Saturday, February 28, 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
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 , many duties are shared or at least divided. U.S.
Tuesday, February 24, 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 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. Sudan
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.
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
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.
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
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
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...
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
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
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
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!
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.