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Archive for January, 2015

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

January 21, 2015 Leave a comment

What’s the good word? Well today was a day of mixed emotions. The title of this blog says it all, so here it goes.

The Good: We delivered half of the 750 books that we were able to secure for the school in Robit. It was amazing to walk into the book store and see all of these books sitting there. It was a bit overwhelming. We are already seeing the fruits of our labor with the kids we have already supplied the books for. Their test scores were up and all passed their exams.

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The Bad: I saw the high school today and there was a HUGE disparity between what the high school students had and what the junior high students did not. They had a library full of reference books. They had computers (20 as a matter of fact), new buildings, and a new laboratory. I began to ask why, and I was told it was supported by the NGO (non government organization) Glimmer of Hope, who had secured the donations for high school. This really bothered me as I have always felt that there is an important foundation that needs to be laid in the lower grades. This leads me to the ugly.

The Ugly: If the junior high students needed computers, why couldn’t they use the nearly 13 computers the high school students WEREN’T using? If they needed lab equipment, why buy new equipment? Let them share the high school laboratory? NO! I was told. The high school was separate from the primary school. That prperty belonged to them and that was a decison that could only be made by the high ups in the education department of the government. So what’s the ugly? The school system is just as complicated and just as political as the system in the states. This isn’t rocket science. If there are 500 textbooks at this school and the school down the road (which I visited) has NONE, then take the excess there.

The Lord knows I have to work on my patience, and I guess this is his way of doing that! LOL! But I am determined to keep making a difference, through supplies, and the sharing of ideas. I did get a chance to meet those higher ups today (part of the good), and they were excited about the opportunity to work with Acts of Wisdom and improving the quality of educaiton for the students. And that’s the good word for today.

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God’s Work Our Hands

January 20, 2015 Leave a comment

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What’s the good word? Today was a day of days. It was great to be back out in Robit. To see the people I have become close to. To see the children growing up. To be seen by folks you have come to know and see them smile when they see you. It’s a blessing. But today was also a frustrating day. I am still trying to wrap my brain around the education system here. I was a bit thrown off guard to walk into shed full of books when I was told there weren’t any books. Come to find out, text books are given to schools by the government, however, it’s the reference books and workbooks that aren’t supplied. These are necessary for children to pratice and to study for their exams so that they pass. I was not aware of any of this. Let’s just say it was a long day of meetingssss and working through translators and it all was a bit much. I kept asking myself, “Why am I doing this again?” God calls us to ministry, but God never says it is easy. There’s a passage in Scripture where Jesus tells the disciples if you aren’t received in a town, dust the sand off your sandals and walk away. Translation: this won’t be easy. The Apostle Paul had many ups and downs in his ministry. He was chased out of towns, rocks thrown at him, boat crashed in a storm, thrown into prison, you name it. It wasn’t easy.

Then this happened. I was told by the school principal that because of our help in getting books for the second graders all of them passed their exams. ALL of them. 100%. They saw a big difference in the learning of the students because of these books we were able to get them. The school is now recognized by the regional manager of education that works for the government. I will meet him this week as he wishes to extend thanks and seek new ways of working together.

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And then this happened. I heard a story of widow with three kids and one on the way. Her husband was attacked and killed by some bandits who had a vendeta against the man’s brother. In the course of the fight, their oldest daughter tried to fend them off, only lossing her life as well. I just broke down crying, not finding the words to say.

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All of this to say, God’s work isn’t always easy. We may find times where we are asking “Why?” And then God will show up and show us why we are doing what we are doing. These people are the reason. Those kids. This woman. God showed me why and for that I am thankful. And that’s the good word for today.

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H2O

January 19, 2015 Leave a comment

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What’s the good word? For some, you were baptized as an infant. Unaware of what is happening to them, unaware of the significant thing that is happening to them as God claims us as His own. The are some who were baptized as adults, fully aware of what was going on, but perhaps, just perhaps, not fully aware of the significance either. For the past two days we have been celebrating here in Ehtiopia the festival of Timket. Timket is the commemoration of the Baptism of Jesus. There were hundreds of thousands of people gathered in the streets for singing, dancing and celebrating. Today, on the actual day, thousands gathered at the baths of King Felisites, a king from long ago. After the priests blessed the water, all jumped in to celebrate.

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For beleivers, baptism is a beginning and a gift from God. In the beginning was a God who, like a divine artist, chose to create. And nothing existed yet, so God created out of God’s own self. God, in a great act of self-giving love, chose to take up less space so that there was room for light and water and creatures great and small. I’ve heard it said that all the water on the earth today is the same water that existed at the beginning of time. What evaporates returns to the clouds from which water in another form is then rained down again on earth. And that means that the waters of your baptism that were poured on your heads, are actually the waters of creation…the same waters that God spoke into existence at the very beginning. That is reason to celebrate.

God reminded me today that I am created in God’s image. God claims me and loves me, and God loves and claims you too. We don’t celebrate this enough, but perhaps we should. The Baptism of Jesus occurs during the season of Epiphany (a time we celebrate Christ being revealed in the world). It happens in three ways- through the revelation to the wise men, through Jesus’ baptism, and through his first miracle. And I am reminded that it still happens today. It is revealed through us. For me, Jesus was made manifest through the people of Ethiopia today and through this wonderful festival called Timket. And that’s the good word for today.

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