Category Archives: Ethiopia

Mix It With Faith

Heb 4:2 For indeed the good news was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.

Think of the amazing things God has done for you, there are so many, and yet often when I cry out to Him my need I fret and worry and wring my hands for fear that He won’t answer. And a long trial, is the most challenging! But lately I’ve been remembering Heb4:2, mix it w faith. The promises of God are yea and amen to those who mix them with faith. In the wilderness, when the spies returned with their report and Joshua and Caleb rejoiced that though there are giants we need not be afraid, everyone, nevertheless chose to walk in unbelief …that cost them the Promised Land. Heb4:2 “… the word they heard did not profit them, not being mixed w faith by those who heard it.” Unbelief kept them out of the Promised Land, away from the rest of God He has promised. In our lives, has He made great and precious promises? Don’t let unbelief rob you, don’t let the enemy of our souls rob us. Mix it with faith!! Mix the promises of God you are claiming with faith! Without faith it is impossible to believe God!

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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.

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 “

Pound of Flesh

When someone has hurt you, intentionally or unintentionally, directly or indirectly often our flesh is the first to react! Swiftly and “with a vengeance”… It’s human nature. Then there’s God, yeah, He’s trying to give us a new nature! A nature full of the Holy Spirit and Grace, and dare I say it, the “F” word, Forgiveness! This is where the battle rages.

In my journey to become like Him I have had seasons in my life where I have had to make a choice, follow God and live or hate the person who harmed me, give into my flesh and die! Sadly, for me, this is sometimes a difficult choice. I am not always the beacon of “godliness” I want to be😣. Sometimes, I want my “pound of flesh”!

But because I am His child, albeit sometime His “wayward child”, He is faithful to send along a prophet, scripture, counsel or circumstance etc. that will help me find my way back to Him and forgive and move on. Sometimes this is a process.

Feelings like vengeance and unforgiveness are so damaging to us, on so many levels physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We are not built to manage these powerful emotions, they can lead to mental and physical illness, damaged relationships, stress and more. That’s why God says “vengeance is mine, I will repay.” He wants us to know He will take care of the matter, but in His time and according to His will. This leaves us free to move on, to forgive, to walk in peace! Much, much easier said than done, right… At least sometimes.

Am I withholding forgiveness, friendship, approval, kindness etc as a form of vengeance? Censure in my every word and deed, is that another way I am exacting my “pound of flesh”?

“He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Lord” Job6:14.

Lord, help us to forgive, have mercy on us!

So is the Glass Half Empty?

This is an American expression that is often used to describe how you perceive situations and circumstances? Is it a glass half full day, “filled with promise”… or a glass half empty day, or situation, “things just keep going from bad to worse”!

Personally I’m something of a pessimist, a glass half empty kinda girl. I’m more than a little risk-adverse, maybe even a scaredy cat… I know, I live in Ethiopia, how could I be a scaredy cat (lol)!

I don’t think I was always like that, when you’re young you think you’ll live forever and have all the time in the world to accomplish your dreams and goals. Somewhere along my journey, as I’ve experienced the joys, privileges as well as the responsibilities of raising 4 children, “the responsibilities” were much of the focus! We had fun, of course, but keeping them safe, and protected brought added reality to my otherwise care free world.

Somehow, I became a glass half empty person! I wonder about the 12 Spies Moses sent to spy out the Promised Land. All but 2 gave a bad report, and that “unbelief” resulted in 40 years wandering in the wilderness and the death of an entire generation! It just occurred to me, wow, would I have been one of the “nay sayers”, yikes! “Great land, but full of giants, no way, no how!” Or, is believing God or having “faith” more than having a positive attitude in the face of crisis! The Bible says, “Faith, is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.” And later it says, “…by (faith), men of old obtained the promises (of God).” That sounds like more than positive thinking! Check out Hebrews 11, there are a lot of folks Moses, Jacob, Rahab, Samuel, David and Daniel just to name a few, none of whom strike me as the happy go lucky type. No, I get the feeling these were serious minded men and women who “believed the promises of God, and went for it!” And don’t forget Gideon, talk about a scaredy cat (lol)! Pretty much, they were all determined no nonsense individuals who believed God in the face of impossible odds, that’s faith!

I submit (lol) therefore those of us extremely risk adverse, who take responsibility very seriously, and sometimes see the glass half empty are not excluded from the promises of God, and are not destined to while away in some desert because of “unbelief”! Even scaredy cats believe God, I am proof positive!

Working Without A Net

Is an expression which describes a job, still in high demand but one which requires a special expertise. When training to work on a tightrope suspended high above a circus floor, for instance, spotters place nets underneath you in case you happen to slip and fall. Or, training to clean high steeples on a large downtown skyscraper, or the high windows of a multi-storied building you would need to practice using safety ropes or nets. When you’ve perfected your craft you loose the net or rope and your skill keeps you from free falling, you hope 😳!

Trusting God in difficult times feels like working without a net. We are usually in uncharted waters when trusting Him becomes a challenge. When we are doing the ordinary day to day chores we are often on autopilot. No need to tap into our reserves, cry out for help, or require special anointing. But when you’re challenged to move beyond your comfort zone and you obey, well that’s another story, and it becomes as tho you are working without a net.

But we are to trust Him, we are called to believe Him for the impossible; the Grace to deal with a difficult boss, Grace to handle a rebellious and haughty child, Grace to endure a difficult season in your marriage when you are frightened and clueless, and Grace when money worriers are beyond your ability to see things through. As men and women of God we encounter trials and tribulations wherein we often feel like the”nets” been ripped away and God is our only hope. Hey, that’s ok because “The just shall live by faith!” That’s when He has us just where He wants us!

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!

Ethiopian Christmas – Melcome Genna

January 7th, yep! Historically Ethiopian Cristmas has been celebrated January 7th, and Ethiopians are not the only ones who do so, Russian orthodox and other orthodox celebrate Christmas on January 7. According to Wikipedia, when the Catholics moved further into Europe, traditions already practiced by the inhabitants were not adopted, but the day was, and December 25th became the day most of the world celebrates Jesus’ birth. For Gary and I it means we have 2 Christmases! We’re always here for Ethiopian Christmas, that makes 6 and we’re still counting!

It’s a very family oriented holiday here, and folks living abroad or far from home make every effort to be w the friends and loved ones for Christmas! Our friend, whose daughter is in her first year at the University, shared that she wouldn’t be coming home for Christmas, and that his wife would be sad… The first Christmas without her. We commiserated with him because Christmas just isn’t the same without the whole family. But it turns out, he had a surprise waiting for him when he got home, she was there! A pretty good joke, but all was forgiven as they were together!

A merry heart is good like a medicine!

Enjoying dessert at the posh Sheraton in Addis, the lobby and surrounds were very reminiscent of Christmas in the US. 20 ft high Christmas trees, and life size moving reindeer decorated the lobbies as children decked in red wearing Santa hats were every where. The pianist in the lobby played a mixture of Ethiopian songs, and a few traditional Christmas tunes, Deck the Halls, Silent Night and a few others. The only one whose attendence was totally absent from the festivities was Santa. There were no Santa’s listening to request while children bounced on one knee. No naughty children here (lol) (jk)!

Back in Awassa, sheep and goats are packed into taxis and cars to be prepared for Christmas dinner. We’ll be enjoying doro wat, beg tibs, hoppy juice, goman and more… Gotta go, we’re off to a Christmas dinner party and now I’m really hungry! I must remember to save room because we have another Christmas party tomorrow!

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!

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