Yesterday, we took a tour of the hospital (pictured above) and went hiking at Crater Lake. The hospital was cool, and we even walked into rooms were patients were staying/recovering. We walked to the KG (kindergarten) compound, and Dr. Tyner gave us the tour. It was really nice. The classrooms have a lot of material resources for the teacher to use with the kids. After that we headed back for some free time and then lunch.
After lunch, we headed out with some of the older house boys and the other volunteers to hike Crater Lake. The drive took about 45 minutes (plus a lot of will power to get the bus up some loose gravel hills), but it was an enjoyable ride. My roommate and I had a really good conversation and got to know each other on a little bit deeper level.
The hike was beautiful, although the interesting thing about it was that we constantly had an entourage of village children following us around and even acting as our guides. We meant to bring a big bag of candy to hand out to them, but we forgot it and felt really bad about forgetting it. They were really helpful to us, especially when a big group of us headed down the path of doom down to the bottom of the crater. We had to hike down (or slide down) a treacherous loose gravel path to get to the bottom. We pulled at branches as we got stuck in the butt and sought to find our footing on large fixed rocks. Reaching the bottom was really neat because we were able to touch the water that was so far from us when we stood at the top of the crater, but it took a really long time to get there. Going back up was significantly less slippery, although one of our girls had a scary spill, and we were all struggling to breathe as dust flew up around us and stuck in our teeth. It was a great challenge, though.
We stopped in Butajira on the way back, and someone picked up a case of Cokes for us to drink at dinner, which was such a treat. After dinner, we had our meeting and then most of the group went star gazing out at the basketball court. That was a genuine time of team bonding where we let loose, joked, and laughed together.
When I came back, I had a great conversation with two of my tukol-mates about some competitive issues that had taken place the day we had all been playing with the house kids on the playground. As a team, we were able to talk about these issues tonight at our team meeting/devos. I prayed a lot about what I was going to share, and I really feel like God led me in preparing for it today.
Today was a great day-- we attended church and were able to see a passionate people worship fully and invite the Spirit of God to dwell there. I felt very comfortable and welcome. Some of the people in the church took the initiative to help translate the sermon for us. I took the opportunity to really pray and worship our most powerful God. The Ethiopians give God the glory and praise He deserves. Prayer is central to their service along with music (worship). They even sing some of their prayers. I love that Jesus, Hallelujah, and Amen are all universal church words. I was able to hear those words spoken in the service, and I even took advantage of the worship times by humming the melodies, clapping the beats, and swaying to the music. I whispered my prayers and spoke "amen" alongside the Ethiopians, which was a powerful experience.
I took time today to play music, pray, write Joe a letter (today is our one year anniversary), and pray and prepare for the team devotional. Today was also a play-study day with the house kids. I learned a few more names today: Snafikish (another extremely beautiful girl), Shobeza, Medihin, Mulubrahan, Armani, Solomon (pictured below with Armani), Werkanesh, and many others. I love being able to continually build up relationships with those kids. I will miss them.
Tonight we met with our prayer partners and teaching partners to prepare our hearts and minds for our full week of teaching this coming week. My prayer is for peace and flexibility.