Concord's Ethiopian Educational Project /Light of Hope/PFF – building schools and educating teachers in remote villages. There are many opportunites to support this ministry. Please ask how you can be apart of this project through your donations, prayer, and prescence on a trip.
See below for updates from those who have and are serving in Ethiopia
Ethiopia Mission Team November 2007
(update 2 from team in the field)
It is still dark on our last morning in Africa-- I woke early to the sounds
of the Muslim prayer calls. I don't know how to put into words the
experience of the last few days. It is almost more than a human mind can
process. Beginning with Wednesday when we arrived in the small village of
Shire for the dedication of the school. We were escorted up the last of the
rough barely "road" by colorfully dressed young men on galloping horses. It
was quite a procession- three white toyota land cruisers full of people.
The beauty of the panoramic view from the hilltop of the lush green fields
with a meandering steam and the mountains in the distance took our breath
away. (not to speak of the fact that we were at 15,000 feet elevation)
Before we even stepped out of the cars we could hear the sounds of the women
dancing in celebration with their "cinques" or power sticks held high in the
air. Then we passed the young people swaying and singing doing the foot
stomping, head swinging, boys grunting, hand clapping, and line dance. The men
wrapped in colorful blankets and traditional head coverings were seated on
the ground in a semi-circle facing the empty benches awaiting the honored
guests. On the hill behind were the children of all sizes singing and
clapping a song of welcome and gratitude with such energy and enthusiasm.
The ceremony began in the traditional dialogue between the two designated
leaders determining how the event should proceed. Who would be given a voice and in what order? Urgessa insisted that the women who were isolated beyond the periphery be invited into the circle.
Before the dedication was completed we broke to visit the classrooms and see
the children for the first time in the history of that area being taught in
their own village. You better believe that tears, especially for those of
us who had been greeted 13 months before with pleas and hope and
contributions of wood and materials.
Later leaders were officially welcomed as members of their community by a
traditional ceremony that included being wrapped in a huge hand woven
blanket and blessed by the leaders. Somehow a white female pastor from
America is now an official member of this Arssi - Oromo people. We
continued and Urgessa asked for prayers to dedicate the school. Of course before we left
we were fed traditional food of various tibs, chopped kale and injera
including coke and fanta.
After greeting children and using the an outhouse with the best view in the
world we headed back down the bumping dusty dirt road touched, elated, and
certain that we had experienced a day that could never be fully captured.
Since half the team left a few days ago we have had adventures that may take pages to record. Just for the record they include two flat tires and two
engine brake downs. (Where was Rob when we needed him?) But just for some
high lights in remote Kokosa we visited a remote site -- a camp for
engineers and crews for a huge road paving project --the facility will be
donated for a boarding school for promising high school girls. We drove for
hours on roads that were barely drivable (which might explain the mechanical
problems) and saw wild boars, and majestic moose like animal with towering
horns, small deer and a rare fox were also spotted. As well as a baboon
strolling down the main street of a small village.
We have been challenged to think about possibilities of investment to bring
resources and job opportunities into this breathtaking beauty. I need to close -- so much more to record and process. We'll be heading out of the busy dirty bustle of Addis Ababa
for a night in London and then home to a world that seems an impossible
reality right now.
We have been touched in ways that will fully impact us with the passing of
time. With gratitude beyond expression -- I leave this amazing country.
In Christ, Ginny
(update 1 from team in the field)
It is going to be a challenge to try to capture in words all that we have
seen and experienced since leaving home.I am sure that you will all soon
hear about our first impression of what was to come when we stepped onto the
airplane at Heathrow, after being told incorrectly that our departure was
delayed and nearly missiing the flight. We found our seats in the back of
the plane. Every seat was filled until we got to the back and discovered a
that a screaming yelling Ethiopian prisoner was on our flight along with 4
armed guards -- being deported from England back to his home in Ethiopia.
Once we took off he settled down and we even got to claim some of the empty seats in
a plane that was otherwise packed.
Pam got to even recline for the overnight flight.
Arriving in Addis was quite a shock - a few on the team then wished that
they could turn around and go back. That afternoon we visited the orphanage
and saw the most precious children -- we were impressed with the loving care
that the women gave each child. We all wanted to take some home but found
out that we had to fill out an application stateside -- watch out.
We have seen more than our eyes can take in, both in the beauty of Ethiopia
and the great needs. We all think about you at home, especially on Sunday
when we divided up and worshipped in various village churches. The welcome
that we felt, the energy of the worship, the joy of thier delight in Jesus
in a country where most of the founders of the churches risked their lives
to declare their faith in God left us changed forever.
This team both from Columbus and Mike and
Gary, businessmen from Eugene have more than gelled - we have experience
amazing love and comraderie.
In every village we are greeted by throngs of celebrating people. Children
that laugh and smile and chase the land rovers. We have leaders, parents,
and children plead for help for more schools, advanced education (beyound
6th grade level) and books and materials so that they can have a chance to
change their future. We have all cried alot --can you imagine that Rob
cries? One of our drivers started calling him "Rambo" now everyone
everywhere does-- he grins.
Urgessa is always sensitive to make sure we get away and relax and enjoy the
beauty. One evening he took us to nearby Awasa to see the sunset over the
Great Rift Lake we rented some wooden flatbottomed boats and just as the sun
was slipping over the horizon we spotted the hippos that we were promised to
see. It was breath taking.
Today is the day that we have been waiting for-- the day that makes the
whole trip more than worthwhile -- not that there aren't a thousand other
things that would do that. We are soon headed up the mountain to the
celebration and dedication for the school that Concord built.
We cried yesterday at the dedication of the Eugene teams beautiful new
building. Rob informs us that he'll be crying all dy for joy.
A couple of days ago the three of us that were here last September traveled
with Urgessa into the Bale mountains --- it took hours to get there but it
was so beautiiful that you may not believe this but we felt like crying.
Everyone sends their love to the summer team.. Frew the waiter at the
"Majestic Rift Valley Hotel" sends his love to Rachel. We miss you and love
you and so grateful that you made it possible for us to be here. We are
reading Carol's devotions together every morning. The toilet paper is more
of a blessing than she will ever know.
In Christ's most amazing love, Ginny and the team