by Joy Casey 

It is amazing what a good night’s sleep does for us!  After the exhausting preceding days, we woke up refreshed and ready for what the day will bring.

Maybe it was the monkey watching us eat breakfast ….

Or perhaps it was the strong coffee that gave a boost to our spirits.  Whatever it was … sleep, monkeys, or coffee … I think most of our eagerness came from anticipation of meeting missionaries instrumental in birthing Christian communities among people hostile to the Gospel.

Our missionary coordinator invited us to his home for our guests from High Pointe Church to meet one of the missionaries they support and to hear his story.  A traditional coffee ceremony was prepared, and we entered the living room strewn with fresh rushes on the floor and sweet-smelling incense competing with the smell of coffee beans roasting on the fire.

Our hosts brought around a pitcher of water and basin to wash our hands and then uncovered a huge, round loaf of dabo (bread) that is made for special guests and holidays.

As per tradition, guests have the honor of cutting the bread.  Spinach with soft cheese made fresh from our host’s cow was a side dish.  Now don’t cringe …. it was delicious!  Then came the cups of rich, fragrant coffee served with popped corn.  Life doesn’t get much better than this!

The next two hours Missionary “S” shared the long, twisted journey of how God radically changed his character from one of anger and addiction to an on-fire missionary who has established a Christian community among intensely hostile people.  In this intimate, safe setting we were able to ask questions that educated us about the challenges and victories of missionary life.  It was a lovely afternoon – good company, good food and time together with Ethiopian brothers and sisters celebrating what God is doing.