The road in this picture is the road that is taken to and from the refugee camp at Mai Aini that was taken this summer. As you can see, it is small, winding, and treacherous. With that, there is a beauty that can be seen as you travel on it that is almost indescribable. As we have planned and prepared to go back, I am reminded that just because something is scary or overwhelming doesn’t mean it is not worth pursuing.
This Sunday, there will be five people from our church and association returning to Ethiopia for a week to meet with the leaders of the Mai Aini refugee camp in order to put together and finalize a plan that will allow us to build a library that can be filled with English and native language books to be used by refugees for learning and reading. The camp and government has given us permission, as well as a plot of land to build on, and we are meeting to find out what type of building is culturally acceptable, how it will be built, and what we need to do on the front end to make this project a success. I am overjoyed to return to Africa and see the friends that we have made over the summer, and pray that we make much of the Gospel as we seek to provide a basic need for this camp: education.
Here are a few things that you can pray for as we travel and plan:
1. Pray that the travel connections come together. If you have ever traveled in a third world country, travel connections can be fluid. As in, no matter what you plan, it can all be scrapped and replanned if necessary. While we hope that things will smoothly, they may not. That’s okay. Just pray our bodies, hearts, and minds stay flexible as we journey towards Mai Aini.
2. Pray for the people that we will meet, both in Shire and in the camp. The connections that we have made in the previous trips have provided wonderful opportunities for us, and we hope to foster and grow those relationships to create more opportunities for service, evangelism, and aid. Being an outsider requires us to both understand and embrace the cultural norms in Ethiopia, and our desire is to respect and work within the needs of the camp. Pray that our meetings would be full of understanding, and that we would convey the respect we feel for the leaders, as well as our desire to help.
3. Health. Simply put, that we would stay healthy. We struggled with sickness on our last trip, and recognize that is one of the things that happens with a change in environment. Pray that our bodies stay healthy as we work, travel, and join in community with the people of Ethiopia and the refugees of Eritrea!
Thank you all for the support that has been shown, for the prayers and thoughts that have traveled with us, and for the blessings of resources through donations of clothes, books, and money that have begun to pour in as we undertake this process. I will try to do a better job of updating with news, pictures, and videos of some of the stories we have and will encounter!