Today I finally got a couple of emails from Jeff, who is in Ethiopia with Mark Wolbert.  The power has been out off and on (not unusual) and the internet unreliable (also very common) which is frustrating to those of us waiting to hear from them and equally frustrating when you’re the one trying to communicate to everyone back home.  But this is reality in Ethiopia and we should be used to it!

Jeff and Mark spent last Saturday and Sunday in Adama preparing for the mission team from Kentucky to do some landscape installation at our Widows and Orphans Home there.  They went shopping for plants and the tools they’ll need to get them in the ground.  I think you’ll see that this shopping trip wasn’t like a trip to the local nursery or the garden aisle at H*me Dep*t! 

Apparently there aren’t any sections marked “Perrenials” or “Shade Lovers.”  No markers indicating the aisle with the garden tools.  In fact, you go to the back streets of Adama and find a different little roadside shop for each item you want to buy.  Finding those shops is no small task!  One place sells shovel blades.  Another, rake heads.  The guys never did find the ‘handle shop’ and finally realized that you need to do what the Ethiopians do and find a stick that fits into the tool sleeve.

Buying 25 meters of hose also took a long time.  First, you grab a 50 meter roll and the shop owner starts backing up down the street while another friendly bypasser helps to let the ‘hose’ out from the roll.  Another helpful stranger offers to unwind the cloth measuring tape from its stick (the guy walking backwards has it along with the start of the hose).  Twenty-five meters puts the guy a long ways down the street!  Look carefully at the photo above – does that hose look like our typical 8-ply heavy duty non-kinking garden hose to you?  I don’t actually see any connectors on it!

Mark and Jeff bought lots of plants for the bare dirt areas surrounding the Widows and Orphans Home.  Because Mark’s background is in landscape installation, he knows what he’s doing in picking out the right plants.  Everywhere they went, Jeff said they were surrounded by onlookers, curious to see what these ‘ferengi’ (foreigners – mainly Westerners) were doing.  Believe me, most Ethiopians have never thought of purchasing a plant for making their yard beautiful.  They hope to be able to buy some teff to make injera so they can feed their families.

On Monday, the team from Kentucky arrived and after a good night’s sleep, they all headed to Korah (the community at the dump in Addis Ababa) to distribute food and coal to families living there.  They played soccer and threw a football with many of the kids who gathered everywhere they went.  These team members are huge football players (and their coaches) who play for the University of Kentucky Wildcats.  Little kids were grabbing their hands to walk with them, completely in awe of their size and stature.  They touched their tattoos and laughed.

The team was able to paint the bathroom that the last YWAM mission team built.  This paint will help keep the metal from turning rusty so fast.  A bathroom in this community is rare.  Every team member pitched in wholeheartedly and absolutely loved being able to serve these impoverished people.

On Wednesday morning the team will leave for Adama and begin their landscape work.  They’ll stay there until Friday morning.  Please pray with us for God to use the team and to touch them deeply with Christ’s heart of compassion.

(Jeff was having a lot of difficulty sending photos so, for now, the two above will help to tell this story.  If I get more, I’ll be sure to add them here!)