The Gospel Hand-Off
"We need to cut down another tree!"
Simon and Lynn Caudwell were on the last day of a dusty trek toward Basketo, Ethiopia, in 1994. The road was blocked by yet another thick tree.
Their path had taken them through bogs that stymied their four-wheel drive and sections that narrowed to about the width of their vehicle, with a 3,000-foot drop on one side.
The Caudwells got out of their car, found a way around the tree, and pressed on toward the village. But when they arrived, rain threatened overhead, and they had to leave quickly before the storm made the mountain road impassable. It would not be the last time that circumstances beyond their control would halt their time in Basketo, a remote village southwest of Addis Ababa.
On this visit, their first, Simon was sizing up land for their house and ministry center. Lynn, meanwhile, was convinced she could never live in Basketo.
Lynn cried as they drove away, not because the visit ended abruptly but because she felt God had asked too much of them. "God, I did not know what you were asking of me," she prayed. "I don't think I can bring my children to such an isolated place."
The couple had been preparing for the challenge for years. After college they spent a year in field linguistics before moving with their two young children to Addis Ababa to study Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia.
The couple eventually moved to Soddo-Wolaitta, the closest city to Basketo. In this season of waiting to move to Basketo, Lynn was running an errand one day when she felt the Lord speak: "Lynn, I have come to give you fullness of life." Little did she know what that fullness would mean in the years ahead.
While in Soddo-Wolaitta, the Caudwells visited Basketo 20 times. They started building a house and ministry office. Finally they moved to the village in 1999. The uncertainty was over—so they thought.
Working with people in Basketo, the Caudwells ...