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Author: Team Ethiopia

Last Day…by Koriann

Last Day…by Koriann

I wake up to another beautiful day that God has blessed me with, but for good reason, this day feels different. Today is our last day in Addis. I am overwhelmed with the feelings of happiness, sadness, joy, excitement and nervousness swarming my heart. Not only because I will miss the kids at Bring Love In, but because of the many relationships that were built during this trip. The relationships within our team, with the Bring Love In staff, with our house maids( Tesfu and Messi) but most of all, my relationship with the Lord – these are relationships I will cherish forever.

We decided to use today to go to the market and finish buying gifts for our loved ones. The market is something I have never experienced before. There are little tin shacks lined up right next to each other down a street, that are filled with scarves, woodwork carvings, paintings, machetes and so much more. The street is filled with young kids begging for food or money and it completely breaks my heart. The drive to the market was an experience I will never forget. Not because of the drive itself, or even the city for that matter, but because of the reflection I was able to have on the way. I will never forget the smell of Ethiopia.. yes, I said it.. the smell. It is a pungent mix of diesel exhaust, cows, sheep and dirt. It is so distinct and definitely something I had to get used to, but oddly enough, it’s something I will miss. I thought about the two weeks we had just spent teaching English to the kids at Bring Love In. It was so much harder than I had ever imagined! I remembered all of those kiddos and the incredible impact they had on me. Every morning, I was welcomed by a huge smile and the biggest hugs! The kids were so excited to see us and to learn.

In one of our meetings leading up to the trip, we talked about poverty. Now poverty in the most recognizable sense would be material poverty, or the lack of material things. But did you know there is a more broad definition of poverty? Poverty can be defined by so much more than just material. There can be emotional poverty, relational poverty, and spiritual poverty. At first I thought this trip would be hard on me because I knew we were going to a very poor part of the country. I knew these kids were once orphans and that they came from broken homes, so the one thing I did not want to do was have pity on them because of the lack of material things. After spending so much time with them, I realized that they were the happiest people even though they lacked those material things. The reason? I would suspect it is because our happiness does not come from the things that we have. Our happiness comes from our relationships. Not only relationships with other people, but most importantly, our relationship with God. Those kids have a relationship with God and that’s the reason for their happiness.
It’s funny that when most people think about a mission trip, a majority of the time we think about how much we are going to help and bless the people we are going to serve. But it’s pretty incredible how much they all blessed me. My heart has been broken and I have grown closer to the Lord. My life has been changed. I could not have gone on this trip without all of you who have supported me. I am beyond grateful for every single one of you. You will forever be in my heart and in my prayers.

Love Always and God Bless
Koriann DeMastus

Goodbyes Are Hard To Do…by Jeremy

Goodbyes Are Hard To Do…by Jeremy

Yesterday, at the closing ceremony, we received great words of appreciation, gratitude and encouragement from our friends at Bring Love In, and returned our appreciation for their hospitality, kind help, and relationship through faith in Christ. The children were providing continuous expressions of affirmation, sharing food, giving hugs and kisses, delivering personalized notes, holding hands, and repeating from step one. The mothers were full of grace and patience as their children ran from teacher to teacher as if playing a wild game of tag…

Today, Ethiopian music is echoing across the city through speakers from the neighboring churches, beckoning the locals for their sunrise prayer, roosters are crowing as if they were shouting hallelujah to a new day, the dirt roads and paths are beginning to be consumed by nearby village people, and the small smoke columns from the warming and cooking fires show the town is beginning to stir.

On the first morning, many of these normal sounds seemed foreign to me (us) but they are now peaceful and bring comfort to the blessings of a beautiful new day, a day that will be different from the preceding two weeks. We will still rise, be greeted by the warm smiles of the guesthouse staff, Tesfu and Messi, gather for prayer for the day, and enjoy the delicious food that has been graciously prepared for us. But on this day, rather than joyfully loading the van to travel the bumpy road to Raey Academy, we are packing our belongings for a long flight home, a flight that I’m not sure that I’m ready to take. Not due to the duration of the flight, but rather the relationships that are starting to build amongst our group and the Bring Love In children and staff members, and other locals. Many people and experiences here in Ethiopia have had such an impact on my life, strengthening my relationship with The Lord, seeing His works across the world. I’m not ready to leave, I’m not ready for this trip to end, but I am ready to continue serving The Lord in this way, with children who are in need. Thank you to all who have provided encouragement, support and prayer!

A Very Different Experience…by Shelly

A Very Different Experience…by Shelly

Africa, especially Ethiopia, has a special piece of my heart! I love this country. I love the people and I love this trip. This is the second trip I have taken to Addis Ababa with the Journey Team. I am having quite a different experience the second time around! Equally as great, just different. One thing I did not do last year that I was determined to do this year was visit a sponsor child through Compassion or World Vision.

Over the weekend I had the amazing opportunity to visit one of my sponsor children. Tihitinna is the woman who runs the Selah Guesthouse that we are staying at. She also runs a sponsorship program for 100 children and their families. Last year I got to experience her sponsorship program first hand. We visited the location where she hands out bags of flour and oil each month to the families. We were able to help distribute the flour and oil to the families last year. After that experience I felt compelled to become a sponsor. Through the organization “All Our Children” I am able to help provide food for a thirteen year old girl named Etsubdink and her family. She lives with her mother, younger brother, and her even younger nephew. Tihitinna graciously drove me and one of my teammates, Jenn, to Etsubdink’s house on Sunday. This visit was a last minute decision so I gathered up a few gifts including two toothbrushes, toothpaste, a soccer ball, and many granola bars and we set out across the city. While we were driving to meet Etsubdink, Tihitinna explained that some families were Orthodox Christians, some were Protestant Christians, and still others were Muslim families. She explained that it is a mandatory requirement for the children in the program to attend at least one Bible study class each week at a church near where they live. She makes this a requirement in hopes that the families will learn the love of Jesus Christ. She has heard many stories of families that have accepted Jesus as their Savior.

When we arrived at Etsubdink’s house they were anxiously waiting for us. We stepped into what seemed like an incredibly small house. There were two small couches, a small television, a small refrigerator, a china hutch, and a bedroom off the back of the living quarters that had a bunk bed in it. I was told later that the house that Etsubdink and her family live in was actually a very nice living situation. I was shocked. While we were there, we were served coffee and popcorn. I asked Etsubdink many questions such as how she was doing in school, her favorite sport, and what hobbies she liked. She is doing well in School and wants to be a doctor when she grows up. She loves playing soccer and her biggest hobby is drawing. She showed me many many drawings of doves and Jesus. She told me she sells her drawings during holidays. It was so amazing to see Etsubdink and her family. Her mother is raising the last two of her six children and one of her grandsons all by herself. Her oldest son died in a car accident 5 years ago and that is how she ended up with her grandson. We asked where his mother was and she told us that the mother was diagnosed with HIV and they are unsure of her whereabouts. She assured us that the grandson has been tested two times for HIV and he does not have it. I was also told that the mother sells her injera for income. Injera is the most commonly made and consumed type of food here. She saved up enough money by selling injera to buy the fridge that was in their living room. Once she purchased the fridge she started making and selling popsicles, although that is not what they call them here. She seems like an incredibly smart woman. Etsubdink’s father does not live with them; he has separated from her mother. We were told that the father comes at least once a week to visit with the children; he also pays the mother a pension every month which helps pay for rent and her other expenses. She pays 14 birr for rent, 20-30 birr for electricity, and 50 birr toward a community fund which was explained to us as a sort of life insurance policy. All of her expenses totaled less than ten US dollars. She struggles to pay that, and is unable to afford food for her family. It was really nice for me to see that her mother is working hard to provide for her family.

Getting to meet my sponsor child was a very emotional and exciting and amazing and sad experience all rolled into one. It filled my heart with so much joy! I am very thankful that I got to meet her.
The very next day, four of our team members, including me, got to travel approximately 120 kilometers away from Addis Ababa to visit two more sponsored children in an area called Wonji. It was a very different experience, but also great! Jenn was able to meet her little boy, Sitota and his grandmother. Paige was able to meet her husband’s little girl, Kidist and her mother. Each experience was very emotional and amazing for different reasons. First we went to meet Jenn’s sponsor child Sitota and see what his project was all about. Sitota was a very shy 6 year old. We were told he was the littlest boy in the project! That particular project sponsored 187 children with about 30 more on the waiting list! Jenn drank her first drink of coffee in about 8 years! She loved it! After visiting the project, we went to see where Sitota and his grandmother lived. Turns out there are actually 7 people that are living with Sitota and his grandmother. Once Jenn gave Sitota his soccer ball and the rest of his gifts he came out of his shell a little. We all cried a bit while Sitota was pulling out his new clothes and shoes from the backpack Jenn had packed! His grandmother was also crying and was SO grateful for Jenn and her kindness and generosity. We prayed for Sitota and his family and then hopped in the van to head to Paige’s child’s house. We were greeted by the social worker who walked us through the streets that finally lead to Kidist and her family’s house. We were offered more coffee and this time there was a very large loaf of bread that Paige had the honor of cutting into. We all got a piece of the bread and watched as Paige and Kidist sat coloring with the new markers Paige had brought. She also brought a dress for Kidist, who loved it! She was already in a very bright blue dress with adorable pink dress shoes on and melted all of our hearts! We were told that Kidist’s father had left the family after learning that his wife was diagnosed with HIV. It was very hard for all of us to hear this news. Even more difficult was that she is struggling to pay her rent and cannot afford proper food for her to take antiretroviral medications as the doctors are now recommending. As we sat there, wiping our tears away, we told Kidist’s mother we loved her and we would continue to pray for her and try and help in any way we could. We finished the visit with a prayer for her family and happy tears as we took pictures.

It was a very emotional day for Jenn, Paige, Laci, and me. We are all so grateful to have the opportunity to visit these children and see the environment and villages that they call home.

The Chronicles of Addis – Week 1…by Laci

The Chronicles of Addis – Week 1…by Laci

Wow. That one word sums up what I feel like represents most of the team’s feelings since we first arrived. Once again, wow. But not a bad wow like, “Wow, I’m so overwhelmed I think I just wanna cry.” It’s a good wow like, “Wow, this trip has pushed me out of my comfort zone, but thankfully God has prepared us all spiritually, emotionally, physically and comically. I think I’m gonna be more than alright by the end of this.”
I can’t even begin to express how much God has revealed Himself just within this last week. Really, it all started when most of us were having a cryfest at the Bozeman airport saying goodbye to our loved ones. It seemed to hit all of us just what God was asking us to do and how much He was asking us to trust in Him. We all dabbled in and out of this state of mind until we got to DC. However, after we prayed as a group and walked into the final plane that was going to take us to a completely different continent, we all had our game faces on. It was time to fight the good fight.
After the 12ish hour plane ride and settling into the super awesome Selah guest house, we began to really see how big our God really is. We studied and discussed before coming to Addis Ababa that God is already here and has been way before we thought about going on this trip, but the true meaning of it didn’t comprehend until we took a look around and saw the simple, beautiful brokenness surrounding us. All I kept thinking was, Look how much our God loves us and look how BIG he is. Now that I look back at the beginning of this week, I’m imagining God laughing at me because He had even more in store for us.
The kids. These cute little Ethiopian babes have rocked my world. I can’t understand 90% of the things they say, 6% of the time when I do understand them I just smile and laugh because I don’t know what to say back, and the remaining 4% is reserved for when I understand them and can maybe come up with a decent response. When we first showed up to the Raey academy, I think most of us were pretty nervous because we didn’t know what to expect. Once Meese Shelliee (that’s how the kids pronounce it) started us off with Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand and some songs, it was all smooth sailing from there. It seemed to all flow naturally, the teaching, the relationships, and most of all the laughter. Here’s our nifty schedule:
9 am- Get started with reading a bible story and a memory verse.
9:30-11:15- Teach colors, conversation dialogue, animals, body parts, and actions (these were all on different days and we would also use this time to review the day prior’s lesson)
11:15- snack
11:30-1- Go over memory verses and teach more stuff
1-2: Lunch, playing, bonding
2-3: Do the bible story again except with a kids’ version and then do a craft pertaining to the day’s lesson and bible story.
Every day was a different day and every morning we were greeted with hugs and handshakes galore. The kids really loved when we played soccer with them and then they also loved it when we played Red Rover. We all have a couple kids we would love to pack home in our suitcases. I think we are all learning more than we’re teaching. BUT don’t get me wrong, this isn’t exactly easy. It’s not all roses and cupcakes and hugs. There are times when the children really test us and we have to constantly remind ourselves not to act out in anger because it would do more damage than good. We don’t know nor could we ever imagine what some of these kids have been through and one small move could be potentially setting off a bomb. Not only that, but it’s as though each of us have something God is calling us to work on through this. For myself, it’s my humility and pride (that really sucked to admit that on the internet to strangers so just go with it). He’s always challenging us and pushing out of our safe zone. I don’t feel like there are enough adjectives in the English and the Amharic languages put together to describe this trip. It’s a God thing.
One of the ultimate milestones of the trip was when we got to visit the organization we’re aiding, Bring Love In. For those of you who don’t know, Bring Love In is an organization started in 2009 that makes families out of widows and orphans. There’s a mom, who is a widow, and then there’s usually about 6-7 orphans who live with her. They also have an “aunt” who is a younger lady that helps with watching the kids. I don’t believe she lives with them. Don’t quote me on that. Anyways, when we drove to the Bring Love In organization we got to peer into all of the offices and meet more of the people who work there. They have Ethiopian psychologists, social workers, and nurses who all form a part of this amazing organization. We even got to visit one of the houses the kiddos live in and meet the mom and the aunt. There, they did a coffee ceremony for us and made us popcorn while we chatted with the kids and toured the house. It was so neat and humbling to hear how all of this got started and to see the oceans of love these kids are now swimming in.
Oddly enough, the hardest part of this trip is going to be saying goodbye. When you look into the kids’ eyes you see Christ looking straight back at you. It’s so clear and certainly mind boggling. We’ve come to love these kids with all of our hearts. Please pray for us as we enter into this next week and begin new relationships with the older kids, ages 11-17.
We all look forward to seeing you soon and love you all, Laci 

First Impressions…by Jenn

First Impressions…by Jenn

So I have been tasked with the job of writing about my first impressions of arriving in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Needless to say I think that it will be hard to put into words the sights, sounds, smells and feelings of arriving in a whole new world, but I will try.
I have to say first off that nothing could have prepared me for my first experience in Africa. I have watched documentaries and had friends come and go and heard their stories but even with all of that the culture shock is unimaginable.
When we first landed in Ethiopia there was this sense of relief. We had been traveling for two days and we were exhausted and so ready to be out of the plane. As we stepped onto the tarmac I noticed that the weather was cool and a bit more humid than we are used to in Montana. The smog was evident and a bit overwhelming, but I was grateful to be on solid ground. I kept reciting in my head, “I can’t believe I am really in Africa”.
After going through immigration, exchanging our currency, picking up our bags, the unanticipated anticlimactic experience of customs and fighting with the airport staff who insisted upon helping us with our bags and also insisted on a healthy tip, we finally made our way through the overcrowded parking lot to our van.
We strapped our 15 suitcases of donated items to the roof rack, piled in, and we were off, headed toward Selah Guest House. The drive was beyond overwhelming and like nothing I had ever experienced. The people were endless and so was the poverty. The population of Addis is over 5 million people and the city shows the effects of that. It could be my Montana roots, but to me it feels claustrophobic; like the city is bursting at the seams and there isn’t enough space for everyone and everything to move, live and be. There were donkeys and goats wandering the streets and sidewalks. The stray dogs and cats were mangy and most of them looked as if their skin was simply draped over their ribs and hip bones. The shops that lined the streets were metal shacks that reminded me of run down firework stands except they were all strung together as if they were one very long building. People were selling everything from knock-off designer clothing and shoes to vegetables and canned goods. Others that couldn’t afford to rent a shop were sitting on the sidewalks roasting corn, selling fruit or other small items. The streets were dirty and the traffic and driving habits were unbelievable. There are no real driving lanes in Addis, people swerve and maneuver in and out of other cars and pedestrians at a moment’s notice. Everyone is honking their horns but unlike Americans, it is almost like they are using them to say, “Hello, here I am, don’t mind me, I’m just gonna scoot by you”. The culture shock was extreme.
We arrived at the guest house within about a half hour. It is a gorgeous three story home with 5 large bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. It is has two balconies and a full patio on the roof. It comes equipped with running water and toilets, which is a luxury for most in Addis. It is secured behind a six foot tall cement wall and sturdy gate. Tesfa, the gate keeper for the guest house, came over and unlocked the door for us when we arrived and helped with our luggage. When he was finished, I noticed him walk back across the dirt road, up the walkway and into a metal shack that is his home. That is when it sunk in. There is not a place you can go without seeing poverty. It is inescapable. From the roof of the guest house you can look out over a minute portion of Addis and you see it. The kids playing football with water bottles or soccer balls that are completely flat due to holes in them, kicking it around in slip-on shoes that don’t fit. The two young construction workers next door breaking rock and building a house by hand, without the tools we have back home. The stray animals that are desperate for food, the constant stream of people with their yellow containers going to find water and the garbage that is everywhere.
But as I began to look closely I was able to find joy as well. I stood on the roof that first day and watched our gatekeeper with his young son, playing with a toy “car”, (which is typically a bucket lid tied to a stick with wire or string that they push out in front of them). And I watched his wife wash clothes in a basin of water and hang them to dry in between feeding and bouncing their other young son. I saw the joy in the neighborhood kids when we carted inflated soccer balls out to the field to play. I saw kindness to each other and openness to our team. I began to see the life that is here and present in the midst of the poverty.
At the end of that first day I realized I was carrying around this assumption that the purpose of this trip was that God was calling me to make an impact here in Ethiopia. But after seeing that this world is broken beyond my wildest imagination I was so overwhelmed by my own inabilities that I knew I was going to fall very short of these perceived expectations. It was in that place that I broke. It became amazingly clear to me how prideful this thinking was and how unknowingly I had taken up a spirit of superiority and arrogance instead of humility. So the Lord challenged me in a firm way at 3am, telling me that he did not call me to Ethiopia to fix anything. He asked me to come here, listen to his voice and do what he asks of me. That is all. If I am willing to do those things and if my heart remains soft, if I discard my pride and I loosen my grip of control, then He will use me and our team to join with Him in what he is doing in Ethiopia while we are here these next few weeks. But everything has to start and end with Him. So that has been my prayer since that first day, that I will hear His voice and follow his leading. And above all that I would lay down my expectations because his plan for this trip looks a whole lot different than mine and only with God are all things possible.

August 25th

August 25th

These would be our last hours in Africa.

Kim and Doug woke up with the early morning chanting to take Averee to the airport. You see our dear “jesus juker” had to leave early to make the journey to Zimbabwe to see her future husband for the first time in 18 months. (Averee, i hope you and Donald are having a blast!) A few of us went to the gym to try and release as much energy as we could before the dreaded 30+ hour trip home, while others spent most of the day finishing up last minute packing details and milling around the home with the hopes of delaying the inevitable.  After a coffee ceremony and a few hundred pictures with all of our great new friends at Amazing Grace Guest House, we were off to catch our chariot home!

Now I remember signing up for today thinking that i would have a lot of life changing stories full of introspect, deep meaning, and thought provoking answers to life’s big questions. But as the hours that i’ve been home now start to tick by, i find that i’m at a loss for words. Something that doesn’t happen too often. Some of it has to be the fatigue from all the travel, being away from the team, and dealing with the “shock” of being back in our culture. But mostly i think the lessons learned from a trip like this are learned gradually after we start to piece together a life that in some aspects was shaken up and torn down. A life that once defined itself by putting its value in one thing is now defined by something all together different. A shift form material worth to relational richness! This is probably the simplest way to put it. I’m afraid that if i try to put many more words to it right now i’ll just mess it up in garble anyways. And as for the “thought provoking answers”…have you ever found that the more you search for the answers, the more questions you’re left with? Yeah, well just TRY spending 16 days in Africa and coming out with more answers than questions. I think Isaac Newton made a law about it a long time ago, im not sure how it goes but i remember him saying it’s impossible.

Anyways, i’m sure that everyone on the team is facing a couple inevitable questions. So for those of you that wont have to chance to hear it from us personally let me do my best:

What did we do? We taught and we learned, we worked and we played, we broke a lot of bread and drank a little wine, we laughed and there were some tears, we served and were served, we touched some lives and hundreds touched ours!

What was it like? It was awesome…it was life altering!

God Bless Abyssinia,

Colin

 

 

August 24

August 24

It’s an unusual day when you kill a goat before breakfast and dance on stage after dinner. This was one of our most eventful days in Ethiopia. The 5 goats we obtained yesterday spent the night at Great Hope Church. Early in the morning we drove to the muddy yard, and with reverence, dispatched them to heaven with a large knife. Breakfast of french toast, oatmeal and pancakes followed for us while the goat meat was prepared. When we returned to the church, the kids not only seemed to have doubled in number but were extremely excited at the prospect of a meal with meat. The boy sitting next to me said he had last eaten meat 2 months prior. Mass chaos ensued while we tried to teach and finally the meal was ready. We served enjira with meat sauce and the kids ate quickly. Any reservation I previously had about tying the goats to the car and subsequently killing them was gone when I saw the urgency with which the children ate. Tearful goodbyes all around after lunch. We drove home in silence wondering if we would ever see our new friends again. We arrived home to a fierce rainstorm. Initially, we huddled inside wishing it would stop; however, we soon realized there was more water and water pressure falling from the sky than our shower could provide. Shoes off, soap out, we headed outside into the storm for the best shower of the entire trip. Feeling cleaner than usual, we put on our best (and least smelly) clothes and headed out to a traditional Ethiopian meal. We shared food around two small tables, ate with our hands, and enjoyed local honey wine. During the meal, traditional Ethiopian music was performed live and we were encouraged to come on stage to dance with the performers. Smiles and laughter all around as we danced with them and enjoyed our last night together in Addis.

Melissa

Day 13: Hog Tied Goats

Day 13: Hog Tied Goats

We can’t believe we only have another 48 hours here in this beautiful country. We all feel our time has been well used and that God has done some amazing things in both the people of Ethiopia as well as in our hearts during the 2 weeks we have been here.  So about today…..

This morning we awoke to another fantastic breakfast of over easy eggs, toast with peanut butter and jelly and fresh mango juice. I sure wish we had mangos this good in the States. We then got ourselves ready and headed over to buy some goats for the kids for the final goodbye lunch. They children here rarely get protein so we followed in the tradition of past teams and bought 5 goats for the final lunch for the children

                When we arrived at the open field where all of the goat sales people hang out we stayed in the car while our driver, Tsegaye, and our interpreter, Yosi, went to haggle on the price of the goats. They knew that if we got out of the car the goats would automatically be way out of our budget. So they finally got the price down….we now had our goats.

                As we sat in the van we watched as the salesman tied up the feet of all of our goats. They then carried the goats over by their legs to our car. We then proceeded to hoist each goat…one by one…onto the top of the van where Tsegaye strapped them down to the top. I suppose this is fairly normal but I think it just about made all the girls throw up. It was horrific. The goats were yelling and looking over the side of the railing at us like “please help”.

                Well we all made it to the school, the team and our goats. The goats were then passed off the roof to Colin and the rest of the boys where they were transported to the holding yard for the night. Tomorrow will be the true test of our stomachs. At 7:30 we get to all go and watch all of our American boys kill these 5 goats so they can then be seasoned and cooked for all the little angels in the summer camp.

                So alas the summer camp began. Today we started with a lovely round of Amazing Grace with me singing and Doug doing a fantastic job on the guitar. I then pulled Maddie up for the loudest found of Hallelujah I had ever heard. The kids love these songs. Then we broke into some hang man, Bible story skits, Learning manners and Simon Says. We then fed them lunch which consisted of plain white rice and a half a piece of break. Then the most fun of the day…..pictures. I have to say that today was the best day yet. With the teaching of the manners, most of us were able to demand a “please” before taking every picture. We will see if it sticks through tomorrow.

                The team then sat down to a much deserved lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, tuna sandwiches and bananas. Then we went to the orphanage. I think this was some of the most fun we have had on the trip yet. Their story was amazing and the best part was the children. We got to meet all the older children then they took us to the baby rooms. I think all of our love buckets were filled to the brim. After many hugs and kisses we headed to our favorite restaurant, chocolate, for a nice round of coca-cola and macchiato. We have all become coffee addicts. It is so fantastic here. It also gives the team time to debrief. We then ended our evening with some rest and recuperation at the guest home and a wonderful dinner. I guess this is all for tonight. We will keep you updated on the goat killing and wonderful meal tomorrow. Good night Day 13.

-Jesus Juker “Averee”

Day 12: Time Ticking Down

Day 12: Time Ticking Down

I wish this trip would never come to a close. I wish I could just keep wearing my stinky, dirty, unwashed clothes over and over and just stay. To stay in this place where everyone’s eyes have light in them and where I haven’t seen one smile that didn’t melt my heart would be a dream come true. I’m trying to focus on the trip rather  than the end. I’ve learned so much, and these people have filled my heart right over the brim. Going to Korah gets harder and harder each day. It feels like, as time ticks by, that we’re going there to leave, bonding  more each day before we disappear in two short days. On Wednesday (our last day), we’re going to kill and cook five goats for the children of Korah to eat. I’m pretty stressed about it, but I know that the ends justify the means in this situation. I’ll miss the mornings spent at the summer camp, packed into the church with all those smiling faces, singing, playing games, and telling Bible stories with a few extra tons of enthusiasm thrown in to keep them entertained. The bonds and friendships formed on this trip mean the world to me, and the fact that God had this all planned out ahead of time? Mind. Blown.  I can’t believe that in less 5 days I’ll be in school. Maybe I can, but I don’t want to. This trip has changed my life, and it’s not over yet. Please pray that the next two days continue to be packed with adventures and experiences. I know I’ll be back, but until then, this is my last time blogging on the Ethiopia blog. Thanks for reading!

-Mads

Sunday-Day 11

Sunday-Day 11

So when Ethipopians have church, they have themselves some dang Church! We attended Beza international today and if you took Journey’s best sunday and shot it up with some steroids and no countdown clock ( the service went 3 hours) add a dash of southern baptist prechin’, you get the service we experienced. The preacher spoke excelent english and would finish an empowered sentance with ” Are you hearin’ what I’m sayin!” Everyone was most deffinatly hearing what he was saying, his message was excellent, and we sat near the front, so at the decibles he was preaching his sermon through the microphone, the sound system used was not really needed.

After the service we had lunch at the Golf Club, which was quite good but felt very odd to be eating in such a fancy place after having our lunches last week sitting with feet in the mud at Korah. The evening was spent at the guest house, which is becoming more fun to play games with the staff than touring around the city. Colin, Maddie, and myself took a walk  around the nieghborhood and attempted not to notice the stares as we made our way up to Chocolate, the best eating place in the area.

It’s fun to observe the bonds that each person has made with different staff members, as well as with each other here. I will truely miss it when our journey here ends.

-Douglas