Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Team 1, Day 3 in Ethiopia

 Sorry for the delay in posting. I have had some internet issues, imagine that :) Our third day in ET hit on a Sunday and I scheduled it as kind of our free day. We got to go to Beza International Church. This was the most awesome experience to be all the way in Africa and be able to go to an English speaking church and even sing some familiar songs that we sing in our own church in TN. One of the things I LOVE most about Ordinary Hero is all the different denominations within my own team coming together to experience God's love in Africa. It is a picture of what heaven will look like :)  When I met the Pastor and told him how many denominations were represented, he pointed up to heaven and said "It is all unto God."  I couldn't have said it better myself. Just within my group we have Baptist, Methodist, Non-denominational, Mormon, Catholic, and one who says "I'm not sure." I love it! You can't help but come to Africa and experience God, regardless of how you walk it out at home. You really get a picture of how and why Jesus went around feeding the hungry and healing the sick while he was on this earth. We become His hands and feet when we are here in Africa, for sure.
Everyone in our group said they really, really enjoyed it and felt God's presence. It was a first time experience for some of them :) This church represents many different nations.

Just as soon as we walked out of church Ashley A, from Illinois, made friends with a little girl. She told her all she had was flip flops and she needed some shoes. We had been passing out some candy and different things but all this little one wanted was some shoes.
So the next thing I see is Rachel taking off her own shoes and socks and putting them on this little girl. Rachel is teeny tiny herself and her size 7's fit this little one perfectly.
Above you see her holding a note from one of the children from Hillcrest Baptist in Hopkinsville, Ky. with a sucker for her. Below you see Ashley A and shoeless Rachel with one happy little girl :) They made her whole day.

We then made our way over to the street children who live within the post office district for a game of soccer. You will see as our trip goes by, day by day, that we experience all kinds of different levels of poverty. These kids are very sad in that they live on the streets, literally. Most of them have no family and they rely on selling things and begging on the streets as a means to survive. Many of them have found comfort in sniffing glue as a way to take away their hunger pains and it is so sad.

I gave this little girl who had been following me around begging, a sucker and a note from one of the Hillcrest Baptist kids as well. It's amazing how a small little note and act of kindness from a little one in Ky can make the day of one African little girl who lives on the streets with no hope. She loved it!
This little boy below was probably the saddest. He was a little older and looked like he had been on the streets his whole life. He was dirty and had no shoes. He had holes in his clothes and kind of walked around in a daze. We slipped him some snacks and told him God loved him. We cannot bring out donations in this group as it would create a mob. That is one of the hardest things about going into really desperate areas with tons of stuff. These kids are VERY desperate and have raised themselves to steal, fight, or whatever it takes to survive. We just had to go in and play soccer, pass out candy and snacks secretly and love on them as best we could.

The boys in this area always LOVE it when we come to play soccer. It breaks them out of their reality for a bit to just enjoy being kids.
Of course the little ones steal your heart and make you so sad all at the same time.

Looks like Andy made a friend just in that short period of time we were there. These kids just need hope and to be shown love by taking the time to do something as simple as playing soccer with them.

We had some time before our dinner reservation so we stopped at Kaldi's coffee. It is a complete knock off of Starbucks, right down to their green logo. It is also FABULOUS. It's always a good stopping place to get recharged.

We then went to an authentic Ethiopian restaurant where they dance all the African dances and you eat Injera. When we got there my son's birthmom and sister were there waiting on us, as I had invited them to dinner. They are just the sweetest. I just made a connection with them on my trip this time last year and we have kept in touch over the past year. It is always so good to see them.

I also invited three of our sponsored children to dinner with us. I love my little Sisay. He just ran up and hugged and kissed me. I have not seen him since December. He wouldn't let go of my hand. I had him on one hand and my son's birth sister on the other....precious!

Lauren got to see Robel, her sponsored child that she last saw in December.
Then in walks little Winker. Some of you may remember Winker from our team trip last July. He was a team favorite and so funny, walking around winking at everyone.

I am so thrilled that Deborah and her daughter, Kenya, from Utah, are on this trip. They sponsor Winker and they got to meet him for the first time. It was the sweetest thing. They just love him!

It's always so great to connect with those that mean so much to all of us while on these trips. Relationships are everything in this world. I am blessed to have such a great relationship with my son's birthmom. Her story is sad like so many in Ethiopia. She is deaf and mute and could not feed him which is why she made the ultimate sacrifice to place him up for adoption. I met her one year after we adopted him and now strive to make her and her only daughter's life better as well. I can't wait for her to meet her son again one day and see what a beautiful gift she has given us.
Of course it doesn't matter what country you live in, all boys love electronics. They had the best time on Deborah's phone.

The African dances started up and it was so neat. 

We had several of our team that they pulled up on stage to join them. Ali and Robel were the first one's to give the African dance a try.

Little Winker couldn't stand it anymore and jumped up there with them. He did some kind of shimmy with his shoulders and of course the crowd went wild :)

And we are not quite sure but we think Kortnie may have gotten married when they pulled her up for some kind of ceremony dance and then led her off arm in arm with one of the dancers :)

We let the little boys come back to the guest house where we let them shower, gave them new clothes and gifts and play with some of the boys in our group. They thought they were in heaven. Remember that these boys are from the trash dump community and don't ever even get to experience running water.
Christian, from Brentwood TN,  made some new best friends. He is really great with the little ones. He's like a fun big brother.

That's a wrap for our "free" day in Ethiopia. Everyday is an adventure here. Lots of lives being changed everywhere you go. More to come in the next blog post when we head out to the country community outside Addis to see some of the most precious little ones. 


  1. i am loving hearing about the trip and what is going on. The giving of the shoes off her feet was remarkable. That one will stick with me. I want to join you.

  2. hey this is nora snyder i am so psyhed that the little girl got my sucker and note. i freaked out when i saw that now i cant stop giggling ahhhh!!!!!i hope all of u guys are having fun. it was so funny how ali got up on stage and started dancing.u gotta love that girl!i am already planing my trip with yall 6 years from now!God bless yall have a safe trip!

  3. Just so precious. Lives are being changed, including those serving, and us reading! It's amazing what just a little bit of attention will do for someone's soul. I love what OH is doing in ETH!!!