We have been here exactly one week, almost to the minute. It has been a whirlwind of a week. We arrived on Thursday and were greeted warmly. We were taken to our temporary housing. It is a lovely three bedroom apartment in a government owned complex that is very safe and offers a small sook (convenience store), a hair salon and a pizza place. The Thomas’ (our supervising missionaries) and the Jordans (co-laborers who arrived just a few weeks before us) thought of everything! They had the place stocked with groceries and even had our first meal prepared for us. We took some time to settle in and tried our best not to sleep, though we did all take a nap.
Traveling here was as smooth as it could be given the fact that we had a ton of luggage, three small kids, and hours to just sit and hope they would behave. All, I repeat ALL, of our luggage arrived without a glitch. That was a huge answer to prayer. Thank you for praying for that with us. Again, I know it was just “stuff”, but sometimes having that stuff is all the physical comfort you have for a day and that stuff has gone a long way to help our children adjust.
How are they doing? It is what everyone we hear from wants to know! Exceptionally well. They are amazing. They adjusted to the time change more quickly than we did. They have accepted that this is their new life already. They have said that they like it here and would be okay coming back after the first two years. I know that a lot can change in that time, but they have been incredibly positive. I am amazed by them. All three of them.
Kayla attracts, possibly, more attention here than she did in the US. I was not prepared for that. I suppose it is not all that common to see an Ethiopian child with a ferenge (white person). Of course, she just loves the attention. People are very attentive to children here. They love to hug and kiss her and she just eats it up. She is waving to every vehicle we pass on the road and is happy all the time.
Gavin found a man under our stairs. We believe he works for one of the other families in the compound and was retrieving something when Gavin saw him. They had a short conversation. Gavin ended up asking the man if he knew about God. The man said, “No.”. They made a plan to meet the next day so that Gavin could tell him. He has been anxiously checking under the stairs, Bible in hand, each day to meet with the man again, but has not seen him. Mmmhmm, already a better missionary than his parents. 🙂
Unfortunately, our apartment is all the way on the other side of town from everyone else. Now, in distance it is not that far, but when there is traffic in a city of 4.5 million people, 20 km can take over 1.5 hours to drive. This limits our mobility a great deal, but everyone has done a lovely job of helping us and sacrificially giving of their time to make sure we are comfortable–we are.
Monday, we looked at four houses. None of them seemed like a slam dunk and left us a bit discouraged. There is another missionary couple coming in less than two weeks that needs our apartment, so we have to find a house before then or move into another temporary housing situation, so time is of the essence. We, of course, would prefer to just move into a home that we can stay in for two years, but rolling with the punches is part of the job description, so we woke up Tuesday with a different agenda and put the house hunting to the back of our minds.
Tuesday, we visited the boys’ school for the first time. Reily had some testing to see if he would be in KG2 (our kindergarten) or KG1 (our 4K). Of course, we were believing for KG2 since that’s what he was in back home. He tested just fine and was accepted to KG2. Gavin was able to visit his classroom and we met all of the teachers. We love the school and are thrilled the boys will have such a wonderful place to attend while we are here. After that visit, we assumed we would go home, but Dawit (our new best friend–an Ethiopian man who works for the ministry here and speaks fluent English) informed us that the broker had one more home to show us. We were thrilled as we thought it would be a week before we could look again. The house exceeded our expectations and the price was just a little under our budget. It felt like this could be a miracle that God was providing just for us. After viewing the home, we met with our current team and went over calendar items. We told them about the house and the Thomas’ (who would have to approve) wanted to see it as well. They are as anxious to get us in a home as we are. They approved and we agreed to meet with the owner Wednesday to discuss some issues and perhaps review a contract.
Wednesday, the boys had their first day of school. We were picked up by Dawit at 7am and arrived at the school at 8:30–just a few minutes late. We are so very ready to be closer to the other families and to the school. The boys will be gone 10 hours each day as long as we are here. As ready as we are for them to start school, I don’t know how ready we are for them to be gone for 10 hours! They are so young. After dropping them off, we headed back to the house and met with the owner. He was very agreeable and anxious to rent the home. We agreed to meet later in the afternoon to review a contract. We drove to the Jordan’s home and I retyped their housing contract to suit our agreement. We printed that off and then picked up Reily because he has half days Wed and Fri. After that, we drove to meet the broker and the home owner and the contract was signed! This was a HUGE relief to us. He was anxious to have it rented and we were anxious to be those renters. We honestly feel like this home is nothing short of a miracle and feel incredibly blessed to have found it at just the right time. The price had just dropped to be in our range and the kids all like it. It is safe, it is a few blocks from the Jordans and it will be comfortable for us. We are feeling so very blessed. We will make the payment and receive the keys on Monday.
Unfortunately, the home is unfurnished, but we were warned that furnished homes are incredibly hard to come by–especially in our budget. The Thomas’ have many items for us, but there are some we will need to purchase before we can move in. We need a stove and we need mattresses, at the very least. We can wait to have some bed frames made for a bit and a dining room table will come later. I would love to purchase a washing machine and maybe even a TV at some point, but we can live without both for a while. We will purchase as our budget allows.
Both boys had a wonderful first day of school and were ready to go back this morning! They went without us today. We need to get some grocery shopping done before a holiday tomorrow and Saturday, so we are staying home. We will see them again in about 10 hours… 😦 I’m sure they will have a great day today, as well. They get to be outside and play in the wonderful weather here. What kid could complain about that? And they both like learning. I think we were all ready for some more structure for them. As I type, Chris is reading his Bible and Kayla is playing with some stickers we brought from home. She misses her brothers already. It’s been a long time since they had school–before Christmas. She’ll adjust!
Are we working yet? Not exactly. The process is time consuming and lengthy. Before you can work here, you must have certain papers in order or you risk being told to leave. Before you can get those papers, you have to be here. We are here. We have the correct documents, we think. Now we just have to appear at the right places at the right times to get our residency papers (God willing). That process will start soon. We also need to apply for drivers licenses and look for a vehicle. We were able to raise enough to buy something. We’re not sure what yet, but we’ll know more once we can look. We hope to have papers in order and to be working in some capacity next month. For now, we are working on adjusting to the culture, getting the children settled, finding a permanent place to live and doing more than just surviving in our new home. Just figuring out the groceries and the cooking at such a high altitude has consumed a lot of my time! We hope to be thriving in no time and can’t wait to share all the details of our life and God’s plans for us here as they unfold.
Thank you so much for your continued prayer support. Please pray that everything with this house would work out. Please pray that our children would continue to do well. Please pray for paperwork issues–both for us and the other missionary families. Please pray for good health for our family. As always, if there is anything we can pray about for you, please contact us. We would love to hear from you! firstname.lastname@example.org is the best way to contact us for now. Internet is spotty, but we’re working on it! I hope to be able to post photos soon.