School starts in Ethiopia after their New Year celebration in September. Interested in a bit of trivia? Ethiopia marks time by the Julian calendar that has 13 months and is 7 years behind our Gregorian calendar. September 12th is a huge day of celebration in Ethiopia when they will begin their new year of 2016. School starts sometime after that holiday in most places.
This summer has not been one of peace in Ethiopia, and we have felt the reverberations of the ethnic fighting and unrest. The actual war zone is in the Amhara region which is quite a distance from our schools and churches, but tensions are high nevertheless.
The conflict (in extremely simplistic terms) is between the Oromo-led government and the Amhara paramilitary called Fano. The Oromo tribe wants the Oromo “state” to be only for Oromos and are either killing or forcing Amharas living in their territory to leave. There are now huge internally displaced people camps in Amhara because of this. The federal government wants Fano to disband and give control to the federal army; however, the Amharas feel they are in grave danger and need to protect themselves. To add to the already boiling pot, there is the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) that is seeking autonomy and are using terrorist methods to intimidate.
Because a large part of our work is in the Oromo region, we feel the tension. Our scheduled adoption seminar to be held in Shashemene has been postponed as people are afraid and are sheltering home as much as possible. Our main speaker is a non-Oromo and he would like for the situation to calm down a bit before feeling safe going deep into Oromo territory. Ethiopia is increasingly becoming more splintered into tribal factions that intensely distrust one another. Tribal identity trumps nationalism and oftentimes even religious affiliation.
But in the midst of turmoil, our orphanage is a calm oasis with good food, consistent routine and lots of hugs and kisses. Children are being placed in forever homes, boo-boos are kissed away, our baby with cerebral palsy is getting the medical help he needs, and you, our donors, make sure the cupboards are stocked with food and formula despite costs quadrupling because of the war. God is very, very good!
New students for our pre-K and kindergarten classes are being selected, teachers are preparing their classrooms, school supplies are stocked, and uniforms are being sewn. We are gearing up for another school year. Literacy classes in 12 villages will begin again after the new year.
Two important trainings for missionaries are scheduled for the end of this month. It is up in the air whether they will need to be postponed or not. However, a new church has been built and the rains are watering crops that can be harvested in a month or so.
$700* worth of Bibles in two tribal languages have been purchased for missionaries to disseminate.
We are about our Father’s business. Now, more than ever, people need to hear good news!
*150 Bibles purchased from our gift catalog!!