Posts in Ethiopia 2018 #2
Ethiopia #5: Sunday in Gambella

by Frank Dimmock

Sunday in Gambella is reserved for worship and for visiting friends and families - still a wonderful tradition in much of Africa. I walked from the guesthouse where I am staying to the main Newland church for their 8:30 service. This is the Nuer church of the West Gambella Bethel Synod of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY), our Presbyterian partner. They are collecting funds and constructing a larger church building to accommodate the ‘mega church’ numbers of worshippers. The service was shortened to 3.5 hours due to a scheduled funeral for the wife of an elder. By then, I was cooked (finished a liter and a half of water) but honored to bring greetings from The Outreach Foundation. The lectionary reading was from Romans 13, submitting to authority, which was appropriate following inter-ethnic violence in town the day before. Attendance was more than 2500 inside and the ‘nursery’ with countless young children and mothers were in the ‘annex’ outside. There were many choirs, wonderful singing and several offerings. The entire service was in Nuer, but the Synod President, Rev. James Gadet (also preacher for the day) provided translation for me. I was blessed!

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Ethiopia #4: Pinyudo Refugee Camp

by Frank Dimmock

From Thursday, November 8th, through Saturday I was visiting the Pinyudo refugee camp, 5 painful hours South of Gambella. The camp has approximately 86,000 refugees with more than 50,000 children. One zone of the camp has refugees remaining from the conflict in South Sudan in the 1990’s. The Outreach Foundation has helped to train eleven refugees in Pinyudo 1 camp and three more in the smaller sister camp Pinyudo 2. I was able to meet most of them and learn of their progress with healing and listening groups. I also met four of the children who participated last year in the children’s trauma healing camp. I am encouraged by the efforts of these committed volunteers. There is much work to be done in helping the refugees understand and release their trauma, experience forgiveness and rebuild hope. In Pinyudo there are 8 parishes and more than 40 churches where we are working to build communities of healing. It is exciting! 

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Ethiopia #3: Audio Trauma Healing Training

by Frank Dimmock

There is too much to report since my last blog. Day two of the audio trauma healing training was focused on rape and domestic violence in the morning and on releasing our pain at the foot of the cross and forgiveness in the afternoon. Needless to say, we went overtime and were exhausted. Personal stories were shared, tears were shed and we ended in prayer. On our final day of the training, we covered “How can we live as Christians in the midst of conflict?” and “Looking ahead.” The participants had the opportunity to practice using the audio devices and solar speakers. As they graduated, a designated trainee from each camp was issued the recorders and speakers to take away. They have plans for forming listening groups.

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Ethiopia #2: Trauma Healing for Refugees

by Frank Dimmock

It has been a very busy and long day 1 with the audio trauma healing trainees.

We reviewed 6 lessons, listening to the Nuer audio recordings and going through the discussion questions. They remembered many of the stories and exercises we had done in the June training. It was a good review. There are 6 women and 7 men representing five of the six camps in the region. They are part of a team of trained trauma healing refugees from each camp.

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Ethiopia #1 - Greetings from Gambella

by Frank Dimmock

Greetings from Gambella, near the border with South Sudan. I arrived here on Saturday following two busy days in Addis. I managed while there to: get permission from the authorities to visit the refugee camps in this region; buy and transport a bicycle for the South Sudanese education and trauma healing coordinator in the camps; meet with the evangelist in charge of the Nuer Presbyterian Congregation in Addis (Gabriel Chieng Tot); visit with a South Sudanese medical doctor completing specialty training in OB/Gyn; spend time with an American group from Shenandoah Presbytery; and have dinner with the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) President Rev. Yonas Yigezu Dibisa.

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