Saturday, January 24, 2009
Returning to Ethiopia
The above photo was taken during our adoption trip to Ethiopia this past September. During a rainy/hail-stormy day we stayed in and had fun with some colored pipecleaners we had brought (for just such an occasion). This is one of my favorite photos... Luke and Minte, new father and son, clasping hands, both wearing bracelets they had made with with the colors of the Ethiopian flag. So many thoughts run through my mind when I look at this photo.
As I write this post, my sweet husband is about two hours from landing back in Ethiopia for a week of mission work there. Little did we know just over four months ago when we were there as a family that he would get to return so soon. God is so faithful! Oh, how I wish you could've heard what I heard yesterday. We gathered as a family to pray together one last time before Luke's ride to airport arrived at our house, each one of us taking a turn to pray. When it came to Minte, he prayed in Amharic as he usually does. There was something extra tender in his voice as he prayed for his Daddy. I didn't understand all of what he said (I can pick up a few words here and there) but his voice would rise and fall with emphasis and he would insert words I did recognize... "airplane." "Guest House." "Baby Home." "Jesus." And the names of his friends still living at the orphanage, who Luke will get to visit once again and for whom Minte lovingly put together presents to send. What a precious time.
So, Minte is excited, as we all are, that his Daddy is returning to his birth country. He is, as we all are, missing him like crazy already. He is, as we all are, mindful each moment that someone is missing here, and imagining what Daddy might be seeing. It's an exciting time, but also an emotional one. (Any of you with traveling spouses can relate to that, I'm sure!) For the past several years, we have taken as many mission trips as possible as a family (to Ghana and now Ethiopia) but due to finances and time off from work, sometimes we have to go separately. It is hard. But, it's worth it and we believe it is our call. So, we go. I have come to understand that God does BIG things, not just where the mission team is but back home where the family remains. He is at work on both sides of that big ocean.
Luke is traveling with two other men (and dear friends) from here, on behalf of our non-profit organization. Also joining them will be another precious friend who found out last week that their adoption court date had been pushed back a month. So, God ordained that there would be a spot left on this trip and now she is having the amazing opportunity to meet their beautiful daughter and spend some time with her this week. God is so good! The trip is coordinated by our friend who owns the Ethiopia Guest Home, which is where they will be staying. Once in country, they are meeting up with a larger group of about 20 people made up of the leadership of various non-profit organizations and ministries. They will be "visiting orphans in their distress" (James 1:27) and also visiting various ministry projects, both new and ongoing, to see what the needs are in the coming year and to discern the best and most effective ways to get involved as organizations and as individuals.
Here is what's on the agenda for the week for our team, some of which will occur with just our small group and some with the larger group. Keeping in mind that TIA- "This Is Africa"- and plans change, they hope to:
Sunday: Attend a church service
Monday: Have a meeting with the Social and Labor Affairs Minister (or his representative) to learn more about the initiative towards the rehabilitation of the 70,000 beggars who are on the streets of Addis. Also a visit to the Buckner Orphanage (where Minte used to live! And where Baby Ellie is!)
Tuesday: Visit the Bantu model school run through Buckner/Bright Hope.
Wednesday: Meet with the president of ET to hear from him the extent of the needs. (In case you missed that last sentence, you might want to read it again. Can you believe this opportunity???) Then, meet with a group of foster children and families, as well as those on the waiting list who desperately need a loving family either nationally or internationally.
Thursday and Friday: Tour with the large group, meet to discuss and pray about what's been learned and future plans, leave margin these last two days to visit other ministry projects we have going, etc. Our small team departs to come home Friday night at 10:45.
I would be so blessed if you would join me in prayer for my sweet husband and this God-assembled team as they seek to glorify Him in Ethiopia this week. Would you please pray for their health, opportunities to serve, that they would be Jesus' hands and feet to the hurting, that they would see people and opportunities through the eyes of our Heavenly Father, and for all of our hearts to remain tender toward the ways that God would get all of us involved in what He's doing in our world. Most of all, that God would be glorified in all things both here and there in the coming weeks and months.
Thank you so much for stopping by and for following our journey! (To learn more about our non-profit organization, please email me privately from my profile and I will send you a link to our website.)
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21