Team 3's last day in Ethiopia fell on the day that they received the sad news of little Baby Levi whom I blogged about yesterday. We all go to Ethiopia to bless others as much as we can. We never expect to be hit with the reality of the loss of life that this country experiences daily. Team 3 was hit with it and they share their thoughts on it below as they describe hearing the news of Baby Levi's death. Before I share Baby Levi's story with you from their perspective, I wanted to share some special moments that this team had together this past week as they served the people of Ethiopia. Whether it was feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, passing out bibles, washing the feet of those who carry the heavy burden, carrying the heavy load themselves, making home visits to families in desperate need, or simply giving hugs and love to children who desperately needed one, this team and those they crossed paths with will be changed forever. Enjoy these special moments in time before you read the story of their last day in ET, written by Delilah.
OH Team - Day 6
A Story To Be Told...Levi's Story
Sunday started off on an extremely difficult note for our team. It was our first day to sleep in a little later before we had to leave for church. Everyone was buzzing around as we waited for Whitney to arrive with our driver. When Whitney walked in, we knew something was wrong. She asked if everyone was there in the main area because she had something she needed to tell us. She tried to choke back tears, but they won out. We all sat there, hanging on every breath waiting to hear what she was about to say. We hated what she had to say, and you probably won't like it either, but we cannot ignore that this is a part of life in Ethiopia. Levi, a sweet baby boy at Restoration Orphanage died earlier that morning.
Let me tell you a little about this adorable, tiny little boy. Just days earlier, he was found under a tree with hyenas...yes, you read that right, a hyenas. Who knows how he got there, all they knew was he needed a forever home! Once he was brought to the orphanage he was taken to see a doctor. They concluded that he was approximately four months old and he weighed about 6 pounds. He was sick! He had an infection and was put on a medication that required constant supervision and they sent him back to the orphanage. The nannies noticed that he was not doing well, so Ashli and Whitney started rotating monitoring him throughout the night. Around 5 a.m. Sunday morning Levi stopped breathing. CPR was performed, but he did not start breathing again. They rushed him to the nearest emergency room where they were directed to another location because there was not a doctor on site. The second location said the same. Finally, at the fifth place they found a doctor and Levi was pronounced dead. Unfortunately their journey was not over. They proceeded to go pick out a tiny casket and take Levi's lifeless body to the Orthodox church where they would bury him. This all took place before 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning.
Naturally our team was devastated. So much of what we had just heard seemed unfathomable, but it happened. We all visited with Levi just days before at the orphanage. We were shocked. How could God allow this? We were confused. Whitney confessed that she and Ashli struggled with the same questions, but the Lord, being so faithful had already answered their cries. Why did God allow him to survive under that tree, just to die days later? Why did he make it to the doctor? Why did the nannies and everyone at Resurrection have time to fall in love with him? For one reason, because Levi had a story to be told. Levi's story is Ethiopia's story. Things like this seem so unnecessary, so painful, but even if you haven't experienced it, it is still real life for someone else and very real life in Ethiopia.
When someone asks, "Why Ethiopia?", well now we have an answer. Because of stories like Levi's and the many others we've been blessed to share in this week. They are not all stories of smiles and joy. Some are hard to comprehend and painful to process, but God's promise in Romans 8 is that he will work all things for the good of those who love him. We know two things after this. One, Levi is definitely not an orphan anymore; he is smiling at his daddy as we read this. Two, God will use Levi's story, your story and our stories to further His kingdom, to remind us that HE still holds the reigns that He ultimately decides when he will welcome each one of his precious children home.
After hearing this news and taking some time to pray for Ashli, Whitney and all those at the orphanage, we were headed for Beza International Church. We were already excited to go, but now we were craving some time with our Lord. The worship and message could not have been more encouraging. The pastor spoke about response. He said, "Your response to any given situation is the outward expression of an inward perspective." He was teaching from the story of David and Goliath and highlighted that David's Godly response to Goliath is what allowed him to slay the giant. We all know that our response to what we've seen here in Ethiopia is how God will use this message to transform hearts. We have to respond!