Sunday was our first day in Ethiopia.  After a hearty breakfast at Dubai’s Millennium Hotel’s buffet, we headed for the airport.  After a nice lunch on the plane (Emirates Air sure treats you right), we arrived in Addis, met Zenebe (Director of Hope Enterprise for Ethiopia) and others from Hope who’ll serve as our “tour guides” for the trip,  Pastor Matthewos and Getachew (new manager for the Roggie projects).  We loaded up their bus with our many, many bags (each of us brought 2 check-ins in order to carry over computers, tools, books, school supplies and other goodies) and headed to the SIM Guest House where we’ll stay.

pictureSIM (“Serving in Ministry”) has a compound within the city for their offices and with what must be 35 or more guest rooms – housing for missionaries of all sorts, all denominations and organizations – an oasis of God’s worship through service.

After unloading and settling in, we headed out for a late lunch at Loyal Gifts and Restaurant and I ordered a big plate of fish firfir (injera with spicy fish stew).   Then we toured the city a bit, first checking out a Greek Orthodox church.  Pastor Matthewos explained that the Evangelical movement is growing rapidly, so that attempts by the Orthodox church at discrimination and suppression are increasingly ineffectual.  “There are many converts from the traditional faith (animistic), from the Orthodox church and from Islam.”

pictureWe next proceeded to Ethiopia’s National Museum, where replica’s of Lucy’s bones are on display. Some believe Lucy may be one of the missing links Darwin describes in his theory of evolution. These displays led to a discussion of evolution versus creation. Do these fragments challenge the Bible? We concluded that Lucy actually doesn’t have much to say about our personal experiences of transformed lives.  God is real, He is trustworthy and He proves to me daily that He created my inmost being (Ps 139) by how well the Holy Spirit knows what makes me tick and teaches me how to become mature. …even if He doesn’t bother to explain how all things came into existence.  That’s okay, I probably wouldn’t really understand anyway.

The travel and time zone change was catching up with all of us, so we went back to SIM and enjoyed a much-needed nap before heading out to Zenebe’s for dinner. 

pictureThis is a special treat.  Zenebe is obviously especially close to Mike, not only from earlier acquaintance on previous trips and Mike’s involvement in the well, but because Zenebe’s daughter, Escodar, has been living with the Joyce’s.  Whether that’s the motivation, we certainly got the royal treatment.  Zimzim, Zenebe’s wife, must have been working all day (at least) on the feast that we found before us – egg curry, roast fish, chicken curry, a variety of meat sauces, salads—what a spread.  pictureWhen we were full to the gills, she set up her coffee roaster – burning coals underneath a wok-like pan where she roasted the raw beans by hand, then ground them by hand and brewed all of us coffee.  Those tiny cups of coffee were the richest, most powerful coffee I’d ever tasted.   After a long day and lots of eating, we welcomed our pillows back at SIM.