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!

Advertisements

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

image

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

“Football, Seriously?”

Me and my Mom show up for a confusing game of football!

This little Bitstrips illustrates a basic human condition… The idea that preconceived notions or ideas sometimes lead to misunderstandings. This cartoon is a cute illustration of this. But in my case, until I moved abroad I didn’t realize that to most of the world what they call “football” most Americans would describe as “soccer”. My mom is an avid football (American football) fan, and would be quite put out if I showed up in a soccer uniform to play her beloved football! It’s a humorous little cartoon, but it happens.

After we’d been living in ET for a little more than a year we had a friend, who helped with the housework and cooking. After returning from furlough I learned she was expecting and the baby was due around New Years. This is late summer so I’m planning to give her leave in January. She’s a hard worker, a really hard worker! September rolls around and she asks me to ask one of my friends to come because she had something she wanted interpreted. This friend spoke both Amharic and English, so we’re sitting in the living room, and my friend begins by saying, (we’ll just call her “L”)

” “L” warned you that the baby was due at the beginning of the new year, and that she would be taking her leave then.” So I’m nodding, yes I know, I’m so excited for “L”, you know it’s her first.

My friend smiles at me and says, “well it’s the New Year now and she’s taking leave ASAP, she’s about to have the baby any time now.” I’m totally confused! Wait, she said in the New Year, and that’s not for several months, this is only September.

My friend says “no Felecia, it’s the Ethiopian New Year, September 11th.”

My brain does a kind of somersault, and I rehearse all the things I’d had “L” doing over the past few days. I was undone, this tiny pregnant lady could give birth any minute and I was clueless. She’d clean these tall windows and just made an extra market run! Good grief! My next thought, of course was, she could deliver here in my living room right now! OMG, I couldn’t believe it! Today her daughter is 4 and it’s funny now, but at the time I was really worried that she could have been hurt! Another instance when preconceived notions can result in crazy misunderstandings!Even innocent misunderstandings can have long lasting and profound effects.

This Christmas season lets make an effort to be at peace with one another, let’s lay aside those things that divide us and cause friction in our relationships. Jesus is why we come together this time of year, and most of the world celebrates the birth of our King… Let’s do all we can to rejoice in what unites us, JESUS! That’s how the World will know that He is our King, because of our love for one another. Mistakes and misunderstandings happen whether we intend them or not 😃

Something’s in the Attic

hippos 2 007

A Life in the Motherland flash back.

There’s something in the attic… maybe. The first day we moved into the rental I noticed in front of each bedroom the attic access cover was missing. I’ve been trying to get Gary to climb up the homemade 15 foot ladder to fix them. Yeah we haven’t seen a real ladder, but there is one made out of eucalyptus trunks, the same thing they use to build scaffolding, in the backyard. It had rags or cloths tied at the four ends and it’s about 15 feet tall. Throughout the house, the ceilings are maybe 15 feet high.

Today is Saturday, Gary’s been covering my “honey do list”, and brings the ladder in the house. One access cover slides easily back in place, but the one in front of our room seems to have disappeared. Being ever resourceful, GRM makes a cover. He pops it in place and “ta dah”, the ugly holes in the ceiling are covered. The holes are about 15-18 inches square, so it was a fairly big gaping hole. Glad to have it finally covered.

I woke up at 5am, the Muslims were calling everyone to prayer, and I just didn’t feel I could get back to sleep. Correction it’s not just a call to prayer, they actually broadcast the entire prayer service over a megaphone/loud speaker. It involves chanting and a great deal of raving. No, I couldn’t get back to sleep.

But wait, I think I hear skittering across the floor…the house has hardwood floors throughout, but maybe it’s my imagination, and after another 30 minutes I’ve forgotten about it. As I’m leaving the bedroom I happen to look up, and the attic access cover has been moved. Ohmygosh! How did that happen, what could have caused it? SomeTHING has moved the access cover, someTHING is up in the attic.

On no. I thought I heard something this morning while I was checking my emails at 5am. I just dismissed it as monkeys on the roof, or maybe ducks, or those 4 foot crane thingys. I see ducks on the roof of the other homes and the roofs all conduct noise well, when it rains it’s pretty loud. But today when we returned from running our errands Lindsey said she heard noises in the attic, a lot of noises. I assured her, monkey’s on the roof. But someTHING moved the attic access cover, someTHING is living in the attic.

I run to find Gary, because now I’m afraid to cross under it, who knows, a monkey might jump out or jump down. We have company Mesky and Endala. I get my husband’s attention and show him. Something has moved the cover, what could have done that? He looks and says, you better have Endala tell the owner to come and remove whatever is living in our attic. Oh no!!!!!!! You mean the skittering wasn’t my imagination, and the sounds Lindsey and I heard were not made by animals on the roof, but IN the attic….oh No!!!!…living in the attic…Oh NO!!

Endala, do you think that’s possible, could there be a monkey living up there? At first thought, he says, not a monkey but maybe a rat, A RAT. What??????? Is that better??? A little furry creature, that we’d have to set traps for??? But no, I haven’t seen droppings, and though I’ve only seen mice droppings I’m thinking they must be the same.

Endala grabs the homemade ladder and investigates. The cover is light weight, and Gary explains that he looked for the proper cover, couldn’t find it and fashioned his own. The next thing I hear is our friend Endala making a strangled being-attacked-noise! UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!

I scream, Endala’s being attacked by the creature living in the attic, he’ll fall 15 feet to the hardwood floor, and maybe die. UGH!!!!!!!!!!! Gary runs to me, Mesky is laughing and Endala is looking at me like I’ve grown two heads. He was only trying to “wake up” whatever might be up there. Oh, seriously, and that’s better… I guess kinda :/

He doesn’t see anything, he’s flashing the “torch” around. Yeah, a torch, not a flash light, it’s that blasted British influence. It’s everywhere, and the reason my accent sounds funny to them. Anyway, Endala see’s nothing…except… the actual attic cover Gary couldn’t find. He maneuvers it into place, climbs down, and mystery solved… for now. I guess the styrofoam cover he made was moved by the wind. According to Gary, now it would take something fairly strong and intelligent to move the real cover. Yikes!! How do I feel about that…is that good news???

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

5K Lightening, Seriously?

Have you ever wondered how pilots know how to navigate the skies when there’s heavy cloud cover. Looking out, and as far as the eye can see there are clouds, no landmarks, no signs in the sky. Of course, he uses instruments and the air traffic control tower which help him navigate the skies!!

In life, we often find ourselves in unchartered lands, difficult situations and circumstances that bewilder and frighten us. And in life, especially as Christians, we have instruments, God’s Word, Godly counsel; and a tower, the Holy Spirit directing us here and there, to do this or that. It would be crazy to fly without a good set of instruments or the tower, so it is true of us as well. Daily, in every situation we are o take our cares and concerns to Him seeking His advice and guidance (Proverbs 3:5,6). Never ever attempt to navigate life’s unchartered land blindly, that would be crazy!

For several weeks, together with the Buffalo 5K committee, we worked and prepared for the 5K. Mike Paulick, one of our Walkers had been posting the weather forecast for that day for about a week on FB. So on Saturday, the day of the event, as we were driving to Chestnut Ridge Park, it began to rain! I thought, maybe this is like the “dew from Heaven”, but then the lightening came, and I was “in unchartered lands”. We had not planned for “a storm”, and maybe we should have. As it began to rain harder, Gary’s phone began to ring, is there a plan B in case of rain? Sitting in the back seat I began to pray, and I felt I was to pray against the rain. Seriously, I felt to take authority over the weather. It would spoil all our hard work, we live in CA, we were going home, and so the 5K had to happen now!!But the rain kept falling and the lightening kept flashing. Then the Lord reminded me of Eph. 6:10 “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” This is one of my favorite scriptures, I’ve even taught it to my grandchildren. It’s powerful, and so “relying on the power His strength provides” (Amplified version) I began to tell the enemy to desist, this was God’s show and He was going to stop the rain, and allow the 5K go forward and it was going to be great!! “…submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you” James 4:7. Within 15 minutes the rain stopped, and by the time we’d arrived at the park, 7:30am, it was just a beautiful autumn day in Buffalo!!

God stopped the rain, and the 5K was great!!

Thank you Lord!!!

check out our pics https://www.facebook.com/fireoverafrica
https://www.facebook.com/events/524187380991018/
groupcute kid

#fireoverafrica

#fireoverafrica

The 5k in Buffalo was a wonderful success! The venue was spectacular, Chestnut Ridge Park is beautiful, and it was the perfect setting for the day. We had families, and grandma, grandpas young and old walking together… We even had a clown, Corn Dawg!

Our beach balls were of the world, and we even had clay pigeons… No, we weren’t shooting them (lol), it wasn’t that kind of 5K :). It was a great group of people gathered to support a great group of people and projects in Ethiopia!! Everyone was so happy to be there for such a great cause… David Besch, part of our 5k committee, shared very supportive words, that though most did not feel led to travel to Ethiopia they could still affect change in that great nation by supporting Fire Over Africa, a group he trusts and believes is truly called of God! Thank you David.

Loving Jesus compels us to bless others, especially those like the people of Ethiopia for whom the need is sooo great! If you would like to support Fire over Africa, please visit our website http://www.fireoverafrica.org.

See how happy our supporters are… This family made the 5K a family affair, the little pirate even walked the 5K, Argh!!

5k for a Great Cause!

image

Causes motivate and inspire. I heard a message on Sunday by Pastor Judah Smith entitled “Still haven’t found what I’m looking for”,which was about people who search and search for meaning and fulfilment in life only to be disappointed and frustrated. They may have all the things money can buy, but still feel empty and unsatisfied. Meaning in life can truly be found in Christ but as a Christian I begin to think of the needs of others and when I make a difference in the lives of those in need I find fulfillment. Participating in the work of charities and non-profits is one way to find fulfillment, even inspiration!

The Fire Over Africa 5K held in California and New York raises funds for some pretty amazing people and programs in Ethiopia. Your support and involvement in such events is an opportunity to change lives for the better.

We all have something to give to those who have so little, our time, our resources, our influence… It is sacrifices such as these, which allow us to share in their joy and blessing. Be a hero to someone who could really use one! Oh, and have fun doing it!

Visit our website: http://www.fireoverafrica.org