Day 8

Three Down, One to Go

pictureOur screening site today was idyllic – a quaint kindergarten-1st grade school with golden yellow walls and bright paintings of letters and animals like you would find at any American elementary school.  The Meserete Kristos church pastor’s wife runs the school.  Meserete Kristos church was our partner today; however, as usual, members of all three of our church partners joined us in our work.  The collaboration between the churches is commendable – clearly they are not just interested in the success of their own individual outreaches to their respective communities but are burdened for their city as a whole.

pictureThe 100 children we screened today were as adorable as ever, and had similar health issues as the other sites, including intestinal parasites, anemia and poor dental hygiene.  Some of the issues were less amenable to intervention by health education.  We saw another child with cerebral palsy - a 3-year-old unable to walk or use his hands, cared for by his impoverished 18 year-old mother.  Although she has sought help to try to get him to a specialist in Addis Ababa, she had found no relief until today when resources were provided to her by a team member through one of the church elders. She is not a Christian, but we pray that her heart will be touched by this act of love.  We also were privileged to meet an extremely well cared for 8-year old girl with Down Syndrome who told us her name and age in English.  A child with an enlarged spleen prompted a referral to the local hospital.  Though we see some acute problems, most of the issues we see are chronic problems that are multifactorial in cause, including poor health practices, inadequate infrastructure and insufficient access to resources. 

pictureInterestingly, there does seem to be subtle differences in the health issues of the communities served by the different churches.  We provide the community specific data during the general meeting that occurs at the conclusion of our workday at each site.  Thus far, each community has chosen to implement the CHE program based in large part on the data we’ve collected.  The next step will be for them to finalize a leadership committee made up of both church members and non-members.  The CHE program leadership committee will oversee the CHE trainers, who have already been selected and are one third of the way through their Training-of-Trainers curriculum.  These CHE trainers will eventually select volunteers to help them in their work of educating individual families.  The lessons they choose to teach will be personalized according to the health needs and priorities of the communities, largely guided by the data we’ve collected. 

The day ended with Frank using pictures to share the story of Jesus shared with a diverse audience made up of children from Evangelical Christian churches, Orthodox Ethiopian churches and Muslims.  They all gathered around, fascinated by the story….

pictureThank you for joining us in our prayers for rain for this nation.  We are praising God as at lunch today we were blessed with the sound of pounding rain on the roof of our guesthouse.  Our hearts rejoiced at this answer to prayer and we imagined the relief of the farmers reliant on this rain for their early fall harvest.  Tomorrow we will be worshipping with our church partners and enjoying a day of exploring a nearby lake and monastery.  In the late afternoon, we will conduct the ‘Messie in Dessie’ – a basketball game that has taken Dessie by storm.  In this city of over 200,000 people, we will be having at least 6 fans courtside to witness the spectacle.  We will begin with both the Ethiopian and American national anthems followed by at least 4 minutes of intense basketball action (seeing as how we’re at 8500ft, we’ll all become winded before long….).  Simulcast by satellite may be available in certain markets.  Pictures will be posted on this blog as soon as they become available.  Please pray for us…..


“Wow what a day!”

pictureThis morning our devotion was Incarnation. In summary, we come to love those whom we came to serve and we begin to ask what it means to truly be with them. To identify with them is what we hope for but something we all struggle with. Each one of us is challenged in our own way and probably will remain a lifelong question. We are molded by an extremely different culture and our vision is jaded even though we want to authentically give of ourselves in service.

pictureWe realize how much time is such a lacking quality in our lives at home and just taking a few days out of our lives to be here with our brothers and sisters has given us a new perspective on God’s plan for our lives. We pray for each other and pray for Gods grace and guidance to grow as we serve and spend time with the people of Ethiopia.

Our clinic today was at Akaki Kalehiewot Church here in Addis and we had the privilege of serving 57 patients this morning and 45 this afternoon with a total of 102. It was very exciting to meet all the people and to be able to offer them clinic and medication. Our real joy is sharing our time and love with them and seeing their beautiful smiles.

pictureIn sharing our day some of the experiences were amazing such as a young girl by the name of Tigst, meaning ‘quiet one’ who was carrying a picture and documentation of her sponsor parents from Compassion International in the United States, it was so meaningful to her and made us realize that she really was taken care of by a sponsor from the U.S.  She had a wonderful and loving beautiful spirit….
We were blessed by a little girl who was running across the room and in asking our interpreter what she was saying we found out she was saying “I love you”…..
Taking blood pressure for one of the patient the patient asked if he could pray for us.
We came to serve them and they blessed us…..
One of the little girls loved playing with puppets that the doctor was showing her and didn’t want to leave. The children were amazingly warm and loving…..
An elder gentleman who came to clinic for pain in his jaw told the story of having been a minister at the church and 8 years ago, his jaw had been broken by some thugs from the Orthodox Church so he could no longer preach. He suffered persecution, had surgery 1 ½ years ago and still was having pain….
pictureWe had multiple illness including polio and cerebral palsy that we hadn’t seen in previous clinics. One of the young girls who was 21 looked like she was about 12 years old…..

The elders of the church prayed for our team and we felt privileged to serve their community.