I have done this a time or two. I have planned and packed, prepped my house, wiped the tears as I said goodbye to my family and prayed my way through the days of fear that seem to come before each of my trips to Ethiopia. Yes, I have done this before, but this time feels very different. You see this time I feel a deep sense of community and committment from those who will be joining me on the journey. It is the craziest cool feeling of just knowing that this group came together for a big purpose. Just three months ago both myself and Caleb David of One Child Campaign, who plans and orchestrates the most amazing and authentic trips to Ethiopia, we were very unsure of who would be joining us this year. For weeks we were encouraging several people to say yes and we were hoping to end up with a group of 12-14. Then the amazing happened. Within one week ten people said yes and signed on to be part of the team. To top it all off we quickly discovered so many connections to one another that we were all wowed. Now we are just days away from making the trip and the confirmation and peace I feel is awesome! I will keep packing and prepping my family all the while knowing that God has ordained this journey for myself and 19 others.
Four of us are mommas who all adopted from Ethiopia at different times and we get to return together to the place where our children were loved before they came home to our families. Someone pinch me. One woman on the team has helped me with the sponsorship program with the Children’s Hopechest Chapa Carepoint. Now she will get to enter the lush tropical village of Chapa and enter the sea of Chapa children who will be singing and praising God for our visit. I can’t wait for her to see the fruits of her labor. One of my teammates is my sister and it’s a bit of dream that soon I will get to experience a country, a culture and a people I love and respect so dearly with her. Amazing. I have both friends and friends of friends as team members and I am so eager to see how God continues to knit us together. I truly am humbled by that which He has begun.
This weekend we were able to get away as a family and spend time with some dear friends. I was a bit distant, feeling like all I could think about and talk about was the departure this week but our friends just listened and listened some more. I love how they work hard, just like my husband, to learn all the connections, all the players, all the ministries and all the members of the team so that they too can share in the journey. It is a blessing to be encouraged in such a way and I was grateful for the time to hang with our kids and with friends whom we adore. A couple of the boys snowboarded and seemed so old, just doing their own thing while a few of the other kids were able to spend time at a waterpark with friends just racing from one area of fun to the next. I had calm, quiet time with Ava and loved watching her get herself all bundled up for the snow only to last well you know how it goes with a three year old… It was good quality time off the grid. The best part of the weekend was the opportunity our leaving provided for our teenage Ethiopian, Tadesse, to spend a few days with the Pastor of the Ethiopian church here in town. The visit was wonderful and we cannot thank Pastor Aberra enough for coming alongside us to help pour into Tadesse. The Aberra family welcomed him with his favorite Doro Watt and several opportunities to be among Ethiopian friends. Yesterday Tadesse called to tell me that he was part of a group Pastor Aberra organized to meet at the church after fasting for a prayer time specifically for me and for our team. I wept. I am honored that we have come to share in each other’s call to minister to and with the Ethiopian people and knowing the church body is supporting what we will venture off to do is incredibly humbling. Thank you.
It’s been quite a process to get to this point and all I can think to do is say thank you to so many who have supported us along the way. Just this afternoon these beautiful hadmade journals were delivered to us by a wonderful mission minded family. Their boys decorated journals, one for each member of our team, to be sure we would be able to remember and document what we learn and see while in Ethiopia.
Then another friend dropped by with a huge hockey bag on wheels and another delivered a check to support the Chapa Feast. This trip has become a community affair and certainly that is as it should be. Our community reaching out to another is a beautiful thing. The outpouring of support has been awesome!
Tonight I keep refelcting back on the quiet conversation I shared with my husband as our plane took off from Addis Ababa after our first visit to meet our daughter in 2010. Neither of us could have ever been prepared for what we saw and neither of us could have been totally prepared for the pull we would immediately feel to be more connected and to give back to a country with so much need yet so much charm and deep faith. We made a committment then that we would do something. Little did I know that God would take those words, that exchange of hearts and allow me the priveledge to return several more times to serve. “I feel like we need to share what we now know about the orphan crisis with others. People need to see what we just saw and feel God’s presence like we just did, ” I uttered on the plane to my husband. From there we tucked the thoughts away , closed our eyes and quietly prayed.
It all began with one. One calling. One step. One child. One journey. One prayer. Sometimes that is all that is asked of us and God works out the rest!
Peace and Grace,