Welcome to the Harline’s Mission Blog

Welcome to the Harline’s Mission Blog

After almost three weeks of training involving the Mission Training Center in Provo, Utah and the Area Office in Johannesburg, South Africa we have arrived in Ethiopia and have been here for one week. 

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Training in Johannesburg

We are adjusting not only to new office programs but to a new way of life.  Here in the capital, Addis Ababa, we drive through streets that are sometimes as congested as rush hour traffic in Los Angeles minus the boundaries of lines, replete with U-turns, roundabouts, and no traffic signals while dodging the occasional donkey led cart, goat, cow, and pedestrian as all can cross whenever and wherever they like. Add in about a million pot holes and a few thousand taxis and it is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride!  We have a little stick shift car and Lloyd (aka Elder Harline) is handling it well like an Nascar driver! He thinks he’s A.J. Foyt or Richard Petty.  I ride shot gun on the look out for any encroachment of people, animals, trucks or cars and mostly pray we will make it to our destination in one piece.

The first three days we were here the couple we are replacing, Elder and Sister Johnson from South Jordan, Utah, took us on a three day, five hour road trip (one way 180 miles) through the rural countryside to a town called Awassa to visit a branch of the church there.  Once out of the city there was a dramatic contrast in the number of cars on the road…..as in almost none.  There are trucks for transport, little three wheeled “taxis” that are the size of a rickshaw but with a motor, and an occasional car.  People just walk everywhere.  In the villages and in between the towns people are always walking beside the road.  Very few people can afford a car and on this long country trip we saw maybe one or two bicycles and just a couple of motorcycles.  And even though there are way more cars in Addis Ababa, still people are walking in droves along the sidewalks.  They line up in lines about 100 yards long just waiting for a taxi van and then they cram about 25 people into a 15 passenger van and take off.

Our road trip was pastoral and picturesque at times and the people are very friendly. They flash huge smiles if you try to say even one word in their native language of Amharic.  The only real word we know so far is ameseginalehu which means thank you.  The Ethiopians are beautiful people inside and out and they have a very low crime rate, high compliance with authorities and enough red tape to keep the bureaucracy tied up for hours.  It took seven hours and four office stops to get our driver’s license making OUR DMV now seem like a short errand.

One of the highlights of the trip to Awassa was not only meeting the people at the Awassa Branch (who had, incidentally, not had electricity or water in their building for about ten days), but also the people in a town near there called Wendo Genet which means Garden of Eden and truly it was lush and lovely.  We stopped at the small building where they met as a group up until a couple of weeks ago when they were merged into the Awassa Branch. There were guards there who make about $50 a month guarding the building. All of the buildings have guards so that helps the employment issues.

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Then we wandered down through the village with dozens of little children running up to meet us full of excitement over having their picture taken and then seeing themselves.

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They especially liked seeing a video replayed from our ipads.  Muses (Moses) took us to his house to meet his family and other neighbors and we had fun singing with the children and “talking” with them as they rattled off their village dialect.  There we met kids named Abel, Ephriam, Job, Jacob, Ruth, Miriam, Ester and Mekeda (name for the Queen of Sheba) and many others with biblical names.  The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the dominant Christian religion here with the next major religion being Muslim (Sufi Muslims who are very peaceful and co-exist well with the Christians).  

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    Muses with wife, child & father.                                                                                                                      Neighborhood kids in Wendo Genet

This is still largely an agrarian society but there is a great deal of building going on in the city (complete with wooden sticks for scaffolding) but the rural areas are still dotted by the traditional round thatched roof huts.  Coffee is said to have originated here and there is an elaborate “coffee ceremony” that occurs two to three times a day where the women make coffee over charcoals and men and women drink and socialize for an hour or two.  Now that people are working in all of this construction the time is cut short for some but it still remains a huge part of the culture and way of life here so that is a bit of a hurdle as people hear about the church and the Word of Wisdom.  It is one of many reasons why the pioneer members of the church here are so remarkable. They leave a lot behind as they join the church and so far it has been amazing to see the depth of their understanding, commitment and testimonies.  So many have almost nothing materially but tremendous faith and deep gratitude for the gospel as first generation members. 

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Elders Mafirashongo & Mugwagwa in Awassa       

We share an office with three terrific heads up young men who really make things happen on the operational side for the church here.  They are Habtu, who gets all the visas and dozens of documents necessary for almost anything to happen here, Andualem, who makes sure all the utilities and other bills get paid, and Getu, who oversees the physical facility needs for all of the church buildings. They all went on missions to other countries here in Africa.  They, like so many young people in their 20’s and 30’s, no longer have parents living and have taken on the responsibilities of their siblings and own families.  They are very smart, work hard and are computer savvy.  They all also have a great sense of humor so it makes it fun to be around them.

Even though we had one full day without electricity on our day off and daily loss of internet for minutes or sometimes hours, we love the people here and are adjusting to a more simplified life where what really matters seems much more obvious.  We will keep you updated in shorter posts as we go along but wanted to give an overall view of our first month in the mission field.

P.S.  Just learning how to move photos around so will have better lay out next time, we hope!

 


22 thoughts on “Welcome to the Harline’s Mission Blog

  1. What an amazing adventure in the Lord’s service! We can’t wait to read more. Thank you Elder and Sister Harline!

  2. It’s so wonderful to read about your adventure! Thank you for sharing! Keep posting. We love you!

  3. Hello, Elder and Sister Harline!

    It is so wonderful to hear that you are adjusting and getting settled there and that you love your mission! The people sound so humble, kind, and genuine. Thank you for the great pictures, too! Be safe on the roads! Our prayers are with you! We love you!

  4. Hello, Elder & Sister Harline!
    Greetings from Lindon, Utah! It looks and sounds like you both are doing great over there (no surprise) and we are so thankful to hear you are safe and sound! The pictures are beautiful and the people seem so humble, kind, and genuine. I can just picture the two of you driving on the hectic roads of the city there! hahaha I hope they have seatbelts! Be safe and know that we love you and are praying for you! Love, Benita & family

  5. So excited to read of your first weeks on your mission. It felt like we’re right there with you as you described things so descriptively.
    Yesterday’s RS lesson was particularly spiritual with several sisters sharing remarkable miraculous faith promoting experiences related to their faithful tithe paying.

    Your grandkids, Evan, Sara, Kate, and Emma will be performing in their piano recital next week. We will miss you!
    Love- Annette
    Love you both so much!

  6. Wow! That first picture is amazing! I’m wondering how you walk in the city – it is so crowded! Your blog is wonderful and so full of information! Thank you for doing this for all of us who are fascinated by your mission! You both look terrific and happy! From the looks of things the poverty is overwhelming there, but you are probably seeing happy people in the midst of it. You seem to be there at the prime time to help hasten the work. Knowing both of you, your presence is going to make an huge difference in Ethopia!

  7. Your contact information and blog address will be in the program this coming Sunday. Truly looking forward to following this adventure.

  8. Dear Sister and Elder Harline:
    It is a treat to receive your email. You both look wonderful and happy. I am so glad to see the work of the Lord go forth with beautiful and kind people like you. Thank you for your sacrifice and hardwork. May the Lord be with you and protect you while you are there to do His work.

  9. Wow! This is so fascinating–thanks for sharing! I’m excited to read this throughout your mission and follow your adventures and service. 🙂 (though the selfish side of me misses seeing you at the temple on Friday nights!)

  10. Wow, I loved reading all the details and am glad to now be able to picture your days a little better. Thanks for the update, can’t wait for he next one!

  11. This was absolutely wonderful to read. What a blessing you both will be to that mission. And what a blessing it will be for you! Jon and I started an inner city mission this past week. We love it already. We will continue to look forward to your blog. Love you both!

  12. Thank you for sending this! We have been thinking of you and wondering how you are doing –
    You are blessing so many lives and they are lucky to have the Harlines! Love the pictures ?

  13. Absolutely fascinating Nancy. What a great opportunity you have ahead of you both. I wish you well and look forward to your updates. Travel safe and enjoy.

  14. Your mission sounds like some of the adventures we’ve been on together as we’ve traveled. The mass of people is similar to that in India. Stay safe, be happy, and love what you are doing – being servants of the Lord.

  15. Elder & Sister Harline: I just read verbatim to Judy your entire blog and we both enjoyed it very much. Judy starts her new position in Fresno on June 13th and unfortunately, we’ve gotten ZERO cooperation from the LDS community there locating housing. I’m still planning away for the PCT and solo[ed] Mt. San Gorgonio and got hit by 5 inches of snow at 11,000 feet and had to turn back. House on market 10 days and pipe broke flooding our 2nd floor so major renovations underway to get it back on the market. Aubrey is marrying Kevin on Sept. 10th in San Diego Temple and Ericka is doing very well in Afghanistan. One part of her mission is CLASSIFIED and beyond an inkling she’s assigned to aerial drone targeting, nothing can be discussed. However, as the USMC JAG Officer, she spends several hours on Sat teaching Afghan female police officers and really enjoys doing that. Well, we’re excited to read your coming posts and pray for your well being.

  16. Dear Nancy and Lloyd,
    This looks like a great blog. We can hardly wait to see what adventures you have in Africa.

  17. We (Leanne Anderson and Mary Ellen Edmunds) have read all you’ve written (and looked at all the pictures), and, having been to Africa ourselves, we feel like we’ve been there visiting you! We even cheered out loud when Lloyd hit was was obviously a 3-pointer!! (Grin) Thank you for sharing in a way that pulls us to you. We send lots of love and good wishes to you… and tons of gratitude for your willingness to make a difference in an “exotic” place with wonderful, wonderful people (like YOU).

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