Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Our Second Visit to Our Ethiopian Church

Well, this past Sunday my whole family went to our new Ethiopian Church. And again, the pastor came straight up to David and introduced himself. There was worship time and a wonderful sermon about Ninja's and morphing. We had a translator on our head set that did a really fantastic job of translating the message so that we understood it. It must look funny cause when he would say something with some humor, David and I would laugh when all 500 of the others were done laughing. So we must have looked REALLY out of place. We met more people afterwards and I was able to connect with several really lovely people. We hope to keep in touch with them and I'm sure we will see them when we attend this church.

All in all, David too felt what I had felt weeks before. That the warmth and genuineness of the people we met and saw cannot be translated here on this page. You must experience it to know what I mean. In fact, it would behoove you to attend an Ethiopian church at least once to know this culture...to feel it. I feel cheated to not have known people like this all my life...really. The associate pastor was telling us he recalls Hilary Clinton stating that "It takes a village to raise a child". He of course knows this first hand that it does in fact take a village which is standard practice where he comes from. He said it would be nothing for someone down the street to give your child a little spank on the bottom should they need it. And no one would question it. Here, well, you would go to jail. I would have spanked many a children on my street now, let me tell you! But I can't, can I? I've got one woman already not talking to me because I confronted her about punching my son. We can't get too honest here, can we? Let's not get into anyone else's business or it gets uncomfortable. This is what I miss about a neighborhood. I want it to be like African villages where the village really does help you raise them. Actually, there are several neighbors that have welcomed us wholeheartedly and have been there for us at the drop of a hat. And it does seem friendlier here than where I just moved from. But so many have decided that it's too much work to be friendly. It's typical that many neighbors would drive to and from work in and out of their garage and not think to have any sort of communication with someone that they've lived next to for the past 5 years. What the heck is that? It doesn't hurt to say hello to someone. I'm not gonna ask you to bake me a cake if you say hello. I might bake YOU one, but I promise, you won't have to commit to anything long term. Venting here!!!

The movie we are in the middle of watching called "God Grew Tired of Us" is so saddening when there are 4 Sudanese guys living together in a 2 bedroom apt. because they have fled Sudan in fear of being murdered. They are living in Philadelphia through government funding and find that although there are 4 of them living together, they are feeling very lonely and sad about not living in their village anymore. They go out and work 2 jobs. Come home late at night on a bus and have been out in the world....yet, they are lonely. Because they know what it is like to be around "family & friends" and have each other. They remembered what the village provided for them. What is missing is the most important thing to them....the feeling of being connected. They are in a world of millions in their city now, yet they are lonely. How does that happen? We get lost in ourselves, don't we? We forget why we are here. This is what God wants of us, isn't it? To take care of each other. It's a very simple request of His.

When I'm at this Ethiopian church and feel the heart of the people, it is very clear to me why they are so real and so warm....it is because of where they come from. This is embedded into the core of who they are. It'll be interesting when we are in Addis Ababa, the capital, to experience the traditional coffee ceremony. They roast the bean, grind it, then make the coffee from there. It is what they do as common as when we serve a glass of water. This is how they "fellowship". This is how their village becomes part of their family. Here in America, a child without a parent will most likely go to an orphanage or Foster care, whereas, in Ethiopia it seems as though if there were ANY living relatives at all, the child would go there. Unless they too are suffering from a terminal disease. But even though they have nothing, and probably not even enough food for their immediate family, they will still take in their nieces and cousins, etc... I'm not an expert, but I've been doing a lot of research and learning much needed information. The heart of the Ethiopian people will NOT be splattered on the front page of People magazine, or the front page of the New York Times. It is not media worthy, yet it is everything that showbiz and sensationalizing is not. Some people are like silent heroes that will never have their stories told and if we don't search it out, or look a little further, we'll never know where those stories are, will we?

I was looking at some old emails and found one from a friend in Sweden who I had forgotten had married an Ethiopian woman. Her name is Demanesh. She was adopted when she was an infant and is now married to our friend in Sweden. I'm waiting for his return email so that we can tell him our news about the girls. I think it'll blow his mind.


Anonymous said...


Please forgive my ignorance, but I must ask.....I am going to Ethiopia to do some humanitarian work this summer. There is an Ethiopian Christian Church near my home and I would love to attend this weekend. My question.....what did you wear? In pictures I have seen it seems as though most are wearing white robes. I don't want to be disrespectful....

Thanks, if you get a chance you can e-mail me at ctorquay@yahoo.com


Lisa W. said...

Hi Sara,
You are so sweet to be considerate about going to an Ethiopian church and what to wear. The one I went to dresses regular. They actually dressed nice for church, like the men would wear a tie and the ladies would wear their “Sunday Best”. I didn’t particularly wear my “best”, but I dressed nice and that was just fine.

The one you saw wearing white could just be and orthodox church. But call them, tell them what you wrote me and ask for their suggestion for you. They are, as you read my post, a very genuine and humble culture. They are so caring and nonjudgmental. Good luck and please keep in touch. Even while you are there.

How long will you be staying? Where exactly will you stay? What kind of work?