by Joy Casey in Ethiopia

Today is the last day on this trip of connecting with our work in the countryside.  The next several days will be travel back to Addis Ababa and taking care of business with in-country staff.  Jason and I celebrated this beautiful Sabbath day in a church newly erected in a rural village where the Im*m came to the Lord and sparked quite a hubbub that drew many to Christ.  It was an exuberant service and so fun!

There was a choir of about 20 youth that sang in their traditional style accompanied by a fantastic drummer.  They had the whole church on their feet singing and dancing with abandon.

It was a hard act to follow, but Jason greeted everyone and I shared God’s word through two interpreters.

There are LOTS of children in this church.  Already a few older girls who attended high school are holding classes in the church, teaching Amharic letters and phonics.  Afterward, they share Bible stories.  Fifteen M*slim youth are coming for the Amharic class and stay to listen to the Bible, too.  Mikiyas, NewLife’s Children’s Director, will be beefing up their ministry to children and had good opportunity to encourage the two girls who are already taking initiative with children.

The big need in this church (other churches, too) is benches to sit on.  They have four benches and a chair for Im*m B who is old and highly respected.  They lay poles on the floor and cover them with mats for the children and some adults brought plastic water jugs to sit on.

The mudding of the walls is not complete because the rains were not plentiful this year.  It affected their crops, too, and food will be scarce until next harvest.  But, you need water to make mud so the walls will just have to wait.

After church we were invited to the house next door for some cultural bread (dabo) and goat cheese.  It was nice to break bread and visit with our friends in this village.

Now we are back in Shashemene (where our orphanage is) and will spend the night before heading to Addis tomorrow.  I meet with our orphanage nurse early tomorrow morning as I have some things to go over with her.  This trip has been exceptionally fulfilling in many ways.  Jason and I have had ample opportunity to have long talks with our staff in the cool of the evenings.  We have listened to them, asked questions and together have formulated some strategies for 2020.

It is a lovely afternoon and with only an hour left of warm sunshine, I think I’ll sit outside and savor a cup of tea.  Caio!