Helen GreavesMay/June 02
Babogaya, boats and blessings.
Well, what can I say? We leave Jimma in a matter of days and right now it’s hard to work out how I feel about that. While I’m excited to be going home soon, I have had the most wonderful experiences and have been blessed beyond my expectations. God has graciously put me here to do his will and I feel privileged to be used by him here. So, what’s been happening in the last month or so?
Alfie’s alphabet, Josh’s jokes and Luke’s laughs.
Home-schooling the boys has been both a challenge and very rewarding in the months I’ve been here. A challenge when neither Josh nor I have much of an idea about ‘split infinitives’ or where you use ‘apostrophes to show ownership’!!! However I know now, so we’re learning together! Alfie’s alphabet is progressing rapidly and there’s a mutual feeling of a job well done when a gold star adorns the page. As for Luke he is always the one to make me laugh, even when I am put through his favourite game of ‘hunt the pupil’ almost every history lesson!
Last week the boys, Maura, Lexi and I traveled to Babogaya SIM guesthouse for the annual home-school retreat. These few days are a chance for the children who are home-schooled around the country to get together and interact, play and enjoy the company of other children who speak their first language. Many of these children live in remote parts of the country and have some incredible attitudes towards life. I spent the week with children of about seven years old whose parents were German so the children spoke German; they spoke to me in English and were also fluent in Amharic!!!!! Seven years old and trilingual, it puts me to shame.
The whole week was very good for the boys as they have little opportunity to play and interact with children their own age that they understand and who understand them. As Lexi and I had no parental responsibilities we were able to do the odd jobs that had to be done and somehow I got myself thoroughly roped into the art activities!! Babogaya is a beautiful place and is situated on the edge of a lake. Now, I’m still not quite sure how and why but while taking a trip out in a boat we ended up in the lake fully clothed!! It was strangely pleasant and also a story for another time.
Praise God that it was a beneficial time of refreshment and encouragement for both the children and their parents.
Our time helping at the ‘Compassion’ school has been a great experience. When we arrived it took weeks for us to work out what their names all were and how to say them. Now, however, they are a totally different group of children and we can see their individual personalities. I have to laugh as they come hurtling towards us when we arrive in the mornings and the satisfaction is immense when they reel off English songs and phrases we have taught them. I will be sad to leave the children and I pray that our fellow Ethiopian workers will carry on the work that we started at that school.
During our time here we have become quite close to a group of local children, mostly girls around the age of 12 or 13. They would come to our house a few times a week and we would introduce them to things such as water balloons and jelly! A few days ago we had a party to say goodbye. They arrived in their best clothes and, along with others, we played games like ‘pin the tail on the donkey’, ’musical bumps’ and ‘pass the parcel’. All of these things were totally foreign to them but they are now used to our strange ways and loved every minute of it! As they left there were tears amongst the smiles and hugs all round. Please pray that these girls will think about the things that we have begun to teach them and will ultimately look to God and his word for care and love in their lives.
Our visas run out on the 5th of June and we must leave the country before then. So on the 4th we are flying to Kenya and will visit missionary friends of Lexi’s before carrying on to Mombassa to stay there about ten days. When we leave Mombassa we will stop off in Addis Ababa for a short while before returning to England on the 21st June.
Throughout my time here God has been entirely faithful as he promised. I can’t think of any moment when I have felt unsupported or uncared for. God has graciously provided me with a helpful and wonderful friend in Lexi, and a caring and supportive family in the Baldwins. Day by day he has poured out his blessings on me in the people I have met, the opportunities that I have had, and in the safety and good health that I have been given.
Please join with me in giving praise to God for,
·Safe travel throughout our time here. We haven’t even had a puncture, almost unheard of!
·His constant faithfulness and grace shown to us both.
·The success of the home-school retreat.
Also, please continue to pray for,
·Our final travel plans
·The Baldwin family, especially Maura as she takes on the majority of the teaching responsibility again.
·Both of us as we prepare to return home.
Thank you all so much for the support that you have been to me during my time here. I have seen God’s hand at work and numerous answers to prayer, praise Him.
Grace and peace to you all,
‘…be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.’