Today was our last day in Ethiopia! Our plane left at 10pm, and though we've had a great trip we are so ready to go home!
We spent the morning packing (which was not nearly so difficult as packing to come here!), giving N a bath, and we had traditional Ethiopian food for lunch at the guest house. (N just loved his bath!!) After lunch there was a traditional coffee ceremony for us and the new guests that had arrived last night. (They are a family here to adopt a 15 year old boy.)
N was definitely the center of attention during the coffee ceremony as he kept trying to get into the coffee cups, the popcorn, etc—anything he could see!
After the coffee ceremony we went with Birtukan to Yezelalem Minch once again to give a gift to our sponsor children. When our van pulled into YM, our little girl jumped up and down pointing and yelling, “It's J! It's J!”
We hopped out of the van (N was asleep in the carrier) and gave a small bag of goodies to each of the children; it was some snacks, a bit of candy, and a picture of our family. We then gave the blankets and bed sheets to them that the social worker had purchased for them on our behalf.
We had wanted to leave them with a gift since it was unlikely we'd be back to Ethiopia in the very near future, so Birtukan asked their social worker for us what their biggest need was. And it was sheets and a blanket.
Here in the United States we have “Toys for Tots” and we provide school bags to children, etc. etc. And those things are wonderful! But in Ethiopia a sheet and blanket make a little girl say “This is the happiest day of my life.” For real, people. For real. For these children and their extended family, knowing that they will be financially provided for each month changes their lives entirely. Knowing that there will be food, clothing and school supplies gives them a chance at life.
Our little boy says that he wants to be a doctor someday. May the Lord allow his dream to come true!
I do not post about our sponsoring these kids in order to pat myself on the back or make myself look good. In reality, I so very much struggle with having so many luxuries in life... and not wanting to give them up. But when I meet these children who became so excited to have a warm blanket, my heart aches and I want to do more and more to help other children like them.
As S put it when the social worker was expressing his thanks, “You guys are being the hands and feet of Jesus. We're, like, the stomach.”
They were thanking us over and over for sponsoring these kids ($30 a month/child), and for giving them a blanket.
Can you spare $30 a month, or even $30 as a one-time donation? You can donate http://www.causes.com/causes/502045?m=71bb3202&recruiter_id=36255408
You can also read more about the ministry at this blog: http://journeytonumberthree.blogspot.com/
Yezelalem Minch currently has 680 children waiting for sponsors. Waiting for someone who can spare $30 a month to give them hope for a future. That's it—your $30 a month could literally save the life of a child.
I know that some think I should stop going on and on about “those African orphans” or wonder why I'm so passionate about them. God has truly given me a love for these children and a desire to serve them and help them to know Christ's love. You may not be in any financial place to sponsor a child right now, or maybe you already sponsor a child through another organization. But can you spare $30 a month? If so, you will not regret it—and neither will your sponsored child.
It was so emotional meeting with these kids. We hugged each other, and tried to talk to each other (difficult since we spoke different languages!), kissed each other, and eventually said good-bye. We knew we had to leave, but a part of our hearts stayed.
Afterwards we asked ourselves, “What if God called us to move to Ethiopia (or any other African country) to work with orphans? Could we handle it? Could we live without clean running water, without many of the conveniences we have now? Could we?”
Could you? If God said “Go”, would you? It's a difficult thing to ponder, isn't it? It's easy to say yes, but another to say yes and actually mean it! I don't know what exactly God has for our future, but I know it involves these children in Ethiopia and throughout Africa, who mean so much to him, but are forgotten by so many who have the means to help them.
When we arrived back at the guest house, we relaxed for a while and finished up our last-minute preparations to go. After an early dinner, it was time to load up into the van and head to the airport!
I will write about our trip home and homecoming in the next post!
N's first bath with us: he loved it!