Yet another day – sunny and not-too-hot for a hike (see photos), but I wasn’t sure if my feet would endure the rocky climb (never bring new boots on a long trip).  So I stayed behind to experience a two-hour church service in a language I don’t understand (Amharic).  As I struggled to connect with these Ethiopian brothers and sisters, who were quite animated in their prayer against spiritual warfare, I noted a banner in English on the church wall: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy” (Mt. 5:7).  It occurred to me that our obedience in being merciful does not obligate God to be merciful to us, but it does open our eyes to see God’s glory in his mercy to us and to others.  These worshippers understood the power of darkness in ways that we in the West often do not, and here in this place, God was showing His mercy by protecting and blessing them.  As they sang their last song to the accompaniment of a drum and joyful rhythmic dancing and clapping, I was caught up in the awareness that the halls of heaven will be filled with such songs – and with the hymns I love and musical praise from every part of the earth.  We will again observe God’s glorious mercy.

Later in the day, several of us went on a tour of the Olson Hospital (see photos), built and operated by Project Mercy, just up the road from the compound where we have been staying.  This hospital is a remarkable achievement, testifying to the faith of everybody participating in the building and funding of this place, high above the Great Rift Valley in very rural Africa.