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!   😉

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CURE

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!

Just Around the Corner

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.

Going to the Country

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.  🙂