Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ethiopia 2012, Team 1, Day 7, God is Good!

Written by Lauren ~

It was a beautiful but hard day. We started out the day with a visit to Korah. Most people think of Project 61 when they think of Korah, but we got the chance to actually visit another ministry on the other half of Korah. The team piled out of the vans and into a small church where we learned a little about the pastor and ministry. The pastor’s heart was as big as the country, I could tell.

After he gave a short speech, we began to bless the 10 to 15 families in the church. These families were poorer than what we had seen on the trip thus far.

Some of the mother’s had leprosy, which included missing fingers, toes, or disfigured feet. A child that I was immediately drawn to needed a new pair of shoes. Once I took his shoes off he had mud so engrained into his toes and skin that 8 wet wipes barely made a difference. We blessed these families with all of the packed blessing bags, and each and every kid left with a brand new outfit, pair of shoes, and a little Sesame street beanie baby.

They were beaming. Once we left the church we began Korah home visits. Like I said, it was a hard day. This was the most poverty/worst living conditions we saw the entire trip. We decided quickly that there was no way these conditions could have been any worse. As we approached the first house, we met the adorable children that lived inside of it..

 But I wouldn’t even call it a house. It was one small room the size of a walk in closet, with one bed and a dangling bulb from the ceiling. The mother was beautiful and young, and said that she was widowed and dug out of the trash for things to sell or eat for her three children. I feel like the widow is looked over way too often. I cannot imagine the pain this women went through losing a husband, much less the burden of not being able to care for her children. Even with these living conditions, she bowed dto bless us when we were able to bless her with a month’s worth of food. After we gave her the injera sack, many other team hands reached out to offer her support that will help her through this time. She was ecstatic and so loving. As we left her house we passed a women with an extreme case of leprosy. Her legs had been mostly disintegrated, and she lay in a ball on the ground. It was evident that she could not get up or walk. With this horrible realization that this women was stuck with no place to go, we gave her the only hope we could have ever given her at the time, a brand new Bible. She grabbed our hand and thanked us. It definitely humbled us to the ground. We went on to visit four more homes, showering each home with blessings of food and offering, as well as prayer. In each home we saw widows, people with HIV, and people with leprosy, but we also saw people with hope in Jesus. I believe every person’s faith was strengthened that day, both from the giving and receiving sides.

Libby, a team member that was on the trip last year, did not get the chance to visit her sponsor child while we were in Korah and was feeling a little down about it, after only being on this side of the world for a short time. We were heading home and I apologized for not being able to venture to little Tegabu’s house, someone she had raised lots of money for. As we were pulling up to the guest house, I saw Bira, a good friend of Libby’s who also lived in Korah.

 Right behind him I saw Tegabu, Libby’s sponsor child, smiling from ear to ear. Bira knew that Libby really wanted to see this child, and so he had arranged a taxi for the both of them to come to our guest house before we got back. Libby said
it’s the best surprise she’s ever gotten in her life.

 I immediately thought of the scripture “Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Libby’s desires were met, and she had a wonderful afternoon of giggles and pictures with her sponsor child Tegabu.

We finished the day with a visit to a shelter for street children called Hope for the Hopeless. Although the place could use some financial support for a few more beds and space for the children, every team member was blown away by the attitudes of the children. These kids come from some of the worst backgrounds, and yet had the most joyful personalities.

The director there told us how he saves time each day for devotionals and the teachings of Jesus, and this showed clearly through the children. We were able to give them some Bible lessons, as well as connect with them and draw pictures. Many team members bonded as they drew pictures of the children’s faces, houses, or bubble letters of their name. One boy that stole the marker took a sheet of paper and wrote, “I belong to Jesus.” I believe we all were inspired, encouraged, and challenged by these street children that loved God with all their heart, and yet still lacked basic necessities.

Of course, as we began our final trip meeting that night the electricity went out. So the guest house women quickly came to the rescue and provided us with a candle lit living room. We got the chance to go around the room and share the moments that changed our lives and hearts forever, including many tears. We talked about what we want to change once we are back home, and what we are scared of not changing. We talked about loving these children, while the discussion of possible adoptions also came up. We talked especially about learning from the people of Ethiopia’s joy, and how we so lacked that even with all of our material things. We talked about being exceptionally more thankful back when we were in the states, and we talked largely about how God is good… In every situation, all the time. 

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