What a drive! Traffic in Ethiopia is an experience that will quickly make you a believer in the sovereignty of God. Ethiopia has the highest rate of traffic fatalities in the world. Here’s why:
The only thing you can do here is allow God to take care of you as He wishes. All of us who are visiting are surprisingly at ease on the roads, knowing we have a very experienced driver and trusting that God will see His work done here.
We left our hotel at 7:00am, and arrived at the village sometime around 10. The drive took us through a few small towns, and then to a back road out into the desert. The road from the last town was rough and dusty, but the scenery was beautiful. Gutamuma is a place where people build mud huts with thatched roofs for shelter. That’s what made this church so amazing when we drove up to it–it’s a cement building! Strong and safe.
They farm the land and sell their crops on the road or at an open market, and they don’t have much in the way of possessions. I imagine there is a lot of bartering that goes on, and the children (every place you go in Ethiopia, not just Gutamuma) have all learned to ask the tourists for money (and candy).
Side note – the most interesting thing we saw today was outdoor foosball tables. They had 6 of them in the alley where there was a sort of swap meet going on. We joked that they were playing a tournament for potatoes.
Around the homes and fields they literally build hedges of protection mostly of cactus. ALL of the people who attend this church have come to Christ from Islam. The church has bunkers for them to hide in if necessary. These people are so incredibly sweet and genuine it makes me jealous. They are content and joyful in their harsh circumstances. Americans could learn a lot from them.
The church service was beautiful, and the choir was amazing. I’m sure it was partly because I couldn’t understand the words to the songs, but they just have a different way about them. There were also these beautiful women who the pastor called the Prayer Warriors of the church who sang a special song. They all sang beautifully. You’ll have to wait till we get back to hear a song, because with the spotty, slow internet we get here there is no way I can upload an entire song. It will give you something to look forward to.
A few of the Americans spoke to dedicate the church, and then we had more praise music. After that, we went outside to see the rest of the property, and take lots and lots of pictures. Here are but a few:
Randy’s remark at the end of the visit: “If this was all we did, this trip was worth it.” I completely agree.
The day ended with lunch at a very large hotel with a seemingly endless restaurant. We had about 30 people and it wasn’t even difficult to find seats all together. The food was great, and I still can’t get over how affordable it is.
We finished the drive home, and here I sit and write. Lunch was so big, we just had some coffee and cookies for dinner. Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone.