Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
We have been going through some pretty major transitions over the last several months. In late June we were hit with a bit of a jolt. Onesimus Children Development Association, who we have been partnering with to have an agriculture project to fund their ministry to street children in Addis Ababa, asked that we move out of the house we have been using in Chencha that is on the project site. This request came as a shock but the reason why didn’t. Having white westerners living on the project site created problems for the ministry from the community and the government. Our sincerest hope is to help foster the growth of the agriculture project to fuel the ministry in Addis Ababa, so we were more than willing to comply. There was also a concern about possible security issues by us living in the community and not on the project compound. We enjoy good, close fellowship with those we work with on farm and many others in the community, and the church. However, the reality is that those relationships make up a very small percentage of the population in Chencha.
So, our search for a new home reached outside of Chencha and focused on areas that are more accustomed to having forenge (aka, westerners) in the area. In the end we felt lead to settle in Soddo, an area about 100km (about 60miles) away where there is a history of forenge living and working. Last week we started renting an old missionary house on the compound of the Kale Heywet Church (a denomination similar to Baptist that is found in Ethiopia). Most of our friends in Chencha attend the Kale Heywet Church there.
Jon is still working with the farm in relatively the same capacity. The biggest change will be that he will now have to commute to the farm. He will also be in communication with the project manager and staff via phone, email or Skype on days that he isn’t on site. Also, he will be able to fulfill his other big responsibility of liaison between The Forsaken Children and Onesimus much better from Soddo. That task has been largely ignored this year due to poor network coverage in Chencha. Being closer to a city and with a good road between us and Addis Ababa, Jon will be able to check in on the main office and with TFC more frequently.
I hope to continue my English classes with the staff. English classes were a good time to fellowship and for several of the participants it will be helpful as they continue their education.
For Hannah, who is with us for the year, she has already been able to find areas to serve. She is excited about what the time here in Soddo will hold for her.
Many times as we are hit with what feels like a curveball I can’t help but wonder what God is up to. Of course He sees the whole picture and we only see through our small window. We are eager to see what new ministry opportunities the Lord lays before us. We may not have all the details but we do know that the Lord has continued to call us here, has allowed us to be used for his glory, and has set Ethiopia in our hearts.