The Final Countdown - a Prayer Letter from Phil and Chris

Countdown on the fridgeWe arrived in Addis Ababa on a one-way ticket to start our work here in November 2013, having committed to being here for five years. Five years and seven months later, we feel our mission is accomplished and it is now time to leave. The countdown timer Chris made and attached to our fridge door will drop to two weeks on Monday - our homeward flights are booked for Monday 17th June. 

Chris's teaching will stop on Thursday 13th June; my last day of medical care will be 7th June (the fact that Theresa May is also stopping that day is a complete coincidence – and I chose the date first…). I have done my last teaching session at church, been to my last elders’ meeting, and we are in the throes of numerous good-byes. Next Friday I will see my last patient. It’s been an extraordinary five years, and we are so glad we have had the privilege of being here.

Recent weeks have not been easy. Due to a lack of water in the dams that generate power for Ethiopia, we are having electricity rationed. (As I finished the first two paragraphs of this document, it went off again – at 1pm - it will return later tonight, possibly.) We are very fortunate with generators at Bingham Academy, but many local people are not so lucky. This rationing is having a devastating effect on individuals, business, and industry. Chris attempted to obtain her exit visa yesterday, but a lack of power in the immigration office meant she needs to go back on Monday as all the immigration office staff headed home early.

My clinic is without running water more often than not, and definitely all day every Tuesday. A bucket and a jug are now my most common method of hand washing.

If you’ve read our blog you will be aware that a 15 year-old girl in Chris’s “Y’tesfa Birhan” group recently developed leukaemia and died suddenly.

We are very thankful for the time we have spent here; for the people we have met and the friends we have made; and for the opportunities we’ve had for service way beyond our regular day jobs. We have been safe during periods of unrest, we’ve survived driving on very poor roads with difficult traffic, and Bingham academy has been a haven of peace and tranquility in a bustling, noisy and chaotic city.

Please pray:

  • For the Y’tesfa Birhan project, mourning the loss of one of its long-term members;
  • For our final two weeks of work before packing up the flat and heading back to the UK;
  • For all the many goodbyes, especially to our Ethiopian friends;
  • For the International Evangelical Church – after a difficult few months we have an interim senior pastor coming soon and the search is on for a permanent replacement.
  • For SIM Ethiopia, which is going through a great deal of change and is trying to refocus its vision on getting the gospel to those who have never heard it.
  • For Ethiopia as a whole, with power rationing, widespread ethnic discontent and severe economic difficulties.

Thank you!


What an amazing 5 years and seven months  of service,  you are an  incredible couple . I can't believe some of the experiences you have met with humour and  acceptance. You have clearly been taken into the hearts  of the people you have worked with and met along the way. It will be I am sure with mixed emotions that the next couple of weeks will pass.  Thank you for all your Blogs and prayer needs,  you have certainly seen God's power and grace in action and shared it with us.  We have to say we will be sneakily pleased you will be back in this country but quite a trip away , lots of love x

It's certainly been a rollercoaster of emotions for you both recently. The multiple goodbyes and the tragedies all around. The difficulty in daily living too. Praying for you both as you tie up all the ends, and start a new chapter of life. But boy was this Ethiopia chapter an adventure!

Thanks so much for keeping us informed with your usual wit and perspicacity (that is English - look it up). I'm sure you have both been a blessing to many in Ethiopia - but you have also been a blessing to us your humble readers and prayer supporters!


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