Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Nick's Team on the Ground in Ethiopia!

 We have some blog catching up to do from our past teams in Ethiopia. Here is an excerpt from a blog post of a team member that is on the ground right now in Ethiopia. Nick, from Minnesota, is leading an awesome team on the ground right now. Follow all of their adventures HERE. 

In their words.....

We had a very full day yesterday and stayed up quite late, so I'm a bit behind on updating the blog. I brought home three boys yesterday as I couldn't let them go, so our team has grown. :-) We had an amazing day yesterday...more to come. Below are Ariel's words...

I can't even begin to explain to you and try and help you understand what it feels like to be so full of laughs and joy one moment than absolutely broken and in tears the next. Today that very thing happened to me again. We went to a wonderful place called hope for the hopeless to go play and love on kids. I went to sleep the night before so excited and anxious for this opportunity because that's all I've longed to do for the last ten years is love on these sweet African babies! As we're driving on this bumpy dirt road I look to my left and see a group of 20ish dirty small children and right away I feel like we're there. Come to find out those 20ish kids have to stay outside the gated area that we were headed because theres just not enough room for everyone. After we pulled in they shut and locked the gate, those sweet street children ran right up to it pushing their faces as close as they could to the bar. I felt so torn as I walked out of the van between the children coming up and hugging me and the sweet street children yelling for attention. How can you decide who to love on first? I stood in shock for a few moments, not really sure what to do or how to feel, then they invited us to tour the school that they were beginning to finish. I'm so thankful that they did that because Im not sure i would have been able to make up my mind on what to do after stepping into all those emotions. I took one step to follow the team and before I could take another one a small hand, that so perfectly fit in mine, locked hands with me. I looked down to see the most precious face of all my life, a little boy named Isaac, had not only taken my hand, but he took my heart as well! Isaac didn't leave my side at all, he cheered me on and giggled at me while I tried to play soccer with some very talented students, he waited patiently off to the side when I went to eat lunch and go potty. I never felt afraid or iffy about things because his tiny hand was in mine and I knew I wouldn't have to face anything alone. We walked around together with Temesgen and Behaylv, two other sweet boys that now have a special place in my heart. These sweet boys told me their stories and all three of them lost their parents, are separated from their siblings, and under the age of 15. My heart shattered, when I was 15, I was still getting tucked in to bed by my parents and loved on by them everyday, I can't imagine not having them at that age. I began to feel so sad and frustrated at myself for allowing my heart to become so attached to them because how was I suppose to say goodbye now without falling apart? I began to pray and God just reminded me that He would never give me more than I could handle and even though it felt like I couldn't handle it, He knew I could because when I am weak He is strong. He's totally okay with me leaning on Him when I'm weak because He's more than capable of pouring out more than enough of His love on me so I can love them even if it hurts. I let go of my frustration towards myself and just loved on these sweet boys as much as I could before we had to say goodbye. They told me their favorite colors (Isaac red, Temesgen blue, and Behaylv green), their favorite smells (all 3 love the smell of food ), favorite holidays, sports teams, and so much more. They also showed me their rooms and give me sweet notes and pictures while I was in there, my heart couldn't have been any happier in that moment. Here these sweet boys were not only showing me where they slept and hung out, but also opening up and sharing their life with me, I came to Africa hoping to change the world for one and here they are changing my world. How can you ever be the same after falling in love within seconds?! Well, I know I can't be the same I know that because of Isaac, Temesgen, and Behaylv, my heart will forever be marked and changed. Before we left we gathered in a huge circle to sing a song and pray, I wish that moment could have lasted forever. It was time to go. I began hugging all the other sweet children I had met, saving three very special hugs for last, with every hug my heart grew heavier and heavier because I knew I was not only running out of kids, but also out of time. I pulled Isaac in for a hug then Behayvl and Temesgen, while fighting tears, I reached out for one more hug from Isaac. I didn't want to let this precious boy go, I didn't want to leave him, I wanted him to have a mom and a dad, I wanted him to be tucked in at night, and to know that he was loved. Still wrapped in my arms he looked at me with his big brown eyes and I said I love you, I said it right back so quickly. Even though it was so hard to say goodbye to him, I know that opening up my heart to him was beyond worth the pain of that goodbye. But I also know in my heart that-that wasn't a goodbye, but a see ya later because when you fall in love you can't stay away forever!

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