Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Does Jesus Live in Africa?

I have been home from Ethiopia for a little over a week. A week to ponder and process. To try and figure out how to convey to you, the reader, how I am feeling. To give you a glimpse of all that was mine to experience in Ethiopia.  I have played my days in Ethiopia over and over again in my mind, wondering where to begin and how to explain what I saw; what I touched and felt and oh, the smells. When asked by friends and family how my trip to Ethiopia was, I have been reduced to a automatic sentence, "Yes, my trip to Ethiopia was wonderful."

But, I am not being completely truthful.

I respond in a way I think you want me too. An automatic, feel-good response that is blurted from my lips because I am uncomfortable and don't want you to think less of me. 

There are parts of my journey to Ethiopia that were wonderful and lovely; but, it was also hard, discouraging and filled with sorrow and pain.  Joy was present but it was jumbled and mixed with tragedy and things that no man should ever become comfortable with seeing.

I craved my comfortable, American lifestyle and felt tremendous guilt along the way.

I desperately sought to be strong and courageous but inside I was pleading with Jesus to replace my own inadequate feelings with his strong and perfect love. I am thankful that God was faithful and used my body and my words for his purpose and his glory.  I learned many times that when I am weak, He is made strong.  I learned that when I am willing to whisper a simple "Yes," Jesus will step in and take over.  I am thankful that God allowed the opportunity for my sweet momma to go with me on this journey. I needed her shoulders to lean on {more than once} and needed her wisdom on several occasions. It was a divine appointment for her to go, this I am sure!

As I was getting my daughter, Berhanesh, dressed for school one day last week, we began to talk about Ethiopia and my recent trip. She was excited and there was a deep connection in our joined words.  We often talk about her birthplace and I was already feeling pretty emotional that morning when the conversation turned  more serious and she asked this:
"Mommy, does Jesus live in Africa?"
"Yes, of course, Jesus lives in Africa, Berhanesh." 
She then stared intensely in my eyes, grinned and said, "I know." 
"How do you know, Berhanesh?"
 "Because, Jesus knew my name mommy.  Jesus called me by name while I was in Ethiopia."
"What did Jesus say to you B?" I asked. 
Berhanesh replied, "Mommy, Jesus told me you were coming for me and that He loved me." 

Oh boy! The tears begin to flow and I immediately thought of all the children that I encountered while serving in Ethiopia.  How many were without a mommy and a daddy.  Who is telling them that it will all be okay? Where was the reassurance and safety?  As I was wrestling with these thoughts and the unfairness of our fallen world, I felt the presence of the Lord speak to my heart and say,  "I know their names. I am the father to the fatherless. I am the defender of the weak."

"D" is a special little boy that I was honored to spend some time with at the YWAM Widows and Orphans Home in Adama, Ethiopia.  He has been at the YWAM orphange for a little over a month and because of donations that YOU helped provide,  little "D" is gaining weight, happy and content {and Lord willing} will be adopted into a wonderful christian family. I am resting in the knowledge that Jesus not only knows this child by name but He has great plans for this precious child!

Over the next few days, I will share with you the things I was priveledged to take part of while I was in Ethiopia. I will introduce you to some new friends , share miracles that took place and pray that through my inadequate words, God will shine through and be glorified. 

Thank you for your continued love, prayers and support!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Leaving for Ethiopia TODAY!

In a few short hours, my mom and I will board a big 'ol plane headed for Ethiopia. I am ready! Ready to see what God has in store for me. I am ready for God to show me big, huge things. Ready for the doors of opportunity to swing wide open.  

Yesterday, I had a last minute chinese lunch date with a friend.  Along with our bill, we were served the usual stale fortune cookies.  My family and I like to make up our own fortunes....well because, the ones that are normally written are just plain stupid! As I read my little crumbled slip of paper, I began to sob, right there at the table. 
 "Sometimes traveling to a new place leads to great transformation." Oh, to be transformed into the image of Jesus is something I long for. To see what God's sees, to cry and weep over the things that He weeps over. May this trip serve as a vehicle of great transformation within my heart and life. May it spread into my family, my community, my world. May I be part of the solution for those that are lost and hurting. 

Would you join with me and the vision of Into the Streets of Ethiopia?  Would you cry out to God on behalf of those that we will be serving over the next 11 days? From the airport staff, airline employees and hundreds of precious Ethiopians we will encounter? It is an honor to represent YOU who have given and prayed for this ministry. YOU are a part of this journey!  

I will try to blog and post photos from Ethiopia.  Please continue to pray for my sweet husband, my wonderful children and my dad. They are holding the fort up at home! To those that are helping with my children and their crazy schedules while I am away, THANKS! Without you, this would not be possible.  You are a part of the work God is doing!

A beautiful new friend gave me a new cd last week and the words to this song have blessed me so much. I encourage you to 
download this song at iTunes


Donna Stuart
Have Your way with my heart
Father not my will but Yours
For I know I am chosen and You’re calling me forth
But Father I am frightened
I’m terrified to fail
God of wonders please remind me that You’re here
Cause there is so much more to the story
Father give me eyes to see
As I wade into Your Jordan
Help me walk upon Your seas
I long to cross over to the land You promised me
I feel the weight on my shoulders
LORD make me brave to believe
Tell me where I must go
And Give me Your strength to fight
In this war I’m a soldier
In this war You are light
Father I am willing I trust You with my life
God of Wonders I’m convinced that You are here.
You delivered them from Egypt to the tune of Miriam’s song
You sustained them in the desert all along
So Father help me be like all the faithful before
The souls You reckoned as righteous
cause they believed You are LORD
Love and Blessings,