Chapter 1 – Build A Camp
Betty and I were trying to sleep. We had just driven a borrowed red VW camper onto the property the mission had acquired to build Ethiopia’s first youth camp and conference center. For the past several days I had cleared just enough space in the thick underbrush to park the van and attach the lean-to tent next to it. It was pitch black in the African bush. What potential danger would we encounter? I had taken every precaution I could think of. All of a sudden we were bolted to a sitting position by the loud, deep sound of growling in the branches immediately above the flimsy cheese cloth covering the small open hatch just above our heads. What was that!
I fumbled in the darkness for my flashlight. The rustle of branches overhead assured us that whatever the wild beast was, it had moved higher into the large sycamore tree. With my heart beating a little more rapidly than usual, I opened my Bible to Psalm 91 and in the light of the flashlight we read,
“.. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ .. . You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness.”
With that assurance we were able to sleep.
At daybreak we discovered the source of our scare. We had moved into the home territory of a colony of black and white Colobus monkeys. Their night slumber probably had been interrupted by a leopard looking for his supper. From that day we enjoyed our monkey neighbors. They cautiously observed our activities and we enjoyed their acrobatic life style high overhead.
Six weeks before this midnight encounter, Betty and I had been brought into this site by Albert Brant, our senior missionary who, with his wife, Evelyn, had a vision for establishing a camp and conference center for Ethiopia’s youth. On October 7, 1971, we stood under that massive tree a half mile from the beautiful sandy beach on Lake Langano, about 180 miles south of Addis Ababa. It was on these three acres that we would live for the next four and one-half years. Little did we know the adventures those years would hold. The only instruction Mr Brant gave was, “Build a camp!”