Ethiopian Diary for April-May 2013

Ethiopian Diary for April-May 2013

Rather than giving a long description of waiting in airports, debarking, taxi rides to hotels, and then back again, etc., I will simply say that I traveled safely from Geo. Bush Airport, Houston, Texas, and arrived safely in Addis Ababa; this is my 18th trip to what has become a home away from home.  I left March 31st, 9:30PM, went through Dubai for only a few hours of sleep, and then retraced my steps to Ethiopia.  This trip was on Emirates Airlines, hence the overnight in UAE.  The actual flying time was about the same as taking other airlines through London.  Arriving April 2nd, I “hit the ground running” and have not stopped since.  If you have read this far, thank you; especially thank you for your interest in gospel work in Ethiopia.  This is the main reason you have received these few lines.

April 3rd, Wednesday was spent in various places, meeting folks, brethren, and friends.  I had several personal matters to attend to, as well as plans to make for my work during these next nearly two months (I actually will return to the USA on May 22nd, ten days early.   Some of our SFA students who worship with us at SD are getting married and I want to be able to attend the festivities!).   I soon escaped Addis for a few days in the countryside for some rest and reflection.  After returning to Addis I again had meetings with brethren about the work we will do during these next few weeks.

It is now April 9th, 2013.  Ethiopia uses the Julian calendar, so the year is 2005, eight years earlier than the Gregorian calendar.  I am looking at my watch and it is 11:30AM; in Ethiopia this is 5:30PM (actually, AM and PM don’t mean much here).  It is eight hours earlier inTexas, so most of you are asleep at 3:30AM!  It always helps to remember the “right time” when setting appointments or asking when a church service is going to start.  Actually, transport around Addis is so arduous that many folks are late for services and that through no fault of their own.  For example, if you take a mini-bus to one destination you might sit on a half-empty bus for thirty minutes until twenty or twenty-five people are jammed in the vehicle.  Then you might repeat that two or three more times, depending on where you are traveling from and to.   Most of our brethren use this mode of transport due to the costs involved.   A “blue” taxi (as opposed to a “yellow taxi” which services only the hotels and the airport) might cost five dollars for a moderate ride—a far cry from the mini-bus fee of fifty cents.  I ride mini-buses when I am not in a hurry and when I am with someone I know.  I have learned to negotiate the “blue taxis” (never get in a taxi without first finding out how much it will cost).  And I have a trusted “yellow taxi” driver friend, with whom I feel quite safe in going anywhere in Addis (actually in the day time you are in practically no danger regardless of the color or the vehicle).

I am up early this day as I will soon travel to Bole Airport to pick Sandy and Derinda Slone and Mary Roan who will arrive at 7:00AM from Houston.  Mary Roan made a trip to Ethiopia ten years ago.  This is the first time for Sandy and Derinda.  Sandy is one of the elders at Stallings Drive in Nacogdoches; he and Derinda are long-time friends dating from college days.  Mary and Steve Roan are wonderful servants of the Lord; their friendship and support of the Ethiopian work means much to many people here in this country (and to me too).  Mary and Derinda are accomplished Bible class teachers; their creativity in the classroom produces wonderful opportunities for their students to learn about God’s word.  Sandy is a good student and has prepared diligently to teach the book of 1st John; he will do well.  He and I will “tag” along when we all go to the countryside next week; we will teach men’s classes, while the ladies will have large gatherings of women and children.

Let me pay tribute to the labors of Sister Pat Underwood, Fort Worth, Texas, who has made many trips to Ethiopia to teach.  Pat is a wonderful friend.  She loves the Ethiopian people very much; they in return love her.  They recognize her sacrifices in coming here to teach.  Seemingly, only a few are able to do this kind of work; consequently, Pat’s labors are especially important in helping increase the spiritual maturity of our sisters here in Ethiopia.  But Mary and Derinda will do much good, too, both in Addis and in the Ethiopian Highlands.

Elias, my long-time friend, and SUV driver, picked me at 7:00AM and we were soon at Bole Airport waiting for Mary, Sandy, and Derinda.  Soon, all three were wheeling baggage carts out of the customs area; it was relief to see them all safe and sound.  I was glad that they were able to get their visas and get through passport control with no problems.  We were soon on our way to the Hilton Hotel, where they exchanged US dollars for Ethiopian birr (good exchange rate this morning—18.41 birr per US dollar; 100USD = 1841 birr.  You can pay hotel bills in US dollars but the banks will always give you a better exchange rate than the hotels).  We also came to the Hilton in order to send emails home to loved ones.  All of this was quickly accomplished; we were soon fighting early morning traffic as we made our way to the Nexus Hotel, where S, D, M will stay for the next six nights.  Check in was painless, bags were taken to their rooms, and we all had breakfast together in this practically brand new hotel.  Elias and I then left these weary travelers to get some much needed rest.  We will pick them tonight at 5:30PM and all go to the home of Mesfin and Meserat.  First M and D will have a Bible study program for the women who will gather; then there will be supper (since I actually live in this house too, as I write I can smell the Ethiopian cultural food being prepared!  And that is what I have told my American friends:  Be prepared!).

Mary and Derinda had a good Bible class with fifteen women who had gathered in Mesfin’s and Meserat’s house; most of these women were members of the Sefera congregation; others were relatives and neighbors.  All seemed pleased with this opportunity to study the Bible with these seasoned teachers.  After most were dismissed, we all then gathered for a delicious supper of cultural food.  This included shero and bosena shero (without meat and with meat), tibs, vegetables, french fries, and fruit.  And all enjoyed the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony that concluded a good but weary day of traveling, visiting, resting, and traveling some more.

April 10th … Visiting with Doyomo and Almaz

Elias picked me at 9AM and we went immediately to Khaldi’s Coffee shop for breakfast.  This also allowed me the opportunity to send a few emails home.  I was glad to have a message from Marilyn; she is staying busy as usual.  Soon, Elias and I went to the Nexus Hotel to pick S, D, M and we all then traversed the busy streets of Addis, making our way to the SW corner of this sprawling city, to the Kore area.  This is where Doyomo and Almaz Donka live.  I have spoken of these two fine Christians often.  Both Doyomo and Almaz give tirelessly in service to the Lord.  Doyomo, from being in a bus accident over twenty-five years ago, is hindered somewhat in his movement.  Still, he works hard in preaching, both locally with the Kore congregation and in the Sidama region.  As anticipated, Almaz had a delicious lunch prepared.  All partook heartily; I am glad these visitors from Texas are not having any problems (so far) with the local cuisine.

We all enjoyed a good visit in this home.  Doyomo is quite articulate in English, which made our time with him more enjoyable.  He is engaging in his description of his past life as a student, as a teacher for the deaf (sixteen years), and as a gospel preacher.  There is no hint of “feeling sorry for oneself” in his conversation.  He is a capable student and translator; I have enjoyed many countryside trips with him (with more to come).  S, D, M all enjoyed this little slice of Ethiopian culture.

We bid all good-bye and drove immediately to the Piazza, where I bought two cases of Bibles.  One case was in the Oromo language; this is where we will travel tomorrow , when we work with the Birayu congregation, that is led by its preacher, Bedassa.  I will leave these Bibles there, but some will find their way to Ambo, a smaller city 100k west of Addis.  The other case of Bibles in the Amharic language will go with us to Hosanna next week.  FYI:  Each case of Bibles, 24 in each, cost 125USD.  There are at least three places in Addis to get these resources.

The travelers were still somewhat weary, so Elias and I deposited them back at the Nexus where they will rest until the morning when we will begin again.

April 11 … Teaching at Birayu

Birayu is located on the extreme west side of Addis and is in the Oromo region.  The congregation worships using the Oromia language.  Actually, while Amharic is the “official language of Ethiopia” (English is the official “business language”), only sixteen million people out of a total population of eighty million actually speak Amharic.  In fact, Amharic is frequently taught in schools to students whose parents speak Amharic as their native language, but speak only English in the home.  There are over eighty distinct dialects and languages used in Ethiopia.  In the countryside you can literally turn the corner on some countryside road and you will be speaking another language.  This day M and D will have a gathering of ladies to teach.  I have worked with Bedassa often, with more work planned for the future in the Wolega region, which reaches far west close to the Sudan.  Bedassa is a good worker with lots of natural talent.  M and D are teaching Bible lessons about Bible characters.  Also, a part of their work is to teach these women “how to” teach Bible classes of other women and children.

As this day is now over, the teaching program was a great success!  Mary and Derinda were impressed with the participation and Bible knowledge of the twenty-five women who had gathered and then sat there for three and one-half hours to study God’s word.  It was quite hot, the benches were hard, but still they stayed.  There are several outstanding Bible students among this group.  Part of our emphasis during these days together is to promote an active Bible class program, especially classes for women and children.  Of course, you have to have qualified Bible teachers to teach others; this is what Derinda and Mary have been talking about to each group they work with.  Additionally, the Americans are staying well, even as they jump right into enjera, wat, shero, and bunna (coffee!).

Even though all were tired, we soon headed back to our quarters to briefly refresh, and we then headed to the NE section of Addis to enjoy a good visit and delicious meal with Zerihun and Martha, and their three children (Berecot, Leul, and Beruk).  Z and M are gracious hosts, thoughtful in every way.  The American dined on fare more suited to their palettes (er, stomachs), while I enjoyed some tasty shero and enjera!  The meal was topped off by a nice cake and bunna.  Z and M thoughtfully produced candles—1 for S and D and their first trip, and 2 for Mary, her second trip.  It was a wonderful day.  I poured into bed and didn’t wake until 7AM the next morning.

April 12th … Visiting Wubishet and Berket

Wubishet is the preacher for the Kara congregation which is located in the extreme NE section of Addis.  He is a capable student and is also able to translate for Americans who come to teach.   I have traveled with Wub far out of Addis on several occasions; each time it was enjoyable experience.  He and Berket have three precious boys—Melhike (11), Raey (6), and Zetset (11 months).  Wub is a good worker who teaches lots of people.  The Kara congregation has grown and then decreased; this is actually true of several Addis churches.  Many people come to Addis from the countryside in order to find work.  They soon discover, though, that life in this city of six million can be rather harsh.  So they are soon heading back to the countryside.  Of course, when they do so, they are taking their faith and the gospel back with them.  Case in point:  Birhanu, the preacher in Ginderberet, was converted in Addis by Wubishet.  Birhanu then went back to his hometown (Ginderberet), established a congregation, and is still preaching faithfully.  So, the influence of churches and brethren everywhere is evident.  Let us all appreciate such men as Wubishet.

April 13th… Teaching program at Kotobe

When I was here in February of this year, Zerihun and I planned a tentative teaching session at Kotobe for all the ladies in Addis who might be able to attend.  M and D will have a large gathering; hopefully women from all the congregations can come.  They will teach Bible lessons about Bible characters; also, they will focus on “how to” methods in the classroom.  A much needed emphasis in these classes is that every congregation will benefit from having a Bible class program; younger ones need Bible teaching.  And younger women can benefit from having older, competent women to teach them.  Ephesians 4:12-16 teaches that every member of the body needs to be equipped to do the work the Lord proscribes.  Helping the congregations here to see the need for a viable Bible class program is a challenge.  It is obvious that M and D are excited to have these opportunities to affect these good women here in Addis.

Now, after the fact, this turned out to be a wonderful day for the ladies who gathered at Kotobe to work with Derinda and Mary.  There were thirty in attendance (maybe more).   M and D did their usual good job of teaching God’s word, as well as helping motivate these ladies further in their own study and teaching.  I think M and D have been favorably impressed with the Bible knowledge and participation of all the ladies here in Addis.  This says something about the good teaching that is being done regularly in each congregation.  It says something about the personal interest these women have in their service to the Lord.   We hope we can continue to encourage all these churches and brethren.  Still we all continue to receive more invitations than we can possibly get to.

April 14th … Teaching in Addis

This is Sunday, the Lord’s Day.  Today we are all dispersing to various congregations.  Sandy will travel to the SE corner of Addis and worship with the congregation that meets in the home of Tesfaye Abate.  Stallings Drive helps support Tesfaye; so a visit here by one of the SD elders is completely appropriate.  Derinda will return to Kotobe where she will teach women and children. Mary and I will worship with the church that meets in the home of Abebe Kelbisow.  This group numbers at least twenty; and there will be at least ten women in attendance.

At the end of this Lord’s Day, I can tell you that our visits with these three different congregations went well.  We enjoyed seeing all of these folks again.  And we are encouraged by their progress and growth, numerically and spiritually.  I taught a lesson from Hebrews and a lesson from 1 Corinthians 10, “The Dangers of Idolatry.”  Mary and I actually made the services at Kotobe in time for me to preach.

We will all “hit the sack” early in preparation to leave for Hosanna and the Ethiopians Highlands in the morning.  This next week will see us picking up the pace as we travel from village to village, teaching all who will come.

April 15th … Departing Addis for Hosanna

Today we are all up early as Elias is picking us for our trip six hours south of Addis to the Hadiya region, and the city of Hosanna.  The trip sometimes takes longer; when you leave early out of Addis it is difficult to get through all the morning traffic.  There will always be a number of stops—fuel, water, lunch, etc.  But this trip is appreciably shortened by the good roads that were not available when I first made this trip over ten years ago.  We will take the Sabata Road out of Addis on the S, SW side, and make our way southward.  We usually stop at Batijura for rest and food.  We will stay at the Lemma Hotel in Hosanna; this is a nice enough hotel, although the food is very bad.  Zerihun and Mesfin are along to help in translation.  Sandy and I will teach men’s classes—general groups of men and groups of preachers.  Mary and Derinda will have large gatherings of women and children.  This program is what these two women have worked so hard for; now it is time!
April  16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 … Teaching in Ethiopian Highlands … Countryside Villages

April 16th, Tuesday, found us in countryside village of Losho.  This is this home congregation of veteran gospel preacher Markos Lamboro; this is also the home place of Mesfin Markos who is along to translate.  Markos is a tireless worker, has helped establish no telling how many churches in the countryside, and is highly revered by his Ethiopian brethren.  I have traveled with him many times. Last year Markos and his lovely wife Beynech hosted me in their home for several days.  It was good to see them again.  Markos is always able to draw good crowds who come from several different area churches.  As indicated above, we had Bible classes, each of us teaching in specific areas for specific groups.  Generally, and this is true for all of the teaching S, D, M, and I did together, is that the women taught ladies classes and classes for small children; Sandy taught men’s classes of a general nature; I taught preachers.

April 17th, Wednesday, found us in the countryside village of Ouyaya.  I visited here a few years ago (arriving on a motorcycle since the main bridge was washed out).  The order of teaching was the same.  I did put Sandy on the spot when he asked, “Who is going to preach?”  I said, “You are!”  So last minute inspiration or perspiration, either or, will get the job done; and Sandy did a good job.

April 18th, Thursday, found us in the countryside village of Kejema.  I have been here several times.  There are several men in this Hadiya region are being supported by folks from Texas.  Among them are Samuel and Mamo, two faithful countryside preachers.   I taught from Hebrews to a large group of preacher.  Still, the highlight of all of these venues was the teaching of D and M.  Many of the Ethiopian women are well-versed in the Bible; still, for them to have ladies to come and teach was a special treat.  And these Ethiopian women and children responded enthusiastically

April 19th, Friday was spent at a later afternoon service with the church in Hosanna.  Tagesse Shemebo is the capable preacher for this group.  We did walk through an “open market” in a small town nearby, Goyagena.  Most of our time was spent hanging on to our valuables.  The friendly throngs posed no real threat.  What I have found, though, is that I don’t like shopping in Ethiopia any more than I like it anywhere else!

April 20th, Saturday found us making a longer trip into higher elevations, as we made our way to Moloto.  This was our largest crowd—at least 400 attended.  This is a beautiful area, with great valleys below, and large mountains all over.  There were lots of preachers in attendance; again, our teaching took the same format as previous efforts.  This congregation is served by Adise, an older man; I stayed with this family last year for a few days.  Their son Johannes, is probably the most capable of all younger preachers in this Kambattan region.  He labors with some kind of bone degeneration; still, he is active in giving training for preacher in this area.

In all of these places we were treated to great hospitality.  This means that there was lots of cultural food.  The Americans did quite well in dabbling.  Most of the time the cuisine poses no problem for me.  The people are always very happy when we at least make an attempt to partake.  In all of these places the crowds ranged from 200 to 400.  The smallest crowd was at the Hosanna congregation; still, this group has increased in number and continues in a good way.

April 21st, Sunday, found us dispersing.  We all traveled 25k southward to Ancha.  Mary and I were dropped at Bushiluga, where we worshiped, taught, etc.  Sandy and Derinda went on to the Ancha congregation, where they did the same.  After our services were over we all met at the home of Teketel and Berhani  for lunch.  Teketel is one of the preachers at Bushiluga (along with Abera).  SD has been supporting Teketel for ten years.  He is a nice young man with a wonderful family.  The food was good!  On a sadder note, Siyom Sinore, one of the preachers at Ancha has been quite sick, nearly to the point of death (Philippians 1:27).  It seems now that he may pull through; we are praying for a good result in his health concerns.

We bid all good-bye and were soon traveling out of Ancha, through Hosanna and back to Addis.  The trip took nearly six hours.  We ran into some strong wind, hard rains, and a hail storm just south of Addis.  Our driver Elias handles the roads and every other eventuality with great ease.  It is a blessing for him to drive for us.

S, D, and M were soon deposited back to their hotel, the Nexus.  Mesfin and I were dropped at our home; Zerihun was then taken to his home, located in the NE corner of Addis.  It was a good and safe week.  For that we are thankful.

April 22 … Back in Addis  …

This day found the Americans doing last minute shopping.  I had personal errands to attend to, so I left all to their own choices.  They will all soon be here at my home, as we will then make our way to the home of Alemu and Teganesh Deboch’s for supper.  There is simply no limit to the hospitality of these Ethiopians.  They certainly practice 1 Peter 4:9!

S, D, and M will leave for home tomorrow night at midnight.  While I hate to see them go, I know they are anxious to get back to friends, family, and the friendly environs of Texas!  They have worked well with no complaint.  Thank you!  (Note:  As it turned out, S, D, and M went to Bole Airport only to learn that their Ethiopian Airlines flight had been canceled.  They had to stay in Addis one more night; they did leave the next day and of course made it home safely!).

April 23, 24, 25, 26 … Teaching 1st Corinthians at Kotobe

These four days find me meeting with twenty to twenty-five Addis preachers and other Bible students for our first teaching sessions on 1st Corinthians.  I am teaching this class by request, as I did last time when I taught the book of Romans (if you can really teach the book of Romans!).  These men are well-studied and capable of all I can give them in terms of background, content, and explanation.  As when I taught Romans, I am studying 1st Corinthians afresh, using all new study materials.  I am limited on what I can bring over but I am glad to have Robert Harkrider’s workbook on 1st Corinthians as my guide; yet, I will supplement our classes (hopefully) with other useful materials (all of these men know Robert through his workbooks and want very much to meet him in person! [hint, hint, Robert!]).  I have made plans to make some modest assignments that will help the students remain engaged with the material and will help develop their skills as Bible students.  Short essays (really short), random oral explanations of a particular passage, outlining the book, and group discussions are some of the methodsI will use.  As before, I asked just to make sure that these students really want to spend their time this way.  I was assured that yes, they did want this class.

I have insisted on presenting one class each day on OT Survey.  This is something I have neglected in my teaching here.  I brought Brother Marc Hine’s new book The Big Picture (an excellent resource; why not go order one right now?  I might say that Brother Ken Craig’s own similarly titled book has helped much even here in Ethiopia, where Ken has visited several times).  I just read the first chapter of Marc’s book, made some notes, and will try to supplement each lesson with what little I know.  My general feeling is that much of the preaching and teaching done by Ethiopians is disjointed and lacks a certain structure to it.  To put it another way, much of the preaching done, especially by men in the countryside, looks like a typical plate of Ethiopian cultural food:  it is good for you, but it looks like a big mess!  Hopefully this will help all of us do a better job of presenting Bible truth.

Now, I am writing after the fact; our classes at Kotobe are over.  We had good classes with good interest and lots of good questions.  Modest assignments proved helpful; all who actively presented materials did a good job.  We were able to cover the first seven chapters; later, in May, we will take up in chapter eleven and then try to “work over” chapters twelve through fourteen, with great emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit.  Our last class on chapter seven spawned several good discussions.  Most of you reading this know what Matthew 19:9 says; and you are familiar with discussions about the “exception” clause with all of its ramifications.  Little did I know that the Amharic translation of this passage leaves out the “exception.”  That is, when I said that the “innocent party” could remarry, the Ethiopians were somewhat dumbfounded.  They said yes, one could remarry after the unfaithful mate died; until then, no.  We talked about this at length.

All in all, the classes went well.  It is a joy to teach these men who so keenly want to know and study God’s word.  I only hope I can do justice to such efforts.

April 28th … the Lord’s Day

         In one hour I will depart for worship services at the Meganagua congregation, located in the NE quadrant of Addis.  Adise Garebo is the preacher for this church.  Adise had a longtime association with the Bole Mission here in Addis; he practically grew up there.  He worked for the mission as bookkeeper for several years but is now serving independently, as are so many others.  Adise has been the impetus for this new congregation.  It helps that he is able to work some as a college instructor for the Sunshine School (what level and what this is I am not sure).  He is able to translate which helps greatly.  I will take him and his wife Selem and their boys out to lunch after services.  I plan to preach from Acts 2:40-47 (“the church”) and from Philippians 3:12-14 (“the prize of the high calling”).  It will be a good day I am sure.

Now, after the fact, I should tell you that after services were over Adise and family and I went to the Top View restaurant for lunch.  The food was really good; steak and vegetables; the service was extremely slow.  I am now at home and am resuming my studies in order to prepare for the next few weeks.  I have started studying in earnest the book of Isaiah; I am doing this in order to teach the book to Addis students sometime next year.   As May is almost here I can see my departure date to come home is approaching.  It will be good to get back to hearth and home once again!

May 1st and 2nd … in Nazaret

These two days were spent in Nazaret (Adama; 100k from Addis), where I taught thirty men for only one day.  We met in the home of Maru, a man who came out of denominationalism only three years ago.  Maru has worked hard to study; still, he recognizes the need for further grounding.  A Brother Mesfin is active in trying to get a congregation started in this city of nearly one million.  Although I was close by, I did not travel to the Wonji congregations out in the sugarcane fields, of which there are several.  The church in Nazaret has had a checkered history.  I pray this is the start of some permanency for the kingdom in this city.

May 4th and 5th … in Ambo

These two days found Elias and me winding our way out of Addis, going 100k due west, to Ambo.  I have been here before; the church is going in a good direction.  I wanted to come this time since I was unable to visit back in January and February.   There are two good workers here—Keneita and Misganu.   I taught on Saturday and worshiped with the church on Sunday.  This was a short time; still, at least as far as I can tell, these personal visits seem to encourage the local folks.  I wish I could do more.  Bedassa,  Birayu preacher, went on this trip with me.  He speaks the language (Oromo) and is a good helper.

May 6, 7, 8, 9 … Teaching in Awassa

This week I was back in Awassa, Sidama zone, with my good friend Doyomo Donka.  Doyomo’s good driver Isak brought us to this city of nearly one million people.  Awassa is known for its large lake, which is populated with many tourists and with a few hippos.  Several nice resorts dot the shoreline, as Awassa has become a popular weekend get-a-way destination for people from Addis.  There are many tourists from other countries.  The Haile Resort is particularly nice.  It is owned by the world-famous long distance runner, Haile Gebre-Selassie.  I met this very congenial superstar a few years ago.  He is engaging in personality and was completely attentive to the oohing and awing of me and others who had crowded around.  While the food is good at the Haile, I have only stayed there a few times.  Since the Haile is 125US per night, the better choice for me is the Lewi Piazza Hotel at 30US per night.  This region is lower in elevation and is dominated by water and can be quite humid (and the mosquitoes are in either hotel!).

This week as I have done often before, I taught in the meeting place of the congregation here in Awassa.  This is actually the home of Elfenish, the sister of Doyomo.  We had thirty-five seasoned men for these classes.  I taught from 1st Corinthians, but spent extra time on chapters 12-14, with greater emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit.  I used material from the book of Acts on the Holy Spirit for our discussions.  It was a good week, made especially so by the association of these men who came for the classes.  As always, it was a pleasure to be with Doyomo.

The Sidama region has benefited greatly from the work of Brother Bob Owen (and those who travel with him—Scott Owen, Steve Patton, and perhaps others).  Their teaching sessions have helped preachers grow in knowledge; these local men then go out and spread the word.  The kingdom is expanding in this large area of Ethiopia.  Brother Melvin Curry and Brother Ken Marrs have both worked in this area and are appreciated by the Ethiopians.  Names such as Tsegaye (Sa guy), Fitamo, and Alemu are unfamiliar to most of you.  But these men are among hundreds who come to these teaching sessions, study hard, and then go back home and work for the Lord.

May 13th … This day finds me back in Addis.  I am catching up on my journal entries, running errands, and getting ready to teach again at Kotobe.  It is somewhat hot today.

May 14, 15, 16 …  Kotobe teaching

These three days find me back at Kotobe for our second round on 1st Corinthians.  As stated earlier, we are covering material about the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, tongues, etc.  There are so many Full-Gospel churches in Ethiopia, that such topics are always helpful.

My time is winding down.  I am ready to get home; I leave the 21st.  It will be good to get back to family and friends, recharge the batteries, take some rest, and read two months of mail.

Summary 

As always, the last few days in Addis are consumed with private visits, mainly from preachers who are interested to discuss their work, their needs, their desires for me to work with them, etc.  Again, the time has flown by.  This completes the first four months of a proposed sixteen months that are to spread out over this year and next.  The work can be taxing; especially is this so because of the traveling involved.  Yet, I know that I have to get out in the countryside venues in order to teach and reach the people who populate the three hundred or so countryside congregations that we have entre to.  I have direct knowledge of twenty-eight baptisms during the time I was here.  The Ethiopian preachers are working hard; they do the real work of preaching the gospel.  I pray that what little bit I do helps in some way.

It has rained many days since I arrived April 2nd.   Now, though, it is dry and hot.  The fields of teff are showing good growth.  Potatoes, watermelons, onions, garlic, and charcoal are in abundance.  Roadside service for virtually any item you want is available (and countryside prices are better than Addis prices).  Hundreds of camels dot the landscape from Mojo to Nazaret.  The dry river beds will soon swell with summer rains—the lifeblood of Ethiopia!  Still, summer time in Texas is good, too (and hot!).  It is always good to get home to familiar faces—those of family and friends.  I look forward to some fajitas (and I prefer that the meat not be raw!).

My work continues with the help of lots of people.  I am scheduled to return at the end of June for another two months.  Gerry Sandusky and Tanner Warfel (my grandson) will join me July 3rd for three weeks of work.  I already look forward to that.  Thanks to all of you for your prayers, support and encouragement. Love to all, Randy Harshbarger