A team of 9 from Heysham FM Church are heading to Bekoji, Ethiopia from 2nd-15th June to partner with Stand By Me. During our stay in Bekoji internet access dependant we plan to do regular updates from the team about what we have been up to.
And Now The Journey Really Begins
Sunday 3rd June
Addis Ababa is another world compared with the rest of Ethiopia we saw today. What a stunning land. We travelled for four hours from the high altitude of capital Addis, through the low (much hotter!!) Adama valley, then back up to high altitude again arriving at Bekoji. Fast cars on express roads with concrete shop buildings were soon replaced with many a horse and cart, farmers grazing their livestock by the roadside and vast land scattered with mud and straw huts. Our brilliant minibus drivers Danny and Shimmy managed to navigate the goats, cows, horses and mules roaming the roads and kindly shared some local expertise and answered our many questions! They also made sure to stop and let us enjoy watching a whole herd of nomad camels cross the road right in front of us! What an incredible sight!
The sun had been shining beautifully the whole journey but as we approached Bekoji, we could see dark clouds ahead and knew we were in for a downpour! Our drivers laughed when they saw our disappointment and said that, without fail, every time a team arrives in Bekoji, it rains!! But this is Africa, and when rain comes it is a massive blessing! What a God-incidence that it happens to rain every time a team arrives!
Once at the Bethany school, we received a welcome that is difficult to put into words how wonderful it was. Staff and children from the orphanage as well as crowds of local children came to sing and cheer with signs and music playing. We got off the minibus straight into friendly greetings and introductions with loving handshakes and cuddles all around with flowers even given to Dan by the lovely Grace too! And to top it all off, He placed a rainbow perfectly arching over the Bethany school.
We have enjoyed some delicious food and been officially welcomed by the home kids in a rather special coffee ceremony. We see God in the hearts and smiles of these precious children and this evening, are feeling a tad overwhelmed by it all, in a very good way!!
Praise God we are here safely. Tomorrow we start with the programme of serving. Please pray we will be patient and flexible as we know we are here to do God's will, not simply to work through plans to the minute. Please also pray blessing over the relationships we are already developing with the children and the staff here. Thank you so much, it's so encouraging to know we are held in your prayers. May God bless you as you read this and share in this journey with us.
We’ve Arrived In Ethiopia
We’re in Addis Ababa! Setting off from Heysham FM Church just before 6am we headed to Manchester, where we met up with Chris and Fi. We checked in, through security, a short wait before boarding and we were off. Heading to Istanbul from Manchester, we landed in Istanbul late due to being delayed for take off in Manchester. Our already long walk which we knew we would need to move quickly to get across to our gate was even quicker. However, we made it with time to spare. Leaving Istanbul at 18.20 we arrived in Addis Ababa at 23.35. We got through immigration with ease, collected our bags and were met by the drivers from Stand By Me and headed to our hotel for the night where we are all just getting up for breakfast. After breakfast we will be setting off to Bekoji stopping on the way for lunch and exchange money. We can’t wait to meet all the children. I hope to do an update later depending on Wi-fi.
Just to say contacting the team by phone or text costs money. If you would like to get to touch please email or whatapp as your first option.
One More Sleepish...
Friday 1st June
So today has been all those last minute things. The checking and checking again ... oh and check again just to make sure I have packed everything I need. Passport CHECK, Visa CHECK Boxers CHECK you get the idea. As I spent this morning checking everyone in for our flights, moving seats around so we were all sat together in the plane, filling in all the details that were required for each of us, it got that bit more real. It’s just one more sleepish, my alarm is set for 4am ready to get ready and meet the rest of the team at church ready to head to Manchester at 5.30. (4am allows me to hit snooze a couple of times). Personally I am feeling excited and now the nerves are creeping in. As I have been doing all the final bits I have been so encouraged by the numerous messages and phone calls from people saying that they are praying for us and wishing us well. Thank you! So it is just one more sleepish so I better get some kip. Thank you for your support and prayers keep it up it is much needed and much appreciated.
Thursday 31st May
This evening we gathered as a team to pack our suitcases full of sports, craft and teaching equipment as well as clothes, sanitary towels, blankets, stationary and many more items that have been donated for us to take to Bekoji. Tonight we packed over 200kgs of donations and equipment! We are so thankful for all the donation of both finance and items to take out with us. With just a day to go until we leave for Bekoji the team is full of both excitement and nerves as we anticipate all that God is going to do through us and in us as a team over the next fortnight. We are aiming to do daily updates but this is both time and Wi-fi connection dependant.
Thank you again for all your support we look forward to keeping you updated with all you have helped to achieve.