We woke up this morning after a wonderful night of rest. We ate breakfast, and then visited with Gary and Peggy awhile before we headed to church. The church building was made of cement blocks, and was open to the outside - there were no doors or windows. It had a dirt floor, a stage, and wooden benches. It was a chilly, rainy day, and many people stood out in the rain to welcome us as we arrived. We entered the church and sat near the front. On one side of the church, all of the little children sat together facing the center. Many of them were dressed in rags and had no shoes.
Everyone sang several worship songs. One of the elders of the church, Dr. Tesfaye, sat between Chris and me and translated. Then, they asked Gary to go up on the stage and introduce us, so we all went up and stood beside him, facing the congregation. Gary told them, in Amharic, who we were and why we were there. He then handed the microphone to Chris, who thanked everyone for welcoming us and allowing us to worship with them. Everyone clapped for us, and we found our seats again. Then we listened to the service and had several prayers. After church, many people from the congregation came up to meet us, and all the children crowded around and just stared at us. When I would pat their shoulder, shake their hands, or talk to them, they would smile from ear to ear. Everyone was so joyful and sincere, even though they had absolutely nothing of material value.
We took a different route back through the absolutely beautiful Rift Valley. The scenery was breathtaking, although we couldn't get any great photos because of the rain and the moving vehicle.
When we got back to Addis, Raj stopped at a gas station to fill up the car. I had to...ummm....use the facilities really bad. We asked an attendant where the bathroom was, and Shana and I made our way around the side of the building according to his directions. When we found it, Shana opted not to go. It was just a hole in the ground behind a little door, and the smell was awful. The floor around the hole was covered with who-knows-what; I tried not to think about it and just got out of there as quick as I could. Never again will I complain about gas station restrooms here in the U.S!
Ephrim, the man we met earlier this week, had invited us to his place for dinner. Raj drove us to his house, which was beautiful. The home actually belongs to some missionaries from Texas who are back in the states right now; Ephrim and his wife live there and take care of the place in the owner's absence. He took us up to the third floor and out onto a balcony, where we visited and had awesome views of the city below.