Four years ago, before ever coming to Ethiopia, I remember having a conversation with one of my friends who lives in China.  She had just been through a very difficult summer and as I talked to her she looked at me and said, “I just want to go home.”

“Home?”, I thought, “is she referring to China?  Surely not.”  But after being there only a year or two she knew that was home.  I remember thinking that I would never feel that way about such a foreign place.  But four years later and just a few days ago, we were driving from Addis to Soddo and Paul said, “Well, does it feel like we’re home?”

“Yep”, I said.

“Yeah, it really does.”

And then we turned up our recently downloaded American playlist and watched the mountains go by as we drove home to Soddo.

The following  is a letter Paul wrote about our transition over the last few days…

Dear friends and family,

Good morning! It’s a cool, dark, rainy morning in Soddo. We arrived in Addis Ababa on Monday night after a long, but surprisingly pleasant trip from Houston. The kids seem to be getting better and better at traveling. It probably helped that we completed a one-month road trip right before leaving, because they did really well on the planes. Five days before flying out of Houston I  pulled out my back lifting some of our bags.  I was bed bound for 2 days and slowly got better.  We were worried about flying, but thankfully by Sunday I felt much better, although I still wasn’t allowed to pick up any of our 50 pound bags.  On the plane, beyond some stiffness that required an occasional standing stretch, there was very little pain. All of us, all baggage included, arrived safely in Addis and we were met at the airport by Nate,  a friend who brought our truck up from Soddo.  David Ayer, our new pediatrician who is studying Amharic in Addis, was also at the airport to say hello.  And as we stumbled into the Korean Hospital guest house, Chi came out to greet us as well.  It was so great to see many of the faces we had missed over the last few months.

We had a busy few days in Addis and were able to run the necessary errands. We stayed at a guesthouse at Myungsung hospital where I  was able to meet with the Korean leadership with which we will be working with PAACS. Chi Chung and his family were also there, they have recently moved from the United States. Chi is the general surgeon who will be the site director for PAACS at Myungsung and we will be working closely together.

We drove down to Soddo on Thursday. The kids were ecstatic to be back home, and love it. The trip down was smooth and it did, indeed, feel like home. I haven’t forgotten my skills at Ethiopian driving and was able to successfully navigate the human/animal/pothole slalom. We are getting moved back in and it will take some time to fully settle in. But we are glad to be here.

Jon Pollock had been in Soddo alone for a few weeks while his family has been in Addis settling into their new home and his wife gets ready to start teaching at Bingham Academy.  We will miss them here in Soddo for sure, but thankful we will get to see them in Addis.

Friday night we had a celebratory dinner for Tewodros’ graduation. Tewodros’ graduation was Saturday morning and it was a wonderful time of celebration. Please pray for him as he graduates and moves out into the world. I think highly of Tewodros and am encouraged by his growth in the last few years. He is a godly man and a good surgeon. Please pray for him as his family builds a new life where they see themselves as much as servants of the gospel as health care professionals.

We are doing well as a family. As mentioned, the kids are happy to be back. They are mostly over the jet lag, though Nathan is still waking up around 0530. So we have devotions together! We had some sweet time in prayer together yesterday morning. The kids are very happy to see Etagainu and Demekech again (the ladies who work in our house).

Friday, I operated on a man with stomach cancer who has been slowly bleeding to death. He was seen months ago and offered surgery, but he only returned for surgery now. I don’t know if it might have been removable then, but it was not now. I vacillated for a while in the OR about whether or not to try… it would have been difficult under any circumstances, but there was no more blood available to give him. So I decided to close him up and let him die on his own without taking the significant risk of hastening it on the operating room table.

Anyway, we’re back in it! We love you all and miss you. I thank God for the lessons he has taught us about trust, joy, and faith. I am praying fervently for continued rest in Him and continued joy in Him. Please pray for God’s supremacy and peace in our home. God bless,

Paul, Becca, Nathan and Lydia