Dat 5

Today was the second and final day of our two day stint at Full Gospel Church.  The team was relieved to have the first day behind them.  After a good night sleep we enjoyed oatmeal and eggs for breakfast. (none of us are losing weight due to the delicious and plentiful meals by Ayew our cook).

PictureFor morning devotions we read and meditated on Psalm 103 on God’s everlasting faithfulness as being the foundation for gratitude.

Our day at Full Gospel Church went well.  We ended up screening 204 children over our two days.  The main problems were chronic malnutrition (47%) and intestinal parasites (38%). Steve then with the help of our translator discussed with the parents or guardian of the child the results.  Melaku, the CHE leader, lead a lively discussion with the parents regarding the findings and the community responded enthusiastically to begin to address the threats to the health of their children.

Upon leaving Full Gospel Church we were showered with love.  Children, parents, and translators covered us with hugs, kisses and notes.  For me, it was an amazing experience to receive such love and gratitude.

PictureTonight we are tired.  In order to finish the remaining tasks for packing bags and getting screening forms and stool cups labeled for tomorrow, delicious Ethiopian coffee was essential for dinner. :-)

Other highlights for today were Kathyrn and Frank’s puppet show on the feeding of the five thousand and Daniel and the Lion’s Den.  Frank then used the Evangicube to outline the gospel.  The children loved the puppet show and many responded to the prayer to ask God into their hearts which was very encouraging especially in light that many of these children are from Muslim families.

PictureThe last highlight was the scrimmage at lunch in preparation for ‘Messie in Dessie’.  Of course all of us are on the edge of our seats in anticipation of this game for (and of) the ages.  Pray for Frank’s thumb as he injured it in a freak rebounding incident.  We hope he’ll be ready to play.  Pray too that Mike can find his jumpshot in time. 



pictureI think the Living Waters of God’s love must be like Ambo – sparkling. For that is what I see in the eyes of His children in Addis Abeba. This morning, we visited houses in the district of Kolfe. In a beneficiary’s home, I saw the twinkle of Jesus in the eyes of her friend. She speaks out at the injustice of her friend’s living situation, how she contracted HIV through an unfaithful husband, and how difficult it is for her to provide for her children. She dares spark gossip among her neighbors by feeding the two boys, one of whom is HIV positive. When we ask her why she risks her social status and security, she states, in melodic Amharic, “Because it is what God has called me to do.” Next, a cachectic man - “a Protestant,” smiles the interpreter - who has been more or less bedridden with intractable diarrhea for three years, taking daily insulin injections for a questionable diagnosis of diabetes for one year, and on and off ART for two years. As the father of three children, thankfully no one else in the family is HIV positive. Through it all his faith is unshaken, his conviction is reaffirmed, his verse is “Rejoice in the Lord always, and I again I say rejoice” (Phil 4:4). In the third house, Barbara, Hardwin, and I were given the ultimate honor of partaking in a coffee ceremony. Talk about freshly ground! As we awaited the brew, we “Americanos” cooed and awed at a 2-month-old infant girl named El-Sheddai. Much to my delight and surprise, her grandmother placed her in my arms. I was swallowed in the innocence and promise in her eyes – the size of saucers and as deep as the ocean that separates me and you. pictureI was filled with an overwhelming sense of love and compassion for this child, who will one day be another orphan of HIV.picture Despite the deliciousness of the black elixir in my gullet, I still found that thought difficult to swallow. This afternoon, I was cautiously confident in clinic, which seemed like an average day in family medicine. Headaches, back pain, feeling tired after walking for “a long time” (amen), feeling hungry when “my stomach is empty” (ditto). Simple over-the-counter ailments for which I would simply take a few Tylenol (or sleep or eat), but here people live with these complaints for years, awaiting a foreign physician to diagnose and treat them. Of course, there are still the countless complicated problems that I sleuth to determine which are caused by virus, cure, or opportunism. I never cease to be amazed at the complexity of this ogre we refer to as HIV. Then again, a rash here is diagnosed as a “Skin Infection,” and the cure, “Anti-Itch Cream prn.” And what of the girl with epileptic seizures for two years? As Doctor John says, if it’s a tumor it must be growing slowly; If it was malignant, she would be dead already, if it was TB, she would be dead already, and if it really is a mass it won’t be removed by a neurosurgeon here anyway. So the assessment and plan? pictureTreat with an anti-epileptic and anti-parasitic and pray she lives to see her 15th birthday. Nevertheless, the bubbles catch light as they hover above gleeful children, who clap them out of existence as quickly as they appear. Balloons made of exam gloves smile their Sharpie-christened smiles. The hugs and cheek kisses and “Igzhaiber ibarkachoos” – “God bless you alls” – lift my spirits and renew my hope. Jesus really does live in these streets. In the gutter is the face of the divine. The sparkling, babbling, crystalline waters flow there, and I run to jump into it.