Surviving remarkably well…

Hopefully we will soon be thriving.

This first week has seen the big boys start school here in Addis and the little boy repeatedly insist he isn’t little and therefore tall enough to join the big two! Each morning Pete walks J & S around the corner (at 7.40am) to where the carpool taxi picks them up along with 7 other kids from our area. They return about 4pm.

I am very grateful not to have to fight L back into the car at the school gates each day, but it is very weird not doing the school run twice a day after so many years and not seeing other parents at school each day.

From dropping the boys at the taxi, Pete heads down to the roundabout to squeeze into the minibus taxis to go to work. They are very efficient and only cost 10p a ride. By far the most cost effective way to travel.

Meanwhile L and I are working out what life looks like at home until we have our own regular things in the diary and until we are able to secure a day guard for our compound and a house worker. These things are expected so we are providing employment for locals but also essential to keep our house safe while we are out and help with the very labour intensive nature of life here.

Let me give you an example.

Meet our semi automatic twin tub.

She will be one of my best friends in a land of power cuts, very variable water pressure and dust, dust, dust. She can be filled with 15 kilos of washing and get the clothes clean in 35 mins. Amazing.

The downside is, I need to cart 12 buckets of water from the house out to her in order to wash a load and then rinse it, hoping the power has stayed on long enough to heat some more water after we’ve been through the bathroom first thing. After the wash, half the clothes are transferred into the spin side and then the other half before, before going back into the main tub to rinse and then back again to spin!!! The washing, filling the water filter tank with tap water to make drinking water, boiling kettle to do washing up (no hot water in kitchen) and washing my hair with the shower drip took about 5 hours of constant work the other morning! At the end of all this I realised the city water had been off and I had in fact been using up the back up water tank which had then run out. Oops! Fortunately, the water came back on that evening and replenished the tank.

However, enough sun to get all this washing dry is a glorious sight in rainy season.

Feet on the ground…

It has been a crazy 60 hours.

Mercifully our first day here was dry and sunny, so the boys were able to play outside a bit while we organised furniture. There has been crazy, heavy rain since.

I managed to navigate the supermarket with help, I think I have tipped the right people at the right time.

We are getting to know our night guard and are managing just about to communicate with him. He has popped out to get us bread, Bananas and phone top ups.

It is a steep learning curve, but we are surviving and will update more once we have proper internet access.

And we’re off…

We’ve done it, by the skin of our teeth!

We have reduced our life to 290kg, we think we have told all the official bodies that need to know and we have left piles of stuff in boxes in a friends Cambridgeshire barn and at my parents to sort when we come home for. We have run out of time, but it is ok.

Apart from my parents at the airport we have said the last goodbyes.

We are so thankful for the cheering on, support and prayers this last 17 months. Hard to believe we are finally going. But we are and we are glad to finally be leaving limbo land.

There were many tears saying goodbye to my 93 year old Grandad this morning. He reminded us though of the wonderful way the Lord brought him and my Grandmother to Christ and has kept us all this far.

So here goes…we will blog when we arrive. Do keep reading over the next week’s, months and years. I’m sure we will have some adventures to tell.

On the brink…

I’ve just been reading my last post. I wrote it on the 31st December 2018. God has indeed held our hand tight these last month’s.

It has been a painful, rocky road uphill. We have been sleepless and speechless at times. We have been confused and cried out. We have been loved and looked after.

For various reasons things have paned out differently than we were expecting these last few months. To start with, I didn’t know what to blog. Then we just got so busy, that when I sat down to do anything that involved my brain it froze and fell asleep!

We had thought we were moving to Addis Ababa last August, then January and definitely March. But here we are still in Cambridge in July 2019. To be honest I wasn’t sure quite what to write during a rough few months on the road. I will give you a laugh though. One blog post I have composed in my head a number of times while in the Aldi checkout line… “Deflated by loo roll!” I’ve generally done a good job of keeping my spirits up and can definitely testify that God has held us tight these last month’s. However, it has been depressing whenever I have had to restock at the supermarket on bulk items. For some reason this has been particularly the case with loo roll (toilet tissue for non Brits). I was therefore very grateful on our last trip to Pete’s Grandma in Colwyn Bay to find she had reverted to her old ways. For the first few years we were married she would always send us on our way with random household items she found useful or was intrigued by in a catalogue. And there was always a large pack of loo roll. So, when I was getting to the point of needing to restock in May it was a great relief to find her rummaging in a cupboard as we prepared to leave and bringing out the loo roll. Even more exciting… These last few weeks instead of Aldi loo roll we’ve been an Andrex quilted house!

But, I digress. Here we are on the brink of our new world … Here follows a summary and in these crazy next week’s I will try to keep up with these blogs.

We are now headed to Addis with Wycliffe Bible translators, who will second us to SIL Ethiopia who will second Pete to the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology (EGST).

Flights are booked for August 14th, a wonderful lady we are yet to meet in Addis has found us a house, paper work is in hand and we are running round, only stopping to sit and chat with people as the emotional goodbyes pile up.

The following photos are a pictorial summary of life right now. Mainly surrounded by piles of stuff to sort into sell or give away (95% of our possessions), store (hardly anything) or pack into our 10 large check-in bags and 5 small carryons. However, there have been lighter, yet really sad moments. We have had our last trip to Pete’s family and enjoyed time rock climbing for Grumpys birthday. We have had a wonderful few days with Levi Booth here on home assignment from Japan. Read his book ‘Ultimate Grace’ if you want a good, but quick read on what took him to Japan and how he ended up on the Japan national Ultimate Frisbee team for Jesus!! For S, this has been the hardest goodbye so far. Saying goodbye to Levi was as gut wrenching as it was 5 years ago when we first waved him off for 4 years in Japan. I am so grateful (God-willing) we will get to come back to the UK more frequently than the 4 years Big Levi does.

The gate of the year…

It is a fact, that at the start of every new year we have no idea what it will bring. However, as ‘We The Myers’ look forward into 2019 the quote above from Minnie Louise Haskins seems so appropriate.

As far as we can discern, it is the Lords will that Team Myers will move to Addis Ababa Ethiopia soon. We had originally thought that would be August 2018, then the beginning of January 2019. Currently we don’t know when the move will be. For now, what we know is we have about 75% of the pledges we need from individuals in place and the process of getting Pete a work permit has started. About half our furniture has left the house and the rest of it has been claimed. People have done a great job of giving us packable Christmas presents or experiences and the boys have enjoyed lots of quality cousin time this last week.

2018 has been a challenging year with some deep valleys and some great highs as we have seen the Lords calling to serve him in Ethiopia confirmed by SIM mission agency. As every year we can look back and see how He has held us tight.

Many people have said to us we are so brave to make this move. Well yes, it is terrifying! However, we are held in the loving hands of the Almighty Creator God who designed all things and yet humbled himself to come to earth as a man. He knows each member of Team Myers better than we know ourselves and better than we know each other. So whatever happens, we are on a steady path because God has our hand.

Practising…

There are many ways right now we feel life is full of uncertainty. When will the PhD thesis finally be submitted, when will we have raised all the support needed and have work permits to book our flights, will we be leaving England in January, February or later still.

However, there are also many ways in which the Lord is throwing things across our path to encourage us and build our confidence in him. The online security training from SIM has been scary, but helpful. The boys put on an impromptu play yesterday afternoon using the random Amharic words they now know.

And then there are the less well (humanly) timed, but equally valuable experiences. This morning as we started out our drive to head for church we realised we had a flat tyre. Better to learn how to do this for the first time on our drive rather than on an Ethiopian roadside drawing in spectators (is probably what the security training would recommend!)

Starting to say the big goodbyes.

The summer holidays were filled with many goodbyes as we travelled the country to see friends from Oak Hill College who had been so significant in our life while Pete was training for ministry. The next few weeks will be filled with similar Cambridge goodbyes and visits with god-parents and our god-children.

However, as end this October half term we have said our first truely tear-filled goodbyes. Visiting Colwyn Bay to visit Pete’s grandparents has been such a wonderful place for family time and relaxation over the years. We love crabbing and ice creams at Fortes in Rhos on Sea and exploring the depths of the Fairy Glen between Great Grandma and Taid Mawrs house. We took films of our favourite places, took keep sakes from the beach, snuck in an extra trip to Fortes for Great grandma treats. It was a time of many fun memories despite a ‘proper poorly’ toddler with a fever and a Thesis still being worked on as we drove the width of the UK.

Realistically though, Great Grandma (Pete’s paternal Grandma) and Taid Mawr (Pete’s maternal Grandad) may not be capable of us visiting in the same way when we return in 2020.

It is hard for us to say goodbye, it is hard for all those family who will not see the kids grow as much. Man, the tears are flowing! But we go confident we are following where God is calling our family to serve him next.

The count down begins! 10 weeks and we will be in Addis.

Patience

I arrived at church yesterday morning, exhausted, fed up with my boys squabbling and moaning about helping, desperately wanting Pete’s PhD to have already been submitted. This last week instead of being back to normal routines of school and work, 2 of the boys have been home vomiting. Needless to say, it was not the start to term I was hoping for!

This September we have been focusing at Christ Church Cambridge on what being church is. We have looked at belonging, all of us being necessary parts of the body. So I let people see me crying and encouarge me. There is no neex to put up a front.

Yesterday the focus was maturity. It was such a timely reminder for me as we studied 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 that of course living in this world doesn’t feel like it should because ‘our tent here’ will be destroyed. We need to be looking to Christ in faith as we mature in him, studying his word and by his spirit developing his characteristics as we interact with others.

2 Corinthians 5 New International Version)

Awaiting the New Body
5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

So as we go into a new week, not knowing what it will hold, we will hold onto the things of this world lightly knowing our home is ultimately with Christ in heaven. Our home is not Cambridge, England or Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Our physical possessions that we need to get rid of here can’t come to heaven, so we don’t need to be sentimenal here (although it is right to grieve).

Please pray for us in these next 11 days, as Pete meets the university submission deadline. Pray we would have the Holy Spirits strength for all that living in this fallen world throws at us.

It’s getting real!

These last few weeks have seen the usual boys off school, summer holiday craziness. We been as a family to help at a Christian summer camp for teenagers, we’ve had funs with friends in woods and parks, we’ve hunted for and painted ‘Haslingfield Rocks’ painted by the kids of our village and hidden some for other to find. We’ve had our annual trip to Kew gardens with Grandma and Grandpa. And of course there has been quite a lot squabbling and complaining about how much homework has been set. Just now we are finishing the holidays in North Wales with Pete’s grandparents. The boys have played for hours as a team (!) building trenches on the beach and eating with Great Grandma at our beloved ‘White Tiger’ aka The White Lion Inn at Llanelian.

However amongst normality, this whole moving to Ethiopia thing is becoming much more real. We have been accepted as members of SIM mission agency, had our first round of inoculations and 2 days ago the first 60kg of our stuff (well Pete’s books) made its way to Addis with a friend from church!

No turning back now. Please pray we’d cast all our anxieties on Him who is able to do more than we can ask or imagine, knowing that ultimately our home is no-where here on earth!

Thriving at thirteen!

It’s been a crazy week and a half so as a result this post is a week and half late being written!

Monday last week we celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. We celebrated by having intimidating physical medicals as part of clearance to move to Addis Ababa.

The office where we had the medical was just a 5 minute walk from the flat we lived in the first two years we were married. So we took the opportunity to pop back and have a quick look. Our flat was those top 2 windows of the tall house, up 68 stairs!

It was a fly by visit, before walking down the south bank of the Thames for afternoon tea in ‘Canteen’ at the Royal Festival Hall.

It was a wonderful time to reflect on God’s goodness to us these past years. There have been extremely low and testing times over the years, but in his great mercy the Lord has grown us and changed us both. We can honestly say we love being married and supporting each other on this crazy journey.

This week last we have also completed the doctrinal questionnaire and a 3 hour psychological assessment. Just one more interview and then we will know if God willing Pete will be serving at the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology.

Never thought I’d say that 13 years ago!