Monthly Archives: November 2013

Sunday

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I totally admit to being exhausted Sunday morning and skipping church.  What can I say, I caved in to peer pressure.  Only one of us decided to go to church.  So for breakfast we had arranged to meet with Pastor A (I can tell you a little more since there will be no names), who we had met yesterday, to ask again if he needed anything, even though yesterday he said nothing.

We found out he really needs a solid house through Pastor Z, who had been praying with his wife before the conference that Pastor A and his family might be able to get a better roof.  Pastor A lives in a city of about 20,000, but his house is built of sticks and has a plastic roof.  His parents and siblings are okay now with him being a Christian because it’s been 11 years, but others in town are not.  He worries that someone will burn down his house because people walk by and throw lit matches.

It was settled.  We needed to build him a house. We asked how much money it would cost to build Pastor A a cement home with a proper roof that would withstand the rainy seasons and also be a better defense against people throwing fire on his house.  So we started talking about fundraisers and how to logistically get money to this man, perhaps through the ministry.

God always seems to orchestrate things perfectly, doesn’t He?

We were worried that our hotel bill was going to be quite a bit more than we had budgeted, but it turned out to be a misunderstanding.  Our room bills were half of what we were expecting to pay.  All of a sudden all of us had a lot of extra cash on our hands.  Without a word or a thought, we all knew what we would do with our extra money.  We gathered the cash together to pay our hotel bill, then put together the rest we had budgeted and gave it to Pastor A.  Our translator explained to him that this was for his house, and you could see the shock on his face.  It was so wonderful to see the disbelief turn to joy on his face, and to know that his family will be safer soon.  Pastor Z promised to send us pictures because he has email and Pastor A does not.

Pastor Zerugirma and Pastor Awel

If this story has touched you, maybe you could find the funds to send him a small laptop.  We now have a way to send things to him through our contact here in Ethiopia.

What a fruitful trip!  As I write, we are preparing to drive to Addis to catch our flight, but I’m hoping that sometime during a layover I can catch the internet to tell you about our party on Sunday night.  It was a hoot.

Coffee-wallpaper TLC

 

Conference Day Two

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On the second conference day they started 15 minutes early.  Whaaaat?

Something you may not know about Ethiopian culture is that there is almost no such thing as volunteerism.  People don’t do things if they are not getting something in return.  Even this conference is opposite land from America.  In America when you hold a training conference the attendees pay money to go, and they would maybe get some materials for their money, but it usually just pays admission.  In Ethiopia, nobody will come unless you pay them per diem, feed them and give them materials.  Again, it’s just how they roll.

So imagine our delight when Meseret told us that she had given a presentation at her church about Living Hope Ethiopia and what was going to be taught at this conference, and a handful of people came to her and asked her if they could help.  Just because they wanted to.  They took care of all the check-ins each day, handed out the bags, and served everywhere they were needed, whether it was fetching water and coffee, or carrying bags, etc.

Here are some of the wonderful volunteers:

Volunteers

One of the messages today was about the necessity of having a Biblical worldview, and Pastor Samson gave that talk.  He explained that a lot of Africans want to bring their old worldview into their newly found Christianity and how that is not right.  He then went through all of the wrong thinking and taught the right thinking.  I could not understand the words, but he had shared with us beforehand what he was teaching. One of their wrong ways of thinking is that there can be many gods, and another wrong view teaches that ancestors can curse you.

Next was Dr. Seyoum again, and this time he spoke on the homosexual agenda and showed how it is related to the abortion industry.  Each wants their issue to be considered a human rights issue. He played a video that was a news report in English so obviously we could understand that, and it essentially was reporting on him speaking to the government and there being agreement that the homosexual agenda would not be advanced in Ethiopia (currently homosexual behavior is illegal here).  They are very aware that Ethiopia would be the gateway for all of Africa, and if it gained a foothold here, it would surely spread throughout the continent. The news report stated (not sure whose words these were): “Ethiopia will be the burial ground for homosexuality, not the breeding ground.”

We met a pastor who used to be an imam.  Yes, really.  His story is amazing.  I can’t put a lot of details online because he doesn’t want certain things to be public, but ask me or Randy about him sometime.  He is working on translating his bible into the dialect he speaks because there isn’t one available.  One of the amazing things about him is how genuine he is in Christ.  He is one of 13 former Muslims where he lives, and the Muslims are actively trying to destroy him and his church.  He speaks very matter of fact about being under constant threat and he says he will proclaim the gospel until he dies.  When asked about what his needs are, he said none.  The only prayer request he has is for his father to trust in Christ because he is very ill.  He was blown away by the conference.  He had no idea there were people standing up against abortion pushers.

The grand finale was the testimony of the parents who had graduated and their children who were saved from abortion thanks to God allowing Living Hope Ethiopia to become a reality.  Sorry for a dark photo, but that was the only complaint about the whole conference–bad lighting.  Don’t get Mike started.

Graduates

What a great way to wrap up the day.

Oh!  And by the way–all of the pastors that were local decided not to ask for their per diem.

Coffee-wallpaper TLC

Ethiopian Time for the Conference

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Just like we have Mountain Time, where all the guys work when they feel like it, here they have Ethiopian Time, and everybody is on it.

Electricity, water, and phone are not guaranteed, and are certainly not reliable in Ethiopia.  They roll with it.  The internet has only been here for 3 years, and is only allowed in businesses.  No homes have internet.  Time management in Ethiopia is not a ‘thing’ either.  If something is scheduled to begin at 9:00 that means roughly within the hour after 9:00.

So last night, Meseret and Ebise went to get their hair done for today’s event, and while they were at the hair salon the power went out and was out for 45 minutes, so they decided to finish up their hair this morning.

Ebise

However, Mike and Randy needed to be at the hotel where the conference was to be held by 7:00 to set up video and sound.  People were to start arriving for registration at 8:00, and the conference was to begin at 9:00.  These two extremely schedule-minded men learned about Ethiopian time.  Mike and Randy were out in the hotel lobby ready for pickup by Ebise at 6:45 sharp.  Little did they know Ebise was at the salon.  They finally got ahold of her and got to the hotel by about 7:30.  People started filtering in a little after 8:00 and Mike breathed a sigh of relief.  Attendance was about 150 by 10:00.  Relief.

Sound Check Camera

One more hurdle to jump over.  The Keynote Speaker, Dr. Seyoum, called earlier and said he’d be late because he had taken his kids to school and there was a traffic jam, but he would leave Addis soon.  The conference began with introductions and a time of prayer, and then Dinah told her story about how Living Hope got started in Ethiopia.  Abebe spoke for a few minutes and then it was time for a coffee break.  During the break we got word that Dr. Seyoum was here.  Whew!

Dinah speaks, Abebe translatesDr Seyoum

The entire conference is in Amharic, so we can’t really pay attention, but it is electric just being here and seeing the attitude of the attendees.  Dr. Seyoum also had a slide presentation so we could follow along a little bit. One thing I did catch him saying as he read a published document is that the UN is pushing “quality, safe abortion services” which includes training more people who can perform abortions including nurses and midwives.  They consider this a matter of human rights.  Are the babies not human?

He spoke for about 2 hours when the power went out.  He kept speaking without a microphone, and then took questions from attendees off the cuff while we waited for the electricity to come back.  It’s how they roll.

After Dr. Seyoum spoke we had lunch, then it was his wife’s turn to speak. I didn’t understand a word, but her slide presentation was horrific.  The abortion procedure is barbaric, as well as people who deal in the selling of the “products” of abortion.  These products are baby parts.

The last message ended with prayer and a call to repentance, and about 15 people went to the front for counseling, but SO many in the crowd were crying and even wailing at the regret and horror of abortion.

Prayer Prayer2

This first day can definitely be categorized as a success.  Good attendance, good messages, good reception.  People motivated to take this message to others.

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Visiting the Orphanage

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Thursday morning we went with an escort to visit an orphanage—the same one I got to visit in 2011.  It was very nice to see the progress that had been made on the building, however small.  More murals had been painted on the two finished floors, and the upper floors of the building had been finished on the outside, but no windows yet.  Last visit it had 3 unfinished floors that were floors with no walls, so now there are walls up and openings for windows, but no windows yet.

It was really cool to see a photo collage on the wall with children that we know and love!

collage

We visited with 5 younger babies (including a set of twins named Maranatha and Amen!) and 4 toddlers still under 2.  Only one child was not available for adoption, and the rest are placed or waiting for referral with a family in mind.  There is one baby who is HIV positive, and is being adopted, and one who originally tested positive but now is one year old and is free of HIV.

We got to hold most of the babies, and I even got to rock a little one to sleep.  <<<Love>>>

Holding baby

Can’t show his face.

The toddlers have an appropriate “stranger danger” response right now, so we didn’t hold them, but after we had been there a while they would play ball with us.  There was one American there who was taking photos as the other was assessing the development of the children, and he made a sudden move to capture a photo, and one of the toddler boys screamed in terror!  It was actually really funny at the time, but probably doesn’t translate well to words on a screen.  You had to be there.

It is very comforting to know that there are no children at that particular orphanage who have been waiting for many years.  But UNICEF has just announced that all children in orphanages that take their money must turn out all children over the age of 13!!  How is that compassionate?  There is one boy who is almost 15 (at another orphanage) whose mother gave him up because she went to prison. In Ethiopia if a woman goes to prison her children come with her.  So she gave her kids to an orphanage and they waited for many years to find their forever family together but it never happened.  His sister aged out and is on her own now.  She is not able to care for him, so he was forced to go back and live with his mom, who he has not lived with since he was 6. She is out of prison now, but is very poor and cannot provide for him.  He is educated and is well liked among his peers.

If you or anyone you know is looking to adopt a teenage boy and able to fast-track, contact me ASAP.

Be sure and pray for African orphans who are older.  The UNICEF announcement was a surprise, and we don’t know how far-reaching this mandate is, but today there are a lot more young people on the streets than there were last week.

Coffee-wallpaper TLC