Things I've learned while in Ethiopia.

by - July 07, 2011

1) I can finish bathing in an unfamiliar shower in total darkeness when the electricity goes out, even when common sense says this is when the nightmare is supposed to begin.

2) I speak Spanish to all people who speak any language other than English.

3) There appears to be very few traffic laws here. This sometimes causes sudden stops or slamming on breaks. I found out I can survive being thrown into the van floorboard after one of these break slamming incidents.

4) I learned I am not nearly grateful enough. If grateful were an ocean, I would be less than 1/4 a teaspoon of it. It bears repeating, because I need to understand: I am not nearly grateful enough. I have not known alternatives to the blessings I've recieved, and not been able to grasp my reality in the appropriate context.

5) Rahel and her friend Betty are good at braiding hair into corn rows. I look good in corn rows. Thankfully, there are no pictures of that moment.

6) Even in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia you can hear a Don William's song on the radio. I love Don Williams.

7) It is impossible to describe the poverty in Addis Ababa. There are lepers on the streets, children/babies living on the street begging for food. My mind and heart can't figure out what to do with what I've seen. How are those sites supposed to find peace in my thoughts? This has helped me begin to grasp my reality in appropriate context, especially this week. I pray God use this insight for his glory in my life.

8) The spirit of the Ethiopian people is strong. They are courteous, humble, beautiful.

9) You don't have to understand the language being spoken to worship God, to dance with strangers in praise, or to be comforted by the Word being preached. Amen, Halleluiah, Jesu Christo.

10) My Dad has cancer. MY Dad. My mom's husband and boyfriend since she was in the 8th grade. My brother's dad has cancer. Daddy has been diagnosed through blood work, and the Dr. anticipates he will be confirmed through a biopsy that he has multiple myloma. If that isn't spelled correctly I don't care. I talked to Chris right after the Dr. gave them the news. I've got a good brother. I'm especially grateful for him in moments like this.

Multiple myloma is, as I understand at this moment, a cancer in his bone marrow. The cancer has started to degenerate his spine which has been causing his increasing pain. But there is good news in all of this: The Dr. said this is "highly treatable." It won't spare Dad the pain or what is to come, or the months we are getting ready to face, but they have an attack plan, that has had good success. They have a treatment for his back without surgery that may help alleviate the pain almost totally, almost immediately. He will begin chemotherapy, and when he is considered in remission (which means the cancer has stopped progressing) he will have a bone marrow transplant. They will actually take his own marrow out - treat it with chemotherapy - and put it back in. I hate all of this. It makes me want to throw my computer against the wall to type that, but he raised me better than to act like a fool. I love him so much. He is the hand that holds mine.

I got to talk to him on the phone for a minute last night. Mom handed him the phone and he said "make it snappy I got a lot goin on right now." He makes me laugh more than anyone else on earth. I feel sorry for people who don't get to spend life with him.

Thank you to everyone who is praying for him and for our family. Pray for Dad's healing, my mom's strength, my brother's leading, Leigh as she loves and cares for Chris, Jordi Birdie and Shawn as they go through this time in their family, and pray for me.

11) In spite of the difficult things we've seen, and even with all that is going on at home, our time here in Addis Ababa has been pretty amazing. The kids are great. We have new friends here, and have been on some really, really lovely walks.

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  1. Haley, I won't say all the right things on here that you already know. I am praying for you and your family and I love you! Also, I will say I am SHOCKED that you spoke spanish to the Ethiopians. I am also laughing in my head thinking of you in traffice in a third world country. :) I am praying for you. What an adventure the Lord has you on. I am praying for you.