Lessons in Gondar

Greetings from Jimma Ginjo Guduru Bethel Mekane Yesus congregation (Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus ).

In December I (Steve) left the UK for my second visit to Ethiopia, to teach Leadership and Management to Midwives, Physiotherapists, Anaesthetists and Laboratory staff from all over Ethiopia in Gondar University. When I left Joy at Heathrow airport, little did I know how I would see God at work so many times in the space of 1 week.

My involvement in Ethiopia comes through the link that the Leicester hospitals have with the hospital and university in Gondar.

In May 2000, I had spent two weeks supporting and helping the microbiology laboratory at Gondar University and in that time had the experience of war with Eritrea breaking out but better still the experience and closeness of God in so many ways at the time of concern and worry, however that’s another story recorded in a journal.

On this occasion, I was travelling semi alone (there was a professor from London on my same flight) and I would not regard myself as a confident traveller but saw God at work just after arriving in Addis Ababa:-

In waiting for the connecting flight to Gondar, the flight number did not appear on the departure board, however another 5 or 6 flights did. Where do we go? What do we do?

On enquiry, we were told “not to worry, it will appear” – it never did!!!

Concern regarding missing or getting on the wrong flight was resolved by God in providing a doctor who I’d met and worked with before over 10 years ago, who “just so happened to be travelling back to Gondar from Addis”, – she was able to direct us as to what we needed to do and where to go to get the connecting flight:- coincidence??? – I believe it was the provision of God.

On to the lecturing – on one day, I thought I was going to become a patient at the hospital feeling unwell in a number of ways – quick text to Joy for prayer request. The result:- within 2 hours I was fine and able to continue lecturing:- coincidence??? – I believe it was an answer to prayer.

What about the greeting above – as a part of the course, I taught the students about a rugby scrum (related to opposing forces in management of change). As a visual demonstration, I picked the largest, fittest man. – (see the picture). It was only on return to the UK that I found out that Waqtola Cheneke is a Christian and hence the greeting at the beginning:- Coincidence???? – Doesn’t our God do some amazing things?

No war this visit, however snow in the UK and flights cancelled until ........ no one knows

Stuck In Addis Ababa – panicking and not having a clue what to do or where to go, looking back, God provided the right three people to be standing in the right place at the right time who knew where to stay for 2 nights, where to go? what to do? even where the flight office in the centre of Addis was, to try and arrange flights home:- Coincidence???? – I believe it was God’s provision. 

When would we get home??? Before Christmas or after the New Year – anxious alone in a hotel room –then a text came through Psalm 56 vs. 3:- Coincidence???? – No - it was God providing that confidence through his people, knowing that they were praying for me during the week.

The “extended” week went all too quickly, the students were a privilege to teach and I can’t wait to get back (possibly later this year). Can I just take this opportunity to thank you all for your prayerful interest in my work in Ethiopia. Our God really does provide!

Steve Hardy