The word that characterizes these past two weeks has unfortunately
been “stress”. Upon hearing that I would not only be helping out with
the 12th grade English class, but actually be solely responsible for
leading and teaching the class, I kind of freaked out.  I’ve never
taught a class before in my life. And in my mind the 12th grade
English class is one of the most important classes considering the
student’s national exams at the end of the year is only in English. So
last week was a mess of lesson-plan preparations, class schedules, and
teaching philosophies all before the first day of my class. I sort of
became a hermit and interacted minimally with my teammates and the
group of twelve visiting doctors and nurses here to give physicals for
all 1,500 children.

I got so stressed that I developed two canker sores that later
developed into four making it almost unbearable to eat.  I realized
that I wasn’t trusting God. I had even given up spending time with Him
during the day in my attempt to be well prepared for class. But this
past week has been a huge wake up call. Class is actually going great,
the English teacher has agreed to take on the grammar section (which
is my weakest teaching subject), I’ve gotten away from it all a few
times to talk to God about the stress and apologize for not trusting
him. And then yesterday I spent some time volunteering with the
doctors helping out with the health clinic. And then later on in the
evening I went down to the house kids to read the bible and pray with
them, something I have not done for quite a while. God totally used
them to be a huge encouragement to me and communicate God’s love for

God also used a comment by one of my teammates, Nathanial, to teach me
an important lesson.  He said “Wherever you go, there you are”. And
that is so true for me. Just because I’m in Ethiopia amidst the slow
pace of life and interacting with patient, gracious people, I still
gravitate to overworking myself and trying to prove my worth by what I
accomplish.  I work 10 hr days here despite my fairly easy work load.
I try to fix every problem I run into and am always saying yes when I
should be more balanced. I think God is still trying to teach me the
importance of being still and enjoying God and recognizing his love
that enables me to be affective in what I do rather than working with
all of my own effort to prove my worth.

I’ll try to write more later, but thought I’d give a quick update on
how I’m doing and what to pray for me about. Thank you all for your
prayers and emails and support. I’m sorry that I can’t get back to you
all quickly… I have a list of about 20 names of emails that I have to
write this week. The one hr in the computer lab per week (if it works)
is not nearly enough time… Especially when my inbox says (105) !

Grace and Peace to you all,
Hey all,

As of this week I've been here in Ethiopia for over one month. But it
hardly feels like I've been here a week because my work here has
really only just begun. Yet at the same time this place has really
started feeling like my home. I'm loving the people, the culture, the
school, my job, my room, the food, the amazing mountains that surround
this compound and the slow pace of life. This is so where I'm supposed
to be. And God is providing for me so abundantly.

Classes were supposed to start up last week. But that didn't happen
due to a week long national teachers training seminar that was
announced the "First" day of classes. So classes started up this week.
I've been assistant teaching for the I.T. class. We were supposed to
have 12 classes this week. Only three showed up. But it's great
because now we are supper prepared for when the ball really gets
rolling. I'm kind of used to everything starting late.  I'd imagine
this type of lifestyle would be very frustrating for most Americans...
and I do admit that at times, it gets on my nerves and seems very
inefficient and sloppy. But honestly I think life works better like
this. It's totally a no-stress workplace and is very conducive to
relationships. Even though it does take a long time for things to get
done things always work out in the end.

I've had a really fun time teaching the few times I've had the
opportunity to do so. Even when there are no classes students show up
to learn how to use a computer and how to type and I get the
opportunity to help them learn a new skill. I'm also teaching all of
the teachers in the evenings the same things were teaching the
students. Many of them have no experience on a computer at all. It's
sort of like going back in time... It's so much fun to be teaching
something that's second nature for myself. I've also adopted the
responsibility of being sort of the I.T. guy. I go around the school
and fix basic computer problems, printer issues,  install programs and
answer all electronic questions as I am able to. But probably the most
productive and satisfying thing I've done so far is work with a brand
new organisation called the "Bright Future Union". Their a group of
college and university students that are mostly all graduates of the
Project Mercy school. They had there fist annual meeting the second
week I was here and they asked me to be the Photographer. Then they
asked me to rewrite there constitution in professional English. So
that's what's been keeping me busy for the past week or two
interviewing members of the union and writing it all out in a
presentable manner. The vision statement of the union is as follows:

"The Bright Future Union (BFU) seeks to equip Ethiopian students to
become financially independent, academically astute, physically
healthy, patriotic, productive and creative citizens of an
economically developed, thriving society through the educational
process, who will in turn contribute to the wellbeing of their
community, country and world.

I'm really loving be a part of the beginnings of this truly amazing
union. Please be praying for the success of this union's efforts to
help Ethiopian students especially in this are and through this

Also Please pray for:
•    My fellow team members
o    Aaron and Andrea - teachers form Costa Rica here to teach English and math.
o    Nathanial - Aaron's brother from the states teaching science
o    Elena - The I.T. teacher who brought all of the wonderful computers
to Project Mercy and someone who has totally been an answer to prayer
in being a wonderful friend to me/ the big sister I never had.
o    Michelle - team coordinator / other big sister.
o    God's blessed us with a really great group. We meet every Friday to
share stories or read the Bible pray, or just speak a lot of English
together. Tonight turned into a really extended praise and prayer
•    Balance
for my life in coordinating all my jobs, time with the kids,
leisure, and personal development time.
•    Communication with the outside world seems to be a big issue for our
team. Pray that everyone would be able to talk to there loved ones and
that the internet would work for both sending and receiving emails the
one time a week that we are able to get to a cafe.
•    The Project Mercy school and Bright Future Union that they would
both be effective tools in preparing these children to be the future
leaders of Ethiopia both ineffectually and spiritually.
•    The Yetebon community that God would open there eyes to their need for Jesus.

Thank you all for your love, prayers and support. I could not be here
without you!
Grace and Peace,