Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ethiopia Day Eight ... A little late :)

Hey all! Forgive me for being a few days late on this post.  I am home now, and it has taken a few days to feel like a human again! Just when I feel like I'm over the jet lag, five o'clock in the afternoon rolls around and I am ready for bed! But I do feel like every day it's getting better!

So, it's time for an update on Day Eight! Friday was our last day in Addis. We started the day back at Korah. Thursday night we had plans to go back to some villages, and just let the Lord lead us as far as who needing a blessing. But, we got the news Friday morning that we could go back to Korah. It was such a blessing to many of us to hear that news because many of us had told our sponsor children we would be back on Friday. Just envisioning those kids waiting all day for us and then never arriving just broke my heart to think about. But the Lord was gracious and paved the way for us to go back. So, we arrived back at Korah to find the children waiting for us. As the vans pulled in, the children piled around us! You could see the looks on the children's faces as they searched the vans and the crowd for that one special person they had bonded with on the last visit. My little person was Kasshun. I'm sure my face lit up just as much as Kasshun's when we laid eyes on each other. :) This relationship with Kasshun was the highlight of my trip. The time spent building this relationship with him will stay with me throughout my lifetime. We basically spent the morning continuing to build bonds with these children while the cooks prepared the sheep we had brought them. Many of us were given the opportunity to do home visits to our sponsor child's home. I was one of them. As we walked to Kasshun's house, I thought about what I might see and who I might meet. We walked through a little pathway that lead to a house made of mud and had steel sheets for roofing. I walked into the house to find two mattresses on the floor, a tv in the corner, and a few pictures hanging on the wall. I was visiting with Kasshun, when Amy asked me if that was my picture hanging on the wall. There on the wall, in a frame,was the picture of my family I had given him just 3 days ago. Immediately, my eyes filled with tears. This precious boy! To think that this relationship with him that had just been build a few days prior was important enough to him to hang a picture of my family on his wall. It spoke volumes to me. 

Sorry this is a blurry, but I wanted to show you our photo hanging on the wall. We are on the bottom. It is a photo of Kasshun's relative above us. 

Kasshun and his new blanket

Kasshun's uncle was not home at the time. So, I was a little disappointed that I would not be given the chance to meet the man who is obviously doing such a fine job raising this polite, sweet, kind-hearted young boy. But it was good to see where he lived with his uncle and cousin. The translator explained to me that Kasshun has been living with his uncle since he was 6. This is when his parents died, and his uncle was willing to take him in. So, this is where Kasshun now lives in Korah. As we were walking back to the church, Kasshun showed me his uncle out digging a ditch. I did get the chance to stop and introduce myself to him, and had the translator explain to him that he was doing an amazing job with Kasshun. I also told him I would be praying for him. I was grateful to meet the man who is obviously working hard to raise this young boy.

There was another little boy, Danal, who seemed to be attached to my hip those two days. He was not nearly as talkative, but seemed to be drawn to me for whatever reason. He followed along as we did a visit to Kasshun's house. As we finished with Kasshun's, Danal kept asking if I'd come to his house now. The anticipation was so pure on his face, that I couldn't deny him that. So, we went to visit his house. Evidently, he lives with his cousin and two younger siblings that are about 1 and 2. His cousin looks like she could be his 15 year old sister. So, I'm not sure if there is more to the story about Danal's living situation or if he indeed does live with his 15 year old cousin, and she really is the caretaker for a 10 year old boy and two small children. Danal's home was pretty much the same as Kasshun's. Very small, dirty, and bare. I had saved a quilt along the trip to give to Kasshun, but was feeling grateful to the Lord that I had also saved another. I didn't really know where that quilt would end up by the end of our day, but as I looked at Danal's bed and saw a tarp ... yes, really a tarp ... as his blanket, I knew exactly why the Lord had me save two quilts for that day. The smile that Danal had on his face as we laid the blanket on his bed will be forever etched on my heart. To see that bright, warm blanket in that bare, colorless room seemed to make that house a home. Who knows how long those two young boys will have those quilts I brought them. But I can imagine those quilts will be forever treasured by those boys. As we were walking back to the church, I also gave Danal a picture of my family. I knew that I couldn't go back to the States without peace that someone would be sponsoring this little boy. As I handed him the picture, the translator explained to him who everyone was in the picture. Another smile lit his face as he took off running back to his house. The translator told me, "Look. He is so happy. He is running those pictures back to his house where they will be safe."
Danal's bed before ..
Danal's bed after along with a big grin!
I had spent the whole day thinking about everything I had given these boys, and how much I would mean to them. But as the day progressed, I was left thinking about how much these boys had done for me. Even now as I write this, I can't help but be filled with emotion. I pray that the Lord will always bring to mind these two small boys when I think about a grateful heart. If nothing else comes from my trip, I can rest assured that the Lord is using these two boys to work in my heart, and He is using me to work in their hearts. I pray that the Bibles I left them will be even more treasured than the quilts. I pray that the Lord will use the relationships I have with them to build an eternal relationship so we can one day be reunited in heaven. 

If you ever think about these boys, please pray for them. Please, pray for the children of Korah.  I pray that if nothing else comes from this trip, my friends and family will become aware of the lasting affect they can have on a child in Ethiopia if they sponsor them. Not only are they providing the opportunity to go to school so they can have a better life, but they are providing the opportunity to tell a child about Jesus' love. Your family literally becomes their family. I'd love to show you some more pictures of little ones that need sponsoring!!!! :)
Kasshun, Me, and Danal
When it was time to serve lunch, there were a few of us who were not needed with the children. So, we were asked to go help serve some men from the community. As we walked across the road, the man explained to us that we would be feeding men in the community who had leprosy. There were about 10 men sitting alongside the building. Many of them had no fingers, some were partially paralyzed, one was mostly blind, and a few were able to feed themselves. There were three men who needed to be completely fed. So, Vanessa, Lisa, and Amy sat down in front of them and began feeding them Ingeria.   Holli and I helped pass out the food and water. I was asked to feed the men the water. I had literally raise the cup and put the water in their mouth for them. This was the most humbling experience of my life. To see these men in complete need. They couldn't even feed themselves. This is where they came and got one meal a day because they had no one to help them. It gave a new understanding of Jesus' love for beggars and men with leprosy. It was such a humbling act to be able to sit in front of these men and feed them. What a pure example of Jesus' servanthood.
Amy feeding the man with leprosy
Giving water to a man with leprosy 
After our goodbyes, we spent the remainder of the day at the market, packing, and dinner before we headed to the airport for our flight. Thankfully, the trip home felt much shorter than the trip to ET. We were able to get a couple hours of rest. Also, the Lord blessed me with an earlier flight back to Chicago. It was such a huge blessing to meet my hubby at the airport with Wes that much earlier than anticipated. The Lord knew I needed that. Just another example of how the Lord blessed me on this trip!

You will hear more from me about what God taught me along this trip, and where He may be leading!

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