Thursday, August 16

travel. friend. entoto mountain.

I am home from Ethiopia. I have been for almost a week. I am still processing. This time its is more challenging to wrap my mind around all that I have seen. All that I felt. All that I learned. And all that has changed. What a blessed trip we had. Full of laughs, tears, joy, heartache, lessons learned, challenges, growth, new passions and a deeper love for our savior who makes all things new.

I was blessed enough to have two of my sisters on this trip with me. One, my blood sisters and the other, Phillip's sister. What a joy is was to share with them the place that has so captivated my soul. To see them love the place that has been such a huge part of my life and to see them also leave apart of themselves there was a true joy.  To worship with them, to serve with them and to cry with them. I will forever hold this time with them dear to my heart.
I was also blessed enough to be in Ethiopia with one of my best friends. She is there waiting to bring her babies home to their forever home. ( you can follow her african adventure here.) The night we landed she surprised me at a restaurant near our guest house. I casually walked in the restaurant feeling exhausted but excited. She was standing behind a corner and as I walked past I heard her familiar voice call my name from behind. I nearly tacked her in excitement! I hadn't seen her in nearly 5 weeks! We have dreamed of being in Ethiopia together and here we were! Dining together in a small restaurant in Bole! Thank you Jesus for orchestrating such a perfect reunion!
The first day in Ethiopia started with frustration. If you have never been to Ethiopia or Africa for that matter, you know that some of the most important things to take with you is flexibility and patience. Along with a sense of humor. Things there break. Things there are unreliable. Things there are slow. Things there are just...different.  After breakfast the team headed out the door to convert US Dollars for birr and to pull out money from the ATM's before we embarked on our adventures. This first day was a down day. Since the majority of us had been awake since 4:30 am Ethiopia time after going to "sleep" around midnight Ethiopia time it was the perfect day to just rest and check out the city and shop. Changing money in Ethiopia or even accessing your money in Ethiopia is an adventure in itself. After spending 30 minutes converting 60 US dollars at a local bank I decided to pull out a little more from the ATM inside the friendship mall. Sometimes the ATM machines there are empty and arent refilled for days. We stood and watched a man refill the ATM which was relief because we were going to be able to get money today! Praise Jesus! After one of our team members pulled out what they needed, I stuck my card in to get what I needed. After sticking my card in, the machine froze!!!! WITH MY ONLY DEBIT CARD STUCK IN THE MACHINE!!!! After several minutes of standing there staring at it, pressing cancel over and over and gently punching the side of the machine....nothing... no card. The guards standing by the door didn't know english and as I asked to use the phone to call the bank number on the sticker on the side of the machine they looked at me like I was crazy and refused the phone. Luckily some of our team flagged down our driver and he called the bank. They said "We will get there when we can." If you know anything about Ethiopians at all, you know they operate on their time. Which is NOTHING like our time! So we waited! and waited! The team leader and I looked at each other and just laughed saying "TIA - This Is Africa!"

My card was recovered. Thank you Jesus I didn't have to leave my card in a random ATM machine in a  3rd world country on the very first day!! However after that we had to walk around Bole trying to find a working ATM because my card broke that one! HA! While walking down a very busy rocky dirt road to find another ATM machine a Blue Taxi Van passed by and I heard a familiar voice yell "Farange!! Jenna!!!" I looked up startled to see Wynne hanging out of the taxi waving her arms at me!!! She and her friend hopped out of the van and joined us on our pursuit for money! We spent most of the morning hunting for cash at every nice hotel and shopping center. After finally acquiring enough to cover lunch for 16 people we went and enjoyed a nice lunch at Makush! I got to meet several adoption mommas at the restaurant.. Like Beth Cupitt from Give1Save1 and Jen Verme from Pure and Lasting. What an honor to finally meet these two!

After lunch, we drove up to Entoto Mountain! It was beautiful to say the least! The view. The fresh air. The people. It was a great way to spend a rainy Ethiopian afternoon. We stopped on the side of the rode to take pictures and soak in the amazing view of Addis and some of the countryside. We traveled further up the mountain and got to tour an old orthodox church. It was really interesting to see where they worship and how they worship.
Inside the church
The church exterior
Here is a video of our tour guide showing us how they worship followed by me copying him... just so you know... that drum was really heavy!! 

More adventures and stories to come. 

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