful strands of beads.
The JESUS film began to play as our special forces troops and local police circled the perimeter. It was the first movie in their language. In many rural areas, people cheer and weep during different scenes ... NOT the Daasanach ...
They were emotionless.
They are fearless warriors. They learn to never show emotion and never be afraid. They practice "mingi" or "cursed." Women, girls (even baby girls) and bad teeth can be considered "mingi." They believe that if there is anyone in the tribe deemed to be "mingi" by the tribal leaders, they must be killed or the whole village will die.
Everyone has seen death or have lost loved ones.
AT THE CRUCIFIXION SCENE,it was utterly quiet ... We couldn't tell how they would respond but God was at work! One of the pastors explained what it means to be a follower of Jesus and how He could forgive them of their sin and shame. The pastors invited them to come forward if they wanted to be a follower of Jesus.
In unison, almost the whole crowd walked forward ...
their response to become a follower
of Jesus was amazing!
THE FOLLOWING DAY ...we trained believers in the nearby church to continue to do evangelism and discipleship. That night we held another JESUS film showing in their village with similar results!
"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
for those living in a land of deep darkness,
a light has shined upon them."
-- Isaiah 9:2
GOD'S LOVE WAS SHININGbrightly that week, penetrating the deep darkness in which the Daasanach have lived in for so long. They heard in their own "heart" language that God loves them, that they are not forgotten, that He has already paid the penalty for their sin and shame and "curse" and that they can know Him personally. Many put their faith in Jesus and began their journey with Him!
For us, it was a trip of a lifetime and the picture of the heart of God; that each one of us is important to Him and He pursues and loves us no matter how far away we are!
Members of a near-by church were trained
to share their faith & disciple new believers
Fred teaching national believers to share their faith using
clips from the JESUS Film.
Only 2% of the Daasanach are literate
PLEASE PRAY ...
that the Daasanach would grow deeply in their faith and no longer
live in a culture of death and fear and revenge.
Pray that they would reach out to their neighboring tribes
with the love of Jesus, and together,
they would see true peace and reconciliation.
* the amazing Wests ...
Fred is a Texas boy ... he received his MBA from Baylor University & a few years later joined the staff at Cru/Campus Crusade for Christ. Fred was the 8th staff member of JESUS Film when there were less than 100 languages. Today he serves in Strategic Planning for Development with JESUS Film Project & over 1550 languages have been completed with hundreds more in process.
Mary Lil is a graduate of Clemson University. She served with the Campus ministry in France for 3 years & after returning to the US she worked & directed the International Human Resource Office of Campus Crusade. A few years later, Mary Lil joined JESUS Film to start their Human Resource Department.
Three years after joining JESUS Film, Fred & Mary Lil were married & have a wonderful son, Joe ..... and some 30 years later, their adventures continue! Together, they have been the hands & feet of Christ ... taking the Good News through the JESUS Film Project to "the ends of the earth!"
Give a gift of 'LOVE' ...
Fred & Mary Lil West are supported by
financial gifts through
Cru / Campus Crusade for Christ
Your gift enables them to continue with their ministry
"Mozambique was a nation in absolute chaos. Civil war had degenerated into total anarchy; millions were gripped by the cruel famine." Over 500,000 refugees fled the war ... Some came to a camp just inside South Africa. When "JESUS" film workers Mark and Jill arrived, the sights and sounds were overwhelming! ...