Friday, April 30, 2010

Siritual Suitcase - God Moment No. 2

Our first Saturday in Ethiopia began with a devotion by Carolyn about how an oyster pearl is formed as a result of trauma to the oyster.  That was followed by a visit to a small village church in T'ede.  Pastor Zerihun's (pictured with Brita) faith journey began when he gave his last few dollars that he was going to buy poison with to commit suicide to a homeless man.  The man gave him in return a pamphlet about Jesus Christ.  Pastor Zerihun now has flock of 50 that gathers in the in the church building that he built.  
Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spiritual Suitcase ~ No. 1

From John's Spiritual Suitcase
God Moment No.1
A custom-made day God shared with us in the village of Gutumuma.  Twenty young women and men and a member of our mission team, Tim Snyder (A.K.A. Dr. Jones) were baptized in the lake by Pastor Mark.  Hallelujah!
Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spiritual Suitcase

I can not talk right now because while in Ethiopia I was given a spiritual suitcase full of God moments.  I am still unpacking…

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hello, this is Rick, just wanted to thank you for the support. It really takes the body of Christ to accomplish a mission such as the one we went on. I underestimated the humanitarian aspect of this trip. We made a huge difference in many lives in the name of Christ. Even those who watched from a distance gave thought to what we did. I pray those thoughts end with Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

I also believe that Ethiopian Christians could easily come here to the states to share the gospel. They truly know what it is to be in need and what real oppression is. And would expose the curse we Americans have because of the wealth, TV, worldliness, and PRIDE.

Religion and other gods have confused the people of Ethiopia similar to what it has done here. Many believe "working" your way to God is needed so that God will accept them based on their merit. Only thing wrong with that is that faith in God is taken out of the picture (Eph 2:8-10). It also diminishes the death of Jesus.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

We are back!

Praise the Lord!  We made it home from Ethiopia today ~ Saturday, 17 April!  What an amazing adventure we have had!
I am sorry for not keeping up with the blog but I (Brita) got sick on Tuesday and then we did not have Internet access the rest of the week . . . bummer!  I promise to get you up to speed ASAP . . . I'm just a bit tired right now!

The team would like to thank everyone for praying for us during the past two weeks.  Your prayers made our trip more successful than any of us will ever realize.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Peace and blessings to you this Saturday evening!
The Team
Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Monday, April 12, 2010



It is wonderful to wake up and realize you have been eaten alive at night by mosquitoes!  Thankfully we have a malaria medicine!  Let's hope it works!  The Ethiopian sounds of car horns and birds singing is a delightful alarm clock . . . providing you got enough sleep!  Rick gave today's Devotion based on Phil 3:14 . . . spiritual maturity and laying a strong, good foundation.  This tied in great to our visit to the construction site of the new Widows and Orphans Home.  It is wonderful how all of our devotions are tying in so easily to this Mission Trip!

Today was a nice relaxing day at the Widows and Orphans Home.  We are busy holding babies, playing with bouncy balls and coloring in coloring book with the younger children.  What a great way to be Jesus to these children!

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Misc Thoughts . . .

It's hot!  Blazing sun!

Houses made of mud, scrap metal, any found material.

Train tracks . . . but no trains!  How silly is that!

Ethiopia is a land locked country so shipped goods come from a port in Djibouti . . . we have seen quite a few cargo containers so that is why we learned this fact.

Brita's little friend, who could not be more than 2 years old, knows how to fold a plastic bag.  (The only way this could be possible is if she has seen her mother do this for years . . . how sad is that?!)

Rick gave his Amharic Bible away to a young man.

Doug was speaking to a group of men about this trip, and when he spoke of our helping the orphans the young men wanted to know what we were doing to help his family. It's a legitimate question, one we didn't have an answer to.

Toothpicks are big here! 

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!



Because today is Sunday, we were going to relax a bit and go to a shopping area.  Tezera took us to some shops where she knows the owners and they would give us a fair price . . . theoretically.  We bought fabric, cups, spoons made of goat bones, jewelry, cultural clothing and other neat things. Brita and Rick were a bit adventurous and went out to the back of the main street.  Brita made a new friend with a little girl who could not have been more than 2 and Rick made friends with young men by talking about Jesus.  It is funny how God leads you where you need to be.  


Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

After Church

When church was over, we met with the pastor and church leaders.  They shared with us the status of their church . . . they have 186 children in Sunday school but they have no teaching materials.  They rent this space and as we saw, it is pretty dilapidated.  Despite the situation, the church members are so joyful!

After this meeting, we walked back to the Home and had lunch.  Once lunch was finished, we all loaded up in the van and headed to the new site of the Widows and Orphans Home.  They are busy building a new, bigger facility.  The new place is 15 minutes away from the current location.  The new site has a nice bit of land but there is a drainage problem . . . during the rainy season, which is 15 June – 15 Sept, the stream that runs through the back yard overflows, and it could overflow into the new house!  In order to fix this problem, the Home needs 40,000 US Dollars to build a retaining wall.  As you can imagine, this is an impossible amount of money for Tezera but she has faith that God will send the money somehow. 

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Church on Sunday

When Tezera's story was over, it was time to go to church.  The church was not far so it was neat to be able to walk the streets in Tezera's neighborhood.  As you can imagine, we were a sight for everyone to see!  The roads in Adama are just as bad as in Addis . . . large rocks that are not level and tiny rubble.  We wonder how many sprained ankles happen in one day here.  Thankfully, none of us has fallen . . . at least not too badly!

When we approached the church, we could hear singing . . . loud singing!  People were shouting "Halleluiah!"  You could feel the energy coming out of the place!  We were ushered into the front rows and quickly took our seats.  There were approximately 500 people at church this morning.  There really aren't walls; it is simply the sides of the buildings next door.  The rafters were made of wood and the ceiling was made of scrap metal.  There are gaps where the scrap metal does not meet the walls so there are holes in the ceiling but if it were raining, the rain would be contained to the edges of the worship space.  The stage is the only permanent structure in the church; it is made of cement and has 5 steps leading to the stage.  The stage has a cover made of wood that is painted white.  The back of the stage is covered in white fabric and adorned with blue fabric that goes about 1/3 of the way down from the ceiling.  Plastic white flowers and green, flashing lights (Christmas light style) hang from the blue fabric.  There is no cross hanging on the wall but there is one on the podium. 

When we made it to our seats, the prayer leader was leading the congregation in song.  Soon after that, the choir (15 woman and men) came on stage and sang some amazing songs!  We were later told the songs were about Job, his life and struggles.  The choir members were so joyful in the singing!  Their faces radiated with the joy of the Lord!  There was no band but there was a tract and a young man playing keyboard.  The music was simply remarkable!  (And the base was shaking the rafters!)

When the choir returned to their seats, the pastor invited Mark, Andrea, Tim and Rick up on stage.  Andrea and Tim represented the team while Rick said the verse John 3:16 in Amharic by heart!  The congregation applauded when he finished!

After the team members returned to their seats, Tezera offered to translate the sermon to Brita so she could write it in her journal.  The sermon was about the Will of God and how blessed one will be if they follow and live in the Will of God.  Now that is something to contemplate while on a Mission Trip in Ethiopia!

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Widows and Orphans Thoughts . . .

Along with the 10 widows that live in this compound, Tezera and her staff support 31 other widows in the community.  They have monthly meetings where they have fellowship and prayer.  During these meetings, they widows receive food for the month.

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Tezera’s Story

Tezera, an amazing Christian woman, feels that she has been called by God to minister to the widows and orphans in Ethiopia.  This calling is so strong she will stop at nothing to see this vision to come fruition.  She used to work for Compassion International, an organization that helps poorer families in Ethiopia, before she founded this Widows and Orphans Home.  When she was working for Compassion International, she had a dream about starting a place for widows and orphans.  The dream was so real and vivid she remembers it to this day.  She shared the dream with us . . . she saw a group of Americans, 12 white people and 1 black woman.  The black woman asked so many questions.  One of the white people was an overweight man.  In the dream, he was crying uncontrollably and his wife was rubbing his back consoling him.  Tezera was given a gift in the dream . . . it was an apron; green, brown and white stripes with two big pockets in the front and a metal ring to adjust the length.  Talk about a vivid dream!

Tezera shared this dream with her family and most people made fun of her.  Despite this, she believed the dream was from God and she was going to keep praying to make the home a reality.  Seven years went by and Tezera's brother-in-law called her one day and said, "Your American friends are here in my office."  Tezera, who had been teased by this brother-in-law for years about the dream, quoted a verse from the bible about not joking and then she hung up the phone.  He called back and say, "Really, there are 12 white and 1 black American here in my office.  We will come by tomorrow.  And they did!

During the first meeting with the Americans, someone translated for Tezera because she did not think her English was good enough.  When she left the meeting, she was not pleased.  She did not feel her message came across.  Thankfully, there was another meeting where she told the story herself.  Tezera shared her dream and her desire to have a home for widows and orphans in Adama.  By the end of the talk, the black woman was asking a ton of questions and the overweight man (Big Daddy) was crying and his wife was consoling him . . . just like the dream!  The Americans told her that they would help her start this house and they meant it!  In a matter of months, she received 100,000 Birr from the Americans to pay rent, buy beds, etc. etc.  Her dream was becoming a reality!  But the best part is that along with the money, she also received the green, brown, and white apron, with two big pockets and a metal ring for adjusting the length!!  God is amazing!


Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Sunday Morning

Mornings in Adama are a bit different than Addis . . . the first and biggest difference we noticed is the heat.  Even in the morning, it's warm.  The birds singing and horns beeping remind you straight away that we are in Africa.  Praise the Lord!  What a blessing to be here today!

Sunday morning began with breakfast by the pool and Devotions in Mark's room given by John.  He focused on Phil 2:13 ~ Enable me to do your will . . . I'm here, use me!  John quoted the Catholic Theologian Thomas Merton during his devotion in order to help us understand that one's movement causes others to move.  Andrea was moved to come to Ethiopia and help the orphans and widows.  Because of that movement, we were moved to join this team.  Because of our movement, others will be moved to do . . . who knows what?  We don't know yet, but we have faith that God knows how our movements will inspire others to make a difference in the world!  Now that is a cool thought . . . first thing on a Sunday morning.

After Devotions, we were off to the Widows and Orphans Home.  We could not wait to see our new friends and get those amazing hugs!  The smiles when the woman and children see us are . . . indescribable!  The church that the woman and children go to is just around the corner so we put the widows on the van and let them have a drive . . . they LOVED it!  The church is pieced together with wood, sheet metal and a stone wall.  There are traps sown together covering some holes. It is a humble dwelling where over 850 people worship God.

Like all things in Ethiopia, Church does not really have a beginning time.  When we arrived, we were told that church would begin in one hour so we walked back to the Home to hear Tezera's story.

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Down Time

One neat aspect of our new hotel is the pool!  In the Ethiopian culture, it is not acceptable for men or women to show their knees so we have been wearing long pants or skirts every day.  The idea of putting on shorts and swimsuits is a welcome relief to the blazing heat we are experiencing.  Saturday evening, some of us swam while others lounged by the pool listening to, get this, country music!  It is a wonderful blessing to be surrounded by such fun loving people on this trip!  Thank you, God!

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

It’s a Miracle!

It's not every day that you are part of an honest to goodness miracle.  That was our experience our first day here at the Widows and Orphans Home.  When we arrived, the nannies had 2 ½ cans of formula left . . . for 11 infants!  That means that they had less than 24 hours of formula left.  Just contemplate that for a moment.  11 infants, precious little babies . . . some as young as 23 days old, others up to 18 months. Who doesn't get formula first?  Who should get a smaller portion?  These were just two of the countless worries that Tezera and her staff face daily.  Their prayer was "Let God fulfill this burden."  They had faith that God would come through for them but they had no idea when it would happen.  This is real life in Ethiopia, a real life and death crisis.  Then the Americans arrived . . . with over 150 pounds of formula!  Praise God!  The desperately needed supplies were donated by many people ~ such as Harvest House in Arizona, M.O.P.S. (Mothers Of Pre-Schoolers group at VBUMC) and Atlantic Pediatric's in Virginia Beach, just to name a few.  When Tezera saw the formula, she exclaimed, "IT'S A MIRACLE!" 

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Adama ~ Day 1


When we arrived in Adama, we went first to our hotel (which is AMAZING!  Swimming pool and all!).  After we were all settled in our rooms, we hopped back into the van and came to our second orphanage The Widows and Orphans Home which is run by Tezera, an amazing woman.  The compound is nice but small.  There are 11 infants, 5 toddlers, 5 older children and 10 widows that live here full time.  The infants were abandoned at the hospital, dropped off at a police station or simply left under a tree somewhere.  Tezera is licensed through the government and the Office of Woman's Affairs so she is given infants and children when they are found.  The widows were brought here as they are found as well.  The inspiration for this home comes from James 1:27 "Religion is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world."  Tezera takes this passage to heart and lives it on a daily basis.  There is a bible verse taped to the wall in the main sitting area (which is on the porch) that reads "A father to the fatherless, a defender of widow, is God in His holy dwelling.  God sets the lonely in families."  Psalm 68: 5-6.  This verse speaks for its self.  That is the motto of this home, to be God's hands and feet when it comes to orphans and widow and the ladies here are surely being God's hands and feet everyday!

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

More Thoughts . . .

People picking trash out of a dumpster . . . in order to survive.

Round huts and thatched roofs . . .

Donkeys and carts caring people and goods . . .

Sweeping the dirt ground . . . seems a bit bizarre!

Two lane roads and three lane roads . . . but the three lane road has no lines and the middle lane is open to anyone . . . in any direction!  Yikes!

When getting gas, the car remains on and one of the gas station attendance pumps the gas for you . . . and there aren't really bathrooms at gas stations . . . we found that out the hard way . . . augh!

City buses and taxi/vans . . . some are so full, people are hanging out of them!

Preaching the Gospel on the savannah's in Africa!

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Forgot about the dancing . . .

We are having so much fun being the hands and feet of Jesus, I totally forgot to share about our evening at a "Cultural Restaurant."  On Thursday evening, we ate dinner at Hebir Ethiopia Cultural Restaurant and it was a hoot!  One thing we have learned is that nothing happens quickly here . . . dinner lasted at least 2 1/2 hours!  We were seated in a traditional horse shoe arrangement with four gubeta's (handmade Ethiopian tables made from teff straw) in the middle.  We ordered drinks and eventually we were given menus.  We ordered everything on the menu . . . the hot and spicy collection, the meat collection and the vegetarian collection (which, by the way, had fish in it!?).  Before our food came, our waitress came to wash our hands the traditional Ethiopian way . . . using warm water in a tea pot . . . that was cool!  Our food arrived and we dug in . . . using our right hand because you know Ethiopians don't use silverware.  (You use the right hand because the left hand is considered contaminated.)  We ate the traditional injeria bread with our meal and it wasn't half bad!  During the meal, we were treated to a show of cultural dancing and it was phenomenal!  The way the dancers moved was insane!  Like Andrea told us . . . it looks like their shoulder blades are disjointed!  The costumes were beautiful and the music was divine!  But the piece de resistance was Esther's dancing debut!  One of the male dancers came over to our area and grabbed her hand and started dancing with her . . . and you know Esther, she got right into it!  Her dancing made the evening complete!  Yeah Esther!  When dinner was finished, we learned a valuable lesson here in Ethiopia, patience is a virtue!  Mark asked for the check numerous times but it never came . . . really!  By the time we were practically asleep the waitress was seen coming with something in her hand.  Mark jumped up and took it from her.  Shortly after that, we were back in the van heading back to the Catholic Guest House for much needed sleep!

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Get To Know The Team!

So, we have spent one week together and we have learned some interesting facts about each team member!  Here are some highlights!  Enjoy!

Brita loves Carolyn's hair!  It is amazing . . . she can wash and go and it looks great!  Wish mine did!

Carolyn likes how Rick is from Mexico.  (Ok, he's not . . . that's was makes it so funny!)

Mark is taken with Tim's shoes . . . "Tim's shoe socks make me want to shake his foot!"

Robert thinks it's funny how Tim like to yell out "____, ____, ____" when he sees a donkey!

Andrea is impressed with Esther's dancing skills!

John says that Starbursts make Rick hyper.

The entire team is amused that John gets his cloths ironed everyday . . . even here is Ethiopia!

Esther say's Brita's bubbly personality makes you want to wear shades!

Doug thinks it's funny that Tim loves donkeys and yells whenever he sees them!

Mark did not know that Methodists were so into tagging!  (You see, we have a VBUMC magnet that keeps appearing on items in Ethiopia.  Our biggest challenge so far is trying to get it on a donkey . . . but I'm sure we will be successful at some point!  We will make sure you see the picture when it happens!)

Tim had no idea Andrea is inked (has tattoos)!

Rick thinks it's cool that the eldest person on our team, Esther, is the hardest working!

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!


Today started with sleeping in!  Breakfast was a whole 30 minutes later so we could catch up on our sleep.  After breakfast, Carolyn gave her devotion based on Phil 4:8.  She tied that passage to the creation of a pearl . . . how a pearl comes into being because the oyster was pierced, damaged.  And from that trauma, a beautiful creation came forth.  What a great lens to see through while we are here in Ethiopia. 

After a leisurely breakfast and Devotion, we were off to Adama, a town south east of Addis Ababa and the sight of our second orphanage.  But before we would reach Adama, we would stop in T'ede to support a pastor and his flock there.  T'ede is a village of 5,000, 50 of which worship at this little church.  T'ede is a very poor community . . . mud houses, outdoor toilets, no electricity or running water.  The people we met had tattered clothes and the children's clothes were incredibly dirty and one little girl was even wearing a thick, wool-like dress . . . mind you, it's REALLY hot here!  It was heartbreaking!  When we pulled out the shoes we purchased on the way and the soccer balls, children's health kits and candy we had, you should have seen everyone's faces!  It was wonderful!  It did not take too much convincing to get the kids to play some soccer.  So we were off to an open field to play soccer with children.  Soccer on the savannah in Ethiopia . . . now that is something we will never forget! There was even some Volleyball played.

Before we knew it, it was time to leave T'ede and head to Adama.  As we traveled south east from Addis, the scenery changed from crowded streets and polluted air to rocky soil hills and Acacia (flat top) and Eucalyptus (straight up) trees.  The sun was shining and there were fluffy white clouds in the sky.  God sure did make an amazing planet!  As Carolyn put it, "We are in Africa now!"  Amen, sister!

Stay tuned to more "Good News!"

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Down Time

Friday evening was the first evening we were not too exhausted so we played some games!  Elizabeth taught us how to play Farkel ~ Pocket Farkel to be exact.  Esther, Carolyn, Rick, Andrea, Doug, John and Brita had a blast playing.  After Farkel, Esther taught us "May I?"  It is like Phase 10 which is a card game.  It was late so we were having a hard to concentrating . . . and let me tell you, you have to concentrate for "May I."  As you can imagine, we laughed the whole time!

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Leper Colony ~ Continued

After lunch, we went back to the Church compound and separated more charcoal.  These last few bags were for families that actually live in the Church compound . . . they would not accept any until all of the neediest families had their share . . . now we can all learn from that!

Once we returned to the Catholic Guest House, it was time for Debriefing.  Mark opened the discussion to anyone who wanted to share their thoughts with us and the thoughts just started flowing.  Here is a short summary of some of the comments:  A woman chased after me after I visited her house in order to wash my hands.  (This is significant because there is no running water in the Colony, so the use of relatively fresh water is watched very closely . . . so this was an enormous gift/sacrifice for this woman . . . and a tremendous honor for us!)  The fact that the Pastor and Church would be praying for us!  (We came here to help them and pray for them.  It was very moving that they would be praying for us.)  When the Pastor said that we had "Linked arms, even across the ocean."  (That is a neat visual.)  When the Mayor of the Leper Colony (he isn't really the mayor, he just acts like it) said "Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus."  (That was in the letter I wrote asking for donations!  It was neat to hear him use that phrase.)  It was neat how once I got there, I was no longer afraid . . . the Colony was just another neighborhood we were able to help.  (The idea that God filled me with courage is pretty awesome when I think about it.)

Mark shared with us a heartbreaking story about an old man who has leprosy.  His father beat him and hid him away from the community for years when he was growing up.  Needless to say, the old gentleman had a rough life.  When Mark met him he said, referring to himself, "I am shame."  He did not mean that we was shameful, he truly believes that he is the personification of shame.  I cannot even begin to comprehend that!  Due to leprosy, this gentleman has lost his leg and the prosthetic leg he has does not fit him properly and it is causing sores on his leg which just aggravate the problems.  In order to get a new prosthetic leg, it would cost 500 Birr . . . which converts to approximately 35 US Dollars.  As you can imagine, the team jumped at the chance to help this gentleman!  We will let you know if we were able to make that happen. 

Someone asked about water in the Colony.  Families can buy water and transport it home in jugs if they have money.  If they are too poor for that, they get water out of the drainage ditch . . . and if you cannot imagine what a drainage ditch looks like in Addis Ababa, I'll tell you . . . stagnate water full of trash, dust, and animal and human feces.  What a life!

In Marks closing prayer Friday evening, he reminded us that Christian means "Little Christ."  He thanks us for being "Little Christ's" today.  He saw Christ as we walked into tiny houses.  He saw Christ as we shook hands and smiled at people.  He saw Christ as we passed out candy.  He saw Christ.  He saw Christ in us.


Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Leper Colony Thoughts

A school uniform, which is required for all students and consists of a sweater, pants and shoes, cost 150 Berr . . . which converts to 11 US Dollars.

People in the Colony make money by scrounging for items in the local dump which could be cleaned and sold.

In Ethiopian society, the men have it made!  The women are responsible for cooking, cleaning, taking care of the children, etc. etc.

The wheat we gave out will be used to make "enjeria," the Ethiopia bread.  The wheat is ground into a powder and mixed with salt and water.  It is cooked in a special enjeria maker that most Ethiopian families have . . . some are electric while others use fire. 

Some of the people were wearing clothes that were so tattered they are falling off of them . . . both adults and children.

Despite the poverty, lots (but not all) of the children go to school and learn to read and write.  At the Church compound, a set of twins got hold of Brita's notebook and wrote the English alphabet . . . and yes, they sang the song while they did so!

Old Converse tennis shoes . . . with no laces . . . on an incredibly old lady as she was caring trash, on her back, over the rocky streets . . .

Mud huts and flies everywhere!

Missing fingers, hands, arms . . . deformed feet . . . unable to walk . . . scars on faces . . .

Bright Hope School is located in the Leper Colony . . . it has Grades 1 – 8, and the children go to school Monday through Friday, 8:00 – 3:00-ish . . .

Struggles . . . constantly . . . yet happy and so grateful to see us coming . . .

Pied pipers with candy . . .

There is a gym behind the church . . . where both men and women are welcome to come and work out.  There are benches and a few pieces of equipment.  The dumb bells are handmade by melting car batteries!  How clever is that?

TV's . . . it's the must have accessory!  Even in the Leper Colony . . . really, the poorest of the poor . . . some families have TV's and they make sure you see it . . . mind you, there is no running water in the colony . . . but they have TV's!

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Friday ~ At the Leper Colony

The Leper Colony is a sight to see!  It looks like any other huge neighborhood; houses, streets, stores, a school and clinics.  The only difference is the houses are really shacks made out of scrap metal or mud and straw and they are on right next to each other.  The streets are made out of rubble, rocks and dirt.  The stores are tiny little rooms crammed full of almost anything.  The school is dilapidated and the school uniforms (which are required for every student) are literally falling off the children.  The clinics are small and full of people.

Our first stop in the Leper Colony was the Christian Church, which is about 20 x 30.  The walls are made up blue tarps and the roof is made of pieces of scrap metal.  There are benches and plastic chairs for the church members to sit on and the dirt floor is partly covered by pieces of a canvas type material.  We met the Pastor and other Church Leaders who were so excited for us to be here with them!  After the initial greetings and prayers it was off to work.  We had wheat and coal to separate, Children's Health Kits to organize and candy to pass out to the children and adults.  When the wheat and coal were in family size bags, we were off to deliver them.

It really is something when you can hand a bag of food to a woman who, along with her children, is hungry.  To know that you have just given her enough food (20 kg) to last for 10 days . . . but to understand that she will make it last longer so her children won't go hungry.  To see the gratitude on her face is a sight we will never forget.

We visited and delivered wheat, salt and coal to 34 families in the colony . . . and countless pieces of candy to oodles of children and adults.  To walk through the small doorways and meet the people literally where they live was very humbling.  They have practically nothing, compared to us, but they are so excited to see us and have us in their homes.  To experience this type of hospitality in such a place is awe inspiring.

After visiting the families in the Leper Colony, we were off to lunch . . . Andreas favorite pizza joint . .  Metro Pizza!

More to come . . .

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lunch 2

Lunch at the Girls Compound

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Lunch 1

Lunch at the Girls Compound.

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!


Tim made some nice shelves . . . bummer he cut his knuckles, fingers and arm in the process!

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!


Ummm . . . shouldn't Rick be doing something other than talking on the phone?  (Ok, he really did do a lot of work . . . we just did not get it on film!)

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!


Esther's smile is brighter than the yellow she is painting!

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Eryn and Carolyn


Eryn and Carolyn are having a blast painting the dining room.  Carolyn is reaching for the stars while Eryn strikes a pose!

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Elizabeth and Andrea

Elizabeth and Andrea enjoyed painting this door . . . twice!
Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Robert and Friend

Robert has a gift with children . . . Rebekah loved him!  Rebekah is the daughter of the Girls Compound's House Parents, Samy and Ruth.
Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

John and Doug

The guys really did have a hard task on their hands . . . trying to make this particle board fit in a very odd space . . . but no worries, they were successful in the end!
Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Brita and Friend

It's not a suprise that Brita made a new friend at the Girls Compound . . . this is Basika (we think that is how you spell her name . . . it means Easter in Amharic), the cook at the Compound.
Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

More Thoughts . . .

Window in van fell out in the middle a busy intersection and shattered into a billion pieces . . . CRASH!! 

Elizabeth refuses to laugh at Tim's donkey jokes!

Jamie's mom (Esther) is just like her daughter!  She found a stray puppy and brought it into the Girls Compound and named her Virginia.

Brita's devotion was just awesome!

John's coffee beans . . . apparently Ethiopian coffee is phenomenal!

And we thought road construction was bad in VB!!

Pick out a casket and flowers by the roadside . . . a unique site . . .

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Friday Morning

Another glorious morning, here in Addis Ababa!  The sun is shining, the car horns are beeping and the air is thick with pollution already!  It's great to be here!

After a breakfast of French toast, Brita led the Devotion on Phil 4:13 ~ I can do all things through the Creator who strengths me!"  She, with Tim's help, played Nicole Britt's song "Walk on Water" to help get her message across.  Once Devotion was over, Mark shared with us that no one will be pressured to do anything they were not comfortable with today.  You see, we are off to a Leper Colony.  We have been told that there are 15,000 – 20,000 people in this colony.  This is the largest Leper Colony is Africa.  Today, we will really be Jesus' hands and feet!

We dropped off Andrea and Robert (they are going to a new orphanage) and we picked up 4 others on our way to the Leper Colony.God will surely be with us today!

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Quick Thoughts

Beautiful children . . . heartbreaking stories.

Laughing until we cry . . . tears in our eyes as we said good bye.

Wonderful country . . . pollution everywhere . . . in the air, on the ground, in the water.

Hard work . . . amazing success.

Smiles on small faces . . . more wrinkles on us.

Believing in God . . . and leaps of faith!

Grateful to be here . . .

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!


Thursday began with hearing the Muslim call to prayer and Catholic Church bells . . . what a nice way to wake up!  After 8:00 breakfast, Elizabeth led our Devotion and Robert led us in song.  Elizabeth focused on Phil 4:8-10 . . . putting the Word into action . . . exposure to God's word is not enough, it must be put into action . . . and that is what we are doing here!  Mark, our YWAM leader, expressed his gratefulness for our presence in Ethiopia.  He says we are surly doing the Lords work . . . as you can imagine, that made our morning!

After Devotional, we were off to the Girls Compound again.  We practically completed all of the project intended for us yesterday so we would need to find more work to do . . . and you can imagine we found things to do!  Esther painted a hop scotch board on the cement and we had a blast teaching Helen and the cook how to play!  You might not know but Ester is pretty good at hop scotch!  Tim, Robert and John helped but up new lighting in the dining room, kitchen and living room.  Carolyn, Rick, Ester and Doug completed the difficult work in the kitchen . . . making a counter over the old stove (which by the way, was not flat or straight in any way)!  We also wrapped up the painting and shelve construction. 

Elizabeth and Brita (both school teachers) could not resist the desire to check out an Ethiopian school.  So we convinced Helen, a 7th Grader, to let us walk her back to school after lunch.  She reluctantly agreed after we promised not to come in and talk to her teachers!  Tiblets, a 19 year old in 9th grade, walked with us so we would not get lost coming home. 

When there was down time and the girls were home from school, we brought out the donated materials and colored crosses and fans.  The girls loved this!  Even Ruth, the House Mother, got in to the decorating!

Later in the afternoon, the boys (from the boy's compound, which is just around the corner) came over.  All of the children, and several of us, enjoyed playing with the donated soccer balls!  5 soccer balls would go home with the boys and 5 would stay with the girls.  This was a wonderful ending activity.

With one final prayer and photo op . .  . we were loaded on the van back to our place to wash up for the evenings activity . . . dinner at a cultural restaurant!  The food was delicious and we all found out that Esther is a great dancer!  She will have to show you her moves when we get back!

This post sure got long fast!  We will write more later!

Peaceful evening to you!

Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!


Today started off with a great breakfast at our Guest House and a wonderful devotion by Esther.  It was based on Phil. 4:10-14 . . . Contentment . . . how to develop contentment in our lives . . . it definitaly gave us something to think about during our van ride to our new "home" at the Catholic Guest House.  Once we were settled, we were off to the YWAM Mercy Development Girls Compound.
We painted the dinning room and kitchen and built shelves for the kitchen.  The kitchen needed some hand crafted counters before we could install the shelves.  When not actively working, we hung out with the girls when they came home from school.  There are 7 girls ~ ages 9 to 20.  We had a great time getting to know them.
Eventually, we walked to the Boys Compound and met them.  They were so excited to meet us.
We then headed back to the Catholic Guest House and went straight to dinner . . . and it was yummy!
In the evening, we sorted all of the donations and decided what we would take to the Girls Compound tomorrow.  We are so grateful to everyone who donated material to this Mission Trip!  All of the donations, everything from the soccer ball to frisbees and Children's Health Kits to Coloring Books is so much appreciated here!
We have to go for now . . . Peace and Blessings to you!
Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

We Have Arrived

The flight over here was LONG. We all made it through customs,
security, and on board with no issues. We were kind of scattered over
the plane but over all had great seats. Tim even had a window seat.
We had an unevenful stop in Rome for gas and off we were to our
destination here in Addis.
We got through the very long Visa line, got money exchanged and all of
our luggage made it here in one piece.
We had no issues going through security so we were on our way. No
issues with the formula.
We piled all of us and all of our luggage in one 20 passenger van. We
were all used to being in close quaters so it wasn't anything new.
I think as we were standing outside waiting for the luggage to loaded
it was very surreal for many of us.
We got to our guest house and realized it wasn't the same one we had
been in before. The rooms are much smaller and the bathrooms are
outside. We decided to move over to the Catholic Guesthouse in the
morning. We will do that after our work at the Mercy Home.
We went to a great place for pizza lunch then on to the Ethiopian
Orthodox church. What a wonderous building. Very ornate beautiful and
reverent. We took pics but aren't able to get them uploaded yet.
We are all well, but exhausted.
Thank you for all of your prayers thus far. They are holding us up.
Tomorrow is Mercy Orphan's home doing some work in the girls dorm.

More soon....

Monday, April 5, 2010

On the airplane

We are on the airplane getting settled and ready to take off. Next time we talk to you will be in Addis.

Look what we found!

Red headed, gray footed boobie relaxing before it's migration to Ethiopia. Stay tuned for further sightings!

Look what we found!

Red headed, gray footed boobie relaxing before it's migration to Ethiopia. Stay tuned for further sightings!

The plane is here!

This is getting so exciting! Our plane has arrived at Dulles and it looks normal . . . thankfully! Planes fly into Ethiopia two times a week . . . I'll research that and explain it ASAP. Hope your Monday morning is going well . . . Peace!


Ok . . . So it's been a long morning . . .the pervious post should read "Robert, Rick and Elizabeth . . ." Sorry Robert!

Waiting to leave

Doug, Rick and Elizabeth hanging out at Dulles. Our flight leaves at 10:30-ish so we have some time to kill. Ethiopia is 7 hours ahead of Viginia Beach . . . Just in case you want to pretend your in Ethiopia with us . . .

Off to the terminal

Apparently, Dulles is so big they need to transport us in a huge Star Wars type vehicle! I'm sure this won't be the weirdist mode of transportion we experience this trip . . .

Checking in

23 bags, two over weight . . . But we were prepared for that (our Budget guru planned for that)! The check in was relatively easy . . . Just a few bags needed to be repacked. We sure are a sigth to see!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Arrived at hotel

We arrived safely at the hotel, thanks to Rick and London Bridge Baptist Church bus. We are having a team meeting and devotional . . . What a great group of people!

The team is ready!

PRAISE the Lord we are ready to go! We are excited to see what the Creator has in store for us in Ethiopia. Peace to you!

Packing party

Vehicles packed and ready

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Yard Sale!!

We had the most fun at our yard sale this past weekend. We made over 600.00 while freezing as you will be able to tell in the pics :o)

Tim and Esther... our fashion guru's

Eryn and Elizabeth testing the hobby horses

Rick testing the golf clubs... looks like he hit it into the rough

Rob found some bling :o)

Looks like some prayer is in order, we may have scared that beautiful young lady in the back ground.

Trying to stand in the sun to get warm...wasn't working.

Esther practicing to become a gypsy.

Several of the team felt the need to work on their physique...thinking perhaps it would help draw buyers.

uuummm...... don't really know what to say about this one

Doug found a new toy....awe...

Cleaning up the clothes that were left... I got some great pants and sweaters :o) Love a good sale!

I (Andrea) did in fact buy these happy pants! How could I not?!

Over all it was a great day. We really had a lot of fun.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hi! I'm Carolyn and I'm going on this missionary trip because my son has gotten involved with missionary work in Africia and I want to share the same experience.
--------------God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called. Qualify me!------------

Monday, March 1, 2010

Hi im Robert and i'm going on the missions trip as well. A little about me i'm 22 i love to worship God through music, i play guitar. I am excited to see the wonders God is going to have us do.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Yummy Ethiopian Lunch!

Some of the team got together this weekend to sample Ethiopian food. Some for the first time, some of us just wanted to try it again...and again! :o)

Brita and Elizabeth

Eryn and Andrea

Doug and Tim

Tim and Carolyn

Friday, February 19, 2010

Getting prepared!

The team had a great meeting last night.

We are preparing for the last minute details. There sure is alot to do between now and the time we leave!

We are working on bible story material to share with the kids and widows. We will be collecting formula for the babies, and care kits for the older kids and nanny's.

We have a yard sale on March 6th. We are taking a bit of a different approach to it this time however. We are having a "Make your own generous donation offer" Sale. We aren't pricing anything, just asking people to make donations to our trip. Saves us the hassle of pricing items and allows people to make a contribution. :o) We will be trusting God with the outcome. He's sure been faithtful so far!

Speaking of faithful, we had some amazing news from our Mission Commission at the church. They have told us that they will fund any shorage we have after we have finished all fund raisers. So we are FULLY FUNDED! What I pray is that we will have such an outpouring of support and love that we won't have to rely on the Commission's funds, but it's sure a blessing to know that we do not have to stress about it!

Please continue to pray for our team.


Who is going on this trip?

Hi, my name is Doug and I am a member of this fantastic mission team that is headed to Ethiopia. I feel so blessed to be called to go on this, my first, mission trip. I have already felt God's blessings through the overwhelming support of so many people during our fundraising events. This is just the beginning because I know that God has so much in-store for all of us before, during, and after our Ethiopian mission.