Visiting Ethiopia Heinz and Elfriede Volk stop at the entrance of one of the 11 Orthodox churches carved into the mountainsides of Lalibella

Short-term missions trip to Ethiopia

Sheila Javorsky and Heinz and Elfriede Volk, all of Summerland, spent three weeks in Africa this summer.

Sheila Javorsky and Heinz and Elfriede Volk, all of Summerland, spent three weeks in Africa this summer, but instead of heat, they found cold and torrential rains.

The trio had signed up for a short-term mission stint in Addis Ababa, which involved giving illustrated health talks and preaching 19 sermons in 16 days.

Heinz preached in the auditorium of an academy, Elfriede alternated between an orphanage and a village school, while Sheila was under a tarp in someone’s yard.

When this collapsed under the weight of the rain, she moved her equipment and audience into the humble home.

In preparation for the trip, the trio had held a Mother’s Day yard sale in the parking lot of the Seventh-day Adventist church in Penticton, to raise money for Bibles for new believers.

But the sale yielded more than anticipated, so that they could also make donations to the Hamlin Fistula Hospital, the L’Esperance Orphanage and Children’s Village, as well as Prison Ministries.

In Ethiopia alone, up to 7,000 women, some only girls, suffer loss of bladder and bowel control because of injuries suffered through prolonged labor in childbirth.

As a result, they become social outcasts. One woman, in a futile attempt to control seepage, had even lost use of her legs.

The fistula hospital not only performs 4,000 reconstructive surgeries per year, free of charge, but also offers education, midwifery training, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy.

After touring the Fistula Hospital and purchasing handicrafts made by the patients, the Summerland trio left a sizeable donation.

Founded 27 years ago, the L’Esperance Orphanage and Children’s Village also received a monetary donation, as well as items made and collected at home.

Home to more than 1,000 children, the institution seeks to be self-sufficient.

A herd of dairy cattle and fields of vegetables ensure that the children get a healthy diet.

Any excess is sold to raise money for other needs. In addition to providing basic furniture, an on-site factory also gives occupational training to the older boys.

Not all children at the Village are total orphans, but all are in need of care.

Further donations helped finish a baptistery in a church still under construction and bought Bibles for Prison Ministries.

The proceeds of the Mother’s Day sale also provided reading glasses for school children and shoes for barefoot youngsters in mud-hut villages.

Before returning home, Javorsky and the Volks visited Axum, home of the world’s largest monolith and the ruins of the Queen of Sheba’s palace, as well as Lalibella, with its underground churches carved from stone.


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