Introduction – Our Story
WHY WE TELL OUR STORY
Betty and I would like to tell our story. We have vivid memories of our four and one half years living among the Arsi people in Ethiopia and the building of the country’s first youth camp and conference center at Lake Langano. Now and again people have asked us if we would ever write our story. I’ve made a number of stabs at it, but now is the time to “bite the bullet” and start writing.
Memories tend to fade over time, but there is a particular source at my disposal to sharpen those memories and almost bring me to the place of reliving the events all over again. Betty faithfully wrote letters to my folks and her mother each week. She would wind two of those blue airforms into our portable Royal typewriter with carbon paper in between (sometimes thin and faded with much use) and relate what we were doing, the antics of the children, and our interesting encounters with the local people around us. My mom saved each one of these in a box. What a treasure!
Obviously I cannot claim exclusive authorship to our story although it might appear that way. After all, who wrote all those informative letters? And then who kept them complete over the years? Betty and I are extremely thankful for parents who stood behind us with their prayers and interest, their Christmas parcels, the envelopes with fresh yeast and Koolaid packages. They were always ready to run any errand we wished to be carried out for us in Victoria.
Betty and I worked together as a team. We could not have survived without each other. Living in the isolated conditions at Langano was not easy for Betty. I admire her for dealing so well with the loneliness that living in the bush created for her in those early days at Langano. But building bridges with our Arsi neighbours by her loving manner, first in day-to-day contacts and then in her clinic, was key to building the camp. As events unfolded in months that followed, her life became full when she opened a clinic for the local people, the conference centre became operational, and the children came home for school holidays.
I, on the other hand, enjoyed the “homesteading” approach to planning and building the facilities. I was not a carpenter by training, but God had given me the aptitude for construction. This was discovered when I was usually building a project of some sort at every mission station previous to our assignment to Langano. The mission realized this when someone was needed to build the camp. With God’s help my abilities were used to see the camp started.
Now we can reflect back and see how God, in His sovereignty, orchestrated events, people and us to bring about what has transpired at Langano since the time we first arrived at the site. We could never have dreamed in those early days what would eventually unfold. We are so thankful that we were able to play a small part in seeing this happen.
So here’s our story …. let’s get started!