News Archive 1


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December 2001 - March 2002


06/03/02 Birthday Treats!

I had a wonderful birthday!!  I got a load of post and parcels. Lexi sent me on a treasure hunt around Jimma to find my birthday presents, it was so fun!!  She's a love! I got the most amazing and different presents, things like CHEESE! which, if I was at home I would think they were crazy but here it's just GREAT!!  You appreciate everything so much more here, the smallest craziest things are what you really get excited about!
Because there are very few things like cards and wrapping paper here people can be very inventive.  The Baldwin kids all made me special little things like pop-up cards and 'Happy Birthday Club' membership cards!!  Josh gave me some seeds to plant in our garden and stuff like that, it was wonderful!  Maura made a cooked breakfast lunch with BACON!!  They don't eat pork in Ethiopia so to find bacon and get it to Jimma and then to eat it on my birthday is the best thing!!  Now you know what I'm like with fat but I tell you now, I wolfed it down!!!  I told you, "I'll eat it on my GAP year"!!!!
Alfie and Phoebe were so hyper and Phoebe kept hugging me :-)
There was more to come.  In the evening Lexi and I went to Maura and David's for what I thought was a quite bit of cake but when I got there they had invited everyone!!  It was brill. We played silly party games and ate cake and Jelly and ice-cream, two other very big treats!!
So over all a wonderfully blessed day, God was very good!!


02/03/02 Food, glorious food!

Let me tell you just a little more about the lovely weekend that I am having.  Last night we had pizza!  The most amazing treat!!  Diane made them with lots of special stuff that you have to save up for an occasion such as this.  Things such as cheese (almost home cheese but still not quite!),  sausage and salami (a real delicacy!!)  And for pud the 'piece-de-resistance' ice-cream (WOW WOW), home-made with warm chocolate sauce and strawberries from the garden!  It has to be the best meal I've eaten since being here.  Mind you, some of Maura's creations come very close!  You  know you're in Africa when you call that an amazing meal!!


Anyway tonight there are more treats as we have been invited out for a meal at the hotel where our Dutch friends are staying!!  It's just getting better and better.  We are also hosting church on Sunday which should be fun as the crowd is growing, Praise the Lord!


23/02/02 We do some entertaining

I'm still all well and Lexi and I entertained last night!  Four Dutch students, who are on work experience here in Jimma from a Christian University, came around for a meal and we played games.  They are coming to our church meetings on a Sunday.  It's good to socialise and with people more our own age who speak English!!


22/02/02 Our Visas need to be extended

The visas we have at the moment are only for a month at a time. They have already been renewed once and will need to be renewed again at the end of the month. There is a limit of three renewals so after four months we would not be able to renew again. Please pray that we may be able to obtain 60 day visas this time.  Also, I am finding the language really hard. Please pray for stamina in this area. Thanks so much.


12/02/02 Prayer Letter #4 now available here


09/02/02 A few comments from Maura

I have to say that Jimma is definitely a much jollier place now that Helen is here with us. The boys really enjoy her teaching and she is full of enthusiasm and fun. I thank God every day when I get up for having her and Lexi here, it has opened other doors for me and allowed me some extra time with Phoebe and Alfie too.

I wanted to say that if at anytime all of you or one of you found the time and money to visit Jimma you would be more than welcome. Seriously there is always space for friends and it would be a pleasure to have you.

David left with one team for the countryside this morning and Lexi and Helen with another. I think they are probably shattered from last week's conference but are anxious not to miss out on seeing something new. They will have a great time.

Love from us all   Maura.


06/02/02 - POST!!!

I received my first parcel from home today. It had been sitting in the post office until I could collect it myself with ID!!  Even then it took about half an hour!!  Very Ethiopian!!  Everything takes at least four times longer than you expect!!  It was stuffed with treats from my Mum (what a star) and the some photies of New Year. Just great!!

SIM conference was so great:-)  I met loads of people and made some great friends, Charles Price was the speaker (Keswick 2001) and while I didn't hear much of him (as I was busy helping out with the under fours), what I did hear was good stuff and I've ordered the tapes of the other sessions.  Highlights were hearing talks and having worship in English, PTL!  Also swimming in a hot springs swimming pool under the stars ( :-) meeting new people and some of the more eventful times would be a close encounter with a wild boar and a raft ride across a river on a few barrels and planks of wood!! Will write more very soon but it's late now and we have to go and plan for school tomorrow.  Love to all, grace and peace,

Helen xxxxx


26/01/02 Much better now. 

Glad to say I'm feeling so much better now. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. I am now taking doxycyclin and the dizziness has almost completely gone. The home schooling of the Baldwin children is going fine though some of the stuff I am teaching Joshua is what I was doing at A level only last year - scary!  Next week Lexi and I will be travelling to Addis where we will stay for a few days before going on further north for the SIM Ethiopia conference. We will be meeting lots and lots of new people. Quite exciting. We will be away for a week. Once we get back to Jimma we will start helping in the Compassion Kindergarten school for about an hour a week teaching basic English. We will have to prepare our own lessons and provide all our own teaching materials. There will also be opportunities to help teach English at a number classes run by other missionaries. Went for a walk in the hills above Jimma today. It really is very beautiful - loved it. Everything is still so so different but everyone is wonderful and we are having a great time. Slowly  learning a few words of Amharic.


21/01/02 Not feeling so well 

Hiya all,

Just thought that I'd update you on my wellness!  I wasn't feeling any better this morning and I'd been feeling off since Thursday so Maura rang a friend who is a doctor and he said that as it wasn't a normal food bug (no diarrhoea or sickness) I should have a blood test.  Maura took me to a clinic in Jimma, which was an experience in itself, and they were good. I had the results in under an hour, all clear PTL.  Karen, another nurse who lives on our compound but with a different mission, had  searched through her books and had come to the conclusion that it looks pretty likely to be a reaction to my Lariam! (malaria tablets).  The dizziness and slight shakes in my hands are all symptoms.  So thank God it's nothing more serious and, if it is that, it should go in a few days and I'll use doxycyclin instead, no probs.


God is good, I'm not feeling too bad, my spirits are high and I very very well cared for.


So, prayer points,

BIG Praise for

1.Gods constant faithfulness and provision in all situations

2.Safe travel to Addis and then Jimma, all smooth :-)

3.The Baldiwns- very very welcoming and have worked so hard in preparation for us coming.


Please pray for

1. Good health

2. Teaching, that we would prepare well and do it to the best of our ability.

3. Our establishing of friendships with the Ethiopians and learning Amharic.


Ok better go, a bit dizzy.  I love you all too!!!  Hear from you soon.

Grace and Peace

Love Me xxx

20/01/02 Understood 4 words of this week's sermon - PROGRESS!!!

Hiya guys,

Thank you for your emails it's great to get them   :-)

I'm sorry this won't be very long but I'm not too well right now, no need to worry at all though, it's just one of those things that was going to happen.  I am being looked after wonderfully well by Maura, she's a star *!  I feel a bit light headed so sitting at the computer is a bit tricky. Anyway please pray but God has already begun to heal me as I feel better than yesterday PTL!

Just got back from church and I understood at least one more word than last week so that's an improvement!!  Amharic is unbelievable!!

Love you all very much,

Grace and Peace,

Helen xx

15/01/02 We now have electricity and water PTL

We have electricity and water PTL PTL PTL!! Oh we've had a great day. No school today starts tomorrow. I'm on English and humanities so please pray that it goes OK.
We were all invited to the house of one of the girls who works for Maura doing a few jobs and her family gave us dinner. A huge meal which Maura thinks took days to prepare. M said they would never normally eat like that but they gave so much when they have so little. There house was just two rooms no windows and made of well, mud and anything they could find. In the back room were just two beds and I counted at least 8 people in her family so that gives you some kind of an idea as to the way most of the people live here.
OK I should go but I have so much to say :-) I Love all of you, I'm missing you and please pray for Lexi and I health wise. Some of the things we are eating are almost certain to cause us upset but that's all part of getting used to it!

Grace and Peace to you, my family,
Helen xxxxxxx

13/01/02 I have arrived in Jimma!

Right well here's the electricity, no water and we're just about to go to a wedding!!  We don't know who's getting married but because the wedding is happening practically on our back lawn we've been invited!  Arrived in Jimma at about 11:30 yesterday (Saturday) after leaving at about 5:30 am!!  

The Baldwins are great!  So so so so lovely.  I feel at home with them which is what I need :-)  Our house is lovely!  Quite a lot bigger than I expected but there is alot of empty space!  Just need some electricity and water now and we'd be away. 

In case your wondering (like you might be) this is being written on a laptop which is running by battery but I'm waiting for it to cut out on me v. soon as it's bleeping away! 

Went to church this morning.  Wow it's different!  Understood three words of an hour sermon, God, Jesus and name so that's a start!

Mosquito net doing well, the mozies aren't so bad right now. 

Addis was an experience and Jimma is different, hotter and rural.! Strange noises outside my window last night!  I think they were birds but could quite easily have been monkeys or hyenas so David tells us! 

I'm missing you all v.much but the family are wonderful and we've only been here just 24 hrs!  The children are lovely, v.obedient, sign of good parents. 

I'm trying not to think of six months too much as I might cry but I'm excited about all the things we can do here. 

Love you all lots and lots,

Grace & Peace

Helen xxxxx

10/01/02 First email from Ethiopia

Hi Family!

This is just a quick mail to say that I'm doing well!  Ethiopia is amazing, Addis is just unbelievable and as for the driving, well it has to be seen to be believed!!   We are  enjoying ourselves but it's all totally overwhelming and we are just about getting used to walking down the road.  Lexi and I went to the shops today on our own which was a major achievement!  Oh Mum while I remember I have found out that Maura is a nurse and the nurse here at the clinic speaks very highly of her, no worries!  We've seen finance, medical, immigration, personnel and all are lovely!  The people are wonderful again and all have heard of the McGreggors!  The  flight was really good PTL and a friend of Lexi's Dad was on the plane all the way to Addis and stayed with us until we were picked up at the airport WOW!

We go to Jimma on Saturday, very early in the morning so you can email then or to this address before then. Don't forget to put my name in subject box.

Missing you but it hasn't quite sunk in that six months is a long time so I'm not feeling so bad right now.

Love you all, Grace and Peace,

Helen xxxx

08/01/02 - Lexi and I have arrived safely in Addis Ababa.

The flight went very smoothly indeed PTL! and thanks for your prayers.

14/12/01 - My visa came through today!

Thank you for all who prayed for this. Flights, visas and accommodation are now all arranged.