Tour participants inside St. Mary of Zion Orthodox Church in Axum: L. to R. are Henok Tamirat, Fannie Frey, Sue Steffy, Jerry and Leann Rediger, Wynona and Charles Hansen, Doreen Ropp, Janet Ramer, Verda Weaver, Carl Hansen and Destiny Kreider. Missing are Leon Ropp and Vera Hansen.

Destiny Joy Kreider, assisted by her grandparents, Carl & Vera Hansen, brought a group of ten visitors from Canada and the USA on the College sponsored 10th Experience Ethiopia Tour. The group was joined by Pastor Teku Kebede and Henok Tamirat of the Public Relations Office. Henok was a remarkable help, especially as photographer and as a driver besides engaging in friendly conversation with the guests.

For 11 days the group visited a cross section of the Meserete Kristos Church and its activities. They learned about the missionary era that produced the Church in Nazareth, witnessed the Church alive in Asella, saw the Church stirring hope to the poor through MKC-RDA (Relief & Development) in Holetta, marveled at the growth of the Church as presented at the Head Office in Addis, and appreciated the efforts and care given to train and equip leaders through its MK College programs.

They also learned a lot about Ethiopia and Africa by exploring its historic roots in Axum, Lalibela, and Gondar, marveling at its breathtakingly beautiful rugged mountainous northern scenery, tasting its exotic culinary culture, enjoying its cultural music and dance, visiting a silk worm production business, feeling the desperate grip of poverty that enslaves many in the sex trade, etc. The “icing on the cake” was a few vigorous days of safari in the famous Maasai Mara Game Preserve and a glimpse of the Mennonite Church ministries in Kenya.

All in all, these tours have been eye opening and life changing to many of the participants and have helped to establish bridges of understanding and cooperation between North American Christians and their brothers and sisters in Christ in Africa!  — by Carl E. Hansen


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