The Granger’s May 2021 Newsletter

Happy Ethiopian Easter! Easter on the Ethiopian calendar falls approximately one month behind the Gregorian calendar. We're a bit used to being late out here in East Africa. But stuff is still happening! Largely due to the Lord answering the prayers and using the support that we receive from people like you! And it's thrilling! We hope you enjoy this delayed newsletter!

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Ordinary Ministry


Where do we find ourselves in this season? Delighting in the day-in and day-out grind of ordinary ministry. In the kindness of the Lord, Trinity Fellowship has been established. And, I have naturally undergone something of a transition from being a church-planter to a pastor. Currently, I'm preaching through Paul's Epistle to the Philippians. And when we, the church-planting team and I, look out over what is taking place, we find growth. And that, to the praise and glory of Christ's grace! Glorious grace and resounding praise!

Our team is growing as we recently hired my sister-in-law, Tensu, last month to come and work for Trinity Fellowship full time as an administrative assistant. What a gift she has been! The church is growing in size, averaging 50 to 70 on Sunday mornings; growing in maturity and in our understanding of the gospel; growing as a community; growing in discipleship; and I trust, growing through conversions.

One example came just two weeks ago when a first time visiting unbeliever sat down in the third row during our Sunday morning service. She was openly aware that she was not a true Christian and that her Orthodox Christianity was nothing more than a cultural identifier. But to our joy, a miracle happened between last Sunday and this Sunday. And when it came time to take the Lord’s supper - I having given a warning to those who are not true believers and to those living in sin - to my great delight, I saw her take the bread and the wine. After the service, I approached her and said, “I saw you take the Lord’s supper. Have you become a Christian?” Holding her tears back, she nodded her head and said, “I became a Christian this week." This is why we moved to Ethiopia. So that we might experience the super-natural regenerational power of God as he raises the dead to life. May that be the ordinary ministry of Trinity Fellowship. Amen!

 

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Preaching at our Easter Morning service last Sunday. Our text for the sermon came from John 20:11-8.

 

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Tsion, one of the sisters in our church doing the Easter morning Scripture reading.

 

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Kanean and Salem singing on a Sunday morning.
 

 

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In February we put on a City to City workshop with approximately 30 hand selected brothers who have an interest in church planting. Two of our ministry partners, Tobie and Pieter, came up from South Africa and spear headed this week. We could not have been more encouraged by our time together.

 

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One small piece of evidence that community is growing: Trinity Fellowship is actively pursuing world domination. And the first stop on our list was the Italian restaurant down the street. 32 brothers and sisters spontaneously decided to go out for lunch after a Sunday service. We literally filled the joint with Trinity Fellowship! And the best part about it, I didn't plan it. I just showed up and enjoyed it!

 

My Dad's Cancer

Many of you have been praying for my dad, Mike Granger who has stage 4 cancer. Recently we have been saddened to see the degree of pain he is in as he is goes through his second round of chemo. And also, to see how little he is able to get out and about. And so, I have made a couple trips to the USA to spend time with him. In fact, thanks to the generous gift of our home church, Castleview in Indianapolis, my family of five was able to travel to the States in February and spend some time with him. This is the same church that sent and paid for my seminary and for the Sovereign Grace Pastors College. We are overwhelmed by their continued generosity.  During my second trip to visit my dad in March (which was generously paid for by one of my father's friends, oh how the Lord generously provides) I was encouraged as I sat in on a conversation with his doctor to learn that the tumor is shrinking. It appears that while he seems to be in rough shape, really he's at his lowest low and things should approve from here. Please continue praying for him to experience the grace of God as proclaimed in the gospel during this time, for miraculous healing, and for wisdom for his doctors.

 

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Our vist with my dad in February.

 

According to Plan

In February, we welcomed the Pannell family (Josh, Sabrina, and Lily), who moved from the United States to Addis Ababa according to plan. We got to know the Pannells during our time in Louisville as they were part of our community group at Sovereign Grace Church. In fact, Josh was the only reason I passed Greek in Seminary - he was my tutor! They are a massive addition to the team for a number of reasons. But if you asked Josh what he is most excited about, he'd probably answer, "The pastors college! We're starting a pastors college this September!" In the kindness of the Lord, Trinity Fellowship has been gifted with an unusual number of Godly young men who aspire to full-time ministry. And Josh will be spearheading a pastors college under the umbrella of Trinity Fellowship so that our little church might be found faithful in training the next generation of local church leadership. That was Paul's commission to pastors in 2 Timothy 2:2 "what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also."

However, shortly after their arrival, Sabrinawho is pregnant with their second child, developed symptoms of possible complications. As a result, they have flown to Turkey to finish her pregnancy and little Augustine is due any day now. That part of the story was not according to our plan! But, thankfully our lives are entrusted to the One in which all things go according to His plan. Nevertheless, they look forward to returning at the end of the month. And, we are diligently praying, trusting, scheming, fundraising, planning, coordinating, and striving to start a pastors college this autumn.

 

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The Pannell's moved to Addis Ababa in early February, and what a massive addition they are! Here, the Pannell's (bottom left) along with a handful of Trinity Fellowship brothers and sisters are enjoying a traditional Ethiopian meal shortly after their arrival.

 

 

Prayer Requests:


Short term prayer requests:

  • Please pray for the Sabrina Pannell's healthy delivery of baby Augustine.
  • Please pray that God would bring in the funds needed to establish this Pastors College.
  • Please Pray that God would bring the right professors and the right students.
  • Please pray for Abenezer - for growth in wisdom, grace, theological discernment, and holiness; for our unity.
  • Please continue to pray for Muhammad and the Somali Christians.  Pray for the Lord's comforting presence in his life.
  • Please continue to pray for my dad Mike Granger who continues to fight cancer.
  • Please pray for God to grow Trinity Fellowship in holiness, unity, love for Christ, and love for one another.

 

Long term prayer requests:

  • Please pray that God would give us grace for a life-long sustained obsessing love for the person of Christ.
  • Please pray for total surrender to Christ.
  • Please pray that God would help us to start a Christ-Centered Church in Addis Ababa that would serve as a model to all of Ethiopia.
  • Please pray that God would give us faithful and gifted indigenous partners; that he would lead us to the right men to disciple and train for ministry.

 

Working with the Somali People ... until next time!

One brief grand finale... A young Somali brother who is part of Trinity Fellowship and also a disciplee and ministry partner of Muhammad received a text message on his phone from Al-Shabab (a major Islamic terrorist network in our part of the world) last week. The text message read, "We know that you are spreading the false teaching of Jesus and that you are working with Muhammad. We are planning to kill you very soon!" This young man in turn articulated his fears to Muhammad to which Muhammad responded, "Oh man, I've been receiving those texts for 2 years and I'm still alive. Let's keep working for Jesus."

Until next time, we hold you in our hearts! We do not forget your generosity, your kindness, nor the abundance of warmth we have received from you. Indeed, this work out here exists because you did not stop working for Jesus. Trinity Fellowship is the fruit of those combined efforts. Thank you!

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