Over the past few months, Wyclfife professor David Reed has been traveling to a number of sites around the world. He's been kind enough to write notes on each of his trips and we'll be posting them on the Wycliffe website each week throughout the summer:
After spending a sleepless night in the Madrid airport, I made my way to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, via Frankfurt. My purpose is to do more research on an indigenous Pentecostal Church that now numbers about 3 million since its beginnings in the 1960's.
I had visited here last year, interviewed the head bishop and collected some material. My visit this time is to interview the founding bishop and patriarch, and attend an annual event in the southern region (near Awassa, about 300km south of Addis Ababa). More on that in the next Travel Note.
I am including some pics here of my trip south last Thursday. I was accompanied by my guide and interpreter, Teshome, and a driver with a Land Cruiser. Teshome was my guide last year in the northern region.
Geographically, the south is flatter, with lower altitude, warmer and better suited to farming. The lakes in the region attract vacationers and tourists.
Ah yes, farming. Ethiopia's largest export is coffee (coffee originated here!). And its second largest agricultural export? Khat (they pronounce it 'Chat'). That's the stuff you eat that gives you a moderate high, can be mildly addictive, and very much in demand. The leaves are sold in packages by the roadside (and other places, of course). It is then transported to the cities and out of the country. It is legal here.
True story...a bishop (the above "patriarch") went to a new church to consecrate it, only to discover it had been built from proceeds of sales from Khat. He was so offended he told the congregation that this new place of worship should be burned. And in a few weeks it mysteriously caught fire and burned to the ground!