Blog written by Adriane, Team 3
The last day in Ethiopia, our team saw desperation and beauty collide in a nearly unimaginable way. We were scheduled to leave that evening, but we were not even considering that because we still had a full day to go and serve as many as we could before we left. Much of our day was spent on the mountainside, delivering donkeys to these precious women who carry huge loads 15 miles up and down the mountain, making barely enough money to survive.
As soon as our van was seen at the base of the mountain we were followed by throngs of women and children seeking clothes, shoes, candy…whatever gifts we might be distributing that day. The word had spread from our visit just days before so people came from every direction the moment we appeared. We gave out every last donation we had with us, but like every other time, it didn’t seem to be enough.
And though it was incredible to be able to help the countless people we encountered, my mind couldn’t stop thinking about the woman we had encountered earlier that day. A friend of a friend of our amazing translator heard about what we were doing on the mountain and had told him about a woman he knew of that desperately needed help. On the way to her house, we were told that she was sick with many illnesses which made her unable to work while she struggled to support her two children. Going to this dear woman’s house is something that I will never be able to forget. We walked through a gate, followed a path between mud walls and crouched through a door way and into a dark tunnel; with not even enough room to stand up straight, we made our way back and then encountered another doorway.
We had to step down into her house which consisted of a dark room dug into the ground; it was definitely not a place you would ever stumble upon and I’m not even sure I could find it again, knowing where it was. We stepped into the pitch black room lit by a single candle to bring some sort of light into the dark, hopeless room. You could feel the desperation in the air. We gathered around this woman, laying hands on her and praying for her. As we prayed, my heart broke for this woman. In that moment, I understood the heart of the Father to allow this broken, hurting woman see the hope and healing of Jesus Christ. After we prayed for her, we were able to bless her with clothes for her children and money. Her gratitude was obvious; she couldn’t stop hugging and kissing all of the members on our team. As we made our way back to the van, Jesus spoke so clearly to me. This is what I wrote in my journal that night: “As we got back on the bus, all I could think about was the grace of Jesus. I tried to imagine how that woman must feel--chosen. In a city of 3 million people, we chose her. Someone forgotten and overlooked by many. In her little home hidden from the rest of the world and lit by a single candle, we found her and we came to her. How amazing. How much more amazing that Jesus did that. He chose me. He came and He found me and called me by name. Seeing that woman today gave me a whole new understanding of that.”
Later that afternoon, we made our way to Korah and spent some time loving on the amazing children there. They clung to us and we poured our love on them. Seeing a place like that puts everything into perspective. How could you possibly walk away unchanged? Every person on our team walked away with an understanding of how amazingly blessed we are.
Every single one of us came on this trip with different expectations. We all wanted to see and experience different things and throughout our time in Ethiopia, each of us encountered Jesus in a new way. The thing that amazes me in all of this is the faithfulness of God to show us the one. No matter what we were doing or where we were going, each of us can share “the one” we encountered that day. It astounds me that God would choose us, a group of broken, imperfect people, to change the lives of a few. But, in changing their lives, ours were forever transformed as well.