March 9th Ethiopia First Report

March 9th.  I am finally getting around to writing a bit about our last few days in Ethiopia (I will try to write as if in real time, but actually most of this has already happened). Marilyn and I are here again; this is my 23rd trip; this is Marilyn’s 2nd trip.  We left Houston on March 2nd at 8:45pm, via a British Airlines 747.  In 9 hours we were taxiing to terminal 5, Heathrow, London.   Marilyn can seldom sleep on these trips over the Atlantic; after take off I promptly go to sleep.  I don’t pay attention to turbulence, but this flight was extremely rough.  I hated it for Marilyn.  But we made it!  Since I slept the whole flight, I ate nothing on the way over.  So, after we debarked, passed through Passport Control and security, we ambled into Plane Food, a Gordon Ramsey restaurant.  There we shared some cold water, scones, mac & cheese, and tea (hot). Having been there before, I knew it would be good.

After a short layover we were soon on our way to Roma.  This flight was ok (I guess; I slept).  We had to claim our luggage and negotiate Passport and Custom’s Control; this was because we changed from BA to Ethiopian Air.  We were soon joined by Francesco and Rita Fosci, longtime friends. We had emailed them from London, hoping they might come to the airport; they did and even the brief visit was wonderful. We will see them on our way home one month from now. This dedicated couple have kept the faith for a long time, doing lots of good, even though living in Satan’s backyard. At 11:00pm we boarded our flight for Addis Ababa, population 7 million, capital of Ethiopia. We were sitting in Coach Class,  but lucked out with two aisle seats on the bulkhead.  The flight of only six hours went well. It is always a good thing to touch down safely. And it is beautiful at sunrise (it is now Wednesday am). We got through Passport and Visa Control with no trouble (we both have two year Visas).  A porter helped us with our four large suitcases. The folks at customs wanted to look inside my carry on bag, but I resisted (had money in it).  We were soon loading our bags into the Nexus Hotel shuttle for the short ride to our room for only one night. Tomorrow (Thursday) we will leave for the countryside.   We are thankful for safe travel. And we remember loved ones and friends back home. There are lots of people praying for us.

After resting for a short time, we were soon up and heading out to meet Doyomo, Elias, and Zerihun. My good friend and frequent taxi driver, Tsegaye, picked us at 10:00am (I called him several days ago to make sure he could drive us). We made our way to the SW corner of Addis, Kore, where Doyomo Donka and wife, Almaz, live. Doyomo is top-shelf among preachers. His labors are hindered somewhat by a physical problem (legs atrophied from auto accident years ago).  But he works hard in Addis and in his native region, Sidama.  We will go to Awassa, Sidama Zone, next week and work in villages with Doyomo. Leaving Doyomo’s, we then picked up our good friend Elias, who will drive Marilyn and me to Awassa next week. We were thrilled to finally see Elias and wife Addis, and their two month old twin boys!  How precious. We had a nice lunch of shero and enjera at Addis’s parent’s house. Yum!  We made plans to travel with Elias over the next three weeks.

We soon left to make our way to Kotobe, NE Addis, in order to meet with Zerihun. We stopped by the Hilton  in order to exchange money (nearly 20 birr per US dollar).   We found Zerihun in his office. It is always wonderful to be with this good, faithful man and his family. He helps me with making my plans when I am here; and he helps with my financial matters.  Zerihun is one in whom there is no guile.  Never in fourteen years have I ever seen anything untoward in him, in any way.  We cinched up our travel plans and soon left for the Nexus.  Marilyn and I promptly fell asleep. We woke up at 11:00pm. After shifting “junk” in our suitcases in order to leave Thursday morning, we were both, soon, asleep again, glad to be here safely, excited to begin our first four days of teaching.