restoring our biblical and constitutional foundations


“Azanaw” Becomes “Bereket”

BeckyLynn Black

How does one begin to describe the blessings of our Lord Jesus these past couple days? Where are the words that capture the joy of a new birth? Many of you have spent hours praying for Azanaw. Some of you have sent funds; some of your children have made cards and emptied their piggy banks for him. I’ve tried for 24 hours to write this update, but have not been able to see through my tears of happiness.

As you know, we have been asking our Creator and our Savior to heal both the physical eyes and the spiritual eyes of this poor boy from a village in northern Ethiopia. In God’s sovereignty and grace, our Savior has opened his spiritual eyes first! This boy is now in our family! His name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life! He’s been washed in the blood! He’s experiencing genuine love, Perfect Love, for the first time! I want you to read the reports that I read and cry tears of joy with me.

This email was received first, coming from Woudineh, dean of the Meserete Kristos College. This is the Mennonite College in Addis that has given shelter and food to our new son.

Dear Becky,

It is now about 9:00 pm in the evening! I just read and printed your email to Azanaw. I will give him now before I leave for home. I was not around for the last three days, training leaders in the countryside. It is good that you had a chance to talk to Azanaw’s Doctor. It seems that you have got answers to some of your questions in your previous email to me. I have good news about Azanaw. I heard that one of our students, named Abraham told Azanaw about Jesus and he accepted Jesus as his savior! We will arrange for his follow up. He is also attending chapel, watching TV with the students, and have some time with the Gondar students. One of the Gondar students happened to be from his village. Even one of the instructors here was teaching at a close by area when he was in Gondar. I asked Azanaw today if he has a message for you and he said that he likes the place he is staying. Shewaye, my wife and student dean, visits him often. She shared about him to a female student and she brought him some clothing to change. He is very happy to receive the clothing.


Woudineh Endayelalu

This second email was received this morning from Samuel, the young man from the countryside in the south of Ethiopia. He wants to attend the Evangelical Theological College (ETC) and is preparing for his entrance exams in May. Lord willing, he will be a student in Dave’s Greek class this summer at ETC. Samuel is acting as guardian for our boy while he is in Addis. (Note: “Fernges” means “white foreigners,” usually from Europe or America, i.e., the “Christian” nations.)

Dear Dr. Bereket and Mrs. Grace,

Greatings in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ.

How are you?

I and Azanaw were staying together from March 3rd last Thursday. I am taking care for him as much as possible. Then a last Saturday afternoon he asked me the following questions.

1.      Many fernges were promised to help me but they didn’t do anything to me. Dr. and Mrs. Black are different from others what is the reason?

2.      Why you are taking care for me more than my friends?

After these and other questions God gave us a good discussion time. I have answered from scriptures about God’s goodness and I said to him Dr. and Mrs. Black are different from others. They are the people of God. God is good so that they are doing good things in helping you. I also a man of God so that I am taking care for you brotherly.

After my answers to is questions he said, I must follow their God and your God. Last Sunday he went with me to Gotera Church worship service willingly. He is very happy.

Sunday afternoon he received Jesus Christ as his personal saviour.

Praise God! This is the answer of prayer.

Yesterday in the early morning we went to Menillk II Hospital and Azanaw saw the Doctor. Dr. Likinaw contact us with Dr. Yonas and he did the assessment.  He will see him again tomorrow on March 9,2005.

Give our greetings to your family and Pray for us

Your son


Isn’t it wonderful beyond description? I have thought about the investment we have made in this young man – hours and hours of time, energy in prayer, many dollars. But I ask you: Is there anything that can yield a greater reward than an investment in the Kingdom of our Lord? Time, energy, and dollars spent in restaurants, cable TV, sporting events, hobbies, etc., etc. yield their reward, but the reward is so short-lived, so temporary, so insignificant! The Scriptures are full of the stories of men and women who “suffered” for Christ. They sacrificed, but they gained SO MUCH MORE than they sacrificed. We can’t out-give our Lord.  His Name is “generosity.” Because of His giving, we are healed. As Paul wrote, it is only natural that we should yield everything we are and have to Him. May our Lord open our eyes even more to understand the mystery of blessing through obedient sacrifice!

So, where do we stand with regards to our boy’s physical eyes?  He was seen by the eye surgeon yesterday morning, and I had a long talk with the surgeon on the phone yesterday afternoon. His examination reveals that TWO SURGERIES are needed. The first is to repair his eyelid. You may have noticed the tribal markings on his eyebrows/lids in the picture. Permanent markings on the body are very common among African tribes.  (People in the U.S.A. do this also in the form of tattoos that identify them with a club or gang.) Unfortunately, the scarring from these tribal markings has left an eyelid that will not close completely. So his eye is not receiving the moisture and rest that it needs. A skin graft needs to be done in order to fix this problem before the corneal transplant can be done. 

Everything is arranged for our new son to have this surgery on Monday next week. It will take about 6 weeks for complete healing. Then we can proceed with the transplant surgery. In the goodness of our God, he has been placed close to the top of the waiting list for the transplant! We expect no longer than a 6-month wait for that surgery. I am asking our Father, if it is His will, to allow this surgery when we are in Addis this summer. Will you join me in that prayer? I would so much like to be with him then.

There is one final thing you should know about this lad. At birth, he was named “Azanaw.” The meaning of this name is “a sad man” or “sorrowful.”  I wrote him an email last night explaining all about the eyelid surgery, and I suggested that it was time he changed his name. He laughed with glee when the letter was read to him.  =This morning I called and spoke with him on the phone.

            Me: “Azanaw, do you need a new name?”

            Him: “Yes!”

            Me: “Do you like the name ‘Bereket’?”

            Him: “Yes!”

            Me: “Shall we call you Bereket from now on?”

            Him: “Yes! Call me Bereket!”

What does the name Bereket mean?  It means “blessing.” I explained that God has given him a blessing in a new eye, and a new relationship of love with God his Father. And God will make him to be a blessing to others if he will give his life to Him. When Dr. Black was teaching at ETC last fall, the students immediately renamed him “Bereket,” because the Lord used him to bless them so much. So now our Ethiopian son is also named Bereket. (And of course, from now on, that is what we will call him in our web conversations.)

May our God richly bless all of you who have given to this venture! We have seen in living color the unity of the church under the Lordship of Christ. He has gifted His Body in Ethiopia and the United States to do this good work for His Kingdom. We are not “Americans” and “Ethiopians”; we are “His Body,” His Kingdom, and it is beautiful to behold! 

As each citizen in His Kingdom yields to His instruction in obedience, then a wonderful work is being done and His blessing is overflowing to EVERYONE, not just Bereket. We have received $1100 dollars (most of it coming from the Buried Treasure “party” held by Carmon Friedrich) toward the expenses of Bereket; our hearts are filled with humility as we see your love for this poor boy, even though you have never even met him. All of this money is being sent to the college to help with the living cost of Samuel and Bereket. They will continue to stay at this college for the next six weeks.

Please continue to pray for the spiritual development of Bereket; he will be in a position to receive a concentrated 6-week discipleship course, living on the campus of this excellent Bible school! (Isn’t God wonderful to arrange such a situation?) And also, keep him in prayer for a successful skin graft surgery on Monday.

If you have any questions about all of this, please feel free to email us.

With praise to our wonderful Lord Jesus for His abundant goodness to us,


BeckyLynn Black was raised in Ethiopia. She is the wife of Dr. Dave Black. They may be reached for comment here.

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