Monday, April 15, 2019

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Church Today...

Writing on Sunday, April 14 from Hawassa, Ethiopia, about a five-hour drive from Addis Ababa, situated on a beautiful lake.  Our DML Coordinator for Ethiopia, Yoseph, was to preach at one of our partner churches but he decided to stop at a park on our way to church.

And then a funny thing happened...

We stopped at a park to look at the lake and suddenly were surrounded by monkeys and storks.  Before I knew it, the black and white monkey in the photo jumped on my head in order to get better access to the food in my hand.  Having owned a monkey when we lived in Liberia, I wasn't completely taken aback.  But he was heavy.

And then a memorable thing happened...

Yoseph and Sitotaw then proposed that we go for breakfast on the side of the road - with fresh fish that was just caught that morning, fried on the side of the road and eaten with your hands.  It was delicious.  And it reminded us of what the disciples ate with Jesus after his resurrection - fish and bread.  And Paul Soper, who joined us in Ethiopia this past week, reminded us that when Jesus told the disciples to cast their net on the other side of the boat, and they caught 153 fish, it was symbolic of fishing for Gentiles instead of for Jews - 153 fish is a very specific number and it is believed to be the number of different kinds of fish that they were aware of at that time.

And then an inspirational thing happened...

When we finally got to church, we found that the service was going to include a wedding.  It was beautiful, fun and special to see.  But the highlight was listening to Yoseph preach.  He is a gifted preacher.  He is funny and entertaining, yet profound and inspirational.  We didn't understand everything he said as he preached in Amharic, but it didn't need translation to see that the crowd of 2000 people was hanging on his every word, laughing, engaged, shouting Amen, and being fed with the Word of God.  It was so good to see and hear.

It was a very full and very good day.

On Wednesday, we drive back to Addis and Paul leaves that night.  On Thursday, I will fly to Bhar Dar, northern Ethiopia, for meetings with our partners there.  I will then fly home on Friday night.

It will have been six weeks since I left, seven weeks since I saw my husband Michael as he was on a trip before I left.

I only will be home for three weeks before heading out again to Uganda, Tanzania, Cameroon, and Ghana.

I hope you found joy in your day today as well!

Sitotaw, Renita, Paul, Yoseph:  Photobombed by storks.

Surrounded by storks - they really are not the most attractive birds...

Cute little guy was at least polite enough to climb on the car, rather than on me.