Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Death Of Our Doggy Friend

We had a funeral this weekend. Our dear dog died on Saturday night. 

IMG 2358

We had a chance to say goodbye on Saturday morning and pray that she would quickly pass as she was in so much pain from old age and an illness. We all cried and will miss her. Even little Tiger, when he saw her in the grave said, “May-May!” his nickname for her and then even our Ethiopian friends cried. 

IMG 2353

We were going to bury her without the girls being present but I realized it felt important for me to see it and so I asked the girls and they also wanted to witness it. I realized how we have talked about death and funerals but we have missed some big ones in the USA and this was cathartic. 

This morning when Yeshi came, I told her the news (in Ethiopian culture, bad news is never delivered over the phone). We went to the burial sight as Yeshi and Macy have been good friends and cried together in the freshly turned dirt.

Thankful we have friends here to share our joys and griefs.  

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

To The North!

Addis has been a whirlwind for great to be in the city, so many benefits but also a different pace of life as we try to pack so much in. 


The girlies have been so brave at the international school here, they don’t love to be the “new kid” all the time but they have persevered.

We hope to go back to Injibara tomorrow morning. Will you pray with us for safe and uneventful trip and smooth transitions for the kids? We are tired, Tiger is teething and having a hard time with sleep, Miss T has been getting up for the day between 4:00 am and 5:00 am. Jon’s mornings are starting between 3-5 am as he works on new rhythms for his online MBA program and our schedule here has been full. 

Thanks for your prayers!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Vikings and Travels and Life, Oh My

Happy Ethiopian New Year! Today starts the year of 2010 in Ethiopia. It is hard to be away from our highland home on holidays as it is always a sweet time with neighbors but we needed to be in Addis for this time. We are here for a conference, as well as Jon is starting his online MBA program and he has several teaching engagements. The girls get to go to the international school for four days this week and are nervous/looking forward to it. 

IMG 2246

Watching the airplanes land, waiting for our flight to Addis from Bahir Dar.

IMG 2226

IMG 2249

This picture may not be that exciting to you but to us, we see FRUIT and fresh produce!  In our local market, we can buy carrots, potatoes, garlic, cabbage, a kind of swiss chard type of thing, tomatoes and sometimes lime and lettuce. In town we can get bananas and we have eaten a lot of these but guava, mango, cucumber and good oranges, welcome to Addis!!!

We have been studying Vikings in school and one Saturday afternoon, Eliza and the girls put on a delicious Viking feast for the family, complete with costumes and accents.

IMG 2208

Okay, I can’t handle the baby Vikings. 


We ate our Viking stew up in the attic because I think that’s what Vikings do. :)  It is still cold and wet and so outside isn’t a great option for picnics. It was such a sweet memory and I am so grateful Eliza took the time to make this delicious meal.


Because of the rain, we have been having occasional bonfires inside our hut. I love how the smoke seeps through the grass roof.


I tried to make a cast iron skillet cookie…kind of a flop but fun to try. :)

IMG 2203

Look at this sweet crew. Tiger is 13 months, Miss T is 6 months and baby boy, yet to have an official name is 3 months. His mama, Alemitu, is such a gem. 

IMG 2186

Thank you for your prayers for the medical cases. This is mom and dad to the little baby who was sent to Addis for surgery. She had one surgery on her foot and has check-in appointments in Bahir Dar with two more surgeries scheduled in Addis. Frehiwot (the mama) reminds me of myself and how I would handle my baby in pain, she’s a mess. We talk regularly and we are thankful for the open door for relationship. Next surgery scheduled for October 9 I believe.

Thanks to those of you who have told us you are praying for the medical cases. There has been so many and we are thankful for the open doors to relationship it brings but it also brings a sobering heaviness at the way life is fleeting and the small windows we have to speak hope and truth.

Can you pray with us for these cases too?

Challie: He was the sweetie with a bone infection we met before we left in June 2016. He still has a terrible infection and the leg may need amputated but he is back talking with doctors and the first thing to try will be intravenous antibiotics. His family is so sweet.

Milke: When packing for Addis Ababa, I heard there was a woman at the gate who wanted to talk about her hands. I was in a huge hurry and mumbled all the way out that we can’t help everyone and we want to focus on children. A beautiful young woman stood there with her brother. We greeted and then chatted a bit. Through the conversation it came out. She is a widowed mother of three. Her mother has died, she has a brother but no one else to count on. She pulled her hand tenderly from underneath her scarf. It looks like rough old tree bark, growths all over the hands and knuckles. She can’t use them anymore. She has cancer. One hospital in Addis Ababa does chemo and she has gotten herself to Addis three times for treatment. She has four more times left but has no more money as she has sold everything in her house. We sat down and talked and then I was overwhelmed with the dire situation. “I can’t die, there is no one to take care of my children”. These kind of situations leave us broken but grateful for the opportunity to help, speak hope, pray together. When Jon came in, I had to leave as I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. He sat down and said to her brother. “She doesn’t just need more chemo, she needs a miracle”. Will you pray with us for a miracle? Not just for her physical healing but spiritual as well. Pray for those kiddos on their own as their Mama is pumped full of chemicals over the next three days in Addis.  

Thank you for your love and support for our crew. Your prayers are heard and are sustaining.

Happy New Year! Now we are off to celebrate with some friends and yummy food!

Friday, September 1, 2017


Yeshi came in today, so sad. Her neighbor was sick for three days, with rabies and she passed away yesterday. She has five small children, the youngest being a 10-month baby girl. It’s my tendency to want to fix everything, make it okay. This can’t be okay, so I will send along some formula and a bottle but it truly pushes me to prayer. 

A few Saturdays ago, we were able to enjoy God’s nature at a nearby crater lake. It’s a beautiful lake (unfortunately being deforested) but still refreshing and feels like a “get-a-way”, not bad for a 20 minute drive.


Getting out of the van, Tiger boy spotted Colobus Monkeys


Can you spot it? They were jumping through the trees.


We picnicked,


hiked a bit,


Found little gray monkeys ( I forget the variety),


Played a few rounds of silly games,


and found tadpoles in one puddle, frogs in the next. 


It’s not always easy to really get out in nature here as we’re often a spectacle in this incredibly populous country. Miss T doesn’t mind. We are currently stretching her a bit as her preference for Mama makes it hard for her to be with anyone else. 


Thanks to Eliza for all the photos! It’s so nice she grabs her nice camera! It’s great to get so many family photos.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

a Good Ache, Cause For Prayers and Praise

Thanks for your sympathy to the last post. Believe me, I am not some super-woman, this is an answer to your prayers! You just didn’t know you were praying for me to be able to laugh through a night as described in the previous post. The next day, Eliza, Jon and I cleaned up and J and A loved the story of it all. :) 

My heart is groaning lately, I have felt the sting of death, watched people in pain and just got off the phone with a mother in anguish over her baby’s pain. As we interact here and the girls and I are studying the Middle East, I feel face-to-face with the reality of millions living and dying without the Gospel. Speaking of prayer and your support, here are some specifics. Thanks for those who have reached out for specific updates. 

A soft-spirited man who works at the Woodmizer lost his 13-year-old daughter a month ago. We had taken this sweet girl to a clinic in Bahir Dar before and Mark and Debbie had been involved with her as well for years before as she had a chronic illness. Her father now wears the black hat of grief and his brown eyes are full of sadness. Please pray for Meteku and his family.

Hayamanot, the boy with dog bites pictured with Jon two posts previous is on the mend and Jon gave him his 3rd rabies vaccine shot today. Only two more left! 

I talked with Frehiwot today, the young mother of the child who we were able to send to Addis Ababa for surgery. The 1.5 month old baby had a successful surgery and the family is thankful and joy-filled but as we talked on the phone, a woman who previously didn’t discuss prayer, begged me to pray for the baby and their 10-hour bumpy bus trip tomorrow as the baby still seems to be in a much pain and isn’t nursing well because of it. I assured her we would be praying and I didn’t know how to describe to her that a village of blog friends would also be praying. 

And, our dog and only family pet is sick, sick. She has been stability for our family and we would miss her much but it looks like she may not make it through the night. 

Our friend Yeshi once told me, “Amy, death is so far from Americans, but for Ethiopians, it is near.” It all makes me yearn for heaven.  

To be clear, because of your generous support of our family, that is how we are able to financially come alongside many of these friends, neighbors and medical cases, so thank you for allowing us the means to help. 


 We love you all and are so thankful for you. (Oh, and also, #functionoverfashion, please be gracious. ;))


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Carnivorous Ants

If there were to be a horror movie about little insects, last night, we lived it.If you are someone who is going to visit us someday, don’t worry, this won’t happen to you. :)  I think I’ve mentioned before about the army ants here. Not mighty in size but in pincer strength, they do not lack! The first time I was bit by one, I shrieked, grabbed it and in the pulling off, it drew blood. Since then, I have had some big lessons on what to do if in a conflict with these little warriors that literally can eat animals down to the bone. 

Lesson 1: If it’s a random straggler, isolate it in your clothing. If you happened to step near a mound or in their path, get somewhere you can take off your clothes and do it immediately. (Thanks, Debbie)

Lesson 2: If your child starts to shriek inexplicably, without question, strip them down and find the ants (Thanks, J and A). 

Lesson 3: If you see them, get away, don’t stop to watch (Thanks, Life experience)

Lesson 4: Soap and water can stop their route but doesn’t harm them (Thanks to an Ethiopian friend in Addis)

Lesson 5: Fleet is sold in the country, a powerful insecticide, sprayed from an aerosol can, terrible for humans but kills ants, makes everything sprayed sticky (Thanks everyone)

When the babies are outside, I am very conscious about this threat and like to keep them off of the grass and on a blanket so a march of ants would be visible, the army ants also prefer the grass. Onto last night. Remember, we are living in a concrete house in rural Ethiopia and are in general, very comfortable. I share this because it’s a great story and I’m laughing about it now. This has never happened to us before and I don’t think will happen again. 

Miss T is still in our bedroom until she sleeps through the night. (The oldest three started to sleep through the night at 10 months, so she has 5 months left.) Her crib is at the foot of the bed and directly in front of our bathroom door. I was putting her back in her crib in the pitch dark when I felt a pain on my foot. I rubbed it off and suddenly really had to go to the bathroom. As I am going, I start feeling pinpricks on my feet and legs. I reach over and turn on the light switch.

ANTS. ARMY ANTS. So many in places the floor was not visible. I lifted my legs and called out, “Joooonnn. Get the fleet!” When I stood up, I realized I had been standing in the ants, so following my own lesson, ripped off my clothes, grabbed Miss T out of her bed and ran where we could sit on the couch. Miss T was clear, none on her and hanging out with Mama at night is what she wants to do anyway, so she was great, I was a bit cold. Jon started to spray Fleet and realized the ants were everywhere. Pouring out of the drains in the bathtub, sink, kitchen, behind outlets, tub. He checked the other bedrooms and the kids were sleeping peacefully with no ants.

He sprayed and sprayed but also ended up with ants in the pants, we were something to behold.

As we started to get a handle on the ants and I was trying to keep Miss T under a blanket tent because of fumes. And then came the SPIDERS.

They started coming out of the woodwork. Jon’s theory was they wanted to eat the thousands of dying ants, my theory was they were trying to escape the fumes. Mark, had a theory today that the spiders weren’t killed by the fumes but were trying to escape the ants. No matter which theory is correct, it doesn’t change the onslaught of spiders, not killed by the fumes but fully active. 

Because we had the lights on cleaning, it happened to be a night that these termite bugs, about 1/4 of an inch big but with propeller styled wings were dying and when they are dying, they are attracted to light and run into the windows, come in under doors and then spin to their death, losing their wings in the process. So, there were termites spinning to their deaths all over, losing their papery wings. They don’t gross me out, only add to the chaos. Then, other insects started to fall from the ceiling, crawl out from behind everywhere, because they were dying of the fumes. 

Jon went outside around the perimeter of the house and found multiple places the ants were climbing up the walls to get in (I need to research how the queen ant sets her course). He of course used Fleet again and I was still on the couch, trying to keep Miss T in a tent to not breathe the fumes. Over 2 hours later, we tried to go back to bed. I was on the couch for awhile with baby girl as the fumes were the worst in our bedroom. Jon had done a thorough search of her crib, blankets and mattress and did not find any ants. This is just the mercy of God I found them when I did, before they were in bed with Miss T. Then, we hear our dog. Barking, yelping ants, all over her. 

Jon went back outside, helped the dog.  He entered the house, not knowing the termites had used his exit as an entry into the house and were in his clothes. As soon as he laid back down in bed, he realized he was squishing “something big and juicy”. We shone a flashlight and realized he had termites on his clothes. And then the dog started yipping again.

We went back to sleep around 3:30 am. This morning, we woke up to a war zone. Bedding to wash, thousands of dead ants in a sea of squished spiders and other various insects, Fleet smell and stick everywhere.

So today has been a mop, sweep, scrub kind of Saturday.  I am totally fine to never have it happen again and statistically think we maybe got this out of the way for the rest of our lives. :) 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Bike On The Fence and Other News

It’s hard to know where to start and stop with this post, life has been beautiful and full. I’ll give the abbreviated snapshot.

The baby we mentioned earlier in a prayer request is with her mom and dad in Addis Ababa at the CURE Hospital. They have an appointment scheduled for a surgery for the sweet baby girl on Monday morning. Please pray with us for the doctors, the baby and her parents. I can’t stop thinking about the baby! Pray especially for the anesthesia to have no negative effects as the baby is only one month old.

We’ve continued to have a stream of visitors through the gate. We have popular babies.


Tiger loves other kids. This picture is him trying to make friends with five-year-old Nigoos, who was a little unsure of so much contact.

We have also had some significant drama involving a robbery of a bike (everything is being settled). Jon said if he were to be in a courtroom, he would want an Awi man on his side. 

IMG 0996

After a week of sleuthing by some employees, the bike was hanging over the fence one morning. Such a long story but this cracked us up.

A neighbor boy was badly bitten by a dog (rabies is always a possibility). Jon went with the mom, dad and child on Tuesday to Bahir Dar to try to find a rabies treatment medicine. Praise God, after a day in hospitals, they found it and instead of the 16 shots in the stomach we helped a family with before, this is only a five-shot series in the shoulder. Hallelujah!

IMG 1016

The father has been to Bahir Dar before and enjoyed showing his wife and son the sights. 

IMG 1030

While the father and mother waited at a clinic for an appointment for the mother (trying to maximize time in the city), Jon and Hayamanot went to a barbershop. I love the cuts. 

IMG 0961

An early morning chat, looking through pictures with Imabet. There were several questions about the previous post on the injera-making session with Imabet, it is very sour, Significantly more than a typical sour dough. For me, I love it with the stews but its not my preference to eat it by itself.

IMG 1032

And, we have two very cute babies.

IMG 1041

Both love to do things that make us laugh and they tolerated this mask.

IMG 1063

Jon’s been able to get some trials started at the project and done some farmer visits. The woman pictured is a new employee at the 5 F’s and she has amazing initiative.

IMG 0948

There have been some hikes to farmer’s homes who have done various trials. Eliza has been able to accompany and on this hike, the girls were able to go too, though it got so muddy on the paths, they were carried as it was impassable. 

IMG 4884

The girls set up a photo shoot with their baby dolls and asked me to photograph. So adorable these two girls and all their ideas.

IMG 0623

Speaking of the twins and their ideas. :)



Hiking up the hill with Eliza

IMG 0693

J had a sore eye, it wasn’t an injury that really needed any attention, so I kept about my business. Soon, she was walking around with injera taped to her eye. A home remedy at it’s finest. 

IMG 0861

A Canadian family living in Bahir Dar came to visit us for a day and help with the house wiring and generator, thank you Funks!

IMG 0854

Happy babies in the morning. They are both really sweet kiddos. Miss T has had really challenging nights. Like, really bad. If I told you, you would chastise me for letting her be in bad habits but in the night when I am so tired, I DON’T CARE, in my groggy state I just do whatever it takes so she will sleep and I can too.

IMG 0846

On mornings with power, the kiddos congregate on this rug by the heater while I shower and Jon makes breakfast.

IMG 0902

Shepherd boys playing Mancala with false coffee beans. The board is a series of holes etched into the rock on the mountain top. Amazingly resourceful and funny because…


Our first week back, Jon and the girls were up and played the same board…with sheep turds.


A cool cave to climb through.


Our family is back and we praise God we are feeling settled. He has been gracious.Thank you for your life-giving prayers.