April 1, 2010
I wrote a while back ago about being invited to be a bridesmaid in an Ethiopian wedding. The wedding is soon approaching. Actually, I will arrive back to Ethiopia from Kenya late Saturday night (Apr 17th), and then I go straight to the bride’s house to begin getting ready. The wedding will be on Sunday…yikes! Since I am going to be gone the 2 weeks leading up to the wedding, we have had to make sure everything is done and ready for me for when I get back. In all the preparation, I have noticed many of the differences of being a bridesmaid in America, and being one here. First, the bridesmaids usually rent their dresses, and the groomsmen have to buy their suits, which is exactly opposite of what we usually do in the states. Also, we as bridesmaids have a lot more say in some of the decisions being made. It has been so interesting to me. When they have asked for my opinion about things like where to have the reception and about what dresses to wear, I have been saying “I’ll do whatever you want me to do and wear whatever you want me to wear. It’s your wedding.” I think they actually appreciate my passivity. Usually the bridesmaids can get pretty opinionated. Apparently, the reasoning behind the bridesmaids having so much “say” is that it is their day to show off and shine as single women. So, they have the opportunity to choose (together) what dresses to wear, what shoes, what earrings, etc…. There’s even a saying, “When there’s a wedding, there are a lot of little weddings.” I really don’t care to be a part of the “meat market”, I just want to support my friends who are getting married. So, here’s to a new cultural experience! ;)
April 1, 2010
In my time here, I have met lots of people from many different organizations. One couple I have met and have gotten to spend some time with, Eric and Corinne, are involved with a hospital called CURE. They are based out of Philadelphia, and they have hospitals in several locations throughout the world. Their primary focus is to help unreached people groups in any way they can, and also be able to share the Gospel with them (in word and action). Eric is one of the 3 doctors that work at the one here in Ethiopia. They specialize in club feet and cleft pallet surgeries. I have also known them to work on burn victims and a variety of other deformities. This ministry is really so great. Corrine takes time several days a week to go and visit these people, love on them, and share about Jesus with them. Many of them have come from the country-side and don’t know anyone in Addis, so it really means a lot to them that someone would come visit them in the hospital. Corrine has such a heart for them.
Last week I was able to go visit the hospital for the first time. I loved getting to meet several of the patients, and really seeing how this ministry is changing their lives. Also, some of our CMF missionaries from down country have brought in some patients to have surgeries. I was able to visit with a couple of them (although communication was limited, as they speak a different language than Amharic). It was just neat to see how different ministries can work together, and are working together to help each other share Jesus with the unreached people of this country. Praise God for His Body, and how He brings us all together!
April 1, 2010
When I was in language school, each day on my way there, I walked by a compound just down the road. In this compound, there is a really nice house being built. Then, right next to the nice house there is a little tin shack that a family lives in. This family is taking care of the compound while the house is being built. I think too, that they wash others’ laundry. There is one lady (not sure if she is married or not), and she has 3 children. Ashinafee, a 6 year old boy, is the youngest. Then, there is Alemitu, a girl who is maybe one or two years older, and finally Bertech (I think). I would guess that she is around 10-12 years old. Every day I walked by on my way to school, we would all say hello to each other, and they would wave with both hands lifted high in the air, in the same way you would if you were trying to flag down an airplane. It just melted my heart. I have noticed that these children were not going to school. It is so hard for me to see that, and I really have a heart to figure out how to help this family in a way that empowers them, and encourages them. I don’t want to just throw money at them, and tell them to get those kids into school. I’m not convinced that would be all that helpful. Don’t get me wrong, I want to help them to have an opportunity to go to school, but I think there’s a lot more to it than that. I want hope and dignity for them. I’ve really been praying for wisdom in how to handle the situation. I’ve felt prompted to just go over there and begin building relationships with them. The challenge with that is that they mostly speak Oromifa (a language I don’t know), and not Amharic (which is the language I’m learning). Both the mom and the oldest daughter seem to know some Amharic, so that is definitely helpful. Last week, my friend, Werku, and I went over for the first time and took some UNO cards with us. We were able to teach them the basics of UNO, which is great, because it also teaches them numbers and colors. We really had a good time, and I told them we would come back soon and play again. Please be praying with me for the Lord’s guidance in this. I am so excited for this opportunity to love on them.
April 1, 2010
Toward the beginning of March, I had the opportunity to go down to the country-side about 2 hours out of Addis. I have a couple of friends who dig wells and teach others how to dig wells out there. They work with an organization called Water for All. It’s really a pretty neat thing. The wells are made by materials that can be found here in Ethiopia, and they are designed to be easy to make. This makes it possible for the nationals to learn how to make the wells and to actually be able to build them. Also, each well is reasonably priced, the parts only costing about $50 US dollars. It is awesome how something so simple and fairly cheap can totally change the lives of these villagers. I came away with such an appreciation for what these guys do.
Being out of the city was also so refreshing for me. I really enjoyed the fresh air, the wide open spaces, and especially not having to hear the word “Freringe (foreigner)” all the time. The people were so friendly, and the area was just beautiful. My friend, Camden and I got to camp out in a tent, which I really love doing. It was like a little camping trip! We spent the evening hanging out in my friend Rob’s house playing Mafia and Catch Phrase in the dark (no electricity out there). We even had a little adventure of trapping and killing a mouse. I was a little grossed out by that. I was glad I was staying out in the tent and not in the house.
I really enjoyed being out of the city. It was a good break for me, but I also realized that I am definitely where I’m supposed to be. I’m a city girl at heart. I just don’t think I would last too long in the village. I should be careful, though. I don’t know what God may call me to in the future. 🙂
March 24, 2010
Hello blog friends! It has been a really long time, and for that I apologize. I have a couple of blog posts in the works, and am hoping to have them up before I leave for Kenya next Friday the 2nd. Please check back. Again, I’m sorry it has been so long. I don’t have any really good excuses…just neglectful. :) ~Blessings!
January 6, 2010
The international crowd in Ethiopia is quite vast. There are people from so many different countries here for various different reasons. One Sunday at the International Church, we counted to see how many countries were represented. We counted 58. It is pretty cool to have “access” to so much of the world. I am surrounded by people from different countries in language school, which makes things pretty interesting with all of the different cultural contexts. I have made some good friends from the UK, Finland, Romania, Sweden, and Ghana.
I was also glad to get to hear some of the different cultural traditions for both Christmas and New Years from several different countries. The night of Christmas, one of my teammates had me and several others over for dinner. The countries represented were India, Liberia, Indonesia, China, Korea, Ethiopia, and America. We started out the evening by going around and sharing about each country’s different traditions for Christmas. So cool. Then, for New Years my friend, Luminita, from Romania threw a small party. Her 2 friends from Russia wanted to share their New Year’s tradition with the group, so they led the activities for the evening. We started out at 9pm with some good food and chatting, and then later we played a game that involved a ball of yarn filled with pieces of paper. Each piece that was wrapped into the ball of yarn had on it either a question or an activity that we had to do. So, how it would go is we would throw the ball of yarn around to each other, and if a piece of paper fell out when the ball was thrown to us, we had to do what it said or answer the question on the piece of paper. It had questions on it like, “What are your expectations for the New Year?” or “What was the best thing that happened to you this past year?”. One action was to say “Happy New Year” in as many languages as you know. I thought it was a really creative game. After playing, it was nearing midnight, so we began praying and prayed in the New Year together. Apparently, the tradition in Russia is to stay up all night. I told them my tradition is to go to bed right after midnight, so that’s what I did. The next day, I found out they had stayed up until 4am. I’m glad I chose to celebrate my own tradition.
I am so thankful to see how the Lord is prompting people from so many nations to “go”. It is great to be working alongside so many different people groups. He is doing a big work in our world, and it is good!
January 5, 2010
December 23, 2009
I have come to know and often say the phrase “TIA” or “This is Africa”. This phrase is used in those situations that we would only be experiencing here in Africa. For example, the other day I was riding along with my friends, Becky and Caleb. When I looked in front of us, I saw a motorcycle carrying not 1 person, not 2 people, but 3 full grown men (one of whom was carting along an uncovered hack saw)! I was a little afraid for them…but I guess that’s just how they roll here. TIA!
December 23, 2009
First, I must apologize for how long it has been since I have posted anything. I have had much to post, but I have just not sat down and written them out. So, now that I am on Christmas break from language school, I have more time to sit down and let you know some things that have been going on.
Every other Thursday I go to visit homes of people who are living with HIV/AIDS. When we go, we take some food for them, we sit and chat with them, and we share scripture and encouraging words with them. This is one of my favorite things that I get to do here. I love listening to them, and just spending time with them. I think this is something that reminds them of their worth and dignity. These truths are easily robbed from them, as friends and family, who have found out about the disease they live with, are quick to abandon them and not even associate with them. This is something I could not even imagine, and would never want to experience.
A couple of weeks ago, we visited a lady named Berkay. She began sharing her story with me, and when I asked her how old she was, she said 27. This woman is the same age as me, and when I heard all that she had been through, it just broke my heart. She came into Addis from the countryside in order to find work. She found a job as a seratainya (house worker), and not long after that, the guard who worked at the same house raped her. As a result, she was left with this life-altering disease. She tried to return to the countryside, but when her family found out that she had HIV, they turned her away. Feeling worthless, she came back to Addis and found a job at a restaurant. While working there, she met a guy and began a relationship with him. Not long after, she became pregnant. She is now a single mother, and doesn’t know where the father is. So, now she lives in this small 10’ by 10’ room with her baby and washes clothes for a living. She shared with me though, that someone had shared with her about Christ, and she now has hope in Him. I was so glad to hear that, but completely brokenhearted about the past situations. It was hard for me to believe that I could encourage this woman in any way, never experiencing the pain that she had experienced first hand. Nonetheless, I did share with her how proud I was of her, and how thankful I was that she had found Hope. I shared with her the scripture that I had read that morning in 2 Cor. 1 about Paul being thankful for both sufferings and God’s comfort, and that it was for the purpose of building up the Corinthians. I encouraged her to be there for those who have gone through similar circumstances, and to share her Hope with them too.
I am so very thankful to be a part of this ministry, and I am thankful for the Ethiopians who have a heart to do this. I know it is making an impact on the lives of those we get to visit, and the Lord is glorified through it.
November 12, 2009
Every day in language school, we take turns giving a devotion before having a tea/coffee break. Today, a girl named Karen was giving the devotion. She was talking about how frustrating it can be to be in the waiting period during language school. Especially for those going down country, the time during language school can seem a bit purposeless, and just like more busy-ness. She was saying how we can do things in this season, but sometimes she can’t wait until she can be on the other side and communicate well, as well as pour herself into ministry fulltime. She looks forward to the greater things that are yet to come. She shared the song “God of this City” with us. Here are the lyrics:
You’re the God of this City
You’re the King of these people
You’re the Lord of this nation
You’re the Light in this darkness
You’re the Hope to the hopeless
You’re the Peace to the restless
There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God
For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
Greater thing have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
As I sat there and looked around, it was really neat to see all the people from so many different cultures, here to serve. All of the Ethiopian Amharic teachers were there too. We were listening to the words at first, and then we all began singing along. It was such a beautiful moment. I remember singing this song over Kansas City with my church community over a year ago, and now we are singing it over Addis Ababa. God is the God of ALL cities. He has called us to go…wherever He calls us and share the Good News with all, that all nations may know Him and glorify Him.