Friday, January 31, 2014

Arriving in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia after being away 6 years has been quite a
culture shock.  You wouldn't think that after 46 years ( we first came to
Ethiopia in 1968) being involved in Ethiopian ministry that I would
experience culture shock...but I did.  Culture shock is when you go to a new
culture and have trouble accepting it.

When I arrived Wednesday morning there was so much that was familiar, but
the fumes of the traffic and everything was really dry, since they had not
had rain for a few months.  The streets are all torn up because they are
building train tracks so that they can provide transportation in this city
of at least 5 million.  The places that used to be so familiar are turned
around.  It was also the day that Africa Union was meeting in Addis Ababa,
and many streets were closed.  Frankly, my head was in a twirl by the time
we arrived at Ginnie Switzer's house.

Ginnie's husband, Rex, died from malaria after being in South Sudan.  The
day I arrived was the 22nd month of his death.  She feels that God want her
to continue in the ministry.  She is a very brave woman that is willing to
go to South Sudan if God opens the door.

One of  the important things that I had to do coming to Addis was to get the
title to the truck that the Switzers bought from me 6 years ago transferred
from my name to her name.  As many of you have prayed, God answered your
prayers, we managed to get everything done on Thursday.  You will never
fully understand red tape until you come to a country like this.  You will
go into one office with your documents, then they will send you to another
room, and at some point, you will be asked to go someplace and buy a stamp.
A stamp that has to go to on that particular document.  Finally, you will
have to pay the cashier.  Even though you  have  the cash to  pay, they
will send you to bank to pay them, & they in turn, will send you back with a
note saying that you had paid them.  As my son-in-law, Brian Wilson, says,
the "red-tape dispenser" never gives out!

We are scheduled to leave tomorrow (Saturday) for Fitche & we (me, Frank &
Karon Auterson, Adam Wright and Ginnie Switzer) had enjoyed a nice Ethiopian
dinner.  We had a time of prayer for our upcoming trip to the border.  Then
Frank's son called from the States saying Karon's mom was at the  point of
death.  She is now making arrangement to return to the States for her
funeral.  Frank has decided to go ahead with our plans to go to the South
Sudan border for the conference that we have planned.  We need your prayers
for both Karon & Frank. This puts a lot of pressure on them especially with
all that we had planned.  Pray for Karon that she can get a flight out as
soon as possible.

I didn't expect this letter to end up this way, but life has a strange way
of throwing curves your way & we have to remain confident that God is in
control. Romans 8: 28. Continue to pray for our trip to the border Tuesday
or Wednesday!

Love to all,

Date: Fri, Jan 31, 2014 at 2:45 AM
Subject: Gene

It is good to get your letter.  I am ccing this to Kathi.  I didn’t get to bed until after 11 last night then woke up about 1230 when Frank & Karon were going to the airport, and was a wake when they came back.  I didn’t speak to Adam until this morning.  He seems to be a nice person.  He is only about 30.

Fortunately, we have power & water.  Ginnie had a big breakfast but I tried to be careful how much I ate because we are having Doro (chicken) wat at lunch.


We (Frank, Karon, Adam and I) are going to do some running around this morning and then will come back and eat lunch, and then head to Fitche.

Well, I didn’t get as cold last night.  I think laying on a blanket made a difference with the cot. 

I had better get going.  I will try to do a blog before I leave for Fitche.

Love to you all!

Date: Thu, Jan 30, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Subject: Mission Accomplished!!

Dearest Glenda,

Well, this has been a long day, but we got the title transferred.  We got

started about 10:00 am and finished before 4:00 pm.  

 I am really amazed at my stamina. I do give out of breath because of altitude, but in spite of that, I did

really well.  The electric was  off this morning, but Ginnie  had made the coffee before it went off.  It came back in the afternoon.

It was a very good day with Ginnie.  It has been very good to talk with her.  We leave for Fitche tomorrow. Adam Wright comes in tonight, and Frank and Karon will be going to pick him up. I am going to stay here and sleep.  I  am sleeping on a cot in the office. When Adam arrives,  he will sleep on the other cot here in the office.

I love you and will write again soon!


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Addis has changed so much since I was here last, that I wasn't even able to find the house

that Glenda and I lived in for 8 years! I was able to get a driving permit so that I am able to

 drive while in the country. It will last for 20 days. I will not be able to drive in Addis, but it

 will enable me to help Frank Auterson drive on the "almost no roads" going to the Sudan

 border. I had to turn in my American license, so I hope I am able to get them back! I am

 very excited to be back in Ethiopia! 

Look who arrived, tired, but safely in Addis and was picked up at the airport by Craig and Amanda Dyson, missionaries living and working there.
Arrived Safely in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on January 29th, 2014 at 12:45 am EST/8:45 am Addis Ababa time.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Washington DC January 29th, 2014 9:24 am

Airports can be a very sad place or it can be a very happy place. It all depends on whether you are at Departures or Arrivals! I can never forget the excitement of making an overseas flight. In those early years you would dress up with suit & tie. In fact, in those early years when we first started flying, it was impossible to sleep. You were wide eyed all the way, & you couldn't wait until they served the meal. Wow, you would have thought that you were at a 5 star restaurant! Now I look back & think how ignorant we were. 

Travel today is much more laid back & your main thought is to get to your destination. Now there is nothing exciting about those long flights. Now you want a time machine that allows you to be there instantly. Actually, we may be closer to that time than we realize, especially if you know The Lord. That is what travel in Heaven will be like. I can't wait!

I will never forget our 4 year old coming in one day after our arrival in Ethiopia & saying, Mommie will there be airports in Heaven. Glenda said No, & Ron said, Good, we will never have to say goodbye to grandma & grandpa! One day there will not be anymore goodbyes! I'm looking forward to that day.

Sent from my iPad

January 28, 2014 at 5:17 am

July 4th 1968, Glenda & I, with our 3 year old son, boarded a Pan Am flight to London via Brussels to our new home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Ironically, one year earlier, we were at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Fairfax, VA. The youth pastor had taken us out to see the new Dulles International year to the day! Having never flown, having never been out of the US, this was quite a venture for this 27 year old! It was very hot that day, but we faced our first culture shock when we arrived in London the next morning & it was 50 degrees. We spent a week & half with my brother, Doug & his wife, Helen, who was in the Air Force there. Then we flew to Brussels to visit my sister, Helen & her husband, Berle Harper. He was also in the military. After a week & half there, we flew to Addis Ababa via Athens.

46 years later, I am making this trip alone....but what a difference 46 years make. We lived in Ethiopia for nearly 12 years until because of Glenda's health we had to retire from the mission field. What a change 46 years makes in a country! In some respects, it feels like a different country, but in other respects, some things never change. I am looking forward to waking to the Muslim call to prayer & the Ethiopian Orthodox chant--both over loud speakers. There will be roosters crowing & the smell of of wood & charcoal burning as people begin their day. 

I am also looking forward to my trip to the countryside with Frank & Karon Auterson. I have made that scenic trip so many times & enjoyed it every time. The main purpose of this trip though will be to travel to Western Ethiopia to hold a conference with the pastors from South Sudan who will cross the border into Ethiopia for 5 days studying the Word of God. Please pray that this conference will be fruitful. 

So long until I write you again with some new memories!
Sent from my iPad

Saying good-bye around 3 am on January 28th, 2014 at Raleigh Durham Airport. I will be flying from Raleigh, to Washington DC, and from there to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia!
January 27, 2014

As I am about to embark on what will probably be my last international missions trip, I have decided to begin to chronicle my thoughts and experiences. I do hope that you will find it a blessing and an encouragement.

In His Service,