From Joy in Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa is lovely this time of the year! The mornings and evenings are cool and the days in the 70s. Sunshine greets me every morning. I am used to waking up early and having my quiet time in the Word and prayer. The steeple of the Catholic Church is framed by my window and I delight in watching the morning wake up with the cross emerging as the sky turns light pink until it is silhouetted against the blue of a new day. Jeff Burns is traveling with me, and we enjoy our time together over coffee, tea and breakfast with the sun flooding the room. How can you possibly have a bad day with such beginnings?

 
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Catholic Guest House

We arrived in Addis in the morning and hit the ground running, mainly because we had to keep moving so we wouldn't fall asleep! It might be 9:30 a.m. in Ethiopia, but it was bedtime back home. We met with the contractor that has been selected to begin construction on a worship center in a village where God has moved mightily and there are many new believers. For the past several years, the church has been meeting under a tree that we affectionately call the "worship tree". Through a benefactor and the sacrifice of a small church in Idaho, enough money has been made available to start construction. In a couple of weeks I will be going to that village and will report (with pictures) the beginnings of a permanent place of worship for that area. We also made arrangements for a 4-wheel drive vehicle to take us to the orphanages in the western part of Ethiopia. The roads are so bad that only a 4-wheel drive can navigate them. We plan on leaving tomorrow (Monday).


Girum and Joy
Girum and Joy

Friday, Jeff and I had a wonderful time meeting and getting acquainted with the new YWAM director for Ethiopia. Girum is a solid man of God and it was rewarding to get to know him. I will be meeting my other YWAM friends when I get back from my upcoming trip to Nekemte, Gimbie and Dembidollo.

 
Kathy Joy Tezera
Kathy, Joy and Tezera

Yesterday, Jeff and I, along with a social worker from Spokane, Washington named Anne and Kathy from Children's House International (the adoption agency who processes adoptions for children in our orphanages), trekked to Adama to visit the widows and children in the Widows and Orphans Home.

 
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Jeff!

Jeff had a great time behind his camera trying to make shy little ones smile, bringing suckers to the widows (they love "caramel") and helping to unload donated formula. The orphanage director, Kathy, and I had work to discuss, but we took time out to have fun with the babies and to kiss the weathered cheeks of the grandmothers (widows).

 
Joy & nanny
 
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Some of our wonderful nannies in Adama

I brought pictures and a few small gifts to several of the children from parents in the U.S. who are on process to adopt them. That is always a great joy for me, and it is such fun to see the nannies ooooh and ahhhh over the pictures of the family that will be for one of their precious charges. I have seen how hard it is for these dedicated nannies to say good bye to children they have raised since infancy, and yet they have the foresight to rejoice when a child gets their very own family to love them forever. 


 
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Today is preparation for leaving early in the morning for Nekemte. Even with the rough roads and lack of amenities, I enjoy getting out of the city and seeing the "real" Africa. Right now, the bougainvillea is a riot of color everywhere and the days are sunny and warm. I get a glimpse into the agrarian lifestyle of the country folk.... young boys herding cows, women washing clothes in a muddy stream, oxen pulling a blade through the soil, women gathering firewood and half-naked children enthusiastically waving at the "ferengi" as we pass by. I will be taking supplies to the orphanages as well as gifts and pictures to many of the children.
 
Formula
 
I am hopeful to meet several birth parents of children already adopted and in America. Their grateful parents have sent lovely pictures to their child's Ethiopia mom or dad, and what joy and peace a happy picture can bring to a birth parent longing to know how their child has adjusted. Jeff will be taking "millions" of pictures and video of the children. What a blessing he is to our program and to me personally as well. Jeff is a man of God, unassuming, always good-natured, and a friend I can count on through thick and thin.
 
I am always aware as I travel this beautiful country that I am kissing babies and talking to social workers in proxy for the many families who are waiting for their children. I am also mindful of the faithful ministry partners who sacrifice to make Adoption Ministry's work in Ethiopia vibrant and fruitful. My heart overflows with affection and thankfulness!
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