by Wolf Samuelson in Ethiopia
Today was only meant to be a travel day, but God had way more in store. Once you leave the expansive, densely populated city of Addis-Ababa, the country side is so vast and beautiful. It felt like stepping back in time, horse drawn carts, grass and mud huts, and livestock roaming free. We stopped for lunch and got to hear Pastor Sammy & his wife Ruth pour out their hearts for the people of Ethiopia, particularly for the children and youth. Their journey has not been without struggle, but it has produced amazing results. Their dream is to plant churches here and continue reaching the next generation.
Today our team finished up painting a mural at the Mana Gammachuu orphanage and it looks so great. We had all the babies put their hand prints on the walls as well. We also played a lot outside the gates with the kids in the neighborhood. Such a fun day, but it wasn’t over yet.
We left the orphanage and headed to a street market to buy four sheep & four gallons of cooking oil. Ephraim, the director of Adoption Ministry 1:27 here in Shashemene had picked four families that were in desperate need to receive these gifts. Just in time to celebrate Easter with their families. It was quite an adventure buying the sheep as well as transporting them in our vans. One van had 3 sheep inside, while the other we tried tying it to the roof rack. That sheep had no desire to stay there, so eventually we cut him down to join us inside. Then we traveled all over the city delivering the sheep and oil to the families in need. It was a joyful & tearful moment for all of us. To hear their stories and to have them give us a blessing was very humbling. No one goes unnoticed by the Lord.
It’s Easter morning here in Ethiopia! The local Protestant churches gathered at a sports stadium this morning for an amazing Easter Service. We figured there were around 800 people there. The energy was electric – everyone was worshiping God & praising Jesus with such apparent passion. It was hard not to want to jump and dance with them! Next the Pastor was on fire! I had no idea what he was saying, I only knew what Bible passages he was using.
All I can say is that the God that speaks to us back home, is the same God that speaks to His people here in Ethiopia. There are times in America we feel we have some exclusive market on Christianity. That couldn’t be further from the truth. We may be blessed with wealth in comparison to Ethiopia, but we sure are poor in spirit in comparison as well. We can learn so much from their depth of faith in the midst of true disparity and persecution.
Well after such a powerful morning, we took some time to travel and take is some wildlife. We were off to see some HIPPOS! We took two very small boats out on a near by lake. We didn’t travel far along the shore before we came across a family of 6 hippos, two of which were babies. Since it was in the heat of day the hippos only remained in the water, so we only saw their heads when they can up to breathe. Still, they were hippos, and can you say you saw hippos in a lake, on an Easter Sunday lately?
To top the day off we had a wicked rain storm with amazing thunder and lightning. Tomorrow the team members will begin to visit their sponsored widows and their families. I can’t wait to meet the young mother & her twin girls my family sponsors.