Day 4

Let the Screening Begin!

Today was a big day for the Dessie team.  It was our first day to do a major screening (exam and education) at the Full Gospel Church.  We saw about 100 children from ages 1 to 15 years of age.

PictureThe local church and the MPPC team were full of energy and enthusiasm.  The children, on the other hand were full of fear and trepidation.  For many, this was the first time they had been seen by a doctor or nurse.  After our team shared some big smiles, gentle touches, and some clever examination games, we saw them change from mistrust to full cooperation.

In addition to the screening, we provided public health training, coloring and puppeteering.  Kids came out of the woodworks to color pictures of famous Bible stories.  The puppet troop performed to a “standing room only crowd’ (there are no chairs in the boonies…). They brought to life the exciting story of Daniel and the Lions’ den.  Our puppets helped children of all ages learn about God’s great love, protection and provision.

PictureThanks for your prayers. We have seen God at work.  It has been our privilege to share the touch of Jesus with largely a Muslim community.  God is good, all the time.  Please pray for us as we will finish our screening at the Full Gospel church tomorrow and then meet with all the parents in the evening for information on the illness patterns we have seen.  We will also be introducing the Community Health Education program which we pray will help make a substantial and sustainable improvement in health for Dessie in the years to come.

PicturePray too for Frank and Mike as they begin preparations for a showdown of the ages:  May Madness.  Mano-a-Mano.  ‘The Messie in Dessie’.  There is a basketball court on campus here at Hope Enterprises and Frank has challenged Mike to a game of one-on-one.  The game is tentatively scheduled for Saturday and has potential to reinvent the way we view basketball and how it should be played.  Stay tuned…



“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits…” Psalm 103:1-2

pictureThis morning began with the most beautiful devotion on thankfulness. Our team has been truly touched by the past few days from all that we have been exposed to. We had such an edifying time contrasting life and attitudes in America to the uniquely thankful hearts that we have seen here in Ethiopia, that I think our morning omelets got a little cold, (They were amazing though!)

Today was a holiday called St. George Day! Crowds were gathered at the St George Orthodox Church carrying brightly colored umbrellas and wearing mostly white garments. Because of this holiday, we were blessed with a tour day. Gazow and Mickey were our tour guides. We hopped on the bus and head to Debre Libanos Monastery for our first stop. The ride was enjoyable with plenty of rural scenery. When we arrived at the monastery the main doors were blocked by wailing locals at a funeral service. pictureApprehensive to walk past, yet intrigued, we were led shoeless through a side door. The inside of the monastery was musty and smelled of incense…but the stained glass windows and the old paintings were beautiful. The place was rich with tradition and history but also gave a very ritualistic and Old Testament feel. They honor a unique man in this monastery- His name was St. Tekelynot.

St Tekelynot was known for standing on one foot fasting and praying in a cave for 29 years. Legend has it that he even put a pole in front of him so when he was tempted to sleep it would jab his chest and awaken him. We climbed to this nearby cave where he prayed. People were carrying their water jugs to get “holy water” from the water dripping from the cavern. I sat there outside the cave for awhile---listening to the quiet drips of water…and was so thankful for God’s grace. What pointless self-inflicted suffering this man did to himself. pictureHis dedication was admirable…but for what purpose? It seemed like tremendous effort to reach and please God when the work was already finished at the cross. It was an eye opening moment to what these people believe. 

Our last stop was the Portuguese Bridge. After lunch at the restaurant overlooking the canyon, we hiked down to the 16th century bridge, which during wet season would head up a waterfall down into the massive canyon that lay directly under it. Absolutely breathtaking! The view was magnificent. It was supposedly 3 kilometers to the bridge which was quite a beautiful walk. (Some found the uphill climb back even more enjoyable running…crazy teammates!) 

It was our first day with birr in our pockets, so it was the first day we struggled with what to do with it. We did attract many people asking for money on the trail and at stops along the way. We didn’t get rid of all our birr, but we were able to pass out all the rest of our lunch through the open windows of the bus to some kids in an alley way.

The drive back to Addis was beautiful. The clouds cooled the afternoon sun….and the team chatted non-stop all the way home. Laughter…refreshment…and unity. It was a joy to hang out with the team. Here are some of their highlights of the day….

“I liked running up the trail. They call us crazy…How many times can you say you did something like that in Ethiopia?”

“I always like to go up to the top. It’s always a spiritual moment to be able to look down on everything…”

picture“The cheeseburger. I can’t believe I ate as much as I did.” –The local cat was happy

“My highlight was getting back to the top of the hill!”

“It was very relaxing. A hawk brushed by my head as I was looking over the canyon. It was a “wings of eagles” moment”

“Sitting on the rock overlooking the canyon---out into the quietness. It was so awesome…I didn’t want to leave…I felt…humble…peace.”

“I just loved being in the countryside…just to see how the rural people live…All in all…I
liked it all!”

“It was pretty neat to go into the monastery”