I will soon be celebrating my third Christmas in Ethiopia. It hardly seems possible, but God has been gracious in allowing me to be here doing what I love. One of the frequent questions I get asked is, “what is a normal day like for you?” So, I’ll try to explain a “normal” week, rather than a day.
The workday always starts with the staff meeting at our local coffee shop for macchiato’s, a coffee drink with a shot of espresso, steamed milk and sugar (not what you get at Starbucks!) for the equivalent of 26 cents!
Monday morning we always have staff devotions which missionaries and Ethiopian staff take turns leading. We then pray as a group for needs of the project and individual beneficiaries. If there is an event to celebrate we usually do that after devotions. Then its off to work we go.
My work here is varied and not usually boring. Here’s a list of some of the things I do regularly:
- See beneficiaries with health problems at home, hospital or in office.
- Fill prescriptions from health center from our stock or buy at local pharmacy.
- Reimburse for prescriptions filled by beneficiary.
- Order lab tests and x-rays and review results; document treatment.
- Recommend further evaluation and write referrals.
- Go to health center or hospital appointments with beneficiaries to advocate for change in treatment.
- Encourage beneficiaries to bring their CD4 count results to us for HIV monitoring.
- See all HIV+ children yearly and as needed.
- Restock/clean up pharmacy.
- Evaluate health of beneficiary being considered for income generating activity.
- Pray with beneficiaries.
- Research medical issues of beneficiaries; email US consultants for help.
- Maintain watches of beneficiaries used for adherence to medication.
FOR MEDICAL TEAMS
- Work with staff and MTW office to plan for upcoming medical teams
- Send “wish list” to team leader about 6 weeks ahead of visit.
- Coordinate all medical care when medical teams are here at our outreach clinics; act as “consultant” to visiting providers and nurses.
- Translate drug instructions for pharmacy.
- See patients or help in pharmacy when things are getting behind
OUTSIDE OF WORK
- Sing with Motley Singers, a community chorus.
- Attend St. Matthew’s Anglican Church. Limited choice for English speaking churches here; this is the best fit. Am part of church council.
- Attend Inter-mission Prayer Meeting weekly, a group that has existed for ~70 years; it has become my “small group”.
- Co-ordinate short wave radio schedule to communicate with “down-country” missionaries, some of whom have no mobile phone service available.
- Knit, sew, read, listen to music, go out to eat with friends, grocery shop, do laundry, go to gym.
- Amharic language tutoring weekly and study in between.
Life here is good, full, busy, always interesting. This year the project has gone through many changes, as we have “graduated” about 150 “families” this means that they are able to provide for themselves financially, but are still eligible for health services. Some of this was funding driven and some because it was time for people to graduate. We face even further challenges in the next year, as we anticipate urban renewal coming through some of the areas our beneficiaries live and tearing down the slums, leaving people without affordable housing and loss of their community. Please pray that we would have wisdom in knowing how to best help our beneficiaries through this time. Also pray for the future direction of the project.
Currently, I am the only MTW missionary here; my teammates the Warren’s and Treadwell’s are in the US on home assignment, visiting churches and raising additional personal and project support. I miss them lots, but am well cared for by our wonderful Ethiopian staff. We are also anticipating the arrival of new missionaries in 201–Jason and Liz Polk and their two children. Jason is a pastor and will be our church planter; Liz is a psychiatric social worker. Jessica Ringsmuth will also be coming to work with us as a counselor. I can’t wait til everyone arrives!
I will be in the US for 6-8 weeks in the spring and hope to be able to see many of you. Details are still sketchy, but will soon be coming together.
As we approach this Christmas season, I wish you and your family a time of peace and joy as you celebrate the birth of Jesus. Glory to God and joy to you!