Today is New Years eve, the last day of 2001 for the country of Ethiopia. The past 5 days (Sunday through today) has been the 13th month in there calender. It is a time of looking back and reflecting on the past and looking forward to a bright new future. This has been a very encouraging prosses for me to go through as well as a begin my year in Ethiopia. 

Right now I am visiting Addis Ababa for the holiday and festivities. My new friend “Beni”(short for Benjamin invited me to his family's house in the city to get a true taste of Ethiopia culture. My favorite part so far is the ceremony around coffee... they roast it right in front of you in the living room and make the coffee in a pot over the fire and serve it like espresso. I look forward to when the real partying begins tomorrow with the feast all day long!!!

As for my life back in the community of Yetabion (where I live) life has really been too easy. We had hamburgers for lunch the other day!!! Meat is a rare privilege in Ethiopia but we as volunteers get it a few times a week. I felt bad about how good they treat us so the other night I went and had dinner with the kids. I almost threw up... and had the worst stomachache for a bout a day. I think I'm going to wait a while before I do that again. We do eat native food but a much tamer version of it than what the kids get. Their super nutritious bread was sort of like what I remember dog biscuits tasting like. And the soupy lentil spicy substance they call “wut”is really good when it's made for us but with the kids was sort of was like eating mud dirt and all... I swear there was sand it there. And then they have this fermented pancake thing they call “Ingera” that is served at almost every meal. It's what they use to scoop everything up with their hands. It's great stuff... but only in small quantities for me. But yeah... lets just say I love soup and salad nights. 

I haven't really started work yet. There are only like 70 kids around that don't have family's to go back for the holidays. I play sports with them in the evenings and we read to them at night which is so much fun... they love Narnia! But life will get a lot busier when the 1,500 kids show up for school after the new year (September 11th). I'll be assistant teaching in upper level English classes 9th -12th grade, as well as helping out with computer classes and their general business class for 11th and 12th grade. This will be for a few months at lease until 

I've had my own room for the past two weeks with a warm water shower and flushing toilet. After this weekend I'll have a roommate which should be fun. He's another volunteer form the states. God has really provided friends for me here in ways that I did not expect... both with the house kids, workers at Project Mercy and with the other volunteers. Michell, Arron and Andria the volunteers have been like siblings to me. We joke around and watch movies and talk about our various world travels. There is something so dynamic about people who are willing to travel that creates a unique bond among us. There are also many people that come and visit Project Mercy who share similar passions. Never a dull moment around here. 

That being said, the pace of life it delightfully slow. So much so, that you can actually hear yourself think. I'm getting tones of time to reflect, read books, go for hikes, and of late my favorite activity... napping in the afternoons. I anticipate this year being very fruitful for me in both ministry and personal development. In light of the “New Year”, I have spent time reflecting on how I envision this year going and asking God what he has in mind for me as well. I'ts been an amazing process. 

I think not having Internet has actually been one of the best things(and hardest) for me. Right now I'm sitting in a Internet cafe' writing this in “Word” because it's taking about a half hour for my email to open. Maybe this is part of God's answer to my prayer for patience. Actually, I'm pretty sure it is.

Please Pray for:
  • Patience and Humility =^)
  • Continued bonding with my teammates and house kids as well as for my roommate, the two other volunteers coming next week and the 1,500 kids that will be trekking down the mountain and across the country side and flowing though the gates on Monday morning (the first day of classes) 
  • Confidence and understanding for when I am in the classroom working with teachers and students
  • Accelerated language learning, both for me and for the student's English (it is the most important subject for them to be able to pass the 8th, 10th and 12th grade national exams and continue there education... if they fail they stop there education altogether and have no chance to continue on to a university. All but one student passed the 12th grade exam this year, but unfortunately only about half of the 10th graders passed their exam (it is a very, very difficult exam all in English. These results are actually above average. 
  • Protection form food poisoning and diseases (not a huge issue for me, but it doesn't hurt to pray for it)
  • Provision for all of Project Mercy's new programs, especially the new water project for the High school 3 miles away as well as the surrounding community. 
  • That grace may abound in the hearts of thoes in Project Mercy, the surrounding community and all of Ethiopia. More than food, more than education, more than health care, these people need Jesus. That is ultamatly why I am here.
Grace and Peace,
9/10/2009 05:40:48 am

i continue to be amazed at you stepping out in faith, allowing God to change you and make you go inside to see what is happening in your soul. Keep doing that hard work friend! Do not turn into so much of our Church, spiritually "mature" but emotionally immature and unaware of the inner life.

9/23/2009 03:16:25 pm

Hurray Steve! Hey, can we talk about me visiting you around Christmas? I'll be in England for the year and I'd love to see you. Hope teaching is going well!


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