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Launch Out

February 6, 2011

God asks us to “launch out” in this life of ours more than we realize. Jesus asked Simon to launch his boat back into the deep waters and drop his nets even though Simon had been attempting to catch fish for hours into the evening without catching anything. Can you imagine his frustration with Jesus? I can just imagine how he was feeling:
Simon: “You seriously want me to drop my nets (again?)”.
And I’m sure he was worried about the morale of the men accompanying him. I’m only guessing they were tired and hungry and to have them go out again probably seemed like a waste of time and very big nuisance. But Simon launched out. He trusted Jesus. He was unsure what he would find in his nets (if anything at all), but because Jesus asked him to “launch out” he did just that.
Some of us know the rest of the story; Simon caught such a large number of fish that his nets began to break; even their boats began to sink when the fish were hauled in. Simon (Peter) followed Jesus from that day forward.
This isn’t just a “nice story” from the Bible. It is how we are called to live this life. Tom and Teresa were living a comfortable life in Texas. They had retired and have great friends, a great community, church, a family, a beautiful home, etc. They still have all these things, but made a commitment to live in Ethiopia for two years because God has asked them to “launch out”. They are heeding his call even when most of us would call it “silly” or not “wise”.
We should make our decisions with much caution, thought, and prayer, but without faith and trust and a little bit of “what the heck am I doing?” then what are we living for? I never want to live my life with the phrase “Better safe than sorry.” I think it’s a cop out. If I always played it “safe” then I wouldn’t be where I am today. God asks us to take risks and then to trust him that he will provide.

Tom and Teresa are living out God’s commands. They prepared as much as they could while in Texas, but one can not prepare entirely for all of the circumstances that one will encounter along the way. Their most recent adventures are of securing a vehicle. As you can see in the above photo they are needing a vehicle that has all the specs needed for travel in the Bush of Ethiopia. However, what they can currently afford is quite different as seen in the photo.

Ethiopia has a mandated import duty tax of 250%. Incredible! Since Tom and Teresa are not affiliated with an NGO they are not exempt from this import duty. In the instance of purchasing of a vehicle this is what this import duty will look like in action:
New Land Rover negotiated to dealer: $45,000
With Non-negotiable “duty free”: $$112,500
“Out the Door” Vehicle Cost: $157,500

Many ex-patriots that Tom and Teresa have encountered regard this duty tax as “corruption”, but regardless it is the government that is mandating this and Tom and Teresa are going to do everything they can to work within the laws of the Ethiopia.

Beyond needing a vehicle Tom and Teresa are also working on an agreement to partner with the Kale Heywet Church of Southern Ethiopia who is an approved NGO. Tom and Teresa have already had a constructive meeting with KHC national leadership and were encouraged by their desire to have TnT participate in their existing water provisioning program. The next step for TnT will be to meet with the leadership at the zonal level to discuss in detail a “Memorandum of Understanding” between Project Ethiopia and the zonal office.

The reason this agreement with the Kale Heywet Church is so important is because Project Ethiopia will be affiliated with an NGO and then TnT will be “participants” in the program “Project Ethiopia” and the import duty tax (of 250%) will be negated.

So not only will Project Ethiopia be a NGO, but it will also be a project that is supported by the Ethiopian church and government. This will also allow TnT to use the funds that so many of you have provided appropriately. It is good “stewardship” in the eyes of TnT to use their funds wisely which only proves their loyalty to this project and to you as supporters.

It is very important to Tom and Teresa for you to have all the information. Tom and Teresa’s ultimate mission is water provisioning, but it requires many steps along the way. Not all of us are called ot “launch out” like Tom and Teresa, but if you want to be a part of Project Ethiopia they welcome many ways of support. Please support them in your prayers that they will be provided for financially and that the proper partnerships will be formed in order for Project Ethiopia to succeed. If you want to support them financially they welcome donations (that are tax-deductible). You can click here to be directed to a page that will inform you how to make a financial donation.

I will keep you updated as I become more aware of their current status. If you would like to see some of the “fun” things they having been doing in the capital (Addis Ababa) you can follow them on their facebook page. Teresa has uploaded many photos of their adventures thus far.

Thank you, Tom and Teresa, for refusing to play “it safe” as long as you know what God has called you to do. I find what you are doing an inspiration.

When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch. – Luke 5:4

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Lauren permalink
    February 6, 2011 7:16 pm

    Awesome update Jen.

    Love your parallel to the story of Simon. Keep casting Tom and Teresa-God will provide!

    p.s. Jen, you are such a good “filterer” (not sure if that’s a real word) (:

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