Epic Water Battle

One of the best things about living in Ethiopia is the weather.  It never gets too cold or too hot.  Even during rainy season, the sun comes out every day and I am comfortable in a sweatshirt and jeans. The month of February is in the middle of dry season.  Every day begins with cool air that gradually warms up during the day, perfect weather for a water fight.

One hot, Saturday afternoon, Lauren, Anna and Sarah asked to use their new water guns, Christmas presents from their father.  I had put off allowing them get out these new toys, because I had a feeling I would end up getting wet, too.watergun

Jason, supplied the girls with buckets, which they filled to the brim with cold spigot water from the backyard.  Letting him take over, I continued cutting up vegetables and shredding cheese for our dinner.

Jason appeared in the kitchen and whispered, “Come on.  Let’s get ‘em.” Hearing happy screams from the yard, I told him, “They’re fine.  They’re having a blast.  I’m going to finish making dinner.”

Unsatisfied with my answer, Jason insisted, “Come on.  We need to get in on this!  I’m going to fill a bucket with water and I’ll meet you in the front of the house.”

I finished shredding the cheese, popped the pizza dough in the oven, and hurried to my room to change into shorts.  Jason and I made a pact that we would not spray each other.  This agreement benefited me the most, because my husband is extremely competitive.

In silence, we filled our sprayers.  I turned left and tiptoed around the house.  Jason sprinted to the right and we surprised the girls, spraying each of them, catching them off guard.

After the initial shock of being sprayed by her parents, Anna announced, “That’s warm water.  Hey, where did you get warm water!”

Jason and I met back at our water supply.

“I accidently filled it with warm water,” he told me. We refilled and launched another attack, spraying Lauren and Anna, while Sarah kept her distance.

“Hey!  Where did you get water!”  Lauren demanded, following us back to the front yard.  Jason held her off and I refilled once again.  Sarah, not wanting to be left out, pushed her way past her sisters.  While I sprayed Sarah, Anna ducked behind me and filled her water sprayer with warm water.  I turned around and she hosed me down, completely soaking me.  I let out an involuntary scream, which drew some children from our neighborhood.

I dipped my water sprayer back in the bucket, filling it again.  I retaliated, spraying Anna. “I don’t mind!” she giggled, making her way back to the bucket.

Lauren and Sarah engaged in another battle with their father, chasing him to the backyard, where he was searching for more water, cold this time.  He too was drenched and laughing.

“I’ve never seen someone spray their mom before!” a neighbor girl chuckled.

“Me neither,” exclaimed her brother.

“Where’s Daddy?”  Anna asked.

“I think he went to the backyard,” I told her.

She ran around the back of the house in search of water and her father.  That gave me the perfect chance to escape back into the house.  I changed into dry clothes and finished up dinner, smiling at the sounds of a happy family.


I love my job! 

DSCN2497This school year I had the opportunity to teach the Ethiopian assistant teachers how to lead guided reading small groups.  Each elementary classroom has an assistant teacher who helps to keep things organized.  For ten weeks, I joined them for their weekly staff meetings, covering topics such as how to prompt children when they make errors, decoding strategies, how to ask good questions, and comprehension strategies.  At the beginning, the assistant teachers were rather shy and did not want to share their ideas.  However, after a couple of sessions they felt more comfortable and everyone shared their thoughts.

I also learned that it was helpful to give them a chance to work in small groups or with a partner before reporting back to the large group.  Near the end of our sessions, I went into classrooms and observed each assistant teacher lead a reading group.  I was ecstatic to see them using the techniques we had covered in our sessions and they had wonderful rapport with students.  I enjoyed meeting with them later in the day to share the great things I observed and offer a few bits of constructive feedback.

The benefits of this training are two fold:  the assistant teachers are equipped to teach children at a higher level and classroom teachers have even more help available to them.  The turnover rate of our classroom teachers varies from year to year, but our Ethiopian staff tends to stay much longer.  I am confident that our assistant teachers are experienced and a great asset to Bingham Academy.  I feel privileged to have had the time to get to know them better and to lead them in professional development.


Me Too!!! 
By: Jason
This semester I am teaching Intro. to Preaching and Intro. to Youth Ministry. (I bet you can guess which one I like better). My students are a lively bunch; our classroom discussions typically spill over into conversations over tea. Since my courses are in the evenings I have been able to continue my studies at Amharic language school. I have this amazing teacher, who is part drill sergeant and part grandmother. She’s likely 137 years old but has more energy than anyone else at that school, including me. I am thankful that she is teaching me how to read, write, speak and dream in this crazy language.

Crazy, Big News

DSC_0533So Here It Is…

After months of prayer and seeking the counsel of wise people on both sides of the ocean, we have decided to extend our stay in Addis Ababa for one more year. Although it is difficult to be away from friends, family and the familiar elements of our home, we still have work to complete. Our three girls are thriving, we are better acquainted with the rhythm of Ethiopian culture and our teaching jobs are in full-stride. We believe by extending for an additional 12 months, Emily and I will be able to increase our reach. Here’s what we mean–

For Jason: Evangelical Theological College (ETC) just launched a Youth Ministry major, making it one of two schools in Africa with this offering. I am involved in a 4-fold project: teachingyouth ministry courses, creating program awareness among churches, recruiting new teachers and providing grassroots youth ministry training in local congregations. The study of and professionalization of youth ministry is a growing concept in Ethiopia. I have several students right now with fire in their eyes, but please pray for more. I am honored to play a role in this development.

For Emily: This job consistently puts a smile on her face. From the outset Emily envisioned that her work would be primarily with small groups of elementary children. Her reading specialist position, however, has exploded into something even greater. In addition to working with young people, Emily is leading professional development seminars (how to teach effective reading and writing strategies) for the classroom teachers as well as the Ethiopian assistant teachers.  In this next year Emily plans to invest even more in the assistant teachers. International schools like Bingham Academy tend to have a transient staff, but the Ethiopian teachers maintain a steadfast presence.

We return to the States on June 2 for the summer. Speaking for our family- we cannot wait to get a decent plate of nachos— but more than that— we cannot wait to be reunited with the warm faces of our friends and family. I just purchased our plane tickets today. The implications of round-trip airfares are both thrilling and overwhelming. This is a big day in the Craig house. Please pray for us.


Raw Meat Ridiculous

About a month ago, during a break between classes some of my students were quizzing me on Ethiopian cuisine, wondering what I liked and disliked. On my “no way”  list were dishes such as doolet (sheep stomach) and kort (raw beef cubes). One student teased me, commenting that all foreigners’ stomachs are weak. Slightly offended, I retorted in Amharic, “Not me- my stomach is strong, I’ve eaten kitfoe! (rare, spiced ground beef)” It was true, I had eaten side-dish portions several times and felt no ill effects. My “street cred” was seemingly restored outside the classroom that night.

Yesterday I met one of those same students for lunch. He surprised me in the parking lot as he pulled up in his car, an uncommon luxury. I hopped in and we were off. He was ecstatic to take me to one of his favorite places. We chatted continuously for about 15 minutes about school, our families, and youth ministry. Pulling up to an unfamiliar 9a7e4__121018034451-elyse-pasquale-kitfo-horizontal-galleryrestaurant I sounded out the sign with my 1st grade Amharic– kih–ti–foe. Immediately I thought to myself, “No problem, I’ll  just sample a little with my meal…” When the menu arrived I read over the 25 options– 24 of which were beverages. Before long I was greeted with enough ground meat to complete an Old El Paso Taco kit. It was actually quite good, but enough for two people! I cleaned my plate like a good boy, but now I have this bowling ball of spices, butter and uncooked madness gurgling in my stomach. I am completing this post from my bed dealing with the unpleasant shock to my system. I am thankful for little things like clean water, a bathroom and no teaching obligations today.

Of course, Emily offers little sympathy– only an all-too-familiar eye roll/head shake combo.  Tonight for dinner she will be serving me de-worming medicine with a Pepto-Bismol chaser.

Setting aside my temporary discomfort, I must say our conversation about the state of youth ministry in Ethiopia was invigorating. I am thrilled for this developing friendship, but will insist on pizza next time.


_MG_0797This week I was invited to teach an introductory youth ministry workshop for 30 young adults. Many of them have little experience, however they are familiar with the dangerous trajectories facing teenagers in Addis Ababa. We had a blast creating a profile of an urban teenager, addressing global trends, and building a leadership approach in light of Jesus’ calling of Matthew (Matt. 9:9-11). Challenging them to take two teenagers to tea in the next 2 weeks, I look forward to our follow-up and cannot wait to hear what they have learned through their conversations.

Learning From My Children

One of my neighbors works for the CURE hospital in Addis Ababa and we often marvel at her stories of children’s lives being changed both physically and spiritually at the facility. Many children with club feet, severe burns, and cleft palates are served for free and their quality of life is drastically improved.

A couple of weeks ago, we joined my friend’s family for a visit to CURE. When Sarah heard about our impending trip, she dashed into her room, riffled through a drawer, and turned up with the ten birr she received for her most recent tooth loss. She declared that she wanted to give her birr to the children in the hospital. On the way to the hospital, we stopped at a grocery store to buy candy to give to the patients and their families. Sarah went in and bought three lollipops to give away. Our friends also brought crayons, colored pencils, coloring sheets, bubbles, and baby toys to share.

In the children’s ward, Sarah gave out her lollipops and then sidled up to a ten year-old girl named Salamawit. She diligently colored a stripped kitten picture while the girl colored a picture of a monkey. They greeted one another and occasionally looked up and smile at each other. When Samalawit groaned in pain from her healing surgery, Sarah rubbed her back. She didn’t leave her side until it was time to go. I circulated among the girls and greeted staff and patients. Anna found her niche giving out string bracelets she made herself and collecting pictures and taping to the walls. Lauren enjoyed talking to the babies and giving out teething rings. Our friends’ children blew bubbles for the little ones and Jason used his Amharic to comfort a five year-old boy. I think we were blessed just as much as the children we visited.

My friend tells me that most people who come through CURE thank God and consider it an incredible gift receive such life-changing medical care. I witnessed this first hand when I watched a grateful couple holding their healing toddler. His upper lip was covered with scabs, but he looked well on the way to recovery. They were beaming as the collected their things to leave.

I think I can learn a lot from my children. What if I responded to need with the same enthusiasm as Sarah? What if I patiently stayed with people who were hurting? What if I slowed down and noticed who needed me with more diligence?

Story #2 = Newest Embarrassment

A few weeks ago, I was driving to the market to pick up some fruit and vegetables when I received a frantic phone call.  I pulled over and answered.  It was Jason.

“Emily, I have an emergency!”  he announced.  My mind searched for possibilities- Did his car break down?  Was he hurt?  Was someone else hurt?

“I split my pants,” he said in a hushed tone, “Could you bring me another pair?”  I couldn’t help laughing, but I turned around, drove home, and picked out a few pairs of pants, since I wasn’t sure which ones would match.

Later, I got the whole story.  Jason was walking through the college library when one of his students slowly stood and placed his hand on Jason’s shoulder.

“Mr. Craig, there is a problem with your pants,” he whispered, “in the back part.”  Jason wondered if he had sat in some dirt, but sure enough there was a nine-inch split showing all of London and France.  He had actually split them the last time he was wearing them and had mistakenly worn them again.  Thinking on his feet, he went to his office and got some scotch tape.  After calling me, he went to the bathroom and taped the pants from the inside.  Since there is a lot of traffic in Addis, it was going to take some time for me to stop at the house and then get to his school.  He might have to start teaching with the split.  He pulled down his jacket a bit, because he said it looked like he had a wedgie.  He returned to his classroom and started moving desks around.  With every lurch, he could hear the tape stretching and crinkling.  It did not make a very good fix.

Class started at 9:00 and I arrived at 9:02.  Jason gave his class a warm up worksheet and then jogged out to meet me.  The first pair of pants he held up had a hole, too.  The second pair was a go.  He thanked me, changed the pants, and got back to class without anyone else finding out…until he told all of his colleagues at lunch.


Story #3 = Culture Stress

Just as our lungs and legs have had to acclimate to running a mile above sea level, our emotional and spiritual selves have had to adapt to a new way of doing life. We won’t overly spiritualize it–sometimes living in Ethiopia just plain rough. We are so thankful for our fulfilling jobs, our warm home, and the our community of expat and Ethiopian friends. Some days, though, no matter how bright the sun is shining, it can still be stormy. Culture stress is the stutter-stepping of being off balance. No one likes that feeling.  For example, driving will never be relaxing as people and animals dart across the streets and diesel-belching wrecks wander from lane to lane— off-balance. Moving away from familiar scenery and a strong network of loved ones creates emotional holes, which are never quite filled in the same way–again, off balance. Not always understanding what the people are saying in the check-out line — off-balance. Living in close community with 10 other families, including our collective 35 kids– sometimes off balance.

My Top 3 Culture Stress Moments Last Week:
1.     A big man driving a small pink Toyota Yaris tried to run me off the road.
2.     Many things are hard to find and require asking numerous people for directions: i.e. 4 hours to find a wheel barrow tire and 2 days to find a piece of garden hose.
3.     The internet was so slow this week, I longed for carrier pigeons.
In the moment these were my intense dramas, but now, just a few days later they are hilarious and ridiculous.

Our Top 3 Reasons Why the Culture Stress is Worth it:
1.  This week, I met with students to discuss marriage advice and troubleshoot youth ministry strategies over coffee.
2. On Tuesday, Emily’s students were so enthralled by her story-telling they did not want to go to lunch until she was finished.
3. Yesterday, Wakuma (the student many of us helped to complete his university degree) surprised me in my office with a framed graduation photo (2 poses).

We try to laugh more than cry and pray more than cuss. The leadership axiom is true: a tea’s flavor comes out in hot water.  Emily and I are becoming aware of our own soft spots. We are no saints, but are we are trying to embrace moments of stress as a sanctifying process. We can sense God’s presence in it.

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.

Today was Wakuma’s Day!

Graduation Update

He did it!Early this morning I attended commencement at Addis Ababa University. You may recall that last year, Wakuma was one of my best students at Evangelical Theological College. In fact his English was so sharp I inquired to his background, and he explained that he already had a B.A. and was working on his M.A. in Oromo Language Study.

While pursuing a theology degree at our school, he hoped to complete his M.A. requirements at AAU. Like many young, educated Ethiopians, however, he was overextended in providing for the needs of his family.

Compelled to partner with Wakuma, I asked others like you to join me in providing a $1,230 grant for Wakuma. The response was overwhelming and wonderful! Through the generosity of many and the offering from a worship event in Lancaster, PA called “Collide”  Wakuma was fully funded. Over the next 5 months he tenaciously pursued his research and writing, and even completed his defense.

I value education and love the idea of equipping someone who is gifted and motivated. Today your investment paid off as Wakuma walked the stage. You’ll be excited to know that he even landed his first job, editing an Oromo translation of a 10-volume Bible study series.

Thank you for helping to change one man’s life!

First Year Reflections

While the East Coast of the U.S. swelters, we are in a rhythm of rain. Green grass, cool air, and cloudy skies are the hallmarks of an Addis Ababa summer.  As Emily and I close our first year in Ethiopia, we have been taking time to thank God for the subtle ways has directed us through our teaching responsibilities.  It has been a remarkable year.  Although content to live a simpler life, we have learned that being an expat in a third world country does not insulate from the iniquities of the life left behind.  Poor communication, selfishness, the love of “stuff,” and impatience with others, are easily imported—duty free. For us it is a daily choice to wake up each morning with God’s purposes on our minds.  It only takes 3 minutes in the car, dodging sheep, careless pedestrians, and diesel-belching trucks to realize that our life is a bit unusual.  The unusual can be stressful some days, but it is also affords us with unique, life-changing opportunities:

Not Soon to Forget:

  • Learning another language is as frustrating as it is exciting. I highly recommend it for anyone with struggling with pride issues. Going to language school has helped me and Emily to identify with our students’ ESL needs.
  • My brother, Matt, arrived with a Young Life work crew team 2 weeks ago. Greeting them at the airport, my daughters were surprised and overjoyed that their 10-year-old cousin Ryan was a secret member of the team.
  • Last week we saw 190 teenagers respond to the gospel at the first Young Life outreach camp in Debre Zeit. The Work Crew team was awesome- now we have several new friends!
  • Rejoicing with Wakuma who completed his Master’s Degree with the help of our church and friends in Lancaster, PA.
  • Numerous airport runs and difficult goodbyes with fast-forming friends who have returned to their home countries.

Traffic-circle donkeys and other adventures

A Few Powerful Moments

  • Recently I told one of my students, Wakuma, that a group of people from Lancaster, PA had fully funded the remainder of his requirements for a Master’s degree. He teared up and thanked me with enthusiasm.
  • Emily, working with a group of struggling readers, had a special moment last week. Her small group, so engaged in a book, literally cheered as the protagonist cat covered with banana cream pie landed on the bad guys.
  • Some of Emily’s ESL students are having breakthroughs with reading and comprehension. Boys and girls who once resisted reading are now thrilled every time they get to meet with Mrs. Craig.
  • I have had several spontaneous moments of prayer after class with students who are struggling with life-threatening health problems, dysfunctional marriages, and financial trials. I am honored these men have trusted me with such personal crises. Please pray that I would be an effective source of encouragement to them.
  • After a quiet prompting from the Lord while eating and an outdoor cafe, I attempted to give a naked, mentally ill man my jacket. Confused and surprised by my confrontation, he refused. In the street and unsure of what to do, four Ethiopian men seemingly out of nowhere appealed on my behalf and literally dressed this man in front of me. It was a poignant scene I will not soon forget.

Funny Stories

  • Lauren, Anna, and Sarah have made numerous attempts to entice the tortoises, who occasionally roam into our backyard, to take up permanent residence. Although we do not allow them to pick up or move the tortoises, once spotted, the girls waste no time creating bedrooms and a kitchen for their free-range friends.
  • Recently, during our morning exercises at language school I told my class a story about a man who gave me money. What I thought I said was that he pulled money from his pocket and handed it to me… I learned the Amharic words for “pocket” and “butt” our very closely related. My teacher’s expression was priceless.
  • For 4 days Emily was convinced a disheveled donkey in a nearby traffic circle was dead. She gave me daily reports of shock and disbelief that no one was doing anything about it. You can imagine she was unimpressed by my laughter. (I should point out the so-called “dead” donkey was standing up and in a different location each day). I laughed not at the idea of a dead donkey standing in a traffic circle, but the conspiracy theories Emily conjured up regarding (1) how this donkey could have died on it’s feet and (2) the plausible cultural explanations for ignoring the presence of a donkey in a public location. Upon closer investigation we discovered that Dominick (unofficial name), although catatonic and drooling like a 65 year-old hippie, is still very much alive.

Happy Fasika

Today many Ethiopians celebrate Easter, known as Fasika, following the ancient Coptic calendar.

Fasika climaxes after a 55 day lenten period. During this time Orthodox Christians observe a strict fast, akin to a vegan diet. On Easter eve followers go to church with candles to celebrate, which are lit during a colorful Easter mass service, beginning at midnight. The faithful prostrate themselves in church, continually bowing down and rising up.

After the service, people go home to break the fast with chicken or beef dishes, accompanied by injera and traditional drinks. Easter is a day of family reunion, an expression of good wishes with exchange of gifts like a lamb, goat or loaf of bread.

Wakuma Update!

Wakuma Update

As one of my students at Evangelical Theological College, Wakuma has a vision to serve God through translation, making discipleship materials more readily available for his own people.

Several weeks ago I appealed to our community to help raise $1230 so he could complete his research and thesis for his Master’s Degree at Addis Ababa University. The response was overwhelming and wonderful! Through your generosity and the offering from a worship event in Lancaster, PA called “Collide”  we were able to raise over $3600. Wakuma has been fully funded and he is thrilled!

But it gets better— I was able to gift $1000 to Evangelical Theological College, which provided last minute scholarships to 10 students, who otherwise would  have been unable to attend this semester. The remainder of the balance will be applied to that same scholarship fund next semester, assisting another 10-15 people. Amazing…God is good. Thank you for helping us to equip the next generation of leaders.

Our video thank you is HERE

  • I have found great joy from my job!  I love using my skills to assess children, identify their needs, and tailor lessons for them. 
  • Currently, I am working on teaching my students a variety of strategies for comprehension.  It thrills me to see them reading, understanding, and enjoying great books! 
  • In addition, I started leading a professional book group for teachers on teaching comprehension.  It is exciting to share ideas and encourage adults as well as children! 
* So far I have completed 3 sessions of Amharic language school. It is quite a challenge, but I love it. 

* Currently I am teaching an academic writing and youth ministry courses at ETC and just began a series of youth ministry workshops for enthusiastic church leaders.

* Last weekend I had the privilege of speaking to 100 youth leaders at a conference south of Addis Ababa. I spoke on practical tips for speaking to modern adolescents.

* I am in the process of restoring a lettuce green 1984 Toyota Corolla station wagon. Super ugly, but thankful for a second vehicle.