Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas 2009

December 2009
Dear Friends,

For us, this has been a Not-in-our-Wildest-Dreams kind of year!! On February 2, as Mission Corps volunteers, we flew to Ethiopia where we spent 6 weeks living and working in Addis Ababa in the Nazarene Field Offices there - Dan with computers and me with accounting software. We met some amazing people; the experience was so much more meaningful since we lived and worked with Anbessu Tolla and his family. We kept a journal of our experiences on the Internet - you can access it at!

Back home on March 19, we jumped right back into working at JoyFM, officiating at NYI Bible quizzes (got to go to Nashville and Boston this year!), and being involved in our local church. Dan had an awesome experience helping with YIM (Youth in Mission) training in El Paso, TX, preparing college students for

Sunday, November 1, 2009

New Zealand

Wednesday, October 28, 2009
It was a great Air New Zealand flight to Auckland with breakfast served.  Janet enjoyed a series of NZ television programs about sheep farming, cheese making, Auckland shopping; so she felt a little acquainted with the country.  We arrived mid-afternoon and were picked up by Kris Van Bibber (graduate of SNU, former FL youth pastor), who’s been in NZ for almost 5 months, serving as District Youth Pastor and District Secretary.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Brisbane, Australia - First time "Downunder"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009
It was nice to have most of the day to get ready for a long flight.  Even so, we seemed to scramble at the last minute, with Erica driving  us to Lambert International Airport.  We arrived in plenty of time, though, to check in and get to our gate, ready for the first leg of our trip to Down Under.  We flew in a packed plane to LAX, where we each ate a bakery sandwich, then headed for our gate.   Our flight to Auckland took about 12 hours; our seats were in the middle of the middle 4 seats on this plane. Not the best for opportunities to get up and move around but we did manage to sleep a little and watch a couple of movies in addition to eating a nice dinner and a good breakfast, and trying to drink water every chance we were awake when it was offered.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Week #2 Leaving Korea, on to Philippines

Friday, September 25, 2009
It was arranged that we would go to the 10th floor for a nice breakfast buffet and we were amused to hear 60s music playing...

The 10 am BQM training went well and included a demonstration round for these participants.  John Kim may have worked harder than Dan during these times, having to translate and contextualize all Dan's teaching.  We had noticed that many Korean words seemed to end in the sounds “mee-dah”, so we really got a good laugh when Dan said, “It's OK,” and John translated it to “It's OK-mee-dah!”

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Week #1 Korea

Sunday, September 20, 2009 
This moring we enjoyed another breakfast of Isaac Toast before John picked us up to attend church service at his church, Tree planted by the Water Church of the Nazarene (www,, several stories of a building in a business neighborhood. We were taken downstairs and were introduced to some of the people in the congregation, including John's father and John's wife, Kathy. John's niece, Esther, wanted to sit with us and she was able to translate some of the service to us, although John had already been very sensitive to our needs, having printed out an outline of his sermon so we wouldn't be totally clueless as to the topic preached in Korean. Even a couple of verses of a hymn sung by their worship team were in English! (We weren't sure if this was done on a regular basis or for our benefit; we were impressed anyway!)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Arriving in Seoul

Early morning, Saturday, September 19, 2009

We arrived only a little late in Seoul, Korea, after non-eventful legs of flying from St. Louis to Detroit to Narita International Airport in Tokyo, then on to Seoul. We were met by “Handsome” John Kim, our host for the next week, and Pastor Chung, the always-smiling NYI Coordinator. They drove us to Hotel Rich, not far from John Kim's church (Tree planted by the Water Church).

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

NYI Training assignments 09

Since our return from Ethiopia the summer was filled with planning and participating in NYI Quiz events including the Global NYI convention in Orlando mid-year.  This was a wonderful opportunity to visit with leaders and friends from across the Nazarene denomination.  During one of these conversation we received a invitation to help out with some training workshops for Quizzing in South Korea.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Post trip recovery

We have learned in the past that the best way to adjust (or re-adjust) to the time differences of travel is to immediately start operating according to the time you are in, not what you have left. This trip has taken us at least 3 days to get our body clocks adjusted. Our thoughts and dreams are being more reluctant as they are still filled with the images, conversations and relationships of God’s people in Ethiopia.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Three-thirty came awfully early, but who could sleep anyway, knowing we were only 25 hours of travel away from HOME?! We dressed quickly, since we’d showered last night, and gotten the largest of the bags already into the truck. Anbessu had called a driver to take us to the airport, as he had a bad headache. We hugged quickly, said teary farewells, and were off in the darkness.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

We made a list of the things we absolutely have to accomplish today and, after a stop at the Field Office and a shop for baskets, we drove back to FIDA, only to find out that there was no electricity - again!  Dan spent a little time with Yohannes, showing him (on battery) some of the special features of the MacBook he’ll be getting for the Finance Office.  We checked off a few things, shared a delicious lamb kebab lunch then went back to the Field Office for some necessary computer tasks (somewhere with electricity!).

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

With Anbessu still out of town, we took the boys to school and headed off through the morning traffic to meet Mulu for a morning of shopping.  Her husband Ermias had volunteered her services to us because she is an excellent  negotiator of prices!  We started off near the American Embassy and the weaving factory we had visited several weeks ago.  The street is absolutely lined with tiny stands of merchandise on both sides.  It was such fun watching Mulu haggle for the best prices and we could see the shopkeepers working just as hard without compromising too much! After buying a few things there, we went to the weaving factory to shop there.  Mulu seemed to know everyone!  We found out that some of these workers were previous students of hers!

Monday, 16 March 2009

Today’s focus was on tying up the loose ends of our work at FIDA, with only 3 days left in Ethiopia.  Dan’s priorities included making sure he showed key people some of the basics involved in the website, as he’ll be working on it from home next week.  FIDA employees will, at some point, be uploading articles and managing new information on the website and they need to be a little familiar with it!  Janet’s transfer of information about Peachtree features was stalled, due to people who needed the training being committed to other projects today.

Making a list, and checking it twice...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Up early, we enjoyed warm showers and checked out of our hotel to catch breakfast on our way to get the pastors and translator.  We were expected for church in the Seven Camp Church, a larger rectangular mud-and-straw building filled with benches.  We had seen this church yesterday for a few minutes, but it had been “dressed up” today - the benches had been arranged and fresh grasses had been strewn all over the dirt floor. 

Saturday, 14 March 2009

We met Getachew right at 6:30AM at the appointed corner near his home and started the 4-5 hour trip driving south.  Without rain this time of year (there have been only 2 short overnight rains early in our stay here), the dust and smog are pretty thick.  We got to watch the sun rise over a mountain in the haze.  Starting early was necessary to avoid some of the large truck traffic.  Dan drove until we stopped in a small town for breakfast and coffee.  We ate at an outside table on the side and got to watch dozens of butterflies hover and light on the flowering trees nearby! When we were finished, Getachew took the wheel and we continued down the 2-lane road with wide shoulders accommodating LOTS of foot traffic, with donkey carts, cattle crossings, and 3-wheeled motorcycle taxis. 

Friday, 13 March 2009

The last few days have been rough - sporadic electricity outages have been hard on Dan’s progress on the website and other computer issues and I’ve had the flu.  I spent 3 evenings resting in our room after dinner. And yesterday, I stayed home, sleeping into the morning and eating very little besides Sani’s pasta and vegetable soup twice (“Mom knows how to take care of her children,” she said).  Kuku, our nurse student, asks me how I am each time she sees me.  This morning, I finally had an appetite for breakfast and no longer feel achy or feverish.  I just hope on one else gets this; it was crummy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Sani was concerned about how I (Janet) was doing this morning; ate only a little breakfast and wished I could just stay in bed today.  But we got going in the truck, with Kuku and Hani.  Dan dropped us all off at the overpass/bridge to walk across the highway so as not to be late.  Kuku catches another bus there to go to here nursing classes, so Hani and I went on the to office, leaving Dan to cope with the “morning commute.”

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Sunday was a quiet day.  Saturday evening, I (Dan) managed to break my Gateway laptop screen so I have to borrow a spare monitor to use in order to continue working on the FIDA web site.  Janet is getting a lot of reading done.  Sunday’s service at Central Church (the Nazarene Field Office building) was a good one - the music is beautiful, even if we don’t understand the words. The enthusiasm makes the difference!  Another pastor friend translated for us, so we understood what was being preached.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saturday, 7 March 2009

We recruited Anteneh for his help today in souvenir shopping. We didn’t even plan to buy anything today, just scope out the shops and the prices - with a native!  We knew that prices would be higher at the little shops if the shopkeepers saw tourists coming... We met Anteneh at the Field Office and took him for coffee at the corner shop before driving to a good shopping area.  There were many beautiful things and we asked the prices on woven goods, rugs, jewelry, baskets, leather and wooden things... until the shops all started to look alike!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday, 6 March 2009

Today was my(Dan) day to do the morning devotions at Fayyaa. The challenge was not having something to share, but getting through traffic in time to do it. We left the house early just for this reason with Hani and the boys and the plan was to take the boys to the office and let one to the drivers there take them on to school as was often done. As we moved along the first leg of our daily route it was usually crowded and slow so concern was rising for getting to the office in time to lead devotions. At the end of this first leg is a corner and a opportunity to take a walking bridge across the main highway arriving near the office. I often have been letting Janet and Hani out to take this shortcut while I go with the truck on the only route available which take another 15-30 minutes (due to traffic bottlenecks). Today that was not a workable option...

Thursday, 5 March 2009

We’ve been back at FAYYAA since Tuesday.  Dan is continuing his work on their web site; he’s on his third (and hopefully, final) software package to do this, but feels that he is finally making good progress.  I’m back in the accounting office, updating their financial procedures manual to conform to standards necessary to make contracts with U.S. funding entities.  (They’ve hired 2 new gentlemen in this department who are working on inventorying and labeling desks and chairs and computers, according to the funding given to purchase them.)  BUT, the electricity was off when we got there... (some refer to this as TIA, This is Africa)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Monday, 02 March, 2009

It’s already after 10 p.m., but we have to tell about this day full of new things!  We did, indeed, organize the store room.  We were also able to receive cash from the contributions that were given for our trip from our church and the Waynesville church too.  We finished just in time to get going for our lunch plans.  We were meeting Ermias and Mulu, and “Mr. Matthew” and Susan Corian, the Indian couple, and their daughter Saumia.  Originally, our plan was to have lunch in their home, but there was a water problem since yesterday afternoon, so the lunch moved to the Lucy Restaurant at the National Museum.  Over Indian and Chinese and Ethiopian food (and pizza - this place has a great menu!), we got to know each other better.

Sunday, 01 March, 2009

Yesterday was a relatively quite day. We found out this morning that, because of fighting and conflict in southern Sudan, the various denominations of Sudanese congregations in Addis have decided to fast and pray together today. There may be more than 2,000 gathering and praying about the troubles in their homeland. So our plans have changed, as they often do.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Friday, 27 February 2009

Dan did, indeed, get to share a God-lesson last evening!  After dinner, Sani and the girls and I made popcorn (it is traditional to serve it with their good, strong coffee - even if we have it with lots of milk in the evening!).  We brought it into the living room and passed it around, then Dan told of how his son Derick asked God to help him  grow in his faith and to use him.  Derick was able to share how he was "different" to a man he initially didn't want to be around, much less have a friendship or deep conversation with - and, all this, when he was in prison.  We can truly be used anywhere!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

This morning, there was electricity for a while, then none at all. (Some mornings, fuses blow and we just re-set the breakers.)  Luckily, Sani and the girls cook mostly on the short charcoal cooker, so breakfast was “as usual” except that there were no electric lights overhead or children’s programs on TV.  We told Sani that we had noticed that she is a very good manager and I think that she was gratified to hear it out loud, from our observations.  Over chai and French toast and porridge, we also discussed the differences in household duties in our respective cultures; the woman is entirely responsible for her home in Ethiopia while, in the U.S., many duties are shared or at least divided.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Monday, 23 February 2009

A new week began with more new experiences!  This is our week at the Horn of Africa Field Strategy Office. We started with a meeting with Ermias Choloye and his wife Mulu and learned a great deal about their lives and the progress of the Nazarene Church in Ethiopia and Sudan in the last few years. Both Ermias and Mulu have been teachers and he has also held a leadership role in the school district in Addis.  God showed them both that they were needed in roles that He directed them too, even though they thought they weren’t qualified. How inspiring it was to be with them!  They were very interested in our stories as well, how God has been working in our lives, directing our paths through our professional careers, our personal lives, and the “open doors” He is providing in volunteer missions.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Sani is becoming a real expert in French toast!  Now she’s fixing it with short sections of baguette and it’s really delicious. With the addition of tea and the porridge (instant oatmeal we brought from the U.S.), we have great breakfasts!  Anbessu took off early for church and the girls got a ride early too, to meet with the choir before church. We had a little time to check e-mail before driving Sani, the boys, and Buzeh with us to the Field Office/ District Center sanctuary.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

We decided to spend the morning again in the Ethiopian Bible College in the Nazarene Field Office building, as its wireless Internet service is good and Dan needs to download some software to help him rework the FAYYAA website. It’s also great to catch up on our e-mail. Sani rode with us as she has a prayer service to attend in the same building.  We went home for lunch....

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

We finally made it to FAYYAA offices in time for devotions today.  They have devotions in the office every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:15(ish).  Devotions had started when we arrived but they are very open to people walking in at any time as they arrive. (The traffic and travel complications make arriving anywhere at a certain time difficult at best.) The speaker was Hana, the primary office assistant/secretary.  She is the one that helped me (Dan) get the roses last Friday.  She is a pastor’s wife here in Addis and has 2-year-old twins at home.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

At breakfast this morning, Anbessu told us that he has spoken to Ermias, the Field leader (who has returned from holiday), and that they have agreed that Janet & I will spend another week at Fayyaa before we are to begin our work at the Horn of Africa Field Office.  Hani rode with us today to the office so she can begin working as an apprentice there.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Last night was another burger night! Sani was at her sister's home when we got back, but she had left instructions with Hani and Kuku to request my services in preparing burgers. It was a treat to me to connect with the girls in the kitchen. Hani took over when my eyes began to water while grating an onion. We hummed a little while waiting for a good time to flip each pan-full. It was fun! (I think I miss cooking with Erica...) When Sani came home, she stated again that she was so grateful for a chance to work on her English. I apologized that, in just 6 weeks here, we probably would only learn a little Amharic, and she decided that we should probably come back sometime! :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Monday, 16 February 2009

This morning, we were happy to give a ride to 3 gentlemen guests from the house to FAYYAA.  Along the way, it was so interesting to watch all the people walking to work and school. It's easy to see where the schools must be; the students were walking in the direction of their school, wearing their school uniforms.  We saw some in red sweaters with green slacks or skirts, then turquoise sweaters with navy bottoms.  After that were students in red sweaters with black bottoms, then tan sweaters with green bottoms, all with white shirts. (Ydidia and Abi wear gray sweaters and navy pants to their school.)  We actually had plenty of time to people-watch, because traffic soon stopped completely, for probably 15 minutes, before we found out why; on the opposing side of the divided 4 lane road came a large group of cyclists!  The traffic had been stopped for Tour Africa 2009 to come through.  Afterwards, it still took some time for the bottleneck to break loose.  Our usual "commute" of less than 15 minutes became over 30 minutes...

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Happy 87th Birthday MOM! 
Today's church service at the District Center was impressive!  Paul joined us too, walking over from the hotel.  There was over an hour of music and prayer - and Hani and Kuku are in the 6-member choir. They are beautiful young women!  Markos, one of the junior accountants at FAYYAA, gave a great message - in English - about God's faithfulness, with a personal story about when he was a student in the U.S.  Our friend Anteneh translated to Amharic for the congregation.  We drove back to the house with all the girls, who promptly fixed lunch for us.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Abi was the first one up this morning, already outside and playing soccer outside the fence with Eshetu. The household was slow to get moving on a Saturday. Saneit came down to help me with French toast preparations, finding the bread we bought and the cinnamon. Small brown eggs came out of a sack in a drawer; ghee (their shortening) was added to a pan heating on the stove. I knew they had pancake syrup…  It seems Sani has made something similar, just bread dipped in egg and fried in more oil than I use, but she seems to like my American version with milk and cinnamon added to the egg. Ydia and Abi both made short work of their servings!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Friday, 13 February 2009

Since Anbessu invited us to join the FAYYAA staff for devotions at 8:15 any Monday or Wednesday or Friday, we intended to do that this morning, but traffic kept us from it. We’ll try again next week. On Fridays, the workday is different. Instead of the usual one-hour lunchtime at 12:30, there is a two-hour lunchtime beginning at 11:30. It was explained to us that it’s a courtesy to allow Muslim workers to attend their midday prayer time on this day.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Early each morning, before it's light, chanting begins at an Orthodox Christian church near the Tollas' home (and everywhere there are Orthodox Christians).  We were told about it and warned that it might bother us, but we have quickly became accustomed to it and barely hear it each day.

We have "WHEELS!!!"  Last night, Terry gave us the keys to the truck he'd been driving.  We are no longer dependent on someone to take us everywhere! 

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Today, Terry Barker invited Paul and us to join the Canadian W&W team on a day of tourism.  Getachew is kind enough to pick us up and transport us to the district center, where he works, to start the day with a tour of the 5-story building (for the Canadians) and a devotion time.  Pastor Neil, who led the Canadian group, revisited the story of Abraham's faithfulness to God as he, promptly and without questions, set out with his son Isaac for a worship time that would include a sacrifice. God provides everything we need...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Taxi to the main road, hike the overpass, and walk a little farther to the office. Our jobs will be a little easier today, with (very slow) Internet for Dan’s work and more practice with Peachtree’s Payroll program. Not quite a routine yet, but getting there! In the afternoon, Terry Barker and Anbessu are back with the Canadian Work & Witness team; 1 vehicle came to FAYYAA before checking in at their hotel for the next 2 days.

Monday, 9 February 2009

We’re ready for our first, full work day at FAYYAA. After packing up what we need for the office, Saneit leads the way to the nearest street to catch a taxi. She traveled with us to the FAYYAA office to help us know how to use the taxis ourselves. There are so many vehicles and people going places today! The children do not have school today, but Saneit will take another taxi to their school to get their report cards today; second semester will begin tomorrow! Dan was shown to his office and I went to the accounting office as soon as John, the head accountant, arrived. Mid-morning, coffee (or tea) arrived for everyone - 2 young women seem to be there just to serve and keep things running smoothly.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Anbessu left very early today to re-join the Canadian Work & Witness team, 350 km away. So we will go to church by taxi - Saneit and us and 3 boys. After 2 taxis, we walk several blocks to the Nazarene compound - we know this place! The music had already started when we arrived after 11:00 and continued for some time. There is much expression in their worship - it’s beautiful! They make a wonderful yodeling sound too. The pastor introduced a guest minister for this Sunday and Mark, one of the accountants we met at FAYYAA yesterday, was asked to translate for us. What a blessing! Mark lived for 13 years in the U.S. After the service, a number of people wanted to greet us.We walked back the way we came, but a driver had volunteered to take us back home the rest of the way, instead of taxis.

Saturday, 7 February 2009 - Twice Blessed

Today, while being a Saturday, is a busy one for our family. Saneit is so good to provide us each a bucket of warm water to bathe; their water heater is broken. So we each took a "bucket bath" and headed down to breakfast with some instant oatmeal. Saneit has prepared tea and omelet for us and I surprise her by preparing the instant oatmeal with just hot water. "So easy!" she says.

Friday, 6 February 2009

This morning brought changes! Dan and I repacked our bags and managed to get all of them and ourselves into Getachew’s small car (after a breakfast of “porridge” [oatmeal] and toast). Paul will stay at the hotel for the rest of his 3 weeks because all of his work here is planned to be at the Field office compound. Our bags went with us to the library, where we were grateful to continue catching up on the Internet. Around 1 pm, we got word that Anbessu was at home and expected us to be delivered there.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Today was a slow day, with little to do in the morning. We walked the 3-4 blocks to the office building we had toured the first day. Paul had to wait for someone to buy supplies for the repairs he came ready to work on. The power was out for part of the morning and we began to identify how and where we could use the wireless networks in the building. We had a good conversation with Anteneh, a young man who we met 2 years ago at the Third Wave Conference in Johannesburg.

Wednesday 4 February:

Landed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at 3:15 a.m. Paul got his Visa and we all got through immigration and customs with a minimum of fuss by about 5 a.m. We were met by Getachew (geh-TA-choo), as expected, and also by Field Strategy Coordinator Ermias Chiloye and his wife Mulu (we thought they’d be on holiday already). The cool of the night is noticeable as we tell our hosts, in response to their gracious questions about our flight, of the snow we left at home and the snow on the ground in Chicago and London. There’s a slight background smell of burnt garbage in the air. We were all excited to get acquainted and clarify our work dates and places, as we rode to the D’Afrique Hotel near one of our work sites.

Monday 2/2/09

Erica came over to go with us to the airport. We said goodbye and checked in, then waited for the journey to begin. Already dressed lightly for pleasant weather in Ethiopia, we flew to Chicago/O’Hare and had to deplane outside in 25 mph winds with snow on the ground!

How we became involved in Missions.

We serve at the South County Church of the Nazarene in St. Louis, Missouri. Dan’s first experience with world missions was with a Work and Witness team that traveled to Puerto Rico. Together we traveled with the Missouri District Work & Witness team to Guam in 2004 to help with the remodeling of a church. Dan’s involvement with the Global NYI Quiz ministry developed our increased awareness of the international church. This along the post retirement desire to make productive use of their God given skills and abilities led to a growing interest to investigate the World Mission arm of the Nazarene Church.