Ethiopia has recently become my family’s new home. Now the plan is to stay in the country for the next few years, first in Addis Ababa and later in the country side.
I’ve been surprised, how quickly life here with all the new people, routines and impressions has developed into our new normal. First of all, lots of people have been praying for us, which makes a huge difference. Secondly, I’ve also done a lot of mental pre-work to get to this point. That is, I’m a slow person when it comes to preparing myself for change, and it took me the entire last year we spent in Finland to come into terms with the thought of leaving again.
A friend of mine (herself living abroad too) once said, your home land is like an old glove, comfortable and fitting. I think this is quite true. Indeed, if my goal was to maximise comfort, I guess I wouldn’t have left. After living in Geneva for about four years, I knew how things worked. I was close to my family and old friends and able to play an active role in their lives. I was again able to communicate seamlessly in Finnish, my mother tongue.
Moreover, although I had for a long time been dreaming about living in Africa, it made me slightly nervous to think about actually moving to a developing country context. After all, at home it was safe to walk/run/cycle outside alone, almost no matter what time or where. The political situation was stable. There were no tropical diseases, and I trusted the health care system, which is quite something especially if you have a baby. I could buy anything at the stores. The internet connection was fast and reliable. Potable water was coming from the tap without any cuts…
All of these things are great and I thank God for them. Yet, if God calls me to follow Him somewhere away from these conveniences, I’m happy to move. In my worldview, a fulfilling life is ultimately about being Jesus’s disciple and going wherever He takes me. Besides, God will provide me with everything I need in the new context, too.
So, what about the ways in which God’s blessing us here? Firstly, finding ourselves in the right place in God’s plan is deeply satisfactory. Further, making new friends, getting to know new places, learning a new language and culture, and getting to look at the world from a non-western perspective are some of the many enjoyable aspects of our everyday life. Eventually, life has become more adventurous – even walking down the street to the grocery store is exciting.
It’s wonderful to be here. God has kept us all safe, making sure we have everything we need. We haven’t actually experienced any of the tensions covered lately in international news on this country, though of course the issues are real and it’s important to pray for the country. Further, as our child was sick, we could bring him to a high quality clinic in the capital for a check up. Thankfully, he’s all right now.
To conclude, it’s been very important for me to experience, how well we get by here. It makes me trust God even more. At the same time I know He will also allow us to face sufferings, because that’s one of the ways in which He shapes us. Christ suffered as well as He came to save us.
Here are some pictures from an afternoon walk in our neighborhood here in Addis. In the upcoming blog posts I’m hoping to share more glimpses of our life here, so stay tuned.