Picture of support group meeting.
As Derek, Alemu (Ethiopian nurse on our staff), and myself followed her to her house, we were surrounded by about 40 elementary school kids. It was their morning recess and we were the attraction. Derek and I had a few on each arm and some pulling the back of our shirts. We may have been the first white people they had seen. When we got to Yigirdu’s house to access her situation as a potential new beneficiary, even Alemu was shocked. It was probably 8 feet long and 6 feet wide with two beds. We realized her living condition was worse when Yigirdu told us that her and her four children owned one of the beds and another couple slept on the other. We immediately told her to come to the office and are currently working to move her into another house, provide rent and a regular regiment of ARV medication, and get her involved in a women’s support group.
Elsa, another beneficiary, is 25 and seems to be starting the downward spiral with dementia. I visited her house and took her to the hospital last week. We couldn’t get the doctor to walk down two flights of stairs from his office to see her. He missed part of the point of medical school. But we were able to get him to write a referral and she will go to the Psychiatric hospital for this week. Elsa has been sad and cries a lot. Our ability to physically help her is quickly fading, and we need to pray for her soul. Pray also for her father who is really struggling with this and is not emotionally able to provide encouraging support for her as he often openly weeps in front of her.
The soccer season is over at Bingham. We had a lot of fun and I really enjoyed coaching. It provides a nice break from work for me and I hope to still play once a week just for fun with the boys. It’s also sad to be done because the taxi drivers I use all have great fun teaching me knew Amharic words and listening to me mess up. They also laugh when they hear me say random things like “stand up!” and when I point and name objects while we drive saying “car”, “church”, and “ball” much like a little child.
The boys program is going well. We did water colors a few weeks ago and hung up our art work in the office, which can be viewed on my blog. Last week, we painted the outside of the house in which Derek and I live. They had a lot of fun learning how to paint and getting messy. This week I will take them to Bingham again to play soccer. Soccer is really big here and they love playing on a grass field whenever possible.
The men's support groups are kind of in flux. One group is very new and has had an attendance problem. They are my Wednesday group and could use prayer. I’m still teaching through Mark, but am in need of opening up the two other groups to new ideas like income-generating activities and/or starting some kind of business. Also, most of them belong to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which can create problems with my teaching. The purpose of the groups is to provide emotional support for them, not doctrinal disputes or conversion to Protestant belief. I will take the time soon to try to explain their beliefs.
In closing, I would like to inform you that I have started the application process with Covenant Seminary. I will start their M.Div program in the ordination track when I am done here. This has proved to be a wonderful ministry experience to have so far, but the Lord has convinced me of the need for more specific training for future service. I will keep you informed on that process.
I have worked my way through a book that John Piper edited called “Suffering and the Sovereignty of God.” I recommend it to everyone. Thanks for your support and prayers during this adventure.
1. Thanksgiving for opportunity to coach soccer and get to know the boys at Bingham.
2. Prayer for the Menlo Park team coming at the end of March. They are mostly medical and will be serving in Bole (our satellite project site).
3. Pray from guidance and understanding for Alemu and myself in ministering to the men’s support groups in the context of Orthodox belief and new ideas for our time together.
4. Pray for my seminary application process over the next 3-4 months.
5. Pray for the building of strong relationships in the boys program as we continue to get to know each other and lay the foundation/vision for the program.
6. Please pray for our beneficiary Elsa and her father.
7. In regard to me learning how to counsel/care/teach, “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” Ephesians 6:19-20.