Full, Rich and Rewarding

pictureToday the Dessie team took a break from screening children in order to attend church with our hosts as well as explore the countryside around Dessie.  Following these excursions, the real event of the day – the ‘Messie in Dessie’ took place followed by a wonderful dinner provided by our host churches.. 

The day actually began very early for some of us as we were awakened by a violent thunderstorm and rains (on a thin metal roof over our heads) which lasted through the night.  Several inches fell on Dessie and we thought it wonderful that God answered prayers for rain – keep them coming!

We split the team into thirds and attended services at the three main church hosts for our time here.  The body of Christ is universal and these brothers and sisters love Him with a fervor rarely seen in the states.  Each team had the opportunity to speak in front of the congregations and shared the greetings and love of the American church with our Ethiopian family.  They were very quick to reply and the Ethiopian church sends its love and greeting to you in the states.  It’s amazing to have such a deep and immediate bond with people we did not know one week ago through Christ.

pictureWe then headed north for an excursion to Lake Hait and the monastery there.  It has been in existence for several centuries and possesses some artifacts from over one thousand years ago – paintings of saints on wooden slats from the 1200’s as well as copies of the gospels from 1000 years ago written on lamb skins.   On the return drive, we were impressed with the fertile Ethiopian countryside and the utilization of nearly every accessible portion of it for farming.  We also passed several hulks of abandoned Soviet made tanks along the road, remnants of the communist government’s fight against rebels trying to free Ethiopia from the north and a reminder of this region’s troubled past.

pictureOn our return, the ‘Messie in Dessie’ began.  4 men, of different eras and geographies, meeting on the court of battle to try and place an orange ball through a metal hoop more often than their opponent.  There was more than symbolism, there was real pride on the line.  In the minds of each of the gladiators ran thoughts like, ‘will I win?’  ‘where’s the water?’ ‘is it too early to call timeout?’ and ‘sheesh, I used to be able to do this all day!’  In the end, the event was a success with each participant tasting both the sweet, sweet nectar of victory as well as experiencing the fissure-like sting of defeat.  Who won – Mike or Frank?  Does it really matter?  Ethiopia knows and these ancient hills are good at guarding their secrets….

pictureWe caught our breath and then were treated to a wonderful meal by our church partners at a restaurant in Dessie.  It was a great time filled with laughter as well as an appreciation of the kickoff for CHE we’ve helped with.  Our prayer is that the churches will continue to be leaders in the community, showing God’s love to those who do not know him and improving the health of the people in Dessie.  Please pray for our transition from the Hope Enterprises campus to a hotel in downtown Dessie – we have been blessed with nearly perfect accommodations. Pray too that we can finish strong with our screening Monday and Tuesday at Hope Enterprises.



Jesus Teaches about the Vine and the Branches

picture“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes. So that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you, Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”       John 15: 1-8

pictureThe cry for communion in the poor and the broken makes us touch our own inner pain. We discover our own brokenness and the barriers inside of us, which have gradually been formed during childhood to save us from inner pain. These barriers prevent us from being present to others, in communion with others; they incite us to compete and to dominate others. It is when we have realized this that we cry out to GOD. – By Jean Vanier

pictureWhen our hearts are truly broken, Jesus cleans our wounds and embraces us with his endless love. How amazing is our God ;)

Please include the team members and the sunset at the end of this blog. Thank you