This Sunday In…Ethiopia

Meet Yodit, a self proclaimed sci-fi freak, music lover, and returned sister missionary.  

Tell us about Ethiopia

My country has nice weather mostly dry and 3 month rainy season. The city where I live which is also the capital city is very busy. I haven’t seen farms close by, but we see Donkeys everywhere– in Addis even. Addis is a city of many nationalities and many come to have a better life.

Fasiledes Castle in Gondar, Ethiopia. Photo shared courtesy Yodit Tesfaye

Fasiledes Castle in Gondar, Ethiopia. Photo shared courtesy Yodit Tesfaye

Our food that is known is called ‘Injera’ it’s a type of pan cake which tastes like sour dough. Its flat bread we use it to eat everything. We use different kind of sauce/ stew called ‘Wat’.

We celebrate all holidays like New Year on September 11, Christmas on January 7th, and Easter 2 weeks yours; because we have different calendar. Now we’re on 2008 and on the 11h month of the year. We have many other fun festivals, mostly religious.

Our music is also way different. We have many different instruments that others don’t really use. We also have our own 4 types of different genre of music’s not to mention all the nationalities [within Ethiopia] have their own style of music and dances.

How did you learn about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

My family are not members of the church. I am the only one. Many still don’t know about the church besides the name.  I have known about the church for about 4 years before I join it. My dad has read about it and back then he told many weird things. I was very curious but then I couldn’t do anything because I was just young– so I waited until I turned 18. Till then I read many things including Book of Mormon, Mormon doctrine and many magazines. Through those I had many spiritual experiences and tender mercies. Meanwhile I met a member of the church. So I asked him to take me to church and luckily it was an open house. Five weeks later I became a member. I served my mission in the Ghana Accra mission. My family were not happy about it, but also knew that they can’t stop me either. I had a very best friend and sister who sent me emails every Monday for 20 months and letters as [often as] she could.

What is your ward like?

It’s not big, we use a rented house. We usually have about 60-80 people attend. That number fluctuates every now and then. We have both Amharic and English language. We try to translate most part of our programs.

national cloth

Everyone wearing national cloth for a Friday night drum circle. Photo shared courtesy Yodit Tesfaye.

What kind of activities do you do with other members?

We usually have all of it on paper but very few things get done practically. For instance I am the seminary teacher. I have only two Ethiopians kids [to teach], the rest are expats family kids, which one of the dad’s teach them. But my two kids have a hard time to read the materials because it’s in English–including the scriptures. It is also hard to come to church because of distance. Many can’t afford to travel twice a week. There are no [youth] camps because of the cost and lack of safe camping areas. (camping is not known here). Not many have FHE nights, YSA or youth activities.

What do you like to do with your free time, when you aren’t busy with school or work?

Honestly I don’t have much time with six callings and a 10 hour job, but if I do either read or watch movies makes me happy. I am the public affairs national director, young women’s president, seminary teacher, gospel principle teacher, hymn conductor and branch translator. We have both Ethiopian and foreigners in my branch so I translate every talk given (except Amharic testimonies) with one of my brothers. I also teach young women both in Amharic and English. To feel the Spirit I like to serve, read scriptures, sing/listen hymns, help missionaries.

Imagine your future.  What do you see yourself doing in it?  

Having a preschool teach children, adopt kids as much I can, serve others, volunteer anything related to kids. I am a preschool and I train nannies on child behavior management and how to manage and organize interesting home plays.

Any last words?

I would like to tell young women like me that the Lord is always watching over us no matter circumstances we are in because he loves us . If we need him he is there. I know how it feels to be lonely but most of all I know the Savoir knows my hardships and if I let him be the pilot he takes me where i need to be and it is always joy and hope. Trust him, he knows!

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Have you ever wondered what church is like in Europe, Africa, or Asia? Come meet young women from around the world who will share with us their hearts and a little of their homeland. Much of what they talk about will be different and, in some cases extraordinary, but as you get to know them you will come to see just how much we all have in common.

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  • Seija Staples
    October 16, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    I am inspired by your hard work, service (six callings!!) and your testimony, thank you for sharing it!

  • Besufkad
    October 17, 2016 at 1:15 am

    Yodit is a great example of service and kindness. We are blessed to have her in our district. Thank you for being an example to many and for sharing your thoughts with us.