Thriving in the Rain

Emily and I were told by numerous expats, far more experienced in Addis Ababa, that the summer (rainy) season undesirable, especially with kids. Common expressions used in our conversations were “blah,” “miserable,” and “See you in 2 months—suckers.” As a new school year approaches, however,  we must say that it has been anything but miserable. For the duration, I have taken on the job as compound manager, which I have since retitled “deputy sheriff.” It has given me an opportunity to continue Amharic language learning as I struggle to communicate with our workers. For our girls– blanket forts, Lego litter, picture books, and beaded paraphernalia have transformed our attic into a veritable fantasy land.

The best gift of this rainy season, however, has been the opportunity to serve with my family during several Young Life camp sessions. For three days 250-280 kids are treated like royalty and shown the time of their lives. Cabin competitions, swimming, field games, and restaurant quality food fill their day. The highlight, though, are the action-packed clubs where both rural and urban students mix from a variety of tribes and religious backgrounds. They laugh, sing, dance, and hear about the love and power of Jesus Christ. It is nothing less than a privilege to serve food, pick up trash, and facilitate games while the Lord moves in the hearts of young people. And to serve alongside Emily and the girls– well, it does not get much better than that!

Invest In Books

An empty suitcase and willing traveler is a wonderful gift. Last month a friend offered to bring 50lbs worth of books to benefit our budding youth ministry program and lacking library. So I purchased 45 books, including 12 copies each of three titles for the classroom. The only dilemma is that the $421 bill has overextended our monthly ministry budget.

If you would like to help us subsidize this purchase and plan for another in December please consider making a contribution to our ministry account. Click HERE: SIM Giving Link.


Do you know any gifted individuals who might like to come to Ethiopia to teach a modular course in youth ministry?

If so let me know. We are working on a God-sized vision over here. ETC is launching a Youth Ministry major in their Bachelors of Theology program.This is a brand new concept for Africa. Over the past several months, I have been working with ETC’s Academic Dean to draft the outcome profile (which you have seen), the curriculum and preliminary course descriptions.

The time is right—the evangelical churches in Ethiopia have recognized the need for better youth ministry training; the school administration and students are excited and have been anticipating this launch. The long-term vision is that a faculty of Ethiopians will drive this program, however our most significant obstacle is the lack of gifted teachers and practitioners in the field of youth ministry.

Prayerfully consider coming to Ethiopia to share your expertise in youth ministry by teaching a modular course. Modular courses run for about 2 weeks and are currently offered in January and during the summer months.

Here is what makes this opportunity unique:

  • 75% of the Ethiopian population is under 25 years old. The need is HUGE.
  • We are the only internationally accredited theological college in Ethiopia.
  • We are the only college offering a Youth Ministry major in East Africa—we believe 1 of 2 on the continent.
  • Students at ETC are not preparing for ministry; they are already deeply entrenched in their local church and para-church organizations. What they learn often goes directly into practice.
  • Prior teaching experience is preferred, but not required. (This has been my first experience teaching in an academic environment).
  • All teaching will be in English.
  • There is a significant level of flexibility in the start dates for the modular courses.

This is indeed a “big ask” but also a phenomenal opportunity to serve the church in Ethiopia. Youth ministry expertise is sorely needed in this context.

by Emily:
I must warn you, for those who are faint of heart, this story does not end well. It began when I saw a streak of black on my kitchen floor.  I wanted to ignore it, dismiss it as part of my imagination, but it was confirmed next day when my neighbor spotted it running into our bathroom.  An experienced missionary, she followed it into the bathroom and reported back to me, “Yep, there’s the hole.”  Behind a cabinet, next to the toilet was a little wiggle room in the cement around a water pipe leading out of the house.

After a few more sightings, my girls named the mouse, “Baby Blue.” At first they intended to catch him and keep him for a pet. Soon after though, the oldest two decided they didn’t really want a rodent for a pet– afraid of stepping on him when nature called in the middle of the night.  My youngest, however, insisted that if she found him in the middle of the night, she would take him into her bed for a good cuddle.  Every time she said his name in a high-pitched voice, she became more and more attached to our resident vermin.

Finally, one night, I was awoken multiple times to the crinkling of plastic in my closet.  I also saw Baby Blue peaking at me on the counter while I mixed cookie dough the next afternoon.  That was the last straw.

Unfortunately, the day I decided to launch the attack, Jason was away at Young Life camp for an overnight.  It was me against the mouse.  I remembered discovering two dusty, rusty, ancient mousetraps left by the former tenants somewhere in the vicinity of the kitchen.  As I searched the shelves and dug under the kitchen sink, I wondered how many battles had been fought in this house before we arrived.  Friends had told stories of giant rats in the compost pile.  I was glad I was dealing with a small critter.

After fiddling with the traps for a few minutes, I decided that I needed help, so I consulted the Internet.  During my first couple of attempts to set them, they snapped, causing me to let out involuntary screams.  The girls came running to check on me.  Within five minutes the traps were set with Gouda in the bathroom and pantry.  Sarah made a sign for the pantry door reading, “Do not og en.”  (Do not go in.   As I value the my toes and those of my children.)

Then, Sarah and I went for an afternoon walk and chatted about plans for watching a movie that night.  Our neighbors stopped us and handed Sarah a fragrant citrus flower from a new bush in their garden.  When I told them about our plight, the husband said, he could come and help if I had a dead mouse on hand.  I thanked him but said I thought I wanted the bragging rights.  I was tough and could handle a mousetrap while my husband was away.

Upon returning to the house, I checked the traps.  I admit I was somewhat relieved to find them as I left them.  Again, I checked them in the morning- no mouse, no cheese.  Baby Blue was a smart little mouse.  Before leaving for church, I slathered some peanut butter on the trap.  I remembered my parents using peanut butter.  I wished I had a Have-A-Heart trap for this little guy.  When we returned from church, the peanut butter was gone, still no mouse.  Mouse 2, me 0.

Jason found my circumstance amusing when he returned.  That afternoon, another neighbor brought some food to put in our deep freezer.  Her power had been out for two days and she didn’t want it to spoil.  I warned her about the trap on the floor.  I told her I couldn’t believe that the mouse feasted on cheese and peanut butter and was still roaming my house.

She said, “I have something that works.  Can you come?”  So I followed her to her house.  I waited on the porch while she produced a yellow tube of glue labeled Arrat, Made in Italy, non-poisonous.  She and her husband proceeded to squeeze the thick adhesive onto two small squares of cardboard.  It took some muscle power dislodge the thick yellowish goo.  She told me put some cheese in the middle of the glue and the mouse would stick. This time I gave the pantry a double dose- both cardboard traps, since I had seen evidence of the mouse there.

Sure enough, the next morning, there was the mouse.  But, he was alive and stuck to the floor.  Dread and disgust poured through me.  I couldn’t even look at him up close.  I close the pantry door and ran to my husband.  After pleading with him to help, he scooped the mouse off of the floor with a plastic spoon.  I couldn’t watch.  He said it was like gum.  Then, he encased the rodent into a plastic grocery bag and carried him to the trash site.  I hope Baby Blue ran out of air quickly.  I do like animals and I don’t want them to suffer.  I don’t know what I will do if we see another rodent in our house.  We’ve closed up the hole in the bathroom with rat wire and I’m hoping for the best.

When Sarah asked about Baby Blue, I told her that Daddy took him out of the house.  She was content with this explanation and skipped off to find a dress to wear.  I am also happy to say I release all “bragging rights.”  Nothing to brag about here.

1 thought on “Thriving in the Rain

  1. Emily, you are a great storyteller! Thanks for sharing this funny scenario. So glad to hear things are going well for you and your family as you share Jesus in Ethiopia. Praying for you!

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