Patients and staff at Aira Hospital

Patients and staff at Aira Hospital


We’ll go separate ways again – Ron with hospital administration, Rachel with hospital staff, Girma with the secondary school leadership (where he supports several students through scholarships), and Karen with the seminary.  Girma and Karen will also spend time with President Iteffa, the president of the synod.



Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

In the Ethiopian culture, names are so important. When you meet someone, often they will tell you what their name means, and many of them relate to their faith. For example, Girma means “grace.” Abdi means “my servant.” Gabriael means “God is my strength.”  Choosing a name for a baby involves more than just a pleasant-sounding name; it includes choosing a name with a meaning that is significant, meaningful to their faith and life. What would your name be?



It’s late evening, and I’m sitting in the Guest Cottage, wondering where my fellow travelers are. They went to see the clinic in Chalia today, and expected to be back by 5:00. Where are they? I will not panic, but I’m close. Now the electricity went off. We have light from the generator, but only in selected places.

Today I started the day at the seminary, joining their chapel. It was a day of prayer, so we got down on our knees at our chairs, and two prayer leaders led us in impassioned prayer, starting slow and soft, and gradually building to a loud, insistent prayer. It was powerful, even though I didn’t know what they were saying,

In the afternoon I met with the women seminary students at Rev. Tadese’s request. We talked together about the challenges they face, and the strength they require, then they left with my feeble Oromo blessing: “Waqqau sei ebesu” (God bless you.) They grasped my hands so urgently.

Then I spent an hour with editors from the Aster Ganno Society. They are translating key writings into Oromo. We had a marvelous time together. Aster Ganno helped Onesimus Nesib translate the Bible into the Oromo language.

Then it was off to Lalo Aira Congregation to pray with the elders. I expected Girma to join me there, but he didn’t show. So, the elders met with me, told about the near completion of their new church building and about their developing outreach program. I got a tour of the new building which is under construction. Good Shepherd contributed a small amount to the building fund through our Ethiopia benevolences; the elders recognized that gift. Then I left, and the elders went on to pray with each group meeting at the church that night -- including a Bible study group and several choirs.

I walked back to the Guest House, eager to hear about the adventures of my fellow travelers, but they were not there. I paced. I sat. I paced some more. I started writing this blog. It was getting quite late, and very dark. I didn’t know how to find out where they were. Then, I heard Rachel’s laughter as they walked up the path. I don’t know if I’ve ever been happier to see three people!

Here’s Rachel’s retelling:

Today was an exciting day! Ron, Girma, Dr. Tariku (the hospital administrator and surgeon), two members of the BirbirDilla Synod staff and I traveled to visit two of the clinics in the area. We first went to a clinic in Dilia, a very small rural town that is difficult to reach by car. We made it there though with no problems.  We got a tour of the clinic, and sat down and chatted with the nurse in charge. We also got to hang out with some of the kids at the clinic, which was super fun for me!! After going to the clinic we went to visit Dilia Falls. It was an hour hike to the falls and back, and we got a great view of the agriculture in the area on our way.  We also met a little boy along our walk who became our tour guide!

Our travel from Dilia clinic to Chalia clinic was very interesting to say the least. The dirt “roads” that we were traveling on were very narrow and filled with many obstacles, including hills, donkeys, streams, trees, and people. On our way it started raining which made it incredibly difficult to get up the hills. We got stuck in the mud twice! I was certain we were going to tip our truck, but no worries we made it! A little farther down the road it stopped raining, BUT – just our luck – our vehicle ran out of fuel in the middle of nowhere. I was picturing us walking for miles to find someone with fuel. But everyone got their cellphones out and were spread around the hillside trying to get service. Someone got service and were able to contact someone at Chalia clinic to bring us gas. It was an adventure to say the least!

We finally made it to Chalia and met with the health officer that runs the clinic. It was interesting to see both clinics to compare and contrast the two; they were very different from each other. Dilia was a lot more rural and has many more obstacles to overcome than Chalia. After conversation and a tour we walked down to the Trade Building School that is on the clinic compound to have coffee and dinner. While there we met 16 Germans who were there doing missionary work. It was definitely a surprise!

After all of this adventure we got back on the road and headed back to Aira, in the dark of course because that’s how the day was going J . We made it back to the guest house and found Karen who was extremely worried about us! We were supposed to back middle of the afternoon, but we got back at 7:30 . . . oops! Overall though it was an exciting and adventurous day!