For the last 5 days I’ve shared a journal from a life changing trip I took with the Bible League to Ethiopia. Today is my final journal entry. Looking back, I realized that I forgot to include my first journal entry. So today I’ll end where the journey actually began.
These are quickly written notes concerning my trip with the Bible League in Ethiopia.
I don’t know if I have the suitable frame of mind or body to travel by plane on a consistent basis. On Friday our plane took off at 8:30 a.m. from Seatac Airport. 19 hours of sardine packed flying later and we landed in Ethiopia Saturday night at 8:30 pm. I still am unable to compute how a flight can start Friday morning and end Saturday night.
Regardless of the lost day, the flight went as well as my 6′ 3” frame could expect. When we reached our hotel, my body was ready for sleep. We are staying at The King’s hotel. The hotel’s monarch moniker for the most part contrasts the accommodations. The lobby’s elaborate chandelier evokes regality. However, the rooms give off more of a servant class vibe. Which is perfectly fine as we explore a country with great economic disparity and hardship.
I tried to sleep on arrival, but the air messed with my lungs a bit. My room has a smoky, incense ambiance that’s a little tough on my easily irritated airways. I slept off and on through the night, taking sips of water to temper coughing fits and my low grade sore throat. 19 hours of plane air certainly added to the minor discomfort.
Regardless, we woke Sunday morning to an Ethiopian buffet breakfast. I ate a couple of hardboiled eggs and some wonderfully strong authentic Ethiopian coffee. Two tiny cups most likely equals a venti drip! Yeah to Ethiopian coffee.
After my light breakfast, I headed with our Bible League group to a Sunday morning worship service. It started somewhere between 9:30 and 10:00 am. About 50 people where there when we started. By the time the singing was over, there were about 500 people in the room.
I was given the great privilege of bringing the message for the day. So with a very apt interpreter I preached for about 40 minutes on serving the Creator instead of the creation, on never being alone, and on completely surrendering to God. I also shared some stories from my testimony. It was a real joy to have such a fun opportunity.
The message was well received as people rededicated their lives to pursuing God. Before I preached, I thought a lot about what translates into the Ethiopian culture. What aspects of my preaching would make sense in the Ethiopian community? It was good to see a very positive response to what I was preaching. It made me feel that I have a message that goes beyond the whims and fads of American culture.
While I was preaching today, it started to rain heavily on the simple tin roof church. The sound of the rain was rather magical.
I am not the best preacher with a translator, but I felt like much of my heart did come across. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit can translate every message to transform hearts. After the service we went to an authentic Ethiopian food restaurant.
It was a very peaceful and restful meal. I didn’t really know the origin of most of what I was eating, but it still was rather tasty. Although I pride myself in liking just about everything, I’m still not sure if I enjoy the spongy Ethiopian bread that accompanies the meal. It’s just so different than any other kind of bread I’ve eaten. It has a really spongy, protein kind of taste to it. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t necessarily excite my taste buds like naan or even a tortilla. At the end of the meal, we had some more yummy coffee and participated in a coffee ceremony that includes the burning of incense. I’m beginning to smell like Ethiopia. Earth, sweat, and incense.
Most of our 13 member group were pretty tired and worn out, so we headed back to the hotel to recoup from the jet lag of the previous day(s). I slept about 3 hours and then headed down for dinner at the hotel restaurant. I had what I believe to be chicken curry. It was not what I ordered, but it was not bad. For the most part it was a simple, mild, curry dish with a side of fries.
Monday we are going to the Bible League offices in Addis Ababa. Should be an informative day of spiritual and cultural insights.
Lord, I thank you for this trip and this wonderful opportunity to see what you are doing throughout the world. Thanks for letting me preach in Ethiopia.
Oh by the way. . . . our neighbor across the alley plays non stop blaring Ethiopian music interspersed with Lady Gaga songs and other more global fare. Should be an interesting night. . .