Thursday, June 4, 2015

Coming Home

Part 6 of a series of posts about our trip to Ethiopia (see below for the rest of the posts)

In Mekele we were warmly welcomed by Norma and Tony, who had also served with the mission around the same time as Dad.  We were also reunited with an Ethiopian man who had worked with the mission.  So much had changed in forty years and yet we were still able to locate buildings that had been used by the mission and which now house a radio station.  Memories flooded back as old friends reminisced over copious cups of tea.
The highlight though of the whole trip for us was our trip to Sheket. That was the village where David had spent the first couple of years of his life.  As we drove along the paved mountain road we listened to stories of trips to and from Mekele in the early days.
 Many times the road had needed to be rebuilt along the way so that the land rover could carry the supplies needed to feed the thousands of people they sought to help during two years of extreme drought.   Then there was the time the land rover broke down and Tony spent a night out in the mountains trying to reach help.  As our car started the descent into Sheket the excitement mounted.

                                      My favourite picture of the whole trip is this one.

As Tony excitedly pointed out the mission buildings it was as if the years rolled away and I saw the love and commitment that had brought them here so many years ago.

We found the appropriate local officials and requested permission to visit.
 In a few minutes we arrived at the compound and saw with a flood of emotion the house that had until this point only been on one of Dad's slides. David later told me that the words of Psalm 121 flashed into his mind: "I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, Where does my help come from?  My help comes from the LORD the maker of heaven and earth."  I wonder how many times those words were read and sung all those years ago.

Dad's slide of the house over 40 years ago.

David and his Dad home again.  The house is now being used as a school as are some of the other mission buildings that were on the compound.

As we lingered in the compound surrounded by local children, a man was ushered into the group with a look of pure astonishment on his face.

The son of the local chief all those years ago could hardly believe his eyes.  There was laughter and smiles all around as he grasped who these people were.  The stories flowed.  Of the clinic, of the trips with Tony over the mountains and the army helicopter which had landed and offered to take David's Mum, about ready to give birth to David's brother, out to Mekele to avoid the bumpy roads.  I hope you can sense the excitement in the pictures.  

Then it was off to a river bed in search of the water pipes which Tony had laid in a effort to bring water to the village.  Leaving the car behind Tony quickly scrambled up the rocks accompanied by a gaggle of children who were splashing and washing clothes in the small trickle of water. We had a hard time keeping up with him as he forged ahead.
  We didn't find any evidence of the old pipes but we certainly found plenty of evidence of the adventurous spirit which brought Tony and Dad to Ethiopia in the first place.

The water tank that those pipes flowed into was still there, dwarfed today by two larger ones, but still an impressive testimony to the work that had been accomplished in Jesus' name.  We pray that the water of life will again flow into Sheket.

Following our time in Sheket we took an incredible 13 hour journey bus journey from Mekele to Addis Ababa seeing outstanding scenery.  At times are hearts were in our throats as we hurtled around hair-pin turns and glanced down huge cliffs.  Our final few days were spent in Addis reliving more history, meeting fascinating people and enjoying fabulous food.  How blessed we were to have had this incredible time.  Thanks for coming along on the journey.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you. I've tears running down my face reading this and looking at your photos which do indeed capture the excitement and joy of the day, the love and commitment of shared service so many years ago, and no doubt a common burden of prayer over the intervening years. Thank YOU for sharing glimpse of your Ethiopian trip, so glad you were able to do it.