Ethiopia: Here I am!

What an experience today! We didn’t have internet access yesterday, so eventually I will go back and recap what we did, but today takes the cake (we’re having fun with our guides and American expressions)!

We left the Providence Guest House in Addis Ababa at 7 AM after coffee and warm banana bread made by our gracious hostess. We were sad to leave her; she has such a joy in serving. We traveled four and a half hours trying to get to Waranche before church service ended. Church goes from 10 AM to noon. We walked in at 11:30 and the church was packed out with over 100 beautiful people. The pastor stopped and immediately called us to the front as the audience clapped. Their excitement in seeing us was electrifying. They gave us front row seats and called us to the stage to introduce ourselves. Our team leader, Doug Martine, was invited to share a few words. He spoke about Paul’s travels and the hospitality that he must have felt in his travels as well as the relationships that he built. Doug said that we hoped to establish the same type of ongoing relationship with the Waranche community.

He only spoke a few minutes and then they closed with a very exuberant and active and very long song…10 minutes of hopping and waving. It really was an experience in itself! They had a choir of young girls in pink satin robes…must have been extremely hot for them as it was quite warm in the small tin-roofed building.

Several children and older men and women came over to greet us after the service. Now this next part was funny. I watched and counted as the women gave each member on our team three strong hugs. So when the oldest woman got to me, when she hugged me I hugged her back, then she hugged me back and I hugged her. We hugged for a very long time, and we both laughed so hard we had tears rolling down our cheeks. It wasn’t until later that I realized that she was returning each of my hugs and would never have stopped if I hadn’t stopped first. Nevertheless, it was a precious moment that I shared with this joyful woman. I hope to see her again tomorrow.

Waranche is a CarePoint that Children’s Hopechest supports here in Awassa. They educate over 300 children of the community aged 4 years old to twelve. After twelve, Hopechest gets sponsors to pay for the children to attend public school. The public education is free; however, children can’t attend without paying for uniforms and supplies and most families can’t do that.

The children are adorable of course, but I am finding that I am drawn to the women wherever we go. Later, I will write about the ministries that we visited on Friday and Saturday.

Until then…Chow.

Internet is very slow…will post pictures later.

Categories Ethiopia | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Posted on October 14, 2012

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1 Comment

  1. by Wanda Littles

    On October 14, 2012

    Judy, the stories are fabulous! I especially like the hugging story! That was so funny as I envisioned what might have been an hour long event. I am praying that you and your team will bear much fruit on this missions trip, with close bonds established, and everything God has prepared for the givers and the receivers as you all realize you are all the receivers of His grace. Can’t wait for you to get back home, filled to the brim with blessings!

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