This morning I awoke at 5:30am, had a nice read and got all packed for the trip to Addis. I went down to breakfast early at 7:30 to journal with a cup of coffee and, fortunately, Greg and Rhonda came down at 7:45 and Greg asked me what I was going to preach on at church. My face dropped, Don had asked me yesterday at the prison if I would like to preach at church today and I enthusiastically agreed to. I have never preached in a church before and would love the opportunity, but it completely slipped my mind until Greg asked the dreadful question. The look of shock on my face must have been priceless.
I quickly started reading a Spurgeon sermon and decided to preach on The Consolation in Our Suffering. I scarfed down my omelette and retreated to my room for 80 minutes of study and preparation before we had to leave for church. I prayed with all my heart that God would give me strength and that he would be glorified in my preaching.
We arrived at the same church where we held the conference Monday and had a great time of worship. I prayed the whole time that God would bring the right words. He brought several passages of scripture to mind that would be applicable- I have no idea if I quoted any of those scriptures during my message, though.
I delivered the sermon fairly fluently, made the points clear, engaged the church, encouraged them scripturally, and made an altar call. Three people in the church came forward and we prayed for them. I encouraged the church to raise these new believers in the faith, to stand beside each other, to encourage one another, and to keep their eyes toward their heavenly home. Overall I think it went well and the team encouraged me with kind words after the service.
After church we drove directly to Addis. The drive was warm but comfortable and, since we were on the new toll highway it was a very fast and smooth ride. I began reading a book Greg gave to me called “10 Years Inside Shelton Prison” written by a PFC volunteer. I hope that will be good airplane reading.
When passing the toll booths we saw a new ‘high rise’ housing development of a few thousand units. It is all under construction and none of the units are inhabited yet. We drove through a somewhat industrial part of town and a mixed use area and then approached downtown Addis Ababa. Addis is a very large city that appears to be growing rapidly. There are many more modern buildings here and a lot of construction in process. There is a new light rail system being installed. We assume it is going to be heading out of town directly to the new housing development.
After driving around for about an hour looking at two or three different hotels we wound up right back at Sheba Guest House where we stayed our first night when we arrived in Addis at 2:00am. This time the hotel has power and we are all much more rested.
We took 15 minutes to get settled and then headed out to go shopping. We sometimes call this our cultural experience but, in reality, the whole trip is the cultural experience, this is just our opportunity to look for something to take home for memories.
We drove past the government offices and the US Embassy and climbed the hill to an outdoor shopping area where they primarily sell linens. Greg’s altimeter showed 8,300 feet. Don was asking if they have or use any type of prayer shawl and, next thing we knew, Tadele, Meseret and Misraku had purchased a scarf for each of us. What a wonderful gift to remember them by.
We were all done shopping after very little time. Our hosts wanted to take us to the national museum. We ate dinner first at Lucy’s Restaurant. Lucy, the supposed Homo Sapien, was discovered in northern Ethiopia 40 years ago. The restaurant is named and themed after her. The meal was excellent with a large variety so everyone was ale to find a food to please them. I had another traditional Ethiopian meal – when in Ethiopia…..
We walked ½ block to the museum and found it was closed. I believe our hosts were disappointed because they really wanted us to see it. We had a really nice day, anyway.
Back at the guest house I called Susan one last time before returning the air card to Meseret’s phone. There was no time left on it so we heard each other’s voices for a moment but no conversation. Meseret was kind enough to allow me to use her SIM card all week so I would have to buy another one.
I took Tadele’s Missionary Partner Application Packet to him this evening along with his new business cards and some other materials he can use in the ministry. Apparently the bathroom in his guest house room was not working so they moved him to a very nice suite out back. It is a large stand-alone cottage/apartment with very nice amenities. I’m so happy, after all the hard work he has done, that he has received this great gift. It’s like he and Meseret have a honeymoon suite. A very nice getaway after a long, hard week. I would not be surprised to learn that this is the nicest place they have stayed – I hope so.
I have now packed completely and am ready to head home. It’s been a fabulous trip, among the best, certainly.