A gap year in Ethiopia with SIM
Never seen a hippo? a mongoose? or a vulture?
Never chased a monkey off your mango tree?
Never been mistaken for a doctor, showered in the rain or been fed raw meat?
Never seen a baby born in the street, played pool without a cue or seen a bloke in a skirt?
Well neither had I until I'd been to Ethiopia! Looking back I still can't believe I was fortunate enough to spend six months in this wonderful, beautiful, crazy country!
After college I decided to take a gap year with SIM which is a Christian Charity. I was sent there with a girl called Michelle, first and foremost to homeschool missionary kids, but we also got involved in many different things as well...
One of the best parts of my time in Ethiopia was getting to know a group of girls my own age. Coming from completely different cultures, it seemed our worlds had collided and made no sense. But as we got to know each other we discovered a world of things we had in common and became great friends. At their house we sat on stools, chased chickens outside and roasted, ground and drank fantastic coffee! At our house we listened to Madonna, ate cookies and introduced the girls to western oddities like face-packs! Living in such a poor area, I was always self-conscious about our five roomed home for two compared with their two roomed home for five! Our glass windows and light bulbs; not to mention cooker, fridge and CD player! It was humbling and amazing, but somehow they didn't seem to resent us.
These six months have been a fantastic experience where not only did I get the chance to see and do some incredible things, I also got the chance to get to know my awesome God! A common prayer was "Dear Lord, HELP, Amen". Like my first day teaching English in the Ethiopian school, or being shown around the Aids hospital and orphanage and being told what I'd be doing there. All these times and hundreds more I cried out "HELP!" and each time God heard me. I've been a Christian for about eight years now, but this experience more than any other, has helped me see what a loving, faithful God I have.
If you're thinking of doing something like this then all I can say is "Go for it!"
If you want to know more about SIM gap years the email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
It was a miraculous encounter that changed my life completely.
I am still a Jew ... as was Jesus ... as were all the first Christians ... and I'm glad that God showed me His love in sending Jesus, the Messiah.
I knew then that God was talking to me ... once home I gave my life to the Lord Jesus.