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!


  1. Karen Cassidy shared your blog with me. We just got back from Ethiopia. Karen was my roommate and I was privileged to serve with her. I was so touched by your blog. I am trying to process this trip as I recover from jet lag. Thank you so much for your words. I will keep your blog readily accessible for my own reference in helping me to sort through what we encountered as well. Thank you for your service and obedience.

  2. I got back from my 3rd trip to Ethiopia about a month ago and it does take a lot of time to just work though things-and that is ok :) Thanks for sharing honestly, I think more people need to see/hear an honest look at missions and not just the "woohoo, it's fabulous!" stuff b/c it is not always fabulous, it is hard, and beautiful, and sickening, and amazing, and confusing. Enjoy your time at home with family as you process it all!! :)

  3. Wow...

    thankful, encouraged, and blessed by this blog and Tilio's testimony today :)

    Thank you!

    Love, Sarah