Greetings from Addis-Ababa Ethiopia!
The last couple of days have been filled with great fellowship, fun adventures, shopping and prayers. It seems as if very few things have gone as planned – which has been great, forcing us to truly trust in God’s plan for our trip and set aside our own ideas.
We began Thursday with plans to visit several churches the Weeks support, as well as some IGA’s (Income Generating Activities) they’ve helped establish and assist in maintaining. Due to circumstances beyond our control – we ended up spending the day in Nekemte on their compound. We ventured out on foot for a couple hours to experience the local culture, interact with new friends and sample some authentic cuisine.
On our journey out of our compound we “lost” one of our team members AGAIN (Eric Johnson). We later found him venturing out of a local church on the compound. He was attempting to enjoy some local worship. After being invited in and given a seat – we later discovered he was attending a funeral. Once we left the compound, we were greeted with countless smiles and a town full of curious friends, where we enjoyed some food, locally brewed coffee and endless conversations. Jason was definitely a hit (with Charley on his shoulders), as he ended up with an entourage of young girls following him (not sure if it was due to his height, or if they were actually chasing after Charley). Later that evening we had a hoot of a time playing a really fun game and getting to know each other on a different level. Eric was most entertaining!
Thursday afternoon we enjoyed hours of conversation and amazing fellowship with Travis, Emily and their girls in their home. It was a great time to focus on each other, further deepening our friendship and love for each other. We ended the evening with focused prayer for the Weeks family – specific to their mission, Clare, Charley, Emily, Travis and their marriage. It was a very powerful time where the Holy Spirit was absolutely present. Thanks to Kathryn’s planning, we we also able to partake in communion.
Friday began early – 3:00 am!! We had a goal to be on the road by 4:00, for our six hour journey back to Addis. We exceeded all expectations and were packed, with local Ethiopian coffee in hand, full of smiles – departing their compound by 3:50 (it was a miracle to see Esther up by moving before 10 am). We thankfully only broke down twice with an overheated engine. Fortunately, Travis was fully prepared since this is a frequent occurrence – and we were back on the road in no time. Just a few minutes before arriving at their CMF Compound in Addis – we encountered several wild baboons on the side of the road. Jason was the first to venture out of the van because he couldn’t quite get the photo he wanted from inside (some of us followed this crazy decision). We were thankful to have the opportunity to spend 15 or 20 minutes interacting with them and feeding them (and impersonating them – thanks Eric Johnson).
After unpacking and finishing up our morning naps, we enjoyed a tour of their compound, meeting other missionary friends and meeting and talking with their local CMF accountant / executive assistant (described as the “glue” that has helped hold everything together with the CMF missionaries here in Ethiopia for over 19 years). We also saw two huge tortoises meandering on their compound.
In the afternoon – we were blessed to experience the local traffic and witness Emily’s amazing driving skills (yes, she’s got SKILLS) to enjoy some shopping at a local mall, grocery store, and coffee shop. It was exciting to see a few familiar brands of American food in the store, as well as many items that are exclusive to this side of the world. We also enjoyed some souvenir shopping on the local economy.
After a long day of adventures, Travis and Emily treated us to dinner at a local cultural restaurant. It was definitely one of the highlights of our trip so far. We enjoyed some amazing food, tons of laughs (some louder than other – thanks Nicky) and were entertained with authentic Ethiopian song and dance. Eric, Kathryn and Tim were invited to dance by the staff. It would’ve been rude to refuse, so they danced. Yes, we have video but you’ll be among the lucky few to get to see them, or just ask Eric – he may post it.
We ended the night with a safe arrival back to their compound and all crashed in our beds after a long and full day.
Saturday (today) we plan to venture into town to get some more souvenirs and celebrate Clare’s 4th Birthday!
We look forward to seeing what God has in store for us for our upcoming final couple of days here. We covet your prayers for the deep friendships that we are reinforcing, peace in Ethiopia and for the unchurched people of this country.