Update from Ethiopia #3

African landscape

Our day is now near an end. As I mentioned earlier, Jan and Becky were scheduled to teach after our break, and both did a lovely job. So much wisdom was offered in the interplay of great depth, humor, and goodness. It was a joy to hear them teach. Again to watch the faces and hear the questions of these kings and queens of God–some of the rarest people on this earth was an honor. They think so deeply and richly about life, the scriptures, and the women they care for. We were invited to walk with them on difficult paths and the questions themselves bore incredible wisdom.

We dined and then went to interview Cherry, who is the founder of Ellilta, and Wonde, who is the key counselor for the prostituted women. It was holy. Holy, holy, holy. I asked both of them how they became involved with this rare and God honoring mission. The stories they told of God’s hand on their lives left us in quiet awe. I pray the video camera I was using actually recorded the conversations. It will be a gift to anyone who wants to meet Cherry or Wonde and taste a banquet of goodness that is of the richest of fare.

We left the interview and went to our group rooms to start our last afternoon of interviewing for our research. When we saw the faces of our dear friends we saw weariness. We asked a few if they felt able to continue and of course they said yes. However, Jan, in a moment of immense sensitivity suggested we all take a sabbath and go play. So we convened and prayed and quickly called the rest of the day a holiday — we were given additional time tomorrow morning to make up for the missed interview sessions.

A half hour later 7 of us were playing PIG–a game of basketball. I had not played in a decade. Two Nigerian women had never played. Two Ethiopian men were better kicking the ball in with their feet, and we played in earnest to not be a pig. I was a pig often. But it was a hilarious, sweet gift of rest and play. I confess I wanted to win and so we played for about two hours. If we had played for 9 hrs I may have won but instead we got to laugh, hoot and holler, tease each other and be the brothers and sisters that the Kingdom of God calls us to be in the one task that matters most to God: play.

We will get to play one more time in interviewing and one more time in teaching.

Again, your prayers are a gift that has allowed us to feel remarkably protected, honored, and privileged to teach these glorious men and women. Blessings to you in his glory.


Learn more about The Allender Center’s work in Ethiopia.