Many amazing things happened that day during the 5K, some walked Lake Merritt for the first time or achieved some personal goal, others formed new and lasting friendships, and then there were those who dressed up in funny masks and costumes posing at the Lake for the first time… well, let’s hope it was for the first time! To see other great pics of our 5K follow this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/282837535191409/
Yesterday, in Oakland we held a 5K Walk/Run, and it was a blast!. Over 100 Walkers registered, gathered sponsors and raised tons of money for Fire Over Africa our NGO, and the programs we support like, orphanages, leadership training, and medical missions outreach. Our 5K committee was inspired!! They invented fresh and fun ideas for making the day incredibly memorable for us all. We had an amazing treat, Gete, a young Ethiopian woman, who runs a 6 minute mile was part of our event, and boy was she fast!
The day was perfect for a walk or run, it was overcast and a little chilly, so as we began to move around we warmed up quickly! Our welcome tables overflowed with sweet treats while balloons and the sounds of rockin cool beats made you want to dance or “walk” your cares away! There were groups of young professionals, moms pushing strollers, entire families, grandmas, and grandpas, you name it they were there!! Even our very on Pastors David and Marilyn walked! We had runners, joggers, and walkers galore. Lake Merritt is a naturally beautiful site for this kind of event and its wild life includes pelicans, geese, lunes and many other birds.
Laughter was everywhere, and excitement was in the atmosphere! Everyone was excited to be walking or running for such an amazing cause but also to be having so much fun hanging out at the Lake with friends new and old. It was a great day and a great event, from the Bubble Machine Station, I know, go figure… to my personal favorite, the Photo Op Station!! Thank you all for making the Oakland 5K a great success, we are already planning others for the future, and the NY run is just around the corner. Thank you all so much, for joining us as we bless the people of the land of “13 months of sunshine”, Ethiopia!!
I loved the Wizard of Oz, and Dorothy’s comment to Toto, “I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore…” has become my “go to” phrase when I think about my life in Awassa, Ethiopia. One day I decided to go adventuring so I changed my clothes, grabbed my umbrella and a few Birr, and was off.
Immediately I stopped short…I had to wait for a monkey to run across the street. He looked just like the “Outbreak” monkey! Now that’s something you don’t see everyday in the States, but in Awassa it’s an everyday occurrence. After he scurried across the street, with something resembling a loping gait, I began to notice he was on all fours carrying a baby that was curled up and holding on for dear life. Suddenly I realized, what I thought was a “he” was probably a “she”! On top of all this she was balancing this really long tail. And I thought, for the umpteenth time, yup, no Kansas around here. Sure, life in Ethiopia is pretty unusual by our western standards, but the Bible tells us “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” Matt 28:19. Yes, He even intends for us to go to those nations which force us to move outside our “comfort zone”. So, I may not be in Kansas, but I’m where I belong… Kansas, it’s way overrated!
Last year we had been waiting for our senior pastor and a team to visit us for a while. About a week prior to their scheduled arrival, we had problems with the city water, but we weren’t concerned, we have 1500 liters in reserve and rarely have to worry about water. A well would cost $20 thousand US dollars, we’d gotten a price from a well building non-profit, so we’d gone the other route, keeping enormous tanks in reserve. So, when problems surfaced, we did a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and voila we were back in business.
Our team arrived and we were so excited. I’d made tons of meals in advance, decorated, and anticipated their every need and want… we were ready. The first night of their visit, my husband notices the water pressure is pretty low. No way, that’s not going to happen, we’ve anticipated their every need and want, how can this be?
That morning our 5 guests woke up excited about their African adventure, only to discover there was no water. Of course, they mused, it’s a very odd thing to have happen, but hey, for most of them this was their first time in ET, so what the hay, and we thought, it will come on tomorrow.
But by the 2nd night, we learned the cities new schedule for our area was water every 3 days! Our collective disappointment verged on disbelief… I was so bummed. It’s hard to get enough water to wash a few dishes, let alone give one of the nine people staying in our home a shower. I couldn’t believe this was happening. We’ve had donkey carts deliver water into our reserve tanks, but not this time Lord. Instead, we hauled out buckets for every bathroom, and used all our reserve for washing dishes and cooking.
Yes, Lord I wanted our guests to have a true African experience, but no water? I learned upon becoming a missionary to a developing nation, you need water of course to take a shower, but even to flush the toilets, even if you’re doing it manually, which is your only choice when the toilets don’t work b/c there is no city water!
What will the missions report back at our home church read… those Munson’s how can they call that a guest house when they can’t even deal with the water situation. We sure don’t want to stay there again! Of course the enemy was trying to sell me that bill of goods. But God!! Why had they come, they’d come to encourage us, and they had, to hold a pastors conference, and it was amazing, and to stir two thousand college kids to action, and they were super stirred!!
In light of the amazing things that were accomplished on this trip, going without a shower for a few days is a pretty small price to pay. The team enjoyed every bit of it, and had a few funny stories to tell about their experiences in the Motherland… God is good!!
Scriptures I used to encourage myself during this time:
Romans 8:28, Paul’s experiences as a missionary
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.” Is 40:28. Sometimes, when I think about Awassa, it feels like the ends of the earth. Years ago, when we first moved to Ethiopia I began journaling again, and one day I wrote… “It is beautiful here, I love sitting out on my porch and enjoying the unusual birds, the sounds of Africa and the occasional monkey. It’s the rainy season, and sometimes I can sit on the porch and simply appreciate the rain. It’s beautiful, and peaceful and quiet in it’s on way. Most of the animal sounds I hear from my porch in Awassa could only be heard at the zoo in the States. Amazing!” Because of many mornings spent just like that, Isaiah 40:28 rings so true, only God could have created this place… Awassa… the ends of the earth.
I suffered from a little culture shock when I first moved to Ethiopia… kids are everywhere, and many of them are working for their family, even as very small children. One of the things I had to get over was seeing little kids, 3yr olds and 5yr olds, shepherding these gigantic cows, or camels ,or herds of goats. (Ethiopia is the largest cattle producer in Africa.) You couldn’t even see the kids but you’d see these itty bitty legs peeking out from the herd of cattle, and this long shepherds staff rising above the herds. I about had a heart attack when I saw this… I was afraid they’d be trampled by the herd. But these kids are very smart and very careful… you see in the country side they are the rich kids, b/c in the countryside owning cattle is a sign of wealth… I got over myself, but sometimes, when I see a little one standing alongside a huge cow, I just have to remember, that kid knows what he’s doing!!
As a person coming from America it is not our place to tell ET families how to raise their kids, especially not in this case… But we have the privilege of learning how another culture does things, who am I to say its right or wrong, its what they do and what works for them… so I got over myself!! Thank you Lord for saving me from being the ugly American, yet again!!
I was standing in my daughters kitchen when suddenly that white noise, you know, the constant hum of running electricity went silent… suddenly I asked my husband, did the power just go out? You see living in Awassa has caused me to consider that as a real possibility …that the power went out, not that a fuse blew or anything like that. I’m referring to the frequent power outages we experience living in Awassa. In fact one of the first phrases I learned was “mebrat yelum” , and it means no lights, or no power.
When we were building our house, power outages were a serious problem. It was out every other day. No kidding, if you had power today you knew you wouldn’t have it tomorrow. For a season it was on one day and off 2 days! Do you know how hard it is to get a job done when the power is out every other day… it was crazy. It was crazy for the whole city, everyone was complaining.
All my food in the freezer kept melting. I asked a friend how she survived, she said her freezer was covered in permafrost so all her stuff never melted. Of course we had a new freezer, and that was not going to be a solution for me… so my great old American ingenuity kicked in and I filled tons of small water bottles and stuck them in the freezer!! My stuff never melted again.
They are there to this day… we still have power problems, but I just take them in stride, and nothing as severe as back then! I’ve had dinner parties with no power, my daughter has done homework by candle light, and sometimes we just catch up on our sleep!
Yes life in our little sleepy town of Awassa, Ethiopia has been an education in more ways than not… and thank the Lord, I can really say I wouldn’t have changed a thing… I love Awassa!!
We’re a non profit and naturally fundraising is a large part of what we do. Its not really possible to do that in ET, it is a developing nation and so we have to do fundraising in the US. We have some experience with this, but to continue the projects we already sponsor we have to begin major fundraising for our programs. Thank God we don’t have to raise funds for our living expenses, which means all the money we do raise goes to support the programs and people of Ethiopia that we have grown to love and appreciate.
I’m bushed now because for about 6 hrs today I talked to people about the 5K, and even signed up 30 + Walkers. God is so good, I think this event is really going to be a success and we are going to raise a lot of money for Fire Over Africa!
Also, special thanks to those of you who have started following me. I always wanted a blog and many friends encouraged me to do it… I just didn’t know how! Thanks Kirsten for all your help! Hopefully I’ll really get the hang of it and share with you some of the crazy things about life in the Motherland.
Well, we’re here visiting the States, and the reverse culture shock is pretty much under control… yes, its a real thing!! The culture shock I experienced when first arriving in Ethiopia was pretty intense… but don’t underestimate the shock your system experiences, when you move from the land where the needs are all but overwhelming to the land of plenty!