Team Ethiopia 2017

Team Ethiopia is a short-term missions group from Central Church in Collierville, TN. They partner with our Ethiopian Team on the ground in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for about a week. Here is their daily update regarding their experience in 2017 and the way God moves in and through this ministry. We thank them for their service!

Written by: Karyn Bridges

As overseas missionaries, there is nothing more exciting than having a little taste of home. Most people would assume that “a little taste of home” means some kind of special food you can only purchase in your passport country. For us, it means PEOPLE! PEOPLE who love us and the kids we minister to! PEOPLE who support us and the work God is doing in and through us in Ethiopia! PEOPLE who know where we’ve been and where we’d like to be! PEOPLE who encourage us and pray for us! PEOPLE from our hometown.

God in his infinite grace has sent us a “little taste of home” from Memphis, Tennessee every year since 2009. Our family prays for team unity, program planning, full funding, and spirit leading from Ethiopia months before the team arrives. This year He has provided again!! We prayed, encouraged, and advised from afar. We even made a colorful countdown of 31 rings to track the days before arrival (and yes our kids did fight a few times over whose turn it was to tear off the ring for that day). AND this morning at 8:15am God’s hands and feet touched the ground of Addis Ababa. He sent 5 returning veterans, Kelly, Meme, Liz, Howard, and Karen, two newbies, Diane and Starr, and one extra special Mimi (grandma) for my third culture kids!

The team spent an afternoon/evening in DC on Thursday night before boarding the 13+ hour flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We began tracking their flight and realized that they were sitting on the tarmac waiting for take off for over an hour. This was disheartening because we were so ready to see them and we knew they were ready to get here. Finally after an hour and fifteen minute delay they took off and I began to relax a little. I woke up twice during the night to check where they were over that big ocean that usually separates us from them. I awoke at 6am and checked flight aware one more time to see that they were about 45 minutes from landing. We quickly dressed, stopped for a take away macchiato and headed to the airport.

We waited for over an hour in the rain and finally saw the lime green TEAM ETHIOPIA shirts and shouted “THEY ARE HERE!!!” The team headed towards us with their baggage and were met with hugs and Ethiopian greetings from Damtew, Alex, Ali and Tess! (We learned that the team tried the new E-Visa service, an online entry Visa application and issuance. This was successful, for all but two of the team members, and significantly decreased the time involved in customs). Greetings, hugs and laughter abounded as we loaded their luggage into the vans. The team looked surprisingly alert and excited even though many did not sleep much on the flight. The vans were loaded and began the trip to the guesthouse. Upon arriving at the guesthouse and receiving more greetings from familiar faces like Titi and Nardi, the team chatted as they waited for their rooms. Once the rooms were ready, we made plans to meet for dinner, and allowed the team members to settle in, shower, have lunch and take naps.

I sensed a peace and overwhelming unity among the team as we interacted today. This team is as prepared as they can be for this week of ministry and love in action. I also believe they will take any unexpected issues or occurrences in stride and rise to the occasion. Thinking first about the ONE who is worthy and second about the people He created. 

Please continue to keep TEAM ETHIOPIA in your prayers and send words of love and encouragement through the blog as they will be read each day during debrief.

They will spend the week giving it all they’ve got and will need you to stand in the gap.