Dear Friends,

Since we returned from the US in Oct we have been busy amidst many challenges. I should probably go back and recount all that has happened, but that would probably make for a very long letter.

Michael has been teaching at the two Bible Schools run by the two synods in Gambella. Both have had different challenges, mostly managerial. He spent the month of August teaching an intensive course on discipleship at the Nile Theological College in Juba, South Sudan.

I have run workshops for Community Health Evangelism and Trauma Healing. And have been invited to do more. 

I had a busy summer with several visitors including the New Wilmington Mission Conference Summer Service team of seven women, who ended up camping out with me at my house for two weeks after spending three weeks in Addis. I love introducing my American friends to my Anywaa and Nuer friends! As far as I could tell, the visits were fruitful for everyone.

In the midst of that, Ethiopia had an attempted coup that resulted in the death of some top officials. Then in Gambella town ethnic tensions flared up and the town was shut down for a few days. And the Oromia Region, which is about a third of the country, has had intermittent protests, some of which include violence. 

Through all this, our sense of belonging in Gambella was strengthening. Work we have been engaged in has been taking root and seems to be on the verge of sprouting. We have noted sincere appreciation for relationships we have been nurturing. 

And then at the end of the August meeting of the Counsel of the EECMY, the church to which we are seconded, an announcement was made on Facebook that they had voted to sever ties with the PCUSA, our sending church. No official letter has been sent, as of this date. The EECMY will be having conversations about how to implement this decision in the near future. We were planning to extend our term, which ends in Dec, to July so that Michael could teach the full school year. But now we have decided to return to the US in November to celebrate the holidays with family, do medical follow-up, and figure out what is next. At this time we have more questions than answers. 

Thank you for your continued prayers and support,

Michael and Rachel Weller