Thursday, July 7, 2011

OH Team 1 is off to Ethiopia!!

We are so excited about our first team this year to travel to Ethiopia with a second team followed right behind the first. We leave out today for Ethiopia with 28 of us on this first trip. Let me introduce you to the stars of Team 1!!

Andy from Franklin, TN

Ashley from Greenwood, AR

Ashley from Murfreesboro, TN

 Rachel from Morton, IL

Clay from Franklin, TN

Kelley from Brentwood, TN

Elizabeth from Hopkinsville, Ky

Becky from Greenwood, AR

Lisa from Pekin, IL

Holli from Pekin, IL

Deborah from St. George, Utah

Kenya from St George, Utah

Chris from Peoria, Illinois

Tucker from Franklin, TN

Brooklyn from St George, Utah

Christian from Brentwood, Tn

Kristi from Durham, NC

Ashley from Eureka, Illinois

Zack from Port Deposit, MD

Lauren from Brentwood, TN

Kim from Chesapeake, VA
Audrey from Kiel, WI
Vanessa from Brentwood, TN
Amy from Murfreesboro, TN
 Ali from Hopkinsville, Ky

Ashley from Greenwood, AR

LeAnne from Hopkinsville, Ky

And then I make #28 :) 

We appreciate your prayers for us on this trip. We are literally flying out in the next 10 min. 

I will leave you with a post from my daughter, Lauren who is there already and waiting on us. She flew down early to help Ashli in the orphanage. 

Yesterday we were driving around trying to run a million errands (which takes triple the time here) and I was exhausted. I had just chugged a cappuccino, but could not snap out of it. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed. So we stop at a bank and sit there for a while. Directly beside us, there is a family that is settling down to start their begging for the day. The family consists of an older mother, her daughter about 14 with her little brother tied to her back. The older woman had a baby breast feeding, and a son sitting with her, about 7 years old. So this family of five starts their day begging, and will probably end their day begging, as I sit in my comfortable van and observe. The 14 year old girl runs off with her brother, old enough to walk but tied to her back, and approaches some people. So my new attention is on the mother, her newborn, and her seven year old son. The mother seems to be blind, and while she doesn’t seem extremely upset, as she holds her hand out, she has tears rolling down her face. I continue to watch her and her mud covered son stick their hands out as people walk by. The most anyone is dropping are coins, not even 1 birr. Basically pennies are being thrown at this family from the wealthy people of Addis Ababa. Suddenly it hits me, and I am woken up from my lifeless state. This isn’t fair. I don’t know this mother’s life, but because of the family these kids were born into, they have to sacrifice EVERY SINGLE day they are alive to begging for money, and if they don’t, they STARVE. Because of the family I was born into, I have everything I could ever need, and then some. I can go about our day without worrying once whether or not I will eat, but end up thinking things like “Do I want Mexican or pizza for lunch?” “Do I want to wear my new shirt or my favorite shirt?” Things that do not matter on the other side of the world. Things that do not relate to life or death. So why am I the “lucky one”? How did I end up in the comfortable van and not with my brothers begging for a few coins? It allowed me to realize that God has given me everything I need, so that I could be able to provide for people like this family, and everyone else I come across stuck in poverty. I can’t spend thousands of dollars traveling or tons of months in Africa, but I CAN glorify God when I do get the opportunity, I CAN support these causes from home, and I CAN find ways to reach out to the poor of my own community. If everyone in the world had exactly what they wanted, and all of our needs were provided for, we would rely on ourselves, not on God. Through the works of Christ, we are proving our faith in Him, and obeying his Word in the process. If we turn from the poor and ignore the fact that millions are suffering around the world, we are in the end turning away from God, and ignoring the command that comes from Jesus’ own mouth in the Bible. 
I realized all of this while also realizing that this 7 year old I was staring at could be Nathan, my adopted brother from Ethiopia that is snuggled away in his warm bed at home. Had his mother not had the courage to put him up for adoption, our family would not have radically been changed as it has, and he could be the child I’m staring at starving on the other side of the van window. The one sticking his hand out because it’s all he knows. After these two thoughts ran through my mind, I jumped out and gave them 100 birr. The boy lit up immediately and hid the money. I see him telling his blind mother, unaware of the situation, and more tears begin rolling down her face as I see the first, beautiful smile for the mother. His sister and brother come back and they celebrate together. The truth is, I had so much more than 100 birr I could have given, but the truth is, their story is almost everyone’s story here in Africa.

More updates from Africa to come.......


  1. PRAYING!!!! I know Amy through adoption! :D And I would LOVE to get to know Kim from Chesapeake!!! We live in Va Beach and are literally minutes from Chesapeake!! It would be great to get connected with her! :) Kim - if you see this comment when you return, please email me at! :)


  2. Wow, He has ordain's our steps write were we need to be. I can't keep from crying reading this blog. My heart just jumps for joy for everyone on this trip. Our God is an awesome God!! Praying!

  3. praying for you all ... may God bless each and every one of you!

  4. Beautiful post Lauren! Your eyes ARE wide open and your heart naturally follows suit!

  5. Oh my goodness. That is one of the sweetest things I have ever read.

  6. Great story and big team you have going! We leave Texas on the 22nd for our court date! It will be our first time over! Prayers are with you all!

  7. Can't wait! We are Team 2! Praying for our safe travels, God to be glorified and peace for my family at home! Also PROVISION for the remainder of my balance of $371 to come in like soon!