Monday, October 16, 2017

School had just started when this shiny new bajaj pulled in. The bajaj is a three-wheeled vehicle, covered and used for transport in town. I asked if the kids could have a ride in the freshly decorated carriage. I knew Tiger would love it. The babies started out less excited than J and A.

DSCF1516

DSCF1520

Getanet, the newly-licensed bajaj driver trying to show Tiger how fun it was going to be.

DSCF1522

Jon jumped in to hold babies and they took off. (Notice the decorative zip ties on the wind shield wiper and the antenna).

DSCF1527

On the first lap around, Tiger’s head popped out, thrilled he could “GO!”.

The girls pronounced it better than a Gator ride as it’s so “fancy”!

 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

This Season

I see your pictures, starting to celebrate all things Fall and I am just overjoyed our rains are almost done! Our house is still very cold in the mornings and evenings but the sunshine is gorgeous. Our season is sweet and full of people, our little crew and then a slew of neighbors and other people God has sent along to help. This is a picture from a week where Miss Rachel, the SIM homeschool coordinator came and visited us and taught the girls school for a week while Eliza was able to do much out and about in community. 

Whitney is pitching in and fitting in seamlessly, so glad for all the hands and her servant spirit. I don’t have pictures downloaded of recent events, so more to come. 

DSCF1577

Jon and Tiger are outnumbered in our house. :)

IMG 2414

These boys (Tiger and a neighbor) are the same age and were making friend and sharing injera. There was a baby calf outside but also one angry puppy, so the kiddos stayed inside. 

DSCF1492

I put the babies in this tub one day and pushed them around and entertained two for the price of one. Now “boat” is one of the littles favorite activities. And a side FYI, J and A chose their outfits because they were “spy ninjas”. 

I am so grateful for these four…though my to-do list is never done but it’s the season we are in and I wouldn’t trade it. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Sending And Receiving

We say “Goodbye” to Eliza tomorrow morning as she returns to Australia and her family. 

DSCF1561

She has been a huge blessing to our family and we will miss her. Please pray with us for a safe journey to Australia and that God would bless her time over the next weeks before her return to Ethiopia. Yes, that’s right, she is coming back! So much better to say “See ya laters”…

And we get to welcome Whitney with us for the next chunk of life! So excited to have her here and we are breaking her in quickly. She has been on the ground less than 30 hours and has already attended two parties that has included, stews, injera and coffee as well as seen monkeys, an impressive start.

DSCF1717

We are so thankful for the love and arms she brings and thankful for her fiancé, Connor for sharing her with us.

DSCF1554

And then there are these babies. They are so cute it’s unnecessary.

DSCF1765

My rough and tumble boy who also happens to be afraid of grass. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Only Time I Let The Kids Run With Flaming Torches

Meskel has come and gone. It’s a fascinating holiday about the “finding of the true cross”. If you have time and interest, it’s worth the trip to google. In the cities, there are bonfires lit the night before Meskel but in the countryside the bonfires start in the early morning hours (I don’t know why…my guess would be to avoid the nighttime wildlife in the countryside).  In the past, I’ve stayed in bed and let Jon and the girls enjoy but because we have up-before-the-crack-of-dawn babies, I joined in the fun this year too (and I was honestly felt like the supervision was maybe necessary…do you remember this blog post? Running with flames). 

DSCF1149

Adgo made us all torches. 

IMG 2370

IMG 2377

Then, they are set aflame and we run around with flames, yelling, “Yo-hey, Yo-Ha” and then a lot more words I don’t know but the meaning is something like this, “I was scared of dying but now the New Year has come and I get to start over”.

IMG 2381

Then, we together lit the pile of fresh branches. It needs to make a lot of smoke.

DSCF1175

And then, away goes the smoke, it headed North, not sure what it indicated for us. :)

DSCF1177

Listening to Adgo explain.

DSCF1180

We went for a 6:30 am hike to watch the countryside…the wet mountain that has recently been deforested was a bit more treacherous than we bargained.

DSCF1178

Smoke filled the horizon, as far as we could see.

DSCF1182

DSCF1187

DSCF1199

This is the Meskel flower, it blooms later for us in the highlands but in the lower areas, the Meskel flowers are vibrantly in bloom before the holiday.

DSCF1207

Daddy and his girls. We attempted to recreate the photo from this post.

DSCF1213

Happy boy along for the ride as I tried to find somewhere steady to put my foot.

DSCF1190

Smoke from every hut creating a haze in all directions.

( Thanks to Eliza for all the photos!  She leaves next week. We have so appreciated her the last 3 months and will miss all she brings to our family.) 

DSCF1228

We did midday coffee and lunch with friends.

DSCF1224

This was lunch. A thick injera smeared with a thick, spicy chickpea stew. Many times when this is made on a holiday, it’s mixed with a butter that isn’t my favorite taste. However, it was a fasting day (only vegan foods) and so YUMMY.  It occurred to me it’s the equivalent to America’s PBJ. 

Glad this year had no outcome of burned jackets or kids.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Leg-Saving Surgery

God has answered so many prayers for sweet Challie. (He’s the young man who I first posted about 1 year and 4 months ago.) When I first visited his hut, he was two months into a terrible leg infection. By the time we went back to the states, he was on an oral antibiotic for a bone infection and things looked like they were improving. Then we were gone and his family, who are some of the loveliest people we have met, waited. He gained some use of his leg but when we returned, we were visited again and the leg was worse than before and he had lost mobility of his knee joint. 

By God’s provision, a doctor friend who was visiting agreed to see him while she was here. Through her, we were connected to a wonderful hospital in Bahir Dar. Challie was seen on a Friday and taken in for surgery on the next day. The surgery was long with many accesses and dead bone to be removed in the bone but successful. 

IMG 2428

He and his parents are spending the next 10 days for him to recover at a relatives house in town with follow-up visits to the hospital. He was dangerously near losing his leg and if the surgical wound gets infected, chances are the option will be amputation. Pray with us for his wound care to follow procedure and the infected leg would finally be healed.

IMG 2430

Please continue to pray for this brave young man, who always says he “has no problems”. Challie is deep in our hearts. A visitor to the hospital spent time with Challie and his dear crew on the Friday and then offered to pay for his surgery, IN FULL. 

Because we thought we were going to have a long hike to their hut, I grabbed Miss T, not knowing how long we would be gone. Then we tracked them down at a relatives in another town.

IMG 2433

She was a hit with the crowd of people in the house. We also laugh she is a highland baby. On sunny days or when we drop altitude a bit (such as visiting a neighboring town) she gets so hot she can’t cope with life, so I am learning to dress her in summery clothes, even though I am still wearing long-sleeves and leggings. 

Thanks for praying with us for our Awi neighbors!

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 us..so great to be in the city, so many benefits but also a different pace of life as we try to pack so much in. 

DSCF0398

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. 

DSCF1104

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.

DSCF1128

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

DSCF1138

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

Zengana

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.

DSCF0855

Getting out of the van, Tiger boy spotted Colobus Monkeys

DSCF0858

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

DSCF0866

We picnicked,

DSCF0877

hiked a bit,

DSCF0880

Found little gray monkeys ( I forget the variety),

DSCF0901

Played a few rounds of silly games,

DSCF0893

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

DSCF0911

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. 

DSCF0890

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.