Tuesday, October 31, 2017


Yay! We are so happy because look at these babies!

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Our family is in Addis safely. Thanks for your prayers. Unrest has continued in parts of the country. Please pray with us for peace. While we are in the city, we planned a Harvest party with our house church group. We have loads of photos but members of our house church are in a secure areas so you can just look at pictures of us. :)

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This guy was what our whole family’s outfits centered around because he walks around the house growling, “cookie”. No one taught him this and he has not seen Cookie Monster but is just his style. so adorable. 

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It is adorable. And because we were hosting at the guest house, Jon, Whit and I were incredibly busy with decorating, activities and food, so he didn’t wear pants, which isn’t a problem because a baby in a onesie is near perfection. 

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So, the girls and Whit are sugar cookies while Jon and I are bakers. 

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Look at these sweet sugar cookies!

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The girls with our friend, “The Queen of Sheba”.

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The amazing HQ kitchen staff who made us the meal and were just amazed at all the costumes. 

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We had a pumpkin decorating contest and this one didn’t win but was a favorite. :)

Thank you for your prayers, we feel them and are excited about what God is doing among the Awi. 


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Traveling Plans And Our Local Market Treasures


Our family leaves this Thursday for Addis Ababa. There are multiple events happening during the next few weeks and we will be glad for the time, although it is always a bit unsettling for all of us to uproot, pack and then resettle in a small apartment. It’s like packing for a two-week camping trip every two months. 

We plan to travel by plane…we were hoping to drive (at least Jon was) but our road to Addis has been blocked for about a week. Our friends here have advised us to fly and they don’t have to tell me twice! Can you pray with us for safe and uneventful travel on Thursday (your Wednesday night)? Also, there will be many out of the city families in the city for multiple meetings or for various reasons had to leave their stations. We are all used to mobility and since flying is the recommended travel right now, we will all get to share a few vehicles…it’s an opportunity to be flexible and serve each other but hard when we are all used to independence and use our extra Addis time as sailors who get off a ship, eating out, visiting friends, stocking up on groceries, etc. 

Master TreeGrowers wrapped up really well. It’s an amazing and big week and their were beautiful opportunities to teach about many things and amazing channels to share our Hope with an unreached area. 

One morning, the trainees all went to the market and one of the activities was to find as many items as possible, hoping to find rare ones and the person with the most was rewarded. It was fun to see the market from this perspective. Here’s a glimpse past all the veggies and livestock.

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Ready to shop!

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Wooden chair with woven cowhide seat

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Grasses and other plants I don’t know the function of…I’ll have to ask Jon on this one. 

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Handmade grass shopping baskets

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This vendor has a bit of everything but I spy Ethiopian Orthodox crosses and posters, as well as wallets and hair accessories.

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This man walks home with his  load of wood.

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Nothing is for sale in this picture but I think this little boy is precious. 

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The hardware area. I see some rat traps, shovel heads, scythes.

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This is the type of grass sold that is woven into baskets. You can see a basket being sold in the picture.

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This is a grass injera topper that a women has woven into a pattern that’s for sale. All of these are made without patterns but the designs come out of the women’s minds. So amazing.

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Bananas and oranges

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Eucalyptus branches make amazing tooth brushes when stripped of leaves.

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As modeled by Mark.

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A homemade butter. Definitely a different taste to what I am used to but this is used in hair and in food around holiday times.

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Seeing his market differently

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Incense and spices

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A rainbow of plastic shoes

Thanks for your support and prayers, friends!



Thursday, October 19, 2017

Master Tree Growers Training

It’s Master TreeGrower (MTG) time again! This is an amazing training spearheaded by an Australian organization called Beyond Subsistence. 

We were able to host and implement our first MTG training two years ago and this training is in a different region, more remote and into the countryside. 

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I’ll go more into the details at a later date but will you pray with us that as we learn much about erosion control, markets, different growing techniques, we can also clearly communicate about the Master and Creator. 

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Coffee Time

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The training involves many field visits and this man, Aba Mulu Neh, is a model farmer. Years ago, he put into practice ideas the 5Fs were teaching on fruit trees and it has brought incredible results for he and his family. He credits one fruit tree for bringing enough profit that it sent all his children to school. 

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Getting to the sites isn’t always easy. 

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But learning from others is always worth the trip. 

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Another model farmer, Aba Atenaf, who has used farming techniques thought by 5Fs to help restore his land in numerous ways.  Mark accredits him to be the father of thousands of native seedlings we have propagated and distributed through the years in the Awi Zone, from seed collected on his property.


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.



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


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


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. 


Jon and Tiger are outnumbered in our house. :)

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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. 


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. 


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.


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


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


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). 


Adgo made us all torches. 

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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”.

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


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


Listening to Adgo explain.


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.


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




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.


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


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


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.) 


We did midday coffee and lunch with friends.


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.