Field Work Friday – Ethiopia

 
This week we had a very special guest – a local man who has made several mission trips to Ethiopia – and is planning his next one.
 
Jason began by telling us a bit about himself and how God has led him to Ethiopia.  From there we learned about its location and climate.
 
 
Ethiopia is a land-locked country west of the Horn of Africa.  It’s dry most of the year but does have a rainy season, and while many people think of animals when they think of this country, there are far more animals in Kenya to the south.  Despite this, snakes and hyenas do populate the country.  Hyenas are dangerous to people and in some places towns consist of ‘compounds’ with guarded gates at night where hyenas roam the streets, searching for food.

It takes 16 hours to fly from North Carolina to Ethiopia’s capital city and then another 16 hours to travel by Land Rover to the southern villages where Jason works.  Outside of the city the roads are rough dirt and full of potholes, people, and animals.  He said that honking is an acceptable means of asking people to watch out!

Ethiopia is the only African county that was never colonized.  Because of that, and because an Ethiopian man visited with Paul in the Bible and there were early Christian settlements there, Ethiopia is quite friendly to foreign missionaries.  It is not the only faith there, however; another popular one being Islam.

 

Jason brought along a laptop and showed us pictures and videos of his travels.  Despite the extreme dryness, the landscape was very green and beautiful.

 
 
These mission trips each serve a specific purpose and help established Christian groups in Ethiopia.  The extreme poverty of the rural areas makes communication and shopping difficult, and so Bibles are in short supply.  Armed with an arsenal of Bibles, Jason’s group gets to distribute them – but the demand is great for Bibles in their own language.  While they pass them out for free, they need a way to decide who gets each limited quantity, so the requirement is the recitation of a scripture passage.  People wanting to get a Bible borrow one from a friend, learn the required passage, and then come to the distribution point and recite it.  In this picture, you can see the elders standing around a man reciting his passage and going up to receive his Bible.
 
What was especially humbling about watching this video was seeing the man dancing in his excitement, reciting his passage, and knowing that he would walk hours home carrying it – after walking hours to get there.  Bibles are so rare and precious that the people are willing to put that much effort into acquiring one – and there were crowds of people waiting for this chance.  How often do I claim I’m too tired – it’s too hard to understand – I don’t like this translation – and not even pick it up?  To me, this was convicting.
 
 
Because people are poor and many live far away from commercial businesses, they are skilled at making things for themselves.  (There is a market day in each town to buy, sell, or trade for the goods they need.)  This hat was an example of something that they made to fill a need – and the craftsmanship was beautiful!
 
This shirt was another.  It was subtly colorful and had embroidery on the collar and cuffs.
 
Jason purchased this ball on one of his trips for his son.  The embroidery on each circle features letters of their alphabet.
 
This is an Ethiopian coin.
Jason went waayyyy above and beyond the call of duty.  Not only did he make time in his busy schedule to speak to us, but he also brought an Ethiopian dollar for each of the children.

He brought a favorite Ethiopian snack, too:  /fond-i-shaa./  (No idea how to spell that – but that’s my phonetic version.)  Popcorn!

My Little Man is excited about his popcorn.  He’s also been telling everyone about the bumpy roads and grassy houses of “Indotheopia.”  I’m sure he’ll figure out the name soon.

I hear that there’s an Ethiopian restaurant in Raleigh. Maybe one of these days we’ll venture down and try something new!

I didn’t realize I had so many preconceived notions about Ethiopia until I heard Jason speak.  It sounds like a beautiful, friendly, wild, hardworking nation.  


What nation would you like to learn more about??

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