Mission Trip FAQ

Costs and Money
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Travel and Luggage
Is there a minimum age to go on a trip?

Children who are accompanied by their parents are left up to parental discretion regarding age. Individuals who wish to travel without their family must be 18 years of age. If children are being accompanied by a group that does not include their parents (eg. a youth group) and are under the age of 16 they do need to have documented permission from their parents to be accompanied by an assigned temporary guardian. This is per the airline and border security policies, and you will have to look up the rules and regulations to ensure you have the proper documentation.

Where do I get my Visa?

Your visa can be purchased at the local airport for $60 USD for a one month stay, however, be prepared to wait in line for up to a couple hours! If you want to avoid the line, you can also send your passport to the Ethiopian Embassy in Ottawa to purchase one before your trip. Please leave ample time to do this! Also, note that the visa prices can vary. The visa price quoted here was as of 2015, so be sure to double check with the Embassy or BCC to ensure you have the right amount! We are also happy to help you with the process of sending for your visa in Ottawa.

How much luggage can I take?

This always depends on the airline. Typically, per person, you get two 50lb (23kg) bags or tubs of a specified dimension, a computer bag, and a purse or small carry-on weighing no more than 22lbs (10kg). That may seem like a lot of space for a shorter trip, but we guarantee we can fill it with items to take to the families of Debre Zeyit or supplies for our Academy! It's also best to bring a lot of your ministry materials, since you won't be able to find some things very easily in the area.

If I want to take another bag, what would it cost?

Again, this varies between airlines, but typically it costs $250 CAD. If you're wanting to take extra luggage for supplies or donations, consider asking your supporters to help with the cost of an extra bag!

What kind of luggage should I use?

We recommend a backpack for your carry-on; it will come in handy for home visits and other ministry. For the two 50lb pieces of luggage, we suggest at least one be a Rubbermaid 150L tub. This is because you can leave it behind for the school, guesthouse, a foster home, etc; and they are lightweight, and very easy to pack and keep organized!

What do I need to pack?

When you register for a trip, you will receive a packing list, with all the essentials listed. However, be sure to make your own list as well, with all the ministry materials, or gifts for the families you're ministering to! We can also provide a list of other items our ministry needs, like prenatal vitamins for our pregnant moms, or extra hand sanitizer for our social workers. You will also want to pay attention to what we recommend you pack in your carry-on, just in case your luggage gets lost or misdirected en route!

Can I bring electronics?

Yes. The guesthouse does have outlets, though at times the power won't be working. You will want to bring a plug adapter. The guest house has electrical adapters (110v-220v adapters) available, but only a limited number. You can find plug adapters and electrical adapters at Walmart for a good price.

You can bring a computer, particularly if you are in need of transferring pictures, or plan on doing a presentation using a projector, or have chosen to pay to print your resources in Ethiopia. However, if someone is carrying more than one computer in their luggage, they will be taxed! There is also an internet cafe where you can update your supporters and family on your goings on, though the internet isn't always very reliable.

If your phone is unlocked and can accept a pre-paid SIM card, you may want to use it for communication between groups if your team plans on splitting up during ministry, or during your free time. You can also rent one from Kelkias for $30 for the entire time you're there. However, we recommend that you don't bring much in the way of electronics. When you're in Debre Zeyit on mission, we want you to be immersed in Ethiopia, not reminiscing about the comforts of home via Facebook! The less distractions you have, the more effective your ministry will be, and the better your relationships in Ethiopia. North American culture has a huge problem with our addiction to screen-time, and Africa gives you a great opportunity to break free of your electronics and work on your relationship with God, and with others. We greatly encourage you to take that opportunity!

Can I bring my own food?

Debre Zeyit has a lot of "western" food items available to cook, so if you're worried about the local cuisine, you won't be left starving! However, if you want to bring some food items from home for comfort, you are welcome to do so. We suggest things like granola bars, fruit snacks, and chocolate. If you plan on cooking your own meals, we also have a list of food items that are harder to obtain in Ethiopia that you may want to bring with you. Keep in mind, anything that contains vegetables, fruit, or seeds must be in its original, sealed package to make it through airport security.

Are there items I shouldn't bring?

Do not bring hair dryers, curling irons, or straighteners. The guest house does not have enough electrical capacity to handle them!

Large cameras with a lot of lenses and attachments can be great, and we love professional looking photos of our ministry and your mission trip, but you may find them to be very impractical. A lot of smaller cameras can do very well, and will be much more practical for your purposes. Smaller cameras are recommended by our staff and past missionaries over the large, professional cameras.

Don't bring large amounts of Canadian cash, you won't be using it in Ethiopia!

Do not bring weapons, or any toys that represent violence, weapons, or war for the children.

Ethiopians love to see pictures of your family and where you're from. If you are bringing pictures of your family or where you live, try not to bring pictures that show too much of your beautiful large home or "rich" items. We don't want them to feel worse about the little they have, or for them to feel like you're showing off or insulting their meager and simple homes and lives.

How should I mark my luggage?

All checked and carry-on bags should be marked with ID tags and duct tape so they're easily picked out. In addition to your name and address, you should also include Kelkias Yednigatchew's name and number. This is so that if the luggage gets lost or misdirected, the airline has an Ethiopian number to call, and Kelkias can arrange to have the bag picked up when it makes its destination.

What if my luggage gets lost en route?

If your luggage doesn't show up in Addis, go to the lost luggage booth at the far end of the luggage carousels. They will have you fill out a form with contact information and a phone number. We'll provide you with a contact person from the Ethiopian Management Team, who will be phoned when your luggage arrives. Usually it will arrive within 1-2 days.

How do we get from the Airport to Debre Zeyit?

One of our staff members will meet you at the airport, and will be waiting just beyond the X-ray machine! Look for a man holding a sign that says "Blessing the Children", and check on our Staff page to find a photo of the staff member meeting you. If you're coming in very late or very early and the airport is closed, then find a baggage handler and borrow his phone. We'll provide you with numbers for the staff member that is coming to pick you up, and they'll be waiting in the parking lot for you.

Is there somewhere safe I can store my passport?

It is advisable to keep your passport with you at all times, especially when traveling. While in the Guesthouse, you may choose to keep it securely stored in your room (which has a locking door that one you will be given a key for), or perhaps ask the office if there is a secure place they can keep it for you.

Where is the Canadian Embassy in Ethiopia?

The Canadian Embassy in Ethiopia is located at:

Old Airport Area, Nefas Silk Lafto Sub City

Kebeli 04, House No. 122

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa

Telephone: 251-011-371-3022

Fax: 251-011-371-3033

Email: Addis@international.gc.ca

Safety and Medical
What about Ebola?!

We know a lot of people are very concerned about the recent Ebola outbreak in Africa. However, there is no Ebola in Ethiopia. The outbreak actually occurred on the other side of the continent, on the West banks of Africa, and Ethiopia is along the Eastern edge of Africa. We can assure you that you will not be in any danger of catching Ebola in Ethiopia.

What about Terrorism?!

Ethiopia has always been one of the safer African countries. Ethiopia has seen little influence from the Somalian/Kenyan Alshebab Terrorists, and has had no negative influence from the Nigerian Boko-Haran. Most of the country of Ethiopia is Orthodox (similar to Christianity and Judaism), not Muslim, so the Islamic extremists causing conflicts across the world right now don't have any hold in our area. In fact, many of the crime rates in Ethiopia are actually better than those in many Canadian cities! We can assure you that the likelihood of any of our missionaries being victims in a terrorist plot in Ethiopia is nil. If a conflict were to arise, we would of course keep you informed and lay before you our recommendations, and all your options. We will never send you into an unsafe situation, and as long as you pay attention to the instructions of our staff (particularly of our Ethiopian staff), you will have a safe, effective, and enjoyable trip.

Is Debre Zeyit safe?

As with any unfamiliar area, there are always inherent dangers, but the majority come from our own lack of information and understanding leading us into potentially dangerous situations. For this reason, we do have some rules laid out for your safety. Debre Zeyit is generally safe, as long as you pay attention to what our staff tell you about what is and is not permitted. Our staff strive to keep you safe so that you can have a fulfilling and effective trip, and leave with a positive impression and experience, but it is up to you to follow their directions! If you break our rules or go against the instructions, we are not responsible for any injury or negative experience you incur.

What shots and medications do I need for my trip?

It is up to you to go to a Travel Clinic and have a consultation about the necessary vaccinations and prescriptions you need before you travel. We are happy to recommend some of the more cost effective Travel Clinics in your area. Some of the regulations change over time as the rate of disease changes, or as seasons change, or even as border security requires different documentation. We do require you to have your shots up to date and obtain the necessary prescriptions. If you do not, you will be responsible for the costs and consequences of any illnesses you contract. There is an excellent hospital only an hour away from us in Addis Ababa, but you may be shocked by the cost of treatment and an extended stay there! Many of the illnesses you will be vaccinated for also have serious long term consequences to your health. It is much better to prevent these serious illnesses.

How much do the vaccinations and prescriptions cost?

Vaccinations and shots are not included in our trip price quotes. Some health insurance companies will cover parts of the expense, so be sure to check with your health insurance to see what they're willing to reimburse you for. The cost of your vaccinations and prescriptions may vary depending on what you have up to date, what is most prevalent in the area at that time, etc. The average cost though is typically over $500 CAD. It may seem like a lot, but it's a small price to pay for your safety and peace of mind. In compare, a hospital visit and treatment for catching Hepatitis is thousands of dollars.

What about dangerous wildlife?

Sheila and Rick have been to Debre Zeyit many times, and have yet to see a snake, spider, or scorpions. There are geckos that hang around the buildings, particularly at night, but they are harmless and eat annoying bugs and mosquitos! Lions won't come near the city, and although there are often hyena sightings, if you follow the staff's instructions not to be out after dusk, they won't be a problem. The worst wildlife you'll have to contend with is flies, mosquitos, and fleas! Bring some good bug spray, and load up from dawn to dusk! If you have any itchy bites around your feet and ankles, as well as your mid section, let the staff know. You may need your mattress changed.

Is the water safe to drink?

The water from the guesthouse kitchen sink is specially filtered and treated, so fill up your water bottles ONLY from the guesthouse KITCHEN tap. Assume all other water in the area to be unsafe (unless it comes from our new biosand filters at the office!), and in need of treatment. You are welcome to bring chlorine tablets or purchase them in Debre Zeyit to treat the water.

Be wary of items that have been washed in water that you don't know is clean. We suggest you use hand sanitizer to wash them off if you're unsure. Also be wary of any drinks with ice in them. Though ice is a welcome relief on a hot day, it may make you sick if it comes from an untreated water source! Of course, the water at the resort restaurants is also safe, but we wouldn't suggest filling your water bottles in the bathroom taps.

When you are brushing your teeth or washing your face, be aware of what water you are using. Perhaps bring a cup or your water bottle full of clean, treated water to use on your toothbrush.

When you visit homes, ask your social worker whether it is safe to take any drinks offered. If the water is boiled long enough, the water used for coffee or tea should be fine! Bottled water can also be purchased for 50 cents per litre, USD.

What if I get sick?

There is a family clinic in Debre Zeyit. Doctor Solomon often works with us, and he can help you with prescriptions for mild problems. Just let Kelkias know your issue, and he will take you where you need to go. There is also a great first-world hospital in Addis Ababa, which is only an hour away from Debre Zeyit. For more serious cases, or issues Doctor Solomon is unable to deal with, we will take you there.

Most of your ailments though will likely be related to dehydration! If you're experiencing headaches, dizziness, fast "thumping" heartbeat, or mild nausea, you're probably not drinking enough water! Always have something un-caffeinated to drink on your person, and get into the habit of taking at least small sips every few minutes. In Canada, it's recommended you drink 8 glasses of water a day, or 2L. In Ethiopia, you will need to drink upwards of 4L of water a day to stay hydrated! Dehydration can quickly become very serious, so please be aware of your water consumption, and any time you start to feel sick, start with drinking a couple glasses of water! Chances are, unless you have reason to suspect you've eaten or drank something unsafe, it'll cure what ails you within the hour.

Do I need a first aid kit?

Since there is a clinic nearby, the majority of emergency items can be obtained from Doctor Solomon. If you would like to bring some of your own first aid supplies, you are welcome to do so, and perhaps you can donate what you don't use to the clinic afterwards.

Should I be taking antibiotics to keep from getting ill?

Antibiotics are not something you should be taking for the prevention of traveler's diarrhea, or other illnesses. First of all, it can create antibiotic resistant bacteria when used as prophylaxis, and being on antibiotics for an extended period of time can cause serious gastrointestinal problems on its own! Another reason for not taking antibiotics to "prevent" illness is that antibiotics can have a range of side effects that you probably don't want to be dealing with as you're doing ministry.

When you go to a travel clinic, they will likely give you a prescription with very specific instructions for use only AFTER you have experienced travelers diarrhea. Please don't take any medications that are not specifically prescribed to you, or use your prescriptions improperly. And remember, if you get diarrhea, DRINK LOTS OF WATER. We cannot stress enough the importance of staying hydrated!

What if there's an emergency situation?

Before you travel to Ethiopia, you can register on the Canadian Embassy site, letting them know where you will be and for how long. Using this registry, they track where Canadians are traveling, and if an emergency situation occurs, they are then able to know who they need to look for to get to safety and provide aid. If a natural disaster occurs, a war breaks out, or there is a health crisis, the Canadian government is required to take care of their own, and if you have registered, you make their job that much easier!
In the case of general emergencies, the Ethiopian staff know the correct protocol and numbers, and will take excellent care of you.

Life in Debre Zeyit
Please tell me there's real, western toilets.

In Debre Zeyit you will find a variety of "bathrooms". Communal outhouses used by up to 30 families, "squatty potties", holes dug out back... but we are very glad to tell you that there are in fact western toilets too!

If you're staying at the guesthouse, there is a western bathroom, with a western toilet. If you are out and about, there are also several other places in Debre Zeyit that have excellent western bathrooms, which you will want to utilize when you're running about on home visits! We'll provide you with instructions as to the best ones to use, as well as instructions on how to use the infamous "squatty potty" if you're the unfortunate person who ends up stuck having to use one!

Never be afraid to ask a social worker or staff member if you need to find a good bathroom. Potty talk is normal in Ethiopia, and they'll know where you need to be. Even if you're blessed with getting to use western bathrooms every day you're in Ethiopia, we still recommend you always carry your own toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and perhaps moist towelettes, just in case!

How should I dress in Ethiopia?

Ethiopia's weather is generally mild, fluctuating between 25-30 degrees Celsius year round, with average humidity. This means you can dress modestly in typical casual clothing without feeling like you're cooking in a sauna! Ethiopians are very western in their style of dress, and they love to dress up!

For ladies, capris and t-shirts or other tops are great. Please don't wear spaghetti straps or strapless tops and dresses unless under a sweater, though wide strapped tank tops are fine. Shorts are ok as long as they're to the knee. You may want to bring some skirts or dresses for church, or everyday, just make sure they're at least to the knee.

For men, you'll want to bring mostly long pants and t-shirts. You are permitted to wear long shorts (to the knee), and wide strapped tank tops. Bring work clothes if you're doing manual labour, and if you're attending any meetings, please bring a dress shirt. For church, you'll be expected to wear long pants with a dress shirt. And men, it is not appropriate to take off your shirt in Ethiopia, even if you're doing manual labour on a hot day. Wear cool clothing, and bear with it!

For footwear, if it's the rainy season (June-August) you will want both an inside pair of shoes (such as flip flops, crocs, or other easy on and off shoes), as well as a somewhat waterproof pair of outdoor shoes, or easy to clean shoes. Sandals are perfectly fine for wear around Debre Zeyit, as well as runners or hikers.

You may want to bring a light coat, hoodie, or sweater for cooler evenings. Bringing jeans, gloves (for labour), running shoes, and some good walking shoes is recommended. We don't recommend bringing suits, ties, or high heels, as they will be uncomfortable in the heat, or hard to walk in on gravel, respectively.

Where will I be staying?

Most of our missionaries choose to stay in our Guesthouse, though as aforementioned, those who are part of our Twilight Trips are welcome to upgrade to one of the 4-star resorts in the area.

Our Guesthouse can sleep up to 20 people, and has three floors, with a common bathroom on each floor. The top two are dorm style bedrooms, with single bunk beds. You will be required to bring or purchase your own sheets for your bed, and are welcome to leave them behind as a donation for one of our Life Sponsored families.

All the bathrooms are western styled, with flushing toilets and hot water. Please don't drink the water from the bathroom sinks, or use it for brushing your teeth! Also, our sewer cannot handle toilet paper, so we ask that you utilize the garbage cans provided.

On the first floor there is a kitchen, with clean, treated water, that you are welcome to use anytime, provided you clean up after yourselves! There is also a common area to relax on the couches, have a nice chat, or to visit with some of the locals who may drop by.

How do I get around?

Bajaj drivers are contracted by BCI. What's a Bajaj? It's a small, bus-like vehicle with 3 wheels. You'll become very familiar with them during your time in Ethiopia!

Our Bajaj drivers are safe, english friendly, and very pleasant, and they know the location of all the BCC families. They also always carry cell phones, and are happy to let you use them for short calls to our Ethiopian staff and social workers. They are completely trustworthy, and they are great at getting you the best deals on any items you need to purchase! They can also let you know whether it is safe to leave your camera bags, computers, or other personal items in the Bajaj. You are welcome to invite them for lunch or coffee if you're going to a cafe, and they are familiar with the safe places to go.

What's the food like in Ethiopia?

Ethiopian food characteristically consists of vegetables and spicy meat dishes. These is usually in the form of "wat": a thick stew, served on top of the local sourdough flat-bread called injera, which is made out of fermented teff flour. Pasta is frequently available throughout Ethiopia, including rural areas, and coffee is also a large part of Ethiopian culture and cuisine. Teff is the staple grain of ethiopia, which is gluten-free and a super-food, containing many vital nutrients, as well as protein and slow-releasing carbohydrates, making it a very diabetic friendly grain that helps keeps your blood sugar level.

You'll also quickly notice that utensils are either optional, or not available! Most Ethiopians eat using their injera to scoop up their food, or use their right hand. It is also common practice to feed your friends or family, so don't be too shocked if you are offered a bite of someone else's dish!

I'm not sure I want to eat Ethiopian food the entire time I'm there. Is there somewhere I can get more Western foods?

Almost all of the restaurants in Debre Zeyit serve western foods. Some may have a little Ethiopian flair or interpretation, but you'll find them a comfort if you're finding the local cuisine a bit over or under-whelming.

You're also welcome to purchase food and cook in the Guesthouse kitchen. Foods available in abundance are pasta, macaroni, onions, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, chili peppers, tuna, chicken, some beef, lentils, quick cooking oats, rice, peanut butter (a little different from back home, but not bad!), some jams, white bread, and milk powder. There are some fresh vegetables available, and we'd be happy to show you the best supermarkets.

If you are planning to do some cooking and baking in Ethiopia, be sure to let us know so we can make you aware of the few items that you should bring with you as they're not available in Ethiopia.

Instead of eating out or cooking my own food all the time, can I hire a cook?

If there are several of you in the guesthouse you are welcome to make arrangements to hire a cook through the office before going to Ethiopia. The cook will only be responsible for cooking however, not for doing the dishes! You'll have to divvy up dish duty yourselves. Your cook will be able to make a select few western dishes, provided the right ingredients, but will mostly make Ethiopian style foods to your taste (ie, MILD not spicy!).

What are the laundry facilities like?

Laundry in Debre Zeyit is done by hand washing. You can either do this yourself in tubs, or you can pay one of the Moms in our program, arranged through the staff. The cost for someone to do your laundry is $5 (100 birr), plus detergent, per person per week. Whether you do your laundry yourself, or pay for it to be done, please try to spread out the work load so not everyone ends up trying to do their laundry at the same time!

Are there showers?

There are showers at the Guesthouse, as well as hot water. Most days you will be able to shower, but there is the occasional time when the water is shut down for a variety of reasons. A camping shower might come in handy for your stay. We also ask that you be considerate of how precious water is in Ethiopia, particularly clean water, and endeavour to conserve water where you can (with the exception of drinking water! Drink as much as you can every day!!). A short shower, no more than once a day is appreciated. Things like moist towelettes or baby wipes, as well as dry shampoo, are life savers, and often suffice between proper showers or on days when the water is not working.

Do they speak English in Ethiopia?

A lot of the school age children, Bajaj drivers, many of the Ethiopian churches, and all of our Ethiopian staff and social workers speak at least some English. The most common language you will hear is Amharic, with the occasional other tribal or regional language. Translators are always available for ministry, just speak to the Ethiopian office and Kelkias will be happy to find someone to accompany you.

Is there anything I need to know about Ethiopia's cultural practices to avoid offending them?

Ethiopians are usually very understanding of our lack of knowledge regarding their customs and practices. The most important thing to remember though is to always greet EVERYONE whenever you enter a room, or walk by them on the street. This is extremely important in Ethiopian culture! A hand shake and shoulder bump is the typical greeting, though for ladies, it's often touching the cheek while making a kissing sound, much like the french. They may touch cheeks up to 3 times! Salaam ("Peace") is an appropriate greeting for every gender, but you will likely learn several other greetings while you are in Debre Zeyit.

Another cultural practice that may take some getting used to is men holding hands. It is expected and completely normal that when two men who are friends or respected colleagues are walking together, they hold hands. Sorry men, you will have to get past the awkwardness because chances are one of the Ethiopian men you are connecting with will try to grab your hand at some point! Perhaps you should try practicing with your team members before you leave?

When you register for a trip, our Canadian office will be sure to give you a cultural orientation, explaining other practices you might encounter and things you need to know before you travel. Experiencing a new and different culture can be a bit overwhelming at first, but it can also be a lot of fun if you are open to new ideas and situations, and remain flexible! Just remember, D.I.A.: Dis is Africa! Be prepared to go with the flow, face plenty of delays or even cancellations, and to always have a plan F just in case all the plans from A to E go amiss! Despite the challenge to our western mindset of "getting things done", you'll find the African way of life brings you great relationships and a lot of spontaneity, as well as expanded patience. Have fun with it!

Other Questions and Concerns
Can I bring gifts for the children and families?

Please do! Especially when you go on home visits with a social worker, it's nice to bring the family some gifts. We have a great list of items that are appropriate and inexpensive gifts, as well as a list of some other gifts you may want to bring for your Life Sponsored child and their family. Simple things go over extremely well, especially if it has a Canadian touch! We suggest you bring a bunch of Canada bottle openers from the dollar store. Families love them as a gift, and they're very small and easy to pack in bulk!

I've heard of something called an Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony. What is that? Will I get to experience it?

A coffee ceremony is a ritualized form of making and drinking coffee. Coffee is offered when friends visit, during festivities, and as a daily staple, so you're definitely going to get to experience the wonderful Ethiopian coffee! If coffee is politely declined, then most likely tea will be served instead.

The Ethiopian coffee ceremony begins by your host roasting green coffee beans over a fire or hot coals in a brazier. When the beans are done roasting, everyone is expected to enjoy the scent of the beans by wafting the aromatic smoke towards them. They then grind the beans, usually by mortar and pestle, and put the grounds into a special pot to boil. As the coffee boils up through the neck and spout, it's sometimes poured in and out of another container to cool it, and then is put back into the boiling pot until it happens again. They then pour it through a filter inserted into the spout into small, handle-less cups, filling one at a time before going on to the next without breaking the flow of the pour. The grounds are often brewed three times. As a word of warning, Ethiopians LOVE sugar. Often, if you don't stop them, they will add so much sugar it's like drinking coffee flavoured syrup! It's ok to ask for tea instead of coffee, and to ask for less or no sugar, just make sure you're very polite and grateful. Ethiopian coffee is a true treat, and you'll be blessed with many opportunities to enjoy it, and the wonderful company during coffee time.

Is there somewhere I can buy souvenirs?

Absolutely! There's a variety of beautiful handicrafts and traditional items for purchase in Debre Zeyit. Ask your bajaj driver, or one of the social workers or staff, where some of the most unique items can be found. Your bajaj drivers are also very good at finding deals or negotiating for fair prices!

Some of the souvenirs you'll be able to find include coffee, leather pictures, traditional clothes, bags, hand embroidered scarves, paintings, baskets, silver jewelery, gold jewelery, wood jewelery, wood carvings, drums, bracelets, key chains, and post cards. Also, remember to check out our Income for Life loom project! I'm sure there's some moms who would love to sell you some of their beautiful loom woven blankets, tablecloths, and scarves!

Is Ethiopia a Muslim country?

No, it isn't. Though, as refugees from the surrounding Muslim countries come into Ethiopia we do see more Muslim influence, the majority of Ethiopia is mostly Orthodox, a religion often grouped with Christianity that has a lot of outside influences and traditions blended with belief in the Abrahamic God. About 43% of the population is Orthodox, with 20% Christian (pentecostal and evangelical), 30% Muslim, with the remaining 7% being mainly traditional faiths and spiritualism. There is also a very small Jewish community in Ethiopia, as well as some Catholics, but their number doesn't even reach 1% of the population!

No matter where you go in Ethiopia, there is a prevailing belief in God. It's not a question of "is there a God?", it's a question of "which God is it?" This gives you ample opportunity to talk to the people about Jesus, and explain how different it is to have a God who pursues YOU, rather than a God you constantly have to supplicate and pursue. We encourage you to open faith discussions with the people you meet, it's not hard, as God and the spiritual is an inherent part of daily life for Ethiopians. It is our hope that one day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, and that they'd all experience freedom from their sin and the incredible hope found in our Saviour. We can feed them, clothe them, and take care of their physical needs, but without taking care of their souls and spirits, all that we do is moot. It is simply the doorway to tell them about our reason for loving them, which is our faith and calling in Christ.

Have any more questions and concerns about Mission Trips to Africa?

We hope this FAQ has answered most of the questions we hear as people prepare to go on a trip, or debate whether we’re the right organization to go with. If you would like to know more about Ethiopia, visit our Ethiopia Page. If you have other questions, contact us, we’d love to hear from you and address any of your concerns.