International Friends

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!


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