Sunday in Ethiopia

Sunday is easily my favorite day of the week.  As a pastor and a shepherd, it's the day I get to share with God's people what I've been working on and the day I get to see the people I love so dearly.  Even though I'm 8,000 miles from home, today was no different.  That's what some people don't seem to understand - the body of Christ isn't limited by continents, languages or even denominations.  All we need is each other to share our walk with.  Walk with me through today in these pictures. 

We started the day with a church Watch and Pray (the ministry we are here with) to help plant.  Just about 25 KM from Adama, the church is in Waldaa, a very poor village.  That's the church family pictured to the side.  They were THRILLED to have the
chance to show off their building and to have a visitor from America to share the morning with.  The music pastor - squatting down in the center - stepped up his game today.  I preached on John 9 - the man born blind and how the glory of God was reflected in the life of the least likely.  He wrote a song about it as I was preaching and sang it as an invitation hymn.  Wow. 

 The beautiful children pictured here are from the church.  When I pulled out my camera (a Canon 77D DSLR), they were fired UP!  We didn't even pretend to speak the same language, but they were so happy to have their picture made and then see it on the small screen on the camera.  I took about 25 of them - these were the best two.  The young lady on the bottom left of the picture took a fancy to me.  When we left the church, she walked with me, holding my hand, as we went to Pastor Kasa's house.  He and his family welcomed me with such kindness.  The harsh reality is the challenge of education for these children.  The nearest kindgarten is 3KM away.  The nearest 1-6th grade elementary is 5KM away crossing a BUSY road and an active train track.  Most children don't go. 

After church, we went to lunch at a roadside cafe where we enjoyed roasted goat and Inirj (a tortilla-type bread made from teff, one of the primary crops in Ethiopia).  No forks, spoons or knives - just pick it up with your inirj and eat.  Somewhere, I'm hearing my mom lecture me about eating with my fingers! 

We were supposed to go to a wedding after lunch so we headed further east.  As it happened, we didn't make the wedding, but we did see some amazing countryside. 

The countryside was something out of central casting, like from a movie ABOUT Africa! The acacia trees, the moutainous backdrop and the warm climate all came together to remind me this was definitely not Texas.  As if I needed a further reminder, I got it a little while later when a congress of baboons was crossing the road.  It took some doing, but I finally got this shot of one of them.  There were at least 20-30 of them and they were NOT happy we had come through.  
A little while later, we saw a heard of camels (CAMELS!) being herded back toward town.  Then, in town, we saw a pair of open-air trucks hauling camels.  I had to look twice to make sure of what I saw peering over the top of the railing at me.  Free-range animals is the rule of the day - fences are an unknown quantity for pasture animals like cows or donkeys - so we constantly had to dodge animals on the roads.  Not to mention the traffic.  

Now, it's 11:32 PM in Ethiopia - 3:32 in Texas.  If I was home, I'd be ready to read my newspaper and hangout with my wife and son.  Instead, I'm going to bed to be ready for the conference we'll launch tomorrow.  Prayers are appreciated.  


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