I’ve just sent out our latest newsletter. I am committed to keeping our newsletter to one page, but there has been so much good news over the past two weeks, that I wanted to expand on the newsletter somewhere. So, here goes…
What a difference two months makes! The beginning of May was rough, to say the least. We were feeling very attacked at every angle and begged for your prayers. The last two weeks of May just brought blessing after blessing and we are feeling so encouraged. Thank you for your prayers in response to our special request a few weeks ago. We were under a huge spiritual attack and really felt that dissipate as so many of you lifted us up in prayer. God has answered and heaped blessings upon us recently.
*We have our paperwork! Everything is in order and fell into place when we had just one day left on our visas. Nothing like cutting it close, huh? We will have to renew everything in January, but have been informed that renewal is much easier than the initial acquisition of these documents. We are so relieved to have this step behind us and it *only* took 4 months… Now, we are clear to work as much as we want and no one has wasted any time in helping us find things to do.
*We are really finding our fit in ministry and are almost so busy that it’s hard to find time to breathe, but we refuse to complain about that, as we’ve been begging for more to do for months. Betsy just completed teaching a course at the Bible college and graded 50 essay papers, written in English by non-native English speakers. We’ll let you go ahead and figure out how fun that was. 🙂 No, really, it was an honor to serve the students and a privilege to read about their lives. They all passed the class.
*Last weekend, there was a graduation ceremony for 36 students from the Bible college who graduated with their bachelor degrees. Betsy was dressed in full graduation gown and hood and sat on stage. She also played violin for the offering. A new friend offered to loan her violin for the next two years, which has been a blessing because Betsy really missed playing, but couldn’t afford to take up a valuable carry-on for just that one item.
*In a few days, we will start language school. Thanks to a generous donation from North Ridge Church, Marshfield (where Betsy served on staff), we will finally be able to have conversations with our Ethiopian neighbors. We are so excited for this development. Typically, missionary associates, do not have the benefit of taking language courses, but NRC offered to pay for a 6-week session for us. We are so grateful for the opportunity and cannot wait to be able to do more than order food and say hello.
*Chris is working hard with the Aid and Development Association (ADA), which is a branch of the Assemblies of God here that provides aid to the poorest of the poor throughout Addis. He is doing some health training and education along side a feeding program that is running for 800 children near our home. Most of Chris’ time will be spent helping the ADA and leading personal hygiene training for children around Addis. You would think that in 2013, washing your hands after using the bathroom and before eating would be common sense, but if you are never taught to do this, you don’t know. So, Chris is hoping to help improve the health of children and families around Addis by teaching simple techniques. In addition, we hope to be able to welcome some medical teams to Ethiopia, but pray for that. The government has not made it easy for teams to come into Ethiopia.
*Betsy has just completed a TESOL training course and is now certified to Teach English to Speakers of Other Languages. She will be teaching English to the employees of the ADA after completing Amharic language school. Please pray for other opportunities to come together, as well. Teaching English is a great way to connect with people and then sharing the Gospel can be a component of that teaching.
*We have both been asked to teach a course at the Bible school this coming academic year and are really looking forward to that, as well as other involvements there. The Bible school is a great training ground for the future and current leaders of Ethiopia. If we can teach a few students, imagine the possibilities for future ministry and how much further the Gospel can spread than we could spread it ourselves. Students are willing to go to unreached people groups and even into countries that are highly unsafe for Christians. We just want to empower them to share the truth about Jesus’ love with the world and they are so passionate about going.
I can honestly state that we are doing great! Health has returned, our car is running well, and we were even able to purchase a new one with our missions dollars at long last. It is more reliable than the ‘69 Bug and a bit more spacious. We are feeling rather spoiled to have conveniences like a radio and air conditioning, not to mention seat belts. We are keeping the Bug as a quick run around town vehicle, but this van will allow us to go out of town on some new adventures and more comfortably take others with us–especially visitors (hint, hint). The fact that my kids can all sit in separate seats and not touch each other constantly is one HUGE added bonus.
Betsy decided it was time to chop off almost all of her hair. As soon as she discovered there were one or two stylists here that could cut ferenge (foreigner) hair decently, off it went. She feels more like herself and hasn’t regretted the decision for even one second.
The kids are doing very well. The boys have just two weeks left of school. They will have two months off for summer break, though summer here is technically their winter and the rainy season. Lots of playing indoors will take place…help! Kayla is still loving life. I don’t know if I’ve ever met a happier person.
We are losing one missionary family this month, but gaining three more through the summer. We are excited to be able to welcome them as they arrive and help them get settled. We will be the only AG family in Addis when they arrive, so it will be up to us to help get them settled, help find housing, cars, etc… Good thing we’ve just completed doing this ourselves. We are looking forward to having our team grow and having some of our friends that we met during missionary training join us on the field especially.
While walking to church one Sunday morning, some of the neighborhood kids attached themselves to Gavin. They just wanted to hold his hand and practice a little English with him. He was happy to oblige–it has become normal to be paid a lot of attention to. I think our kids will be in a bit of shock when we return to the US and they’re just normal again. Anyway, he started handing out some crosses he had made for just this purpose before we moved here. The kids asked what they were, he told them and they were thrilled. It is fun to see his little missionary heart developing and some days, I think he’s more into the actual mission of it all than we are! He doesn’t let the language barrier stop him from sharing with anyone who will pay attention.