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!
They've spent the past two days getting to their destination and adjusting to their home for the next 10 days. Here is a report from Cathy on how they're doing.
Day 1: Friday
Travel went beyond smoothly!! Although we had short connections and our flight out of Memphis was delayed about 30 minutes, we prayed and ended up in Houston with time to spare for everyone to go to the bathroom and get some food. Our flight to Frankfurt was smooth sailing, and we arrived with time plenty of time to make our connection. We got a surprise on our way to Addis Ababa: we all got to check Saudi Arabia off of our list of countries to visit! We stopped there to let off about 90% of the passengers, and then we all got to spread out with entire rows all to ourselves for the last 2 hours of our flight. We began to bond more as a team during each flight.
When we arrived in Addis, we got 2 surprises: 1) None of our 26 checked bags made it to Ethiopia, and 2) we were greeted by a wonderful welcome committee of Nega, some of his staff and several of the girls from Onesimus! It was a joy to see their faces and their excitement upon our arrival. We were each given a rose by the girls and hugged (credit elaine). They offered to carry some of our carry-on luggage for us, and we were happy to get them out of our hands after 30 hours of traveling! We took some cold showers and were happy to be clean despite not having all of our toiletries.
Day 2: Saturday
We had a pretty relaxing day getting adjusted to the time change and newness of Ethiopia. Some of us were woken up by a call to prayer from the Muslim mosque in the neighborhood. After we all got up, we had a fantastic breakfast – it was so good it was the highlight of some people’s day!! We had french toast, eggs and fruit.
We also attended a soccer tournament this morning between some of the local teams, and one of the teams was comprised of street children from Onesimus, the drop-in center The Forsaken Children works with. We got to see so many of the kids that are beneficiaries of The Forsaken Children, Onesimus and our Central Church team. They were a joy to watch.
Natalie, along with another couple of Team Ethiopia members, enjoyed playing a little bit of soccer with some of the boys before the game started. Katie and Lauren now have a couple of new boyfriends in the group of Onesimus boys. We also learned that Liz has an extreme love of the game of soccer.
Many people recognize and remember the returning members of our team, like Candice, Joe, Ben and Kelly. And Howard had fun facts for us at every turn, whether it was about Ethiopia or translating a phrase for us.
We enjoyed rest time after the soccer games along with a game of Fish Bowl. Lana did an excellent charade of “photosynthesis”, which Meme put into the bowl! We celebrated Meme’s birthday today!! We had a wonderful cake in her honor. The Freys joined us for dinner, which was another nice surprise!
During our debrief at the end of the day, Joyce told us the highlight of her day was waking up in Ethiopia. My (Cathy’s) highlight goes along with that: walking upstairs this morning and looking out the window at the beautiful view of the mountains and seeing God’s handy work was so peaceful. Despite the poverty and sadness that we see with the street children and so many of the people here, God really is in this place and He sees the beauty that we aren’t always able to see. I was so thankful that was my first daytime view of the city.
As I am writing this blog, the leaders returned with our bags – good news is that Candice’s, mine and Howard’s bags made it, but the bad news is we are still missing 24 bags! Please continue to pray for the bags to arrive along with our team to be effective for God this week! And don’t forget to comment so we can read them in the morning as our “mail”! Thank you for praying for us!
Love you all,