Wednesday Carole woke up with no voice.  Normally she would teach English to the kindergarten class on Wednesday, but I volunteered to fill in for her since she couldn’t talk and probably needed some rest anyways.  Kindergarteners are so great!  They are sweet, innocent and obedient (so unlike 4th graders:)

Guy walked us to the school and he sat and visited with the old man that guards the compound.  There was no English spoken but there was lots of love shared.  Guy thought it was a good opportunity to relinquish to the local custom of affection between men and they sat on the curb with their arms around each other and the old man just kissed him and kissed him (you know – light kisses on the cheek and hands – nothing weird).  Guy prayed with him and they just had a great time.

Kindergarten was only about an hour and when we got back to the house we discovered that we had a program.  Pastor Amanuel was picking us up and taking us sight seeing.  First we went and looked at the property that the city has donated to the church.  Pastor Amanuel’s vision is that they will build a school and a church on this site.  It’s a very nice location – up on the hill overlooking the town and right next to a large complex of low income housing that is being constructed.

As we were walking to this place Pastor Amanuel ran into someone on the street and they greeted each other heartily.  They started talking very intently and we continued to walk and follow them.  Pastor Amanuel turned and apologized to us for ignoring us and explained that this man had come from a very long ways away because he could not reach Pastor Amanuel by phone.  We learned that this man was an evangelist missionary that had spent the last 9 years with a native tribe (Amanuel says, “they were naked”).  Now God had called him to another place and he was on his way there.  It was a pleasure and an honor to meet this man. He asked us to pray for him.  His name is Diriba.  Please pray for him.

Next we walked back to town and took a Budgej to go see the “flower factory”.  We went quite a ways out of town and then we started seeing greenhouses – lots of greenhouses.  We pulled up to the gate of one of the “factories” and Amanuel starts talking to the guards.  What I didn’t realize was that visiting the flower factory wasn’t something you can just do.  Amanuel had to do some talking to get us in.  Turns out the factory is owned by Indian people (from India) and we had to go to various managers to get permission to see inside.  I asked Amanuel if he’s ever been here before and he said, “no. It was his first time.”  It totally cracked me up.

Well, we did get permission as long as we didn’t take any pictures.  We only had permission to see the processing plant not the greenhouses.  It kind of reminded me of Harry & David.  They only grow roses here.  They are cut and put into bouquets and shipped to Europe for florists and such.  It smelled so good! 

We kept heading into the country side by budgej.  We saw the agricultural area and then stopped in a really nice town that actually had some other white people in it.  We stopped at a very nice hotel and had sodas.  I was introduced to Ambo.  Ambo is a natural mineral spring water.  They explained that it is good for quenching thirst and speeding digestion.  Ethiopians drink Ambo whenever they eat raw meat.  It kills the bacteria they say.  We mixed it with a little coke.  It was delicious!!

This is the beginning of another lesson on Ethiopian culture.  After sodas Amanuel says he hasn’t had a machiatto today.  So we drive up the road a few hundred yards an stop at a very nice cafe.  This was the cleanest place we’d been so far.  We sat on the patio, ordered machiattos, then Amanuel flags down this really nice SUV that was driving by.  It stops and out come 3 young strong looking Ethiopians.  Lots of hearty greetings, hand shaking, shoulder bumps.  Turns out they are a pastor, an evangelist and the 3rd man serves the Lord with his money.  They are heading off on a long trip to a ‘Christian conference’. I think a conference is like a revival meeting.  The fellow with the pocketbook ended up paying for our drinks and off they went.  It was really neat meeting them.  Amanuel says they are like his best friends.

Then we turn back for home and along the way they try to get us into another flower factory or two, but no luck – good effort though.  At one of the stops Amanuel takes a phone call.  Turns out the people that we tried to visit the day before had called to find out what we wanted and why we were trying to see them.  So we stopped at their house again on the way home.  The host of the house told us she was cooking eggs for us.  Oh man!  We really didn’t want to eat, but we conceeded in order to be polite and so we had to wait and rest while she made her preparations.  Here’s the deal with ‘culture’ – if you are invited inside the home expect to eat.  We begged Pastor Amanuel not to make us eat any more food.  He got a good laugh over it.  Another pastor arrived with the fellow that we had missed the day before.  His name was Abraham and his son is in the GGI program. 

It was explained to us that Abraham was called by God to be an evangelist about 28 years ago.  He came to Burayu from a long ways away in obedience to the Lord.  He only brought with him one of his children.  His wife and other 5 children are still far away.  Abraham laid down his life, his family, his income – EVERYTHING – to be obedient to the Lord and serve him through evangelism.  We were blown away even though we are beginning to see this level of commitment from many God fearing men here. 

We left the home and went to see the church that Abraham serves in.  It was in a rustic compound.  The building was a small mud hut with wooden benches and two beds in the very back where Abraham and another evangelist sleep.  (The home we visited was just the home of another congregate of the church).  We waited there for people to arrive.  Pastor Amanuel says, ‘We have a program’.  Which meant they were having a little service just then.  The neighbors arrived – there were about 15 of us including the children.  Pastor Amanuel gave a short talk and then invited Guy to speak. 

We were not expecing that!  But Guy gave an impromptu message about not being conformed to this world but being transformed – Romans 12.  Amanuel translated.  Then there was a short time of fervent prayer and praise.  Then we left.  The whole time it took was about 15 minutes.  Amanuel says, as we are leaving, that the message was right on because there were two ladies who were quarreling in that group and that it really convicted them.  Huh!  The Lord is amazing!!

We left feeling like it was a ‘Holy Spirit’ day.  We were walking on clouds with His presence.  I love it here!!!