Our summer here is drawing to a close. On Monday, we pack up our borrowed Land Cruiser and make the (harrowing but gorgeous) journey to Addis Ababa. Language school starts soon and we need a few days to settle in.
It's über bittersweet to leave here, I will write more on this in a later post.
The past few days, I have been thinking, "Am I changed?" If this was it, one summer in the highlands of Ethiopia and then it was back to the USA, am I a different person? I want to be. To be exposed to a different world and to not be changed would be a waste. I realize that I am different, probably in subtle ways but here are ten of the lessons I have learned, I will not bore you with more! In no way have I arrived and am now an expert. It's exactly the opposite.
I see how little I actually do know, how, as I have been here longer, I understand more fully the depths of that I don't understand.
1) Don't take things for granted. Not your electricity, cell service, internet, grocery stores, running water, clean water, hot water, washing machines, cars, houses, heaters, availability of anything you want or need, clinics,healthcare.
2) Don't take people for granted. Absence truly makes the heart grow fonder. Thank God for your family, your friends, your church, your neighbors.
3) Sit a spell. I haven't done this well. It feels like a visit should be for a purpose, saying, "Hi, how are you?" on the way by is sufficient but oh-so-Western. Take the time for people. They make time for me in spite of my language deficiency. Is someone hurting? Just sit with them. Passing a friend on the road? Stop and talk. Find a place to squat down and be the relational people we are intended to be. Did someone die? Just go sit with them for a while, even if all you can say in the language is "I'm sorry".
4) Do things in community. We aren't meant to be cooped up in our big houses all alone, out of touch with our neighbors. We are made as relational beings.
5) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (More on this coming soon!)
6) Baking from scratch is messy but I don't know if I could ever go back! We have used over 24 pounds of flour this summer, WHITE flour. While I am astounded by this and hoping to find a whole wheat source, I realize how much we consume now that everything is homemade. Need crackers, tortillas, bread, muffins? Make it from scratch.
6a) Start every meal with olive oil, then add vegetables available here, carrot, onion, cabbage and then go from there. It gives great encouragement to me to have something started.
7) Try new things.
8) Always be a learner. There is more to the situation then meets the eye.
9) Just because it is different from what I have always done, doesn't mean it's wrong. It's just different.
10) Jesus is enough. He is enough for me, enough for Jon, enough for my kids, enough for our dear friends here.