Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Addis in the Morning

The moslem call to prayer reverberates through the morning air and mingles with the sound of roosters, dogs, a cow bellowing, and little blue and white taxi cabs honking, as the sun rises from behind the mountain.

I step out onto the balcony. People are beginning to move about and the ever-present aroma of cooking fires and diesel smoke intermingles with the smells of thousands of people living on the streets attacks my nosrils.

Down in the parking lot someone is trying to start a car. The sound of the starter is grinding as the battery gets weaker but the driver persists.

In the dining room I am the only patron. The tile floor is gleaming and the young women, in their red and black uniforms, are speaking softly. They always do. Polite, gentle, willing to help, although speed at work in addis, is it seems, to be shunned.

The sound of their voices rises and falls musically, like water over the stones in a small creek. Doors olpen and close. The sound of the voices subsides. They have changed shifts.

Outside, finally, the car belches to life.

In the lobby a wide screen TV is playing an American cartoon in English, a surprise, since in our room the TV programs are all in other languages.

Two distinguished looking men are sitting on a sofa, one in traditional garb, the other wearing a western style business suit. They seem to be having a very deep discussion. They pause and both intently watch the cartoon for a few minutes and then, as if on cue, they return to their conversation.

Out on the street, on my way to Bambis market, the street people are already in their usual places, offering me pirated videos, maps of Ethiopia, or just loitering. Sheep are being herded down the sidewalk and hordes of people are walking.

The market is closed. No sign, no explanation, just closed. That is the way it is in this city of four million people.

As I walk back to the hotel the Muslim call to prayer has changed to preaching. It blares on, and on, and on.

Ain't God good?
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I will see the goodness of the LORD
I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.

Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

Psalm 27:13,14 NIV

But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD;
He is their strength in time of trouble.

The LORD helps them and delivers them;
He delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
Because they take refuge in Him.

Psalm 37:39,40 NASB

I am told God only saves those He chooses.
This scripture says He saves those who takes refuge in Him.

Who is right?
God's word or ...........

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Consider the artist,

The musician, the dancer, the professional athlete…..
They begin with lessons, training, and practice. They work hard, hundreds or even thousands of hours of grueling training, or practice, at one with the piano, the brush, ball, or the clay. They endure aching muscles, tired fingers, perhaps, wasted ink or clay, lonely times away from home, all the while dreaming. Perhaps a championship, a prize, or performance on the world stage, recognition.

The dreams keep them going when it seems there is no hope, until finally, the dreams and visions are fulfilled. The practice, the work, the long hours have made it all worth he effort.

At the end, when the years have taken their toll and the theatre or arena is empty, the fingers no longer have the dexterity, eyes no longer see as well, hips and knees ache, there are the memories. The plaques, trophies, ribbons and memorabilia on the wall remind them and those who visit of the glorious days gone by.

They can look and remember and be proud.

Consider the truck driver. He works hard. Long hours or maybe days behind the wheel. He becomes, like the artist, one with the road. Loading, unloading, dedicated, he strives to deliver the goods on time, in good condition.

While driving, he too dreams. He dreams and prays about a better life for his family. He has visions of success for his children, perhaps a nicer home for his wife.

When he is old and his hands are gnarled, and his back never stops aching there are no trophies, no awards, no plaques on the wall for others to see, just the memories.

What about his dreams and visions?
Has he done enough?
Has he done enough for the children?
Has he done enough for his wife?
Who knows about his dedication? His prayers?
God knows.

Ain't God good?

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