We don’t usually attach a lot of significance to names in the US. Our naming decisions usually revolve around how it sounds or who it reminds us of. Sure everyone looks at the baby name books to see what their favorite names “mean”, but these meanings rarely hold any real connection to our lives. The act of naming a person seems so small, but I think there may be more to it than we realize. To give someone a name is to give them an identity. It is the mark that will identify them for life.
In most of the less developed world names still have more significance. A persons name reflects something personal about them. It may represent the past, a particular event, or a hope for the future. It may simply remind someone where they came from, or give them something to aspire to. It may simply be a statement of fact. Our friend Nega’s name means “like the dawn” reflecting the fact that he is the firstborn. Our friend Jonathan Daniel from Zimbabwe was actually named after the man who abused his mother while he was in the womb. The names Haptomu (the rich man) and mengistu (the government or the politician) reflect the parents hope that the child will attain a certain status in their life. Andonet is Nega’s brother. His name means “unity”, which is his father’s hope for the future of Ethiopia. Our friend Sodo has a constant reminder of where he came from. He is named after the town of Sodo where he was born. Yenesaw (my man) and Emmabet (lady of the house) are endearing personal names. Biblical references are common, such as Dawit (David) and Eyob (Job). These are given as a way to instill the virtues represented by these characters. Behind every name is a story or a reason. These names represent something very important to the identity of that individual.
We have selected the name of Jonathan Dawit Bridges. To the right are the first pictures of young Dawit. Our selection process was a mix of the two worlds in which we now live, America and Ethiopia. It, of course, had to sound good and couldn’t be too far out there so that he wouldn’t get picked on about it. It also had to serve as a reminder of where he came from and why we were there when his life began. In addition to all of this we hope that he will share the virtues displayed in the lives of the biblical figures Jonathan and David; the virtues of loyalty, unselfishness, courage, and friendship.
Though I haven’t mentioned it so far, any ultrasound technicians should already know what the sex of our baby is, and the name should have been enough of a clue to let you know that its a boy! I should tell you that I am a bit relieved. Not that I would have minded having a little girl. Actually the thought of “daddy’s little girl” had started to sound pretty good, but there was that conflicting emotion of fear that lingered with every thought of a raising a girl. I know that raising a boy is just as challenging as a girl, just in a different way. I was a rough and tumble young lad once myself (some say that I still am). As mischievous and hard-headed as a boy can be at least I know what I’m getting in to. So yesterday when Pam, the ultrasound technician, pulled me aside and showed me the evidence that we are having a boy I breathed a sigh of relief.
So there you have it. We are at 20 weeks, which is the halfway point. Dawit is looking good and developing normally. God blesses us over and over again.
Please continue to pray for us and our work in Ethiopia in the coming months. Jesus’ statement that we must be willing to leave our homes and families for Him is becoming ever more of a reality for me. I’ll be leaving Jess at home during most of the later half of her pregnancy as I travel back to Ethiopia to break ground on the Kota Ganate Project. The separation at this time will be hard, but I know God will see us through.