Monday, February 22, 2010

Unravelling The Details.....

This has been posted on our family blog - I'm copying here both for records purposes and for those who are following this blog but are not on our family blog. THANK YOU for all of your prayer, support, and love that even made this trip possible. To God be the Glory!!

It feels like I'm on rewind when it comes to processing everything we've seen and done in Addis. Its hard to work through so much of it and then coming to a place of wondering where we go from here. Whats the best thing we can do? How can we help the most? How to we adequately put into words what we participated in? How do we properly present to our friends and family the great need yet do it with dignity?

I'm still struggling in that place.

The picture below warms my heart. Sammy is a man of God who became a Christian through YoungLife, he is ministering in Korah (in the leper colony area) where he lives as well as the trash dump which is where he lived for 8 years and also where he met Jesus. His best friend still lives in the dump.
We met so many people who essentially need very little to change their lives in a drastic way. Knowing that $600 a year will dramatically change the life of a child living in the dump. They will go from playing, eating, sleeping, LIVING in the DUMP to having a bed, clothes, food, and an education for just $600 a year. Thats $50 a month. We Americans spend that much on Starbucks a month if not more
I've struggled with how to write all of this out. How do I write about human beings living in the dump. Human life equated with trash? How do you even begin to write about that? It haunts me daily thinking about the faces we saw. How could anyone be okay with this? Our landfills here in the US are more like a beautiful park in comparison to the trash dump in Addis Ababa. You would have to see it to believe it. No amount of pictures or video will even touch on the reality these precious people live. The stories of desperation yet for most a hope in Jesus Christ. A faith unwavering despite their circumstances. Humbling.

We are working on a few things so we can share this burden, to help give LIFE to the children living in these deplorable conditions, to make it easier to help the people living in the pictures above. Its taking some time but there are plans in the works to make a long term difference. Stay tuned. We'll have something together SOON.

In the meantime I challenge anyone reading this blog to not only pray for the people living in the dump in Addis, the people living in Korah but foraging for food daily in the dump, the children who only know these living conditions. While your praying I would also ask that you consider making a difference by showing action and financially supporting this cause once we work out those details. I know there are always other things we can spend our money on, believe me I count myself and my family in on this challenge. We consider it an honor and a privilege to have served among these people yet we came home with an even bigger burden to put into action what we say we believe.

I've quoted it before. Isaiah 1:17-20 - learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. "Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword." For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

( These two pictured above were at lunch with their mother, she was frail and probably hadn't eaten a decent meal in months in not longer. She fed her babies and only after us urging her to eat and that there was plenty did she take any for herself.)

That passage a little hard to swallow? Imagine eating your next meal straight from the garbage can located at your nearest convenience store. We were blessed to be able to take 120 men, women, and children to lunch. Probably one of the few REAL meals this little guy has ever eaten. Watching them, listening to their testamonies and loving on them blessed our team far more then we did for them by filling their tummies.

If Isaiah was a little tough how about we look in Luke 14:26 - If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life he cannot be my disciple. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean we need to hate our kids? I think the idea here is that we MUST love God more then we do anyone or anything else, even our own selves, we must be willing to give up EVERYTHING to follow Him.

HE asks us to care for the orphan and widow HE commands us to love one another HE says if our faith is merely words that its as good as dead. I take that pretty seriously. I like James 1:27 out of The Message, it says it so plainly I'll quote it here: Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world. Pretty much a put your money where your mouth is kind of verse. All of James 2 is a great read on this very topic. I'll quote only a small portion about faith and deeds - James 2:18 says: But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. Prove it by our actions in other words. Finally in verse 26 of the same chapter is says this: As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. DEAD. Faith in ACTION is required. We do it out of the overflow of the love our Father has lavished on us. Nothing more. Nothing less. All glory to HIM and HIM alone.

The faith of this man pictured with us above challenged our group, humbled us, made us weep, and encouraged us to our very core. We love you Sammy!! Thank you for loving on the least of these in Addis. What will you do to make a difference?

The two videos below are the closest we can get to sharing what we experienced in Ethiopia without you walking there with us.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I posted this on our family blog - as I process through this journey I'll post here for those who read this and for the people following our teams trip to Ethiopia. If anyone else from the team has anything to post please do! Thank you all for your prayers and support!! Davids working on a video - we'll post it after he's finished!

Never before has this process felt so painful. I remember being in Ethiopia and sharing with the team that I felt I'd have an easier time working through what I'd seen simply because "I've been there before". So. Not. The. Case. Its worse. I feel the burden so much deeper. I feel the cutting away of my calloused heart so much more. My gut is in turmoil much of the time. I can't keep silent any longer. I feel like screaming from the rooftops about the babies we saw, the starving children also without adequate clothing or shoes, the families foraging for food in the dump, the severe need for us Christians to take ACTION. To put our money where our mouth is to put our faith into ACTION. I'm struggling. I'm looking at my own self and my own desires and trying to work through what God wants from me. How can I properly tell the story of so many of my now family in Ethiopia that is struggling so much. How can I do them justice by sharing their pain with each of you. What can WE do together to make a difference in their lives? Its a process. David and I don't have the answers. We have some ideas but we're still working through all of those details.

I had a friend write me earlier this week with the question of why I said we were "wrecked" if truly we were being "fixed" in our heart of hearts. If God was doing a work in our hearts and breaking us even further for the things that break His heart aren't we really gaining vs. losing as the term "wrecked" implies. It got me thinking. While I agree with the gain part of seeing people like Jesus sees them I feel as if there is a certain "wrecking" that must happen in order to get to that point. In my own heart I have wrestled with how I can make a difference, I've had to be refined and the calloused parts of my heart worn down to see what Jesus sees when he looks into the eyes of the orphan and widow. To fight for justice, to fight for the oppressed. I think this is the case for all of us. I watched it happen to our entire team as each day they were a little more burdened, a little more broken, a LOT more wrecked for the things that break our Saviors heart. I guess you could call it a bit of a Holy Wrecking! A welcomed wrecking, a needed wrecking on a heart that so desperately needs Jesus and HIS love, without Him I am nothing.

In Isaiah 1:17 it says learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. This is an ACTION verse. I love that the ESV version says "correct oppression". That means we have to DO something. We are called to show our faith in deeds, faith without deeds is dead. While verse 17 is great, if we read further on we are challenged even further. Verses 18-20 say this:

"Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."

I was so convicted about the last part of verse 20, not only are we to defend the cause of the orphan and widow but God is so serious, if we are obedient to His call the reward is GREAT even in our sacrifice for the cause of others but the threat of death is also there should we rebel against his command! I'm thinking that's pretty serious, how about you?

Here are a few more pictures from our trip.

Loving on the kids at CFI - Kechene

This picture sparks so much inside of me, watching my husband act out being a father to the fatherless makes me fall in love with him all over again. Melts me.

Our brother Sammy, an amazing man of God, forever woven into our family.

Our sweet girls from Tamoca, they came back every afternoon looking for us, the relationship we forged with the shop owner through them was amazing.

Our new friend, an amazing christian, so neat to talk about the orphan crisis, adoption, and working in his country.

Bethezda orphanage, AMAZING director who loves the Lord and the children she serves!
talking about the supplies we brought and explaining how to properly utilize them.
The story behind this smile is amazing. God saw fit to allow her to be taken off the street, it was an honor to be the ones to work out those details. Glory to HIS name.
Nichol and one of the sweet babies she fell in love with.
Aren't these little choir kids precious? They sang to our King and melted our hearts. So sweet!
Can't forget Kaldi's! YUMMY Macchiatos!