Day 6 Dire Dawa Ethiopia October 22 2015
Praise the Lord – thank you for your prayers! Wes and Anton are much better and we had a great day today.
After devotion and discussion this morning, and spending some time meeting with our host (an amazing man – I can’t wait to tell you more about him when I see you….far to much to write in an email), we headed into town to tour and visit the local market and people there.
I will confess to you that today is the day I had the most anxiety about when we were planning this trip. During my last trip to Ethiopia 2 years ago, we stayed in Addis for the entire trip. We had been told numerous times that to remain in Addis was safe for Christians, but to leave Addis, even to the outskirts, was not as safe. Even before this trip, the enemy took advantage of this brewing fear, and many people again talked about the risks of traveling to eastern Ethiopia. People close to me told me they feared my safety and I believe these fears shaped into anxiety for me when I came here.
The reality of this place is far different, however. Yesterday we spent the afternoon walking through the town, visiting the market and navigating through the winding steep streets lined with local homes. The streetscape was magnificent and when we climbed to the top of the hill in the center of town, our view of the city was breathtaking. Children were playing everywhere with rocks, and sticks. Young girls and boys were carrying their donkeys down to the market to get water bottles filled for their families.
The surprising fact about this place was how inviting and kind these people were to us. While I had completely feared the unknown, I very quickly learned that these people love each other, and they love having guests. We were in fact a rarity in this town. Our guide tells us that tourists virtually never come, and in fact, we have not seen a single “light-skin person” during our stay here yet (with the exception of our host).
As I looked around at all the children laughing and running up to me to touch my hand, smile at me, and play, I felt their innocence resonating over the sound of the Mosque call to prayer ringing out over the whole town at a stunning volume.
The adults here are warm to us, smiling and shaking our hands, welcoming us to their community. I realize the love in these people, and I think this must be how God sees us all. We are all made to love each other, even across cultures.
All people are made to love, in all nations. They want for their families what we want for our families. The people we met yesterday were not radical, they were not threatening and I felt entirely safe. The fears that had been working on me before I left were only the work of the enemy again as there was no basis for any thing to fear in this place. (I will remain wise, however, and use good judgement to the best of my ability when traveling as I would recommend for anyone, of course).
Christ has purposed us to reach out to all people, all nations, even in the areas where we may have fear or dread, far outside of our comfort zone, so that all will have the opportunity to know Him, to know the gospel and to have everlasting life. How can we not aggressively pursue that for all people – would we not want the same for our children were we on the other side of the equation??
For God so loved the world – – the whole world, every nation, language, and all people – – that he gave his one and only son, so that all who believe in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16.
Our time is coming to a close here. We have one more day and then we start the long trip home. I can’t wait to tell you about day 7….
with love and blessings, heather