Possible travel? Please pray!
February 2020. I returned from a trip that included time spent in Uganda and Ethiopia. But then, everything changed. You know....Covid. And I have not traveled since. 17 months. Now that may not be a big deal for some of you but that is a lot for me, especially when I think what 2019 looked like.
July 2021. Our first tentatively, hands held open to the Lord's plans, trip. The idea is to return to Ethiopia. I halted sending my quarterly newsletter out to share this update instead. Don't worry, I will still send the other one soon. The plan was to return and mentor new Training Facilitators and potentially raise certification levels of others as they mentor and coach the training. There has been work on an Amharic translation (the lack of has hindered the growth and development of Trauma Healing) and this will be the first training it will be used. This is something to celebrate!!
Though having the materials in the local language has been a barrier, we have still seen development in the last 3 years, including quite a few new facilitators this past year. As a result, we would like to come together to celebrate with a Community of Practice. This will be a great time for networking too. Here is the good news: no matter what happens, these plans will continue and we are SO thankful for that!
BUT this will NOT occur if we cannot arrive in Ethiopia: we now have the ability to do hold training, using the Life Hurts, Love Heals, teen Trauma Healing curriculum. This is something we have looked forward to for two years, since we first piloted the material in August/September 2019. Here is where we need prayer.
To enter into a country, one needs not just a passport but in many countries, a visa as well. In Ethiopia, there are two main ways to obtain one: online or upon arrival at the airport when you land. Sharon and I are planning this trip together and as we are exploring travel options due to Covid, here is what we read on the Ethiopian Airline website:
Ethiopia Temporary Ban On Visa on arrival and E-Visa options.Ethiopian Immigration has suspended issuance of visa on arrival and E-Visa provision for all passengers effective 18 June 2021 until further notice
Wait.....what? What does any of this mean? Well, Sharon has done an incredible job of navigating a frustrating system of many unreturned phone calls and learned our only option is to send our passports in along with a visa application and a fee to the Ethiopia Embassy in Washinton DC.
Why have they suspended their visas? It is uncertain and there could be much speculation: their current elections, deadly conflict in the Northern part, etc. But, the bottom line for us, is we need our prayer warriors. There is a lot of planning that needs to occur this next month for the teen training. We will continue with those plans as we trust confidently (because of the Lord) the US postal system as well as the Ethiopian Embassy to give us a quick reply regarding our visa.
We trust that if this is not the right time, the answer will be no. But for the moment, we continue to plan AS IF the answer is YES. We know God is faithful not just while we wait but while we work as well. I will keep you updated on what happens.
Thank you for your continued love and support,
Enjoy some of the photos from our teen camp in Ethiopia in September 2019
LIFE HURTS, LOVE HEALS
There were a few things that stood out for me when we piloted this in 2019. The first is the three amazing, Ethiopian men that were with us. All three served tirelessly in dual roles as co-facilitators and translators. I was blessed by their heart of love and compassion for these boys. Their deep desire to help each boy know his true value and worth to His Heavenly Father and to guide them on the path to be healed from the wounds that life had inflicted was truly inspiring. And second, to say the weekend was transformational for the boys is an understatement. God used the time and material to bring healing, restoration, forgiveness, and true identity in Christ.
This is what could happen in 2021 too! Please join us in prayer!
Icebreakers, Teaching, Team Building Activities, and Just Plain Fun!
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Misty Bodkins has a Master's degree in clinical psychology. She has worked both stateside and internationally doing counseling, training, teaching, and research. Her passion is working with people who are in crisis.