Category Archives: developing nation

Furlough

So here’s the thing, when you return to your home country there are a few things that generally happen.

You pack for several days, several days! After which, of course, your home in Africa is pretty much turned upside down, so you clean for a couple of hours. You’ve stocked the freezer with dog bones to last Sam and Frodoe, our German shepards, for a while. In Awassa, they don’t sell dog food, you make your own… yeah I know. So you go to the butcher and ask for bones and offal (disgusting) and because you’re from the good old USA and didn’t see an FDA certificate on the steaming hunk of meat you cook the bones. The smell is so bad that it has to be done outside (lol)! But I digress.

You wrangle your 8 pieces of luggage, including 5 massive trunks into the van and drive 5 perilous hrs to the airport. Why perilous, well it’s torn up in some spots and there are deep potholes that entire families could live in. And dare I forget the donkey carts, crazy Isuzu drivers, (I’d tell u what we call them but I might get kicked off social media), cows, motorists, trucks with trailers and children… Let’s just say perilous is a fitting description!

It turns out that the airport in Addis Ababa is a major hub for all of Africa, and believe me when I say, there are people there from all over the world! There are Indian’s going to India, Germans “on holiday”, Ethiopians headed to the Middle East and on and on and on. People are everywhere!! This airport is not for the faint of heart!

And we’re off, 8 hrs to Frankfurt with a 7 hour layover, and then 11 hrs more to SF. After traveling for about 30 hrs, you can understand, we were more than a little tired. We get on the wrong shuttle with our 8 pieces of luggage, drive to the hotel we thought was ours only to find it wasn’t that location, climb back into the shuttle and circle back to the airport, onto the right shuttle and to the right hotel, and reception asks “How was your day”, Gary’s tight lipped response “Fine.”

We arrive at my daughter’s house only to be greeted by these 2 lovely Angels, a.k.a. Grandchildren! And they have so much to tell me, so much they want me to see, and then there is the mention of ice cream, wow, is this real or am I dreaming?

We run to give a quick kiss and hug to Bobby (our most recent grandson) and we’re back at our home away from home. My granddaughter and I are listening to Corey read her a story, when I here him say, “leave her alone, she’s sleeping”, and I realize I’ve literally “nodded off” to the gentle press of my granddaughter’s nearness and her Dad reading us a story about, oh I can’t remember.

Furlough, Day 1.
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Love of God overflow

  • imageI was at Dorcas yesterday… How do you pray for people so destitute and in need? So scorned and forlorn, how do you pray? One woman who I remember as strong and powerful, but now has lost a lot of weight, was just resting on her side… When we began to pray I laid hands on her side, but she moved it to her belly and raised her shirt so I could lay hands on her skin. As I continued to pray she kept lifting her shirt. Finally I saw a very serious problem on her breast… I lowered her shirt and just continued to pray. They have meds for HIV which are free, but what of the accompanying maladies? Some feel a real stigma about taking the medicine, what about that? Some live in the streets, many have children (thanks for the clothes donations) but all live in squalor and unbelievable poverty. How does one pray? What came to mind was standing in line at Aushwitz and praying for your line mate… Not for nutritious food, a warm bed, or even the kindness of others. No, you pray love of God overflow permeate their souls, comfort them, bring peace and comfort in this great affliction. Visit them with Your presence Jesus because in Your presence is fullness of joy. It is not easy being here sometimes.

Oh, how abundant is your goodness…

Psalms 31:19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you…

We have friends here working in a certain ministry, and they learned of a 20 yr old, named Adam (not his real name), dying of cancer on his leg. He is from a village far away, but his father brought him to Hawassa, to a “Sisters of Mercy” outreach where he could be taken care of until he died. His friends in the village said their goodbyes and even held a funeral for him.

Sadly his father had lost his wife and daughter to a similar illness and was totally without hope. At the Sisters of Mercy Adam received a cursory examination and they felt also that there was no hope for the young man as it appeared the cancer had spread to his lungs. One of the Sisters wanted to go for a 2nd opinion, but was told it was hopeless and permission to seek a 2nd opinion was denied. Adam was very poor, and actually had no money to seek a second opinion. But this particular Sister continued to pray that somehow the Lord would send someone to bless Adam. All the while, Adam continued to grow weaker and weaker.

Maria (not her real name), a Polish volunteer heard of Adam and began praying w the Particular Sister, when along came another Priest. He gave permission for Adam to be taken for a second opinion. They learned that there was some respiratory issues but it wasn’t cancer. In our weekly ladies bible study Maria shared this prayer request, it was last Wednesday and we began to pray for Adam. The husband of one of our members is a Surgeon, and he agreed to see Adam. Though very busy and about to leave town he examined Adam. Another doctor had offered to take Adams case in a week, but Adam was dying and would not live another week. This was Friday, and Adam pleaded with the Surgeon to remove the leg and he agreed to amputate the leg the next day.

However the proper tools were not available. The Surgeon began to pray, and felt directed to go and buy a band saw… This is not standard medical equipment, this is the kind with the thin narrow blade… Yes, I know, INCREDIBLE! With this he amputated Adams leg and Adam testified that for the first time in months he could sleep without pain. He was so excited. He was overjoyed, so relived to have that painful appendage removed! His relationship w his father has been restored, his fathers faith has been restored, and Adam will be recovering at the Sisters of Mercy for the next 3 months! I want to meet him, I think God has something special in store for that young man!

This was the testimony that was shared 4 days later at our next ladies bible study, and we all rejoiced. So many miracles had to take place to give Adam his blessing, so many roadblocks and obstacles overcome, but we serve a mighty God!

Psalms31:19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you…

True Religion Pt. 2

I’m out for a stroll. I do this often, in the cool of the day, but before it gets dark. I pass this little cafe, which is basically a hole in the wall, and I notice these two little boys standing off to the side of the cafe entrance. They’re pretty dirty, like unbelievably dirty and they have no shoes on. Most everyone wears shoes, but they were pretty dirty and barefoot so immediately I thought street kids. Maybe they are 5 and 9, but I have no way of knowing.

The Lord just dropped it in my heart, buy them dinner. My natural reaction was, “really Lord?”, after all we can’t communicate, and Lord knows I don’t frequent hole in the wall cafes, but ok Lord. I’d walked passed them so had to double back. In my poor Amharic, which they may or may not have spoken, I asked if they wanted to eat. Walking into the cafe I got the waitresses attention, and told her we would like injera and wat for three. She looked at me then looked at them, then the entire restaurant turned around and looked at me then looked at them. I have known folks to treat street kids like untouchables, and I didn’t know if this fine establishment aka “hole in the wall” was going to decline service to them.

But no, God had this. I guess she spoke with the manager or someone, who smiled at me and the boys and asked if they wanted vegetables with their meal. Soon she brought out a large plate, one for them family style and one for me. I smiled, said “Grace” and dug in. They were a little tentative at first but no Ethiopian worth his salt is going to pass up a meal of injera and wat. We ate in silence except that there was a scary movie playing on the TV. I wondered should I distract them or something because I didn’t want the images to frighten them. Then I realized the images on the TV screen were probably incomprehensible to them. It was a story about a little boy afraid of something in his closet so he hid underneath his bed. These children sleep on the street or in a mud hut, they don’t know what a closet is, and the bedroom shown on the screen is something they have never seen and probably would have a hard time imagining. I guess I felt they couldn’t even understand what they were watching.

They ate and ate, then the waitress, realizing that I’d finished my meal, motioned for me to give the leftovers to the kids. She asked the older boy if he had ‘plastic”, a plastic bag, and he pulled one right out of his dirty pocket. She added my left overs to theirs, shoved it all in the bag, reminded him to say thank you, and we waved goodbye. The waitress tried to tell me the meal was on the house… But this was my blessing, so I paid the $2.50 for the three meals and walked home.

I trust God to grow and water the tiny seed that may have been planted into the hearts of those precious boys tonite. I was just obedient. So often we get an “urging”, or “prompting”, or “idea” or “notion”. Though it doesn’t make sense at the time, God may be in it so do your part to be obedient. “True religion is to minister to the widows and orphans “

Slow Down!

Well I’m not a soccer mom any more, no baseball, football or basketball practices to run to, no ballet, art or piano practices that cause me to rush around and occupy my time. But there is bread to be made, meals to be planned, eggs to be collected, goats to be butchered (jk)… My point is wherever you live, this hemisphere or the other, things come along to occupy your time and keep you busy and overwhelmed! The tyranny of the urgent!

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself, each day has enough trouble of it’s own.” Matthew 6:33

One of the things I’m still adjusting to, after all this time, is how different the Ethiopian culture is from my own. I’m hard wired to be task oriented and efficient to the extreme, while Ethiopians are much more relational, every greeting includes questions about your family, their family, their well being, your well being and so on and so forth! It can be exhausting! Like a typical American, with check list in hand, I like barreling thru my day checking off the items one after another (lol)!

Well, you really can’t do that here, for a lot of reasons. For one, there’s the obvious 3rd world problems, power shortages, water problems, weird IT connections etc… But hey, my 1st world mind set is also a problem and causes delays and hang ups! Who says I have to be terrorized by the “urgency” of the day, barreling along crashing into things (lol).

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, through prayer and supplication, make your request known to God, and the peace of God will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus! Philippians 4:6,7

It’s time to slow down, wait on God and move in His power, guided by His peace! I am always surprised how much can be accomplished in a God directed day!

True Religion

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Many people ask what a typical day is like for me, so as I share my day consider this a brief glimpse into the world of this missionary! Wake up around 7am, have my time with the Lord. I check my email, FB, and Instagram! This is how I stay in touch w my kids, they are faithful to post pics of themselves, my grand kids and my huge church fam and everything else! I love it!

So it’s now time for my morning run, I try to run 2 miles 4 or 5 times a week… Try to 😳. We have a couple of guests staying with us now so I interact with them, lay out a little breakfast and leave for my run.

After breakfast I’m gathering clothes for the Ebenezer Children’s home…I go through my closets, every drawer and cabinet. I’ve been here 6 yrs… So I haven’t worn or seen many of these things in 6+ years. Hey, if I haven’t worn it for 6 years, it’s probably time to get rid of it. And I do, 2 large garbage bags full! I drop them off, and boy were they surprised, it was a lot of stuff!

It’s Ladies fellowship today, but instead of a Bible Study, we’re wrapping Christmas presents for 34 orphans, and since each one gets an outfit and a book or bundle of toys, we wrap close to 60 plus gifts! It’s a lot of fun, of course there’s popcorn, homemade chocolate chip cookie bars, and coffee (this is ET)!

3 hrs later, I’m headed back home, on the Bajaj, our 3-wheel-golf-cart-taxi-thing, and I have to finish my homemade gingerbread, and make my black eye peas; well it is New Years after all!

A friend of mine is doing a Beth Moore study and today it discussed the difference between hoarding and saving. Already been there, done that and bought the T-shirt? Lately, the Lord had been speaking to me about this so I’ve been giving all sorts of things away! I was blessed to have things to give to the orphanage, what an amazing way to share the love of Christ! There is a center I try to visit weekly, it’s an amazing place Mothers and Families with HIV. One of the programs objectives is to teach them handicrafts using local supplies that they can possibly use as a cottage industry which might bring them income. I’ve taught paper mâché, another has taught tye dye, and there is a seamstress who loves sewing more than anyone I know! Mostly I just provide lunch once a week… They are very needy!

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is to visit the widows and the orphans…” James 1:27

There are many opportunities to minister and bless the amazing people of Ethiopia. Our organization Fire Over Africa aims to do just that, the Leadership training programs, the orphanages, the missionary out reaches, and all the other activities we give our time, energy and resources to have the goal of reaching Ethiopia with the gospel of Jesus Christ, for the glory of God!

My black eye peas were delicious, my corn bread amazing and My husband and I enjoyed a feast, thank you Lord!

That was a pretty good Jan 1, 2014!

Sent from my iPad

Going once, Going twice, Sold!!

It’s that time again, time for Fire Over Africa’s Annual Auction and Raffle. On Saturday, November 2nd at 3pm at Shiloh Church Oakland, join us for a terrific time biding on Auction items, enjoying delicious refreshments and fellowshipping with great people. Everyone agrees, it’s a wonderful event and an exciting way to support the amazing people of Ethiopia and the great programs of Fire Over Africa.

Jim and Kris Kelly attended the Auction last year and won a trip to Newport Beach! Kris had this to say! Kris Kelly Kris Kelly 2

Last year, at Fire Over Africa’s First Annual Auction, my husband I won a trip to Newport Beach, all expenses paid!! It was great!! We stayed in a lovely little boutique hotel right along Pacific Coast Highway and the weather was great.

We love the California coast, but had never been to Newport Beach. It was just the break we needed and the perfect time for it.

Thank you, Fire Over Africa, for a lovely weekend with my Sweetie!!!

Make plans to attend the Auction and Raffle this year we’ll have door prizes, great music, refreshments and more! It’s shaping up to be a wonderful time, you won’t want to miss it!

We have great prizes:

1st place prize is an iPad
2nd place prize is a flat screen TV
3rd place prize is an iPod

Oh, and you don’t have to be present to win!! But come out to the Auction, it’s a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

Raffle tickets can be purchased at Shiloh Church, or online at: http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e88t3xsk89ca5b54&llr=hbknpdeab

Also check us out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/532782400132380/

If you have any questions contact me:
Felecia 510/541-2318 or felecia.munson@gmail.com

Water… /whä/ … ውኃ (in Amharic)

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

… and they’re off!!

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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!!