Monday, February 26, 2007

Ethiopia in the News

BBC Ethiopia

Economist Ethiopia

Friday, February 23, 2007

This week at the boys program.

This week we did art work.

One boy working on his coloring skills.

A small boy learning how to water color.

The final product.

We have made coat racks, model airplanes, played soccer, and now done some art work. In the future, we will have teachings on various topics, paint, grill out, plant, and maybe go bowling! I'll put more pictures up as we go. It should be a very good spring for the guys as we grow together and learn practical skills. Pray for us!


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

February 07 Update

Dear Supporters,

Well things around here have been busy. We had a construction team come from Chattanooga and they did some touching up on Derek and my house and we moved in last week. We now have a medical team from MTW here and have been doing clinics for the last week. I have had the opportunity to do some pastoral counseling with lots of different patients with some pastors on the team. I have even done some on my own! This has been an incredible experience as I have been learning what it means to counsel someone emotionally and spiritually by genuinely listening to their narrative, entering into their pain, applying the gospel with care, and praying with them. These people lead a difficult life, and their stories would shock you. I have learned many valuable lessons that I will try to practice and implement when I do home visits when the team leaves.

I have a new men’s support group, which brings the total to three. We continue to study through the book of Mark. It has also been a successful start to the new boys program. We have built coat racks, model airplanes, and this week I hope to take them to Bingham to play with the team I coach. I am still trying to keep their interest in hopes of allowing them to build good friendships, a group identity, and so I can teach them about sex issues and of course the gospel. This is an incredible opportunity since most of their fathers are dead from AIDS.

Language school is taxing/tough but good. It takes up every morning but is important for my ministry here. I’m about half way done with a few weeks left. Coaching has been a great experience. We are half way through the season and it has been a lot of fun and relieved pressure from my work. I have enjoyed getting to know the guys and giving them the opportunity to play with proper instruction as I had growing up.

Even though it’s been busy, we’ve had time to explore. We took the first team out of town to Debre Lebanos to see an old Orthodox Church and a large gorge. This weekend we took the medical team to the historic Lalibela to see the rock-hewn churches that are nine hundred years old. We flew there and rode mules up to an old monastery. It was fun and good to get out of the city.

Prayer requests

1. Pray for my attitude that it would be one of compassion/comfort/empathy to the beneficiaries I see and to my co-workers.
2. Pray for my cultural stress that is setting in. I’m realizing how different this place is from home and only get a glimpse of something familiar at night when there are only lights on the horizon.
3. Thanksgiving for being able to do spiritual counseling with experienced pastors.
4. Pray that I could persevere as I finish up language school and the soccer season while trying to start up the boys ministry and maintain my other jobs.
5. Thanksgiving for the work the teams have done and for the fellowship they have provided.

praising him,


Thursday, February 08, 2007

An Overdue Update

Sorry it's been a while. I've had trouble getting acces to blogger.

We had a team from Chattanooga here to do construction on our house and that went really well. We got everything painted, a usable bathroom, and a somewhat set up kitchen. Derek and I are still working on some of the details like furnishing and stuff. It's interesting to see how other Americans react to the third world and to the life our beneficiaries. Their shocked and sobered reactions often make me realize where I am living and what I'm doing all over again and reinvirograte me for the task before me. It's also nice to see familiar faces as two of the girls went to college with me. I often don't see familiar things and have realized that I actually get glimpses of the first world only at night. At that time you can't see the slums. All you see is light and it reminds of home.

I just had an amazing support group meeting. I was teaching in Mark 2:1-17 and got to thoroughly explain the concept of grace. It's funny how I can have a bullet point outline and then change it or expand as I'm teaching because grace wasn't there at first. It just came up and I think they might start to grasp the true meaning of forgiveness especially in the orthodox culture. Legalism exists everywhere but has different manifestations. Grace is such a hard concept to grasp because our nature fights against it. We want to pay for or earn things that are given to us, but grace can't be paid for outside of Christ's death. As I read this morning from J.C. Ryle's devotion book "Day by Day", the comforts of Christianity disappear without Christ's death.

Soccer coaching continues to be a challenge here, but I still enjoy it. I'm so thankful for this door opening up. I love being around the game again. I feel a lot of confidence coaching soccer because I played for so long and had so many good coaches. I hope to impact them in good ways as an example but also teach them discipline. The season will be over in about a month, so it's quick. It's so nice to be able to go to the field and forget about work and just run around with the guys. I love providing that opportunity for them as I had in school.

The boys program is coming along well. We made coat racks by sawing, drilling, and glueing wood (manly stuff) and last week made model airplanes, which we will finish tomorrow. We are currently running clinics all day with the MTW medical team that is here, but Derek and I have langauge school in the mornings. Language school is tough but good. I've found myself thinking in Spanish and Greek while trying to learn Amharic. Very interesting. Well I will keep this thing more updated especially when the team leaves and language school ends.