Travis and Emily Weeks: Expanding the Kingdom in Ethiopia
As they regrouped at the beginning of their current furlough in the U.S., Travis and Emily Weeks, who serve with the CMF team in Ethiopia, have been surprised at how much their ministry was able to move ahead despite the difficulties of the pandemic and the political and ethnic tensions in their ministry country.
During their home office visit in Indianapolis, the Weeks reflected on their past, present and future in this challenging field.
What led you to CMF and to Ethiopia?
Travis: Internships led us to CMF. I was an intern in both Nairobi and Turkana, Kenya. Emily had a REACH internship in 2006 in Tanzania. Also, both of us attended Emanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan College. Being in Johnson City facilitated many points of contact with current and former Ethiopian missionaries.
Emily: We took a vision trip to Ethiopia in 2011 and moved there as missionaries in 2013.
What are the focuses of your ministries?
Travis: I’ve developed a multi-tiered curriculum for our church leaders to work through at the CMF Training Center in Assosa. I travel a lot to support Ethiopian evangelists as they plant new churches in unreached areas of Ethiopia and cultivate leadership through biblical and theological trainings.
Emily: Since Travis travels so much, my ministry is to take care of our three children, which has included homeschooling in the past and now while on furlough. When we’re in Ethiopia, the older two attend Bingham Academy, an international school in Addis Ababa, where we live. I have also done substitute teaching there.
What were some of the highlights of your last term of ministry?
Travis: We were surprised at how much our ministry moved ahead. I continued my work with church planters in southwest Ethiopia. The pastors we work with often walk hours to get to the training center. Due to the political and ethnic disturbances, many times the roads are closed to where we want to go. It makes travel very difficult and not always very safe.
What are the challenges and blessings of raising your children as Third Culture Kids?
Emily: Our kids have a really expanded worldview. They know Ethiopians, British, Kenyans, people from all over. Bingham, the international school, is a really great experience for them.
Also, our nuclear family is very tight, no matter where we go. And so much travel has made our children very adaptable.
On the other hand, they have to go through lots of transitions. Savannah, Georgia, is our home, but lots of other places are, too. We do lots of saying good-bye. They meet many wonderful people, and bond quickly, and then have to leave them, over and over.
What are your future plans?
Emily: We return to Addis in early January. The weather will be sunny and warm, and the kids will be back in school and can reconnect with their friends.
Travis: I’ll continue to supervise the southwest churches and the training center ministry. I plan to implement the level two curriculum for pastors who finished level one. It emphasizes spiritual formation and relationships. However, travel is still difficult. The political situation may impact our comings and goings.
What do you want folks to know about Ethiopia?
Travis: It’s a beautiful country with beautiful people. There are bustling modern cities and remote, rural villages. The national partners that our team works with are impressive, committed and capable people, and it is a privilege to work with them.
However, we are constantly reminded that we are not “at home” there. It can be a difficult place to fit in. But we really care about expanding the Kingdom into other countries, and that’s why we’re there.