Many of you know that when we arrived in Ethiopia over 5 years ago, that we were the only young family.  I was the only “non-working” adult on the compound and Nathan was 7 months old.  And although we had a lot of support from the rest of the community as we adjusted, many days were hard for this mother.  I was used to getting in my car with my baby every day.  I would drive to the park to walk around, to meet a friend for lunch or just drive…hoping my little boy would get some sleep.  Well, then we packed up our baby, left my 4 wheeled symbol of independence and left the big city.  We landed in Soddo, on a small compound and all of a sudden I was very dependent.  Dependent on advice from others. Dependent on food from my own garden.  Dependent on the Lord…to provide and teach us a new way of life.

Nathan at 7 months sitting below our 6 bags headed to Ethiopia

Nathan at 7 months sitting below our 6 bags headed to Ethiopia

I began finding my own rhythm.  I learned the language.  I broke up the days by letting Nathan play in the grass and dirt outside.  I would strap him on Etagainu’s back and we would take trips into town, for coffee and popcorn.  Eventually, Bajaj’s came to town and I had a mode of transportation again!  One that didn’t include staring at the back of an emaciated horse wondering if he was going to collapse at any moment and we would all go flying.

the dreaded horse cart....poor little horse

the dreaded horse cart….poor little horse

I loved the freedom that a Bajaj brought for me.  Funny, I know.  But it was a glimpse of independence.  Being able to call a driver and have him show up and take me to visit friends in town or easily go and get a few things I needed for dinner.

The upgrade...the bajaj...my new 3 wheeled symbol of independence.

The upgrade…the bajaj…my new 3 wheeled symbol of independence.

But still I struggled with community life, the fact that my kids needed friends and I longed for other young moms to talk things through with.  I invited some kids from the community for regular play dates, but several times the kids moved on to bigger cities in Ethiopia and we were back to where we started.  I met several other great families who were living here, but all living in very different places within Ethiopia.  And at the most I may see one of them every few months.

And then we got several emails and visits from families who said they were interested in moving and serving at Soddo.  Paul and I thought it would be a dream come true.  Can you imagine if the community grew and we all lived here together?

And it was amazing to see how it all played out over the years.  We would pray and pray that God would send more to serve here.  And he did, more than we could have imagined.  We now have a compound filled with 17 kids and one on the way.  We have grandparents who have left their grandkids and serve our kids…I mean spoil our kids, as if they were their own.  We have parents who are willing to take on extra kids for a few hours or for a weekend. We live every day with people who know us through our best and our worst…and they still love us.  And it is such a blessing!  I love serving with everyone who has made their home in Soddo.  It really is a picture of the church.  People drawn together by a common bond, unified by the Holy Spirit and the mission given to each of us to serve and live together.  People who grow together through colliding daily.  The church is a beautiful and messy blessing.

Kids hanging out

Kids hanging out

The kids enjoying a movie night with the Ayers, while Paul and I were out of town.

The kids enjoying a movie night with the Ayers, while Paul and I were out of town.

 

My neighbors!  How lucky am I? We are all currently home schooling together, keeping our husbands going and yes, even our favorite time of the day is recess too! Quality time on the playground does everyone some good.

My neighbors! How lucky am I? We are all currently home schooling together, keeping our husbands going and yes, even our favorite time of the day is recess too! Quality time on the playground does everyone some good.

 

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