So we leave in 10 days for Ethiopia and we are slowly checking things off our list of things to do!
I'll start with something that WASN'T on my list: experiencing nasty side effects from the oral Typhoid vaccine- yuck! Apparently it is rare for people to experience any reactions to the meds, but lucky me has felt like I have had some type of food-poisoning for several days. Not fun. I finished the last dose already and now am hopeful that the worst is over and I am on the road to recovery. Well it is much better than getting the actual disease I guess!
On to better and more exciting things...
So for those of you who responded to the previous post about "coming to Africa" with us by giving and praying, I wanted to shout out a huge THANK YOU to all of you!!! Several of you responded and I know that there were some issues with the online payment thing, so thank you for blessing us and the children of Ethiopia with your gifts! FYI- I am taking the link down because there were some technical problems, in case you were looking for it.
Speaking of gifts, we sold several more necklaces last week and received a few unexpected checks for the trip, so guess what we did over the weekend? Yep we went SHOPPING! And it was all for the children in Ethiopia! We loaded up our shopping carts full of fun things that we know the children will love- things like balls, crayons, stickers, beads, candy, balloons, bubbles, frisbees and more! Pictures to come soon. It was so much fun to put together little goody bags and sort through all the treasures as we pictured the hundreds of little kids who would be receiving them. We are anticipating that we could be interacting with close to 1,000 Ethiopian children in the short time we will be there- Wow I am still trying to wrap my brain around that!
Many of our friends have asked us to explain a little more in detail about the trip and even now after you read that about being with 1,000 children, you are probably wondering why or how?
Well, the simple answer to why we are going is simply this: to visit & love orphans.
But that may be a little too simple for most folks, so here is a bit of the extended version.
As you probably remember reading about, a few months ago we had the opportunity to attend a conference called the Orphan Summit, put on by the Christian Alliance for Orphans. It was amazing and powerful as I shared before, but more than that- attending the Summit confirmed a truth that the Lord had already laid on our hearts a few years before- that God has blessed us to be a blessing to others. (Read Psalm 67)
We who were once spiritual orphans, were adopted into our Father’s family as His children. Randy and I have seen that we experience miracles in our life when we enter into His plan and desire to be a ‘father to the fatherless’ (Psalm 68:5), ‘defend the cause of orphans’ (Isaiah 1:17), and ‘care for orphans in distress’ (James 1:27).
This is God’s heart for the lost and lonely children of the world. This is His desire for us who have been adopted into His family – that we in turn would show the same grace and love for the lost in this world that He showed to us.
We have known that we cannot sit still any longer and have been seeking the Lord for wisdom and to point us in the direction we are to go.
Which brings us to this point in time.
After several conversations with staff at Children’s HopeChest, much prayer, seemingly random things coming together, and the blessing of our pastor and church staff, we were certain that God wanted us on this trip to Ethiopia. It will be Randy and I and our missions pastor as well as 13 others from all over the country.
The purpose of this trip is to visit and share the love of Christ with orphans in Ethiopia and their care-givers as well as to identify a community of orphans with whom our church family would potentially form a long-term relationship with. And this is what we're most excited about. Read their mission statement:
Children’s HopeChest believes that every orphan around the world has the right to know God, experience the blessing of family, and have the opportunity to develop independent living skills.
HopeChest believes in the power of one community of believers making a long-term, transformative impact on a community of orphans.
Don't you just love that?
We can all make a difference for ONE child in God's strength and power. I love that He is the One who is bringing all of this together!
We will be visiting orphanages that have already been sponsored by U.S. churches, and also unsponsored orphanages that may be a fit for our church to partner with. And I am SO excited about this part too- on our way back to Addis Ababa from Awassa, we drive right through the town of Ziway. And do you know what that means? Yes, we get to stop by the Ziway Lifesong school and love on some of the kids there as well!!!
I hear there are around 700 kids at the Ziway schools combined and then close to a hundred at each of the carepoints we will be visiting. Which when you add those up- it's over 1,000 kiddos!
Watch this short video from Children's Hopechest that highlights the beautiful children of Ethiopia...
It is seriously so beautiful- totally worth the 4 minutes of your day! :)
And so now that I have explained the whys of our trip, I am going to leave you with one more challenge!
We still have room in our suitcases for a few more things for the children in Ethiopia... we are going to fill them FULL, so we need your help!
Next time you're out at T*arget or W*almart will you pick up a few of these to donate?
*Pads of paper
*Balls- soccer and playground balls (we will deflate them to fit in our suitcases)
*Small pumps for balls (important, as we will leave them at each orphanage)
*Those fun rubber bracelets that come in different shapes
***We need all items no later than next Wednesday night (the 15th) and the earlier the better! If you live in the area and want to donate some of these items, leave me a comment or email and we can arrange pick up. It's kind of last minute, so if it doesn't work no big deal- there will be many more opportunities in the future! :)
Thanks again everyone for all your support! We will update more on the trip as it gets closer if you'd like to know how to specifically pray! And hopefully I will be able to post a few times while we're there... I am hoping to take a few pictures. You know, just a few.... :)