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July 12, 2013

Written by Sam Tekley


Around the age of six, I started imagining my home in heaven. Living in a hut in rural Ethiopia, the biggest mansion I could imagine was living in a house with two big rooms with real beds, getting to eat 2-3 times a day and to live free from the fear of Satan. Every day and night I prayed the same prayer. Dear God, keep me alive today/tonight, protect us from Satan, give us enough to eat and provide to those who have less than we have. I thank You for keeping me and my family safe all day/night. Thank You for adding another day to our lives. May Your angel always be with us and protect us from the roaring Devil. If it is Your will for one of us to die today/tonight, dear God take me first! Every morning and night, I used to check to see if my family members were alive. I woke up every day with a dreadful feeling of fear that I cant explain. In the neighborhood, I checked daily to see if all my friends made it through the night. Where I lived, all evangelical Christians prayed to God while Orthodox believers went to the priests, Muslims prayed to Allah and the animists went to the witchdoctors. All this was necessary in hopes of staying alive, to have enough food to eat and for protection from the evil one. Every day there was great anxiety and whispering about death, hunger, sickness and attacks by evil spirits. It was impossible to avoid experiencing one or two of the above. If disease did not take someones life, accidents, government soldiers or evil men took an innocent life whenever they wished. Death was daily news. Day or night, we routinely heard wailing from a neighboring village or experienced someone coming to our home to tell my family the bad news of a relatives death. Living on the fine line of life and death kept me closer to God and the hope of eternity. How in the world can I explain today living in a world far removed from the kind of life the majority of the people in our world live on a daily basis on that fine line between life and death? Can anyone in our world here in Calgary ever begin to understand that we inhabit a world of medical miracles, long life, abundance and solutions to pretty much everything? Last year I witnessed the perfect picture of this when stuntman Nik Walenda walked across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. As the world watched, Nik carefully walked. He prayed constantly. His family prayed and so did many others, including me. As we anxiously watched Nik, my mind went back to the days of my childhood in Ethiopia walking on that tightrope between life and death. Today I find myself far removed from all those childhood worries and live each day as if I am going to live forever. I dont worry about what Im going to eat tomorrow and any problem I f ace because there is always a way out. After Nik Walenda walked on that tightrope, I pray almost the same prayer every day and night. Dear God, remind me of my childhood, keep all of us safe, protect us from the evil one, remember those who are suffering and help me share what I have.

One of the first letters I wrote to my family and friends in Ethiopia after coming to Canada was, If there is no sin, this country is heaven. I have been here a few months and I am yet to hear or see someone die. Today I have more than I ever imagined - the mansion, food, material possessions, freedom, peace, basic human rights and endless opportunities to dream big dreams.

But one thing I can never shake off in either world - Ethiopia or Canada - is that life can end anytime and no one can stop it. In reality, we all live on that fine line between life and death every day. May our dreams, wishes and aspirations be focused on the HOPE that is yet to come - our new home in heaven and a life with Jesus in eternity!

I will leave you with my favorite childhood song today: This world is not my home I'm just a passing through My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue The angels beckon me from heaven's open door And I can't feel at home in this world anymore. Sam Tekley

Sam and his wife Joyce have three daughters - Missiker, Rebecca and Samara - and attend RockPointe Bowridge. In 2001, Sam founded Yekibir Tefsa or Hope of Glory Ministries which focuses on ministering in Sams home country of Ethiopia. For more information on Hope of Glory, contact Sam