Itinerary and Prayer Guide for the Blacks’ Trip to Ethiopia
(BeckyLynn prepared the following itinerary and prayer guide for our trip to Ethiopia. Thank you in advance for your love and prayers. We love you. DB)
Tuesday/Dec 13..2:55pm..leave Raleigh-Durham Airport, North Carolina…We will be flying RDU to Washington DC, then to Frankfurt, Germany and then to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The total travel time if all goes well is about 27 hours. Pray for safe travel & that our luggage would not get lost or stolen en route. Also pray that the weight of our suitcases will be OK. Pray for physical stressors that we will not arrive too tired. Tall people + airplane economy seats = swollen ankles, sore hips, aching muscles, tired body. But we are happy to be on our way back to the country & people we all love!
Wednesday/Dec 14...9:15pm (local time, western clock)...arrive Bole Airport, Addis Ababa (son Fasil will pick us up in his car & take us to SIM Guesthouse) Pray for customs clearance of all the electronic equipment we are bringing for the churches.
Thursday/Dec 15 thru Wednesday/Dec 21...stay in Addis for misc. business items, like exchanging dollars to Ethiopian birr money, securing passports, checking in with the American Embassy in case of political trouble, picking up the Bibles, Diglots & Study Books for the memory program, buying Amharic books for the next Library CD, having a Sons Dinner, getting new shock absorbers for Fasil’s car, visiting the Great Commission Center about the Jesus Film in the tribal languages, distributing funds for various needs, etc.. We will spend time with Bereket & visit the surgeon who did his cornea transplant. Dave will preach 3 times. It is very important that these business items get completed before we go “down-country”. Pray for political stability so that offices will be open & transport will be safe in the city. Pray that those whom we need to connect with, that they will be ready to help us with the business we need to get done.
Thursday/Dec 22...travel to Soyama in Burji District This is a 12-14 hour trip. About 8-10 hours is on a 2-lane narrow highway with all kinds of animals as well as people sharing the road. The final 4-6 hours in on a small dirt road, which takes us to Soyama, the “county seat” of the Burji District. Soyama is a town of about 800 people. It has a post office (but no delivery system), a government school, a few government offices, a tele-center, about 3 telephones, and a generator that provides electricity a few hours in the evening. This is the most modern place in the Burji District & is home for the Soyama Town church and the Kale Heywot Church (KHC) district offices. We will stay in the guest house of the KHC, which is a nice bed in a mud-walled room, cement floor and detached outhouse; they bring us food from somewhere in town, and water comes from rain barrels for washing. (We filter & ionize the water for drinking purposes.) Pray for safe travel on the highway (no accident or getting lost). Pray for the car to work well; it will be loaded down with over 1000 books, electronic equipment, supplies, etc. Pray for protection from bandits; especially if we are late getting in & the sun is setting, bandits & wild animals are a danger.
Friday/Dec23 thru Wednesday/Dec 28....rural ministry in Burji District The Burji church leaders have arranged this segment of our trip. They wrote to us “Your visit programme is as follows
This is our proposed programme for your visit (itinerary), we will take your advice if you have any new idea on this programme.” … This means that we will be traveling from church to church “in the bush”. (In this area of Ethiopia, the church was initially planted here about 55 years ago. Twenty-six churches now exist in the District, and they are sending missionaries to the nomads along the border with Kenya, and even to tribes in Kenya! The Burji District is the springboard to these far regions of Ethiopia & Kenya. Non-believers are animists/spirit worshippers or Muslims; a few are Orthodox.) We may sleep in homes with the Ethiopian people, or we may sleep on the floor of churches. We anticipate a ministry of teaching, evangelism and encouragement, working alongside the KHC church people. We will train them in the use of the projector, battery power, flannelgraph, etc. We will also distribute Bibles to the children who have completed the memory program, and new dresses to the wives of the evangelists. Many of these people do not know the national language; they only know their tribal tongue. We will speak thru an interpreter. It is possible that BeckyLynn will have to use her nursing skills for medical counsel to the people; there is no medical clinic or hospital anywhere in this section of Ethiopia. This will be a very high-intensity time of not only reaching out to the unreached, but also mentoring those in church leadership. It’s probable that many (perhaps most) of these people have never seen a “forengee” (white-faced foreigners); so our presence is likely to cause quite a stir! We will likely have no toilets except the bush, and we will likely be exposed to sickness (“Travelers Diarrhea”, mosquito diseases, bug bites, snakes/wild dogs/rats). Privacy will be non-existent. Also, we will be close to the equator at high elevation, so sunburn is almost unavoidable. We will likely be “sleep challenged”. Pray for physical protection from illness. Pray for good sleep & for us to rest in His provision of whatever sleep we get. Pray for us not to unconsciously offend in some cultural manner. Pray for us to stay in tune to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, even if we are pulled in many directions & are coping with fatigue or illness; pray for us to have a clear understanding of what needs He has sent us to aid, and what needs He wants us to forego. Pray for safety of our financial resources & protection from thievery or loss. Pray for receptive hearts and for good translators. Pray for BeckyLynn to remember how to operate all the electronic equipment & adapt her nursing knowledge to Ethiopia’s situation. Pray for grace in dealing with the lack of privacy.
Thursday/Dec 29...rest in Soyama We will be back at the KHC guesthouse. Evangelists from all over the District will be gathering this day for the annual Bible Conference. Pray for safe travel for these evangelists, and that they would come with open hearts to His leading. Pray that we would get some good rest & spiritual refreshment in preparation for the Conference.
Friday/Dec 30 thru Sunday/Jan 1....Bible Conference in Soyama On Friday & Saturday mornings, Dave will be teaching the church leaders how to study the Bible & prepare it to be taught to the people. Simultaneously, BeckyLynn will be teaching the women about God’s creative, fallen and redemptive plan for them as women. After a meal, Dave will teach 2 sessions to the general public; he will teach through the book of Philippians, trying to demonstrate to the leaders what he taught them in the morning. Simultaneously, during the first half of the afternoon, BeckyLynn will be teaching church leaders, parents & teachers about working with children, and in the last half of the afternoon, she will have a children’s program open to all the children in Soyama & will attempt to demonstrate what she has taught. On Sunday morning, we will have a special worship service, where Dave will preach; we will formally present the electronic equipment, flannelgraph, children’s teaching tools and Bibles to the churches. Typically, Sunday services start at 7am with prayer until 9am, then evangelism training until 10, then worship service until almost 1pm, then break for meal, youth at 3pm, and more training at 5pm. These 3 days will be very demanding as we teach & demonstrate. Pray for mental, spiritual & physical acuity, discernment, strength. Pray for good communication; we will teach thru interpreters. Pray for wisdom as we seek His will regarding unexpected needs that come up, and as we consider where to go from here for the future. Pray for our cameras to work well, so that we will be equipped to give a full report to those helping us. Pray for us as we work with the Leaders in the transfer of responsibility for the equipment & supplies we are bringing.
Monday/Jan 2...rest in Soyama Although we have this as a “rest” day, it’s likely that we will end up doing a lot of personal counseling. It will be our last day, and by now, word will have spread about our presence, so people will be “coming out of the woodwork” to talk with us about this or that. Pray for good rest & refreshment. Pray for guidance and protection in the spiritual realm as we deal with issues brought to us. Continue to pray for physical protection from illness; if we get diarrhea, it is very debilitating & takes several days to recoup; it will greatly hamper ministry if we get sick.
Tuesday/Jan 3...travel to Alaba Town in Alaba District This trip is about 8-10 hours, going back toward the capital. About half of the trip is on a simple dirt road, and about half on the 2-lane paved “highway” with animals, etc. The Alaba District is located in the Rift Valley, a huge geologic depression that runs from the Middle East to Central Africa. This Valley is hot, dry, full of lakes with mosquitoes, famine-ridden. Malaria is commonplace. Starvation is rampant. The area is 95% Muslim, and in the rural areas of the district there is severe persecution of the Christians. This is where the Muslims are burning churches, ransacking the homes of Christians, kidnapping & murdering the children in Christian families. And yet, in the midst of this difficulty, every week more turn to our Lord for the salvation & love He offers! The church is alive & purified because of the persecution! Pray for safety in travel and for a good-working automobile. If the car breaks down, it will be very difficult to get it fixed any time soon…there are no repair shops! Pray also for good mentoring/relationship time with Fasil and for rest on the trip.
Wednesday/Jan 4...Ethiopian Christmas in Alaba The Ethiopian believers celebrate our Lord’s birth in a more biblical way that their American counterparts….they have a simple worship service. No gifts, Santa Claus, tree, stocking, lights, cookies, etc. Just worship. Dave will be preaching at the Alaba Town Church in the “county seat” of Alaba town. Pray for the establishment of a good working relationship with the Alaba people. Pray for a precious time with our two Alaba sons, Ahmed-David & Nigussie, and for the salvation of Ahmed-David’s parents.
Thursday/Jan 5 ... unscheduled We may be working with the Bible School students, getting acquainted with the leaders, visiting Mohamed in prison again, doing equipment training with the leaders, showing the Jesus Film, etc. Pray that our Lord will bless the day, whatever it holds.
Friday/Jan 6 thru Sunday/Jan 8 ... Bible Conference in Alaba Town, This Conference will be held in the same way that the conference was held in Burji. The prayer needs are basically the same.
Monday/Jan 9 thru Sunday/Jan 15...rural ministry in Alaba District. This ministry will be very similar to the rural ministry in Burji, except that there may be hostile opposition from the non-believers to our presence and ministry. Pray for safety from persecution for us and also those Christians with us. Pray that we will be able to visit Zemete, Muhammed (the Prisoner), Ahmed-David’s parents, and the parents of those that have lost children to the persecution. Pray for BeckyLynn to have a special ministry of encouragement to the wives of the evangelists; they have an especially difficult life of sacrifice! Pray for special wisdom to understand what needs we should help with. Pray for supernatural strength & wisdom; by now we will likely be getting worn & tired in the work & stressors, so we need His special power to do the Work. Pray for traveling safety as we return to the capital Addis on Sunday afternoon; for the first time in many weeks we will get a hot shower, using lice shampoo & eat forengee food at the SIM Guesthouse. Pray for comfort as we say “goodbye” through tears of love mingled with praise & thankfulness
Monday/Jan 16...10:45pm...leave Bole Airport, Addis Ababa We will say goodbye to Bereket; since he lives far to the north, it’s unlikely we will see him for a very long time. Pray for Bereket to be strong spiritually and continue to grow in our Lord. Pray for packing & all the little business things needed before leaving. Pray for safe travel & coping with the “depression” that often follows times of great spiritual work.
Tuesday/Jan 17...8:27pm...arrive Raleigh-Durham Airport, North Carolina We have no idea what condition we will be in when we return. Based on past trips, we will probably be exhausted, subdued as we try to “digest” the past weeks, praising Him for the miracles of Life we witnessed, in awe over His faithful provisions & sustaining grace, more in love & burdened for the people of Ethiopia, creative juices flowing as we think of where to go from here….. and VERY thankful for your participation in funding, donating and praying. Thank you in advance for making us a part of your prayer life. Your faithfulness in bringing us before the Throne of Grace is a key element of any spiritual victory that is gained. To a large extent, our faithfulness depends upon your faithfulness. We need your strength, which is transferred to us from God through your prayers. May He bless you for your kindnesses to us in this way!
For His glory alone!
Dave & BeckyLynn Black
December 11, 2005
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.