Greetings from good old Indiana! May grace, peace, and mercy be given to you. I have been back in the states for about 3 weeks now though the focus of this newsletter will be about my time in Ethiopia.
The Lord opened up several unexpected doors of opportunities to do some teaching and training. During my time in Jordan, there was a devastating landslide of trash at the trash dump (Korah) in Addis. Hundreds of people live near the dump, the city's only landfill site. The landslide destroyed dozens of homes and killed over 115 people (per government report) though it is very likely that number is higher. Many are still missing. I taught with a ministry, Embracing Hope, and 5 their staff, who have been involved with the rescue efforts and will continue to help in recovery. The stories I have heard are pretty horrific. Please pray for Embracing Hope as they continue to reach into this area and for the staff (fellow believers) who are struggling with secondary trauma from the things they witnessed. My time and training in disaster relief the last few years suddenly took on whole new meaning as we discussed common reactions to trauma, how they can care for themselves and one another, and how they can work with the victims of this disaster-many of whom were already in hopeless and desperate situations. We wrestled with some theology questions too. I could see the pain and numbness in their eyes during our time together. They were very engaged, had good questions and shared openly their struggles. One commented how these people eat from the dump, live in the dump, rummage through the dump to find things to sell to earn an income, and ultimately it is the dump that kills them. It's heartbreaking and so very tough.
I went from trauma training with Embracing Hope to conducting a parent training the next day at CFI. This training was focused on listening, communication, respect, and working together as the body of Christ as they start to do some income generating projects. Thirty-eight parents were in attendance for the 2 hour training. Many of these are parents I was involved with my first week in Ethiopia several months ago so it was a joy to get to see them again. I also worked with Adi, one of the staff, on developing a standard initial form for the social workers to use for their home visits.
Finally, I spent several hours on follow up with Onesimus in regards to developing a code of conduct for the drop in center and halfway homes. We also reviewed the rules and consequences they developed while I was gone. I also continued to walk alongside missionaries in some trials and challenges they face. My schedule in Ethiopia was full.
The more I have worked with missionaries in the last 6 months, the more I realize how vital member care is. Being a missionary and serving cross-culturally is tough and it is a privilege and an honor to walk alongside missionaries, listening to them, supporting them, caring for them, encouraging them, and helping them thrive as they serve the Lord and spread the Gospel. We would not be able to do this ministry without you!!
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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.