Liane is Mark Wolbert's wife and is also our homestudy professional who conducts the homestudies for our Western Washington families. She has led several of our mission trips to Ethiopia.
I am sitting at the computer this morning, counting the hours from the time that Mark and Joy left Saturday from DC and where, in the air, they are now. I can just imagine that they will be flying over a dark city (Addis Ababa) with very few lights - even though it is a city with seven million people living there. They will be unloading then loading the seven bags that they have between them on and off of moving luggage belts before they finally get outside of the airport holding area. Many of you who have been to Ethiopia know that it can take hours just getting out of the airport. Fortunately, they won't have to stand in the visa line as they have two year visas that they purchased a few trips ago!
As they make their way out, they'll continually repeat to the hoards of men who are trying to earn a birr that they do not need help handling their bags. Maybe they should just get help this time! The only problem with that is when you open the door a crack, the flood is coming and soon you are surrounded with 20 more who are trying to earn a birr too.
Abebe, YWAM's in-country representative, will be there to greet them, which is always a treat and a joyful reunion. The bags will be loaded into the van (with the help of many men trying to earn a birr) and the van will head to the Guest House (the sign says "Gust House'). The bags will be unloaded and lugged to the back of the property and up the stairs to their rooms. Fortunately there will be four people carrying the fifty-pound bags but now is really when you need all of the helpers looking for a birr.
Joy and Mark will say their good-byes to Abebe and Tadessa (our friend and driver) and fall onto their beds--maybe they'll change before they go to bed and maybe not. But you know that sleeping in silken-pj's on the cleanest sheets in the world (they really are - washed by hand because of no washing machines) is optional when you just flew to the other side of the globe. The electricity in the city is turned off every other day so that the energy can be sold to neighboring countries. Mark and Joy both have flashlights handy.
For those of you who have travelled to Ethiopia with us, you are aware that they will need to sleep fast for soon the Gust House church bells will be chiming --loudly-- and the Muslim call to prayer will be sounding out to the city over the loud speakers. Fortunately their first cup of Ethiopian Macchiato will soon follow.
I have updated you on what is going on right now but I want to go back to the past weeks and months...
The suitcases contain small gifts from future families to their coming children, pictures of children for our orphanage director of children who have new last names and are now in a forever family, baby formula (lots of formula!), surgical scrubs, diapers, medicine, clothes for little children, vitamins, latex gloves (boxes of those), children's books, digital thermometers, Bible lessons, candy and countless other items that have been ordered, collected, and hunted down at the Goodwill. The packing of the suitcases took two weeks and help from many. The unloading will be about the same as they disperse items to different locations for very specific needs.
Over the past year Mark has worked with many around the U.S. who are planning to come to Ethiopia for this season of missions. Church groups and individuals will be travelling to Ethiopia from Kansas, Tennessee, Arizona, Virginia, California and Washington. These teams will start arriving on March 10 and will continue until November with the last team of this season. They will be serving, teaching, and loving all over the city and countryside.
The preparation for these trips is on-going. Mark's fervent prayer is that his steps will be ordered by the Lord, that he will hear from Him for direction and then be obedient to put his hand to the plough. He does NOT want his labor to be in vain because his flesh is attached!
It would be a great honor for Mark and our family for your support in prayer in these next months. We truly cry out on behalf of our family and for this work to hear from the Living God regarding these things and then to be filled with supernatural power to accomplish all He has set before us and asked of us.