Team Ethiopia, a short-term missions group from Central Church in Collierville, TN, is now on the ground in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and ready to serve! Here is an update from Natalie on Wednesday, day six of the trip. We have passed the halfway point of our trip, and we are consumed with mixed emotions. Today was a fantastic day full of laughter and tears.
We started the day with Liz leading us in a powerful devotion about how Christ is giving us the ability to truly influence the lives of the children we are here to serve. Together we sang the song “Thank You”, and it really put it into perspective for us that we might not always see the reward of our influence here on earth. Everyone - from the ones who are sent, to the ones who financially support, to the ones who pray - will reap the reward in Heaven. Howard then made us all laugh at by wearing his ponytail hat.
After a filling breakfast, we headed to the church for another day of activities and worship. Candice continued to do an outstanding job leading the kids in songs. It continues to amaze me that the kids know every English lyric and hand motion to each song.
Following music Meme gave a devotion that captured everyone’s attention (including us). She read the story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus and taught the kids the importance of praying for themselves. Three of the kids even got up and said what in their life they wanted to pray for. It was definitely an emotional moment for many of the team members.
The kids divided into their groups again and went from station to station. Candice and I (Natalie) took the kids outside for jump rope games. Lauren and Lana helped the boys make shakers out of plastic eggs and rocks. They also truly exemplified Jesus by getting on their knees and washing all of the girls’ feet and painting their toenails. Kelly also got the chance to help with this. Liz led a lesson to the children about praying for themselves where she opened the door to the presentation of the Gospel (credit elaine). At Joyce’s and Joe’s station they had the opportunity to write letters to God filled with their prayer requests.
Sadly, we were unable to play soccer after lunch because of the rain. We headed back to the guesthouse for quick showers and debriefing. I am not kidding when I say quick showers… Liz, Joyce, Lana, Katie, and I literally raced to take the fastest showers so we would all be able to have warm water and be ready in 25 minutes. It was a close race but Joyce was the winner.
After debriefing we loaded up the vans and headed to an Ethiopian culture restaurant. We did “buffet style”, which means we ordered 3 large platters that we were able to share. The food was delicious, but our plates did have some things that were not familiar to us. Lana, Joyce, and Cathy were brave enough to try the intestines. Dinner was served with a show. We all watched and danced in our seats while a group of performers danced cultural dances. There are no words to explain it; you must simply watch one of the many videos we took.
Exhausted and full we headed home for a good night’s rest before another busy day tomorrow. It’s past midnight and technically the next day, so it is no longer my job to blog! Stay tuned!
Team Ethiopia and Natalie