“We were like rock stars on our way to and from Sister Donna’s Heartland HIV/AIDS Orphan Girls Residence and Vocational Training Center,” Dave said, about his first visit to the center on Dec. 31, 2010. “Along the way, kids would drop what they were doing and wave at us saying ‘hi.’ Many called to me ‘hi, Abba,’ translated as ‘Father’ and when we got to the center, we got all the attention.” It must be similar to Jesus entering Jerusalem for the Passover on what Christians call Palm Sunday.
As Dave got out of the car, human dynamo called Sister Donna looked Dave in the eye and said, “The whole village is hear for you to lead worship.” This slender, middle-aged nun with silver hair told him to read from Isaiah and Matthew and then preach on them.
“It would have been nice to know ahead of time,” Dave said, but then he always said a pastor has to be ready to preach, pray, and lead a service on a moment’s notice.
To add to the challenge, Dave preached through two translators – one to translate in Amharic, the common language, and then a second man translated the phrase into the local language. In order to keep women close to the village, they are not taught the common language, only the local language.
“But God delivered a great message through me to the 140 adults and children in attendance,” Dave said.
Next up: Sister Donna’s story.