Wonderful update from Kim and Diane

Kim and Diane Doland (right side of image), Mission team members joined Ralph and Glenda on a mission trip to Ethiopia and Rwanda. Here they join other team members, Vanessa, Melkam, Corinna, Sophie, and Gadissa as we visit one of the sponsored families in Ethiopia.

Acum bolte!
How do  you ever start to explain  the experience that we have gone
through in the past five weeks as we have visited and served the
people of the African countries of Ethiopia and Rwanda. Both countries
have gone through tremendous hardship and turmoil having to deal with
the after effects of  a genocide, war, drought and famine. But they
have survived and will continue to keep living no matter what is being
thrown at them.  Once again we have been  humbled to how we live our
lives in Canada.
We have been blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of
HOPEthiopia  mission team.  HOPEthiopia is an International NGO with
a vision that we have never seen the likes of.   Even with the
combined sixty years of teaching  experience we have never witnessed
such vision and ” can do attitude”.
There is much more to Ethiopia than most people would expect.  Almost
100 million people live primarily in highlands that range between 6000
and 14000 feet. in the rural areas, people live in conditions that
resemble biblical times – horse-drawn carts,  scores of donkeys laden
with bushels of grain, goats and sheep ranging freely, and almost
everybody walking because there are few vehicles. despite this,
Ethiopia has just been selected by “Lonely Planet” as one of the top
ten traveler destinations On our planet. We can see why with the
diverse landscape and culture that it has to offer.  Harbu  Chulule
(one hour drive from the main city of Addis Abeba) is the rural
village where HOPEthiopia has established itself.  The founders, along
with their various short-term missions teams have sensitively worked
alongside the local populace, enabling them with  steady employment.
They are now empowered to look after their community needs and are
demonstrating care and concern for each other. The construction of
orphan homes, reforestation of the devastated  land and both medical
and educational assistance have become the focus of HE’s efforts over
the past five years.
The two of us have worked along side the rural people as we laid
bricks, that we helped make on-site, to construct orphan homes . There
are over four million orphans in Ethiopia .HE is making  a small dent
in providing a home for these children.   Each orphan home  will house
eight children with a “mamma” .  There are seven homes in each cluster
and 5 clusters  will complete Phase One.  It is their dream to
construct seven phases.
Our team has walked the reforestation area and inserted “scripture
sticks ”  into the ground. The “hope”, as described in Hebrews 11:1,
is that trees and animals will once again thrive in this area that has
been decimated by man in need of fire wood.  HOPEthiopia has started
to plant trees that they have grown in their own nursery, to
re-invigorate the massive area.   One day our team managed to plant
three hundred trees in two hours.  We definitely were being one with
nature as we all were on our hands and knees nurturing these little
trees .

HE sponsors Dr. Asrat, a cataract surgeon from Alba (southern
Ethiopia)in his work at the local health clinic here in Harbu Chulele.
All of us have witnessed actual cataract surgery. Dr. Asrat completed
forty surgeries and  treated countless people for eye infections in a
span of one week.  Eye problems are usually due to poor hygiene, no
sunglass protection from the intense equatorial glare. it is reported
that there are over one hundred thousand Ethiopians in need of surgery
and there are only twenty cataract surgeons in the country.  Dr. Asrat
Volunteered his time to enrich the lives of so many people.  What a
noble man!!

HE also got involved in sponsoring the local high school. Before HE
came into being, students only completed grade ten .  In order for
them to continue grades eleven and twelve the school had to
demonstrate to the provincial education minister.government  that they
could provide a science lab and an Information technology program and
provide continued support. HE  sponsored all the necessary equipment.
Our team had the privilege of handing out grade twelve graduation
certificates signed by the president  to ninety .graduates.  The first
ever in the history of Harbu Chulule .  A very proud  day for the
students, town and HOPEthiopia
We gave a sermon to 150 members of the Full Gospel church in Harbu!
Our topic was Psalm 23 and we illustrated the similarities between the
care that shepherds give their flock and the way in which our Good
Shepherd cares of us. This really hit home with the locals, many of
whom are actual shepherds.
It was an interesting experience as every thing that we said had to be
translated by Gideesa, our 23 year old HE social worker. Thank you to
those of you who were praying for us on that Sunday. We felt the Holy
Spirit helping us choose just the right words to convey His message…
Our faithful driver, Hailu, drove us on a 2 hour trip to Wenchi
crater, a dormant volcano to the Se of Wolissu. We hiked down to the
crater floor and lake, took a boat across to an island monastery,
bathed in a hot waterfall, and then hopped aboard very skinny horses
to ascend the 500 feet back up to the crater rim. While riding it was
teeming rain so we all had our umbrellas deployed – quite a hilarious
looking group of wannabe cowboys! The environs looked like something
out of The Lord of the Rings trilogy with water sluices feeding giant
water wheels used to mill grain….Surreal!
HOPEthiopia sponsors eleven women and their children.  Each family is
provided enough food and Teff(flour) for one month. We had the
privilege of dropping off the supplies to each home.  We were both
taken back with the conditions that these women and their families
live in.  Yet they are some of the most appreciative and happy people
we have ever met.    One day all the sponsored families came to the
HOPEthiopia site for a fun day.  Our team set up lots of activities
for the kids to play, while the moms sat back and enjoyed both hand
and foot massages .  The team thought nothing of doing this act of
kindness for these ladies  We found out later that the women were
brought to tears as they  have always considered themselves as down
casts of their society and no one has ever showed them any type of
love let alone someone showing them love thru  massaging of their
hands and feet. The day  was completed with a picnic of  authentic
Ethiopian food. We will never forget the memories of this day, lots of
love and laughter.
Ralph lead the two of us on a mountain bike ride into a hot spring
where very few foreigners have ever been. The waters apparently have
curative properties and we felt like we were imposing on the four
naked women who were soaking away their pains. Ralph has invited the
local scout troup to do some reforestation work in the area to save
the springs from eventual destruction. Even this scouting movement has
been initiated by HE in order to instill a sense of national pride in
the future leaders of this developing nation.

In Ethiopia, it doesn’t take a village to raise a child…it takes
children to raise children. Their parents are too busy trying to eke
out an existence than finding time to look after their kids. So when
we walk the muddy roads o f this town, the children run to us and
fight for a handhold with one of these “foreign gees”- they are
starved for affection and attention. Many of them don’t wear any pants
and their eyes are covered with flies-mostly due to the fact that they
never wash their faces. Water often has to be carried many miles by
donkey so it is valued for consumption – not for personal hygiene.
Hence, the eye diseases of Trichoma and cataracts…
Our all too short one week in Rwanda was again a great experience.
HOPEthiopia is involved in sponsoring 20 single mothers  who have been
physically and sexually abused. These women are being trained in
sewing so that eventually they will be able to set up a small business
for themselves.  They are also receiving counselling to empower
themselves so that they too can feel like they are contributors to
their society. We spent most of our time visiting and praying for the
women, a very humbling experience.  Two of the days were spent
painting and sprucing up a home which will be the sewing center for
the next generation of sponsored women. Once again we massaged the
hands and feet of  these lovely ladies. The twinkle in their eyes and
all the laughter told us how much they appreciated this very small
token of love.  We witnessed women’s lives being changed with the
assistance of HOPEthiopia.
In both counties we handed out bags of toiletry items that our friends
and our son’s students at Edge Academy, had donated.  It felt like
Christmas as we gave out over fifty bags to HE sponsored women.  The
excitement and pure joy as they opened those  bags was a moment we
will not forget.  So a big thank you to all who donated .  You will

never know what a difference you made in their lives. …………

Blog, Current News, Mission Trips

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