Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wrapping up Ethiopia with Team 2



Team 2 comes to a close in Ethiopia. I can't tell you what great teams we had this year. We had folks join OH from all over the US to travel to Ethiopia in order to serve those considered the least of these. What we discover every time is the least is actually the greatest. Although we travel in order to help others, we are always the ones that come back as better individuals than when we left. I truly don't believe you can ever discover your real purpose in life unless you step outside of your own world, move beyond your own wants and needs, move out of your comfort zone in order to discover a whole new world which exists and often times holds your own purpose within it. When you serve others you find a hidden purpose in the fact that there was a need and your feet were the ones that crossed paths in order to fulfill the need....not to mention the many lives that are blessed because you took time out of your comfort zone in order to do so. It is a win, win!

I wanted to recap the last couple of days of team 2's time in Ethiopia. You can see above that many relationships were made and hearts touched by some of the sponsored kids. Some of these kids joined the team for dinner at the Ethiopian cultural restaurant. After you pull the kids from their world of living in one room shacks and show them a taste of our American lives of comfort it is very hard to send them back to their own way of living. It is hard on us because we have never lived the life that they live every day. The kids loved the time spent with the team and I'm convinced returned with seeds planted in their minds of new hope and new friends that they consider family and can wait to see again one day. 
You can see some of the children in Korah writing to their sponsors. I can't stress enough how important a sponsor is to these children. You are the person that God has chosen to bring them a hope and a future.  If you would like information on sponsoring a child from the Korah trash dump community please email Erin@p61.org

The team spent one of their last days in the Korah community. You can see Carrie, below, got a feel for how to make injera.

Sarah, a sophomore college student, brought along her guitar on the trip. She loves to sing and play and I always encourage everyone to bring along your talents on the trip. She met this young boy who has a dream of being a guitar player. He was very good and had learned everything on a really torn up guitar. Sarah ended up making his whole day by giving him her guitar to keep before she returned to the States.
There are always new friends made when you travel to Korah.

The teams also get to have home visits with some of the families residing within this community. It is always very humbling to walk into a shack made of tin or wood and sticks and see how they live everyday. It gives you a whole new perspective of being thankful for what you have.


Another most humbling experience that some of the team had was to meet several within the community that have leprosy. These men literally don't have hands and need help in order to eat. The team bought sheep and slaughtered them that day in order to feed the whole community. 
Lauren said that one of the most impacting experiences of the trip was to feed some of the leprous individuals. I can't help but notice in the picture below that you see her feeding with her hands and yet you see the picture of Jesus' hand that was painted on the wall held out as if He has sent her to be His hands in that moment. Powerful!!

The team also went back up the mountain to find more of the women carrying the heavy loads on their backs for miles. A couple of the girls from the team tried to lift these loads themselves and could not even pick them up. These 60 year old women carry them for miles every day in order to only get paid what would amount to about $3 us dollars a load. This time the team had a special treat in store for some of these precious women. 

They went and purchased some donkeys to give away to these women in order to make their burden lighter. They also took along some of their sponsored kids in order to show them what it is like to serve and be a blessing to others. It was so great for them to be a part of this.
I'm sure these women felt like they had hit the lottery! Out of no where the team shows up with donkeys in tow and start giving them away to these women who have walked miles every day for years carrying these loads. Well....not anymore. Now they have a donkey to give their tired backs a long awaited rest.

Some of the children you meet along the way steal your heart and remain in your mind and your prayers for a long time.....like this little princess below. 
Her little Cinderella slippers show the reality in which she lives but her sweet spirit touched the hearts of many. 
One of the rewarding aspects of the trip is to find a little one wearing rags and replace those rags with new clothes. Can you imagine how happy it makes his Momma?  

Relationships are made on these trips not only with the kids but with our AMAZING guides and drivers. These guys have a heart to serve right along with us and get such joy out of being able to do so on all of our crazy adventures. We LOVE all these amazing strong men of God. 

To bring the trip to a close and wrap it up you can say......
whether it was several of the team on a home visit in a one room mud shack being served coffee....
Or feeding a group of starving kids their lunch for the day....

Or buying tons of sheep to give away for food....

Or holding the hand of a little one to bring them hope....

Or washing the tired feet of a woman who has labored and walked for miles.....

Or carrying the load, even if only for a moment in order to make their burden lighter....

Or taking pleasure in giving shoes to those who have none.....

Or showing an orphan they are loved.....

Or befriending those with leprosy and showing them they are not forgotten....

Or finding new children to sponsor and help make a difference in their lives....

Or whether they simply found a group of kids kicking around an old can or trash rolled into a ball, and threw them out a brand new ball with these simple words on it.......

Team 2 found many ways to be a blessing to SO many in their short 8 days on the ground in Ethiopia. 


Now it's time to head back to the States and process everything we saw and the lives we touched, which is sometimes hard.  We always encourage everyone to take what they saw and what they learned and turn it into passion when they return. Everyone can make a difference in some way...even from the States. There are many children that need sponsorships, there are many lives yet to be touched. But because we were there, many lives were, and will continue to be changed. 

If you have emailed and not gotten a response it is because I have been gone most of the month. I will start getting caught up on my emails and be in touch with you shortly :) If you need a faster response you are always welcome to email Melissa at info@ordinaryhero.org.  

We are in the process of setting up some kind of child sponsorship for many of the children we came in contact with on our trips and discovering many new ways to be a blessing to them.  If you are interested in sponsoring a child from the Korah trash dump community you may email Erin@p61.org.  If you are interested in sponsoring a child from the country or street community you may email Kelly@ordinaryhero.org and we will add your name to a list of folks we will be contacting when we get it set up soon.  We will also have sponsor opportunities for the very hard working Nannies at Restoration Orphanage who need your support in order for them to provide the much needed care to the children who reside in the orphanage. If you would like to be a blessing to one of these Nannies please email me at Kelly@ordinaryhero.org for more information. 

Lots of great things ahead for all of you Ordinary Heroes to make a difference. Also, more info coming soon about our local upcoming backpack project for the homeless shelter kiddos. 

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