Friday, August 9, 2013

Trip in a Nutshell

How do I even begin to sum up our trip to Ethiopia? How do I begin to explain days where you're facing stunning beauty and stunning poverty in same moment?

I still have a couple more Africa posts up my sleeve, but I'm going to try to give you our trip in a nutshell.

In God's kindness, even though we went into this trip in total faith, very blind to all the details and honestly with some butterflies in our stomachs, our Heavenly Father matched us up with the perfect group for us. Have you ever read When Helping Hurts? If you haven't, and if you're interested in serving the poor; put it on your book list. Period. This book was required reading for our group before the trip and was the premise of how the trip was run- coming in quietly and humbling, not to "rescue people" to our American ways but to see how God is at work and how we can be a part of that.

We got the chance to view 10 different locations. We saw everything from rural poor communities having clean water systems installed, to a program who runs daycares for the children of the poorest mothers. From orphan prevention programs, to orphanages full of sweet faces. From ex-prostitutes rehabilitated so that they were now making a living in a dignified manner, to new families being made out of local widows and un-adoptable orphans. From spending an afternoon with women who's bodies are riddled with AIDS, to visiting a ministry that works to reunify trafficked children with their families. From playing with former street children, to seeing a newly built school in a village.

Our group reminded us that this was not a missions trip to make us feel better about ourselves, but one to cause us to ask hard questions. Steven and I both fell head over heels for this country. We love how big God is, and how he puts different parts of the world on different hearts. And for us, we know without a shadow of a doubt that it is this little area of the world is the one He's caused us to put our hearts into.

Now I'll spare you my words and tell you more through pictures and captions...

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Our Ethiopian guide teaching a group of men in a rural comminuty how to keep up with their new clean water system...
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In the meantime, we taught the kids what germs were using glitter as a stand-in for germs...
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The kids back-kicking skills in soccer made the guys in our group look like soccer rejects...
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Coffee ceremonies that include freshly, fire-roasted coffee and popcorn, which happen to be my two food obsessions. Was I meant to fall in love with this country or what!?!
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Steven's bald white head was quite a novelty...
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Beautiful little voices; I can still hear them in my head...
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I painted hundreds of sweet little nails because getting a pedicure makes you feel special no matter where you live...
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Our team...
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Can you spot my husband...
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Berbere peppers- if you love Ethiopian food, now you know where the Bebere spice comes from...
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The show of an American-ish back-flip...quite the attraction...
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Wherever we went, a crowd gathered outside the gates...
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The girl to the left was in a children's home since her mother was dying. She latched on to me the moment I entered and as I left asked if I could be her mommy. Heart. Break....
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Remember I said stunning beauty and poverty. Their local flowers side by side with a local school room...
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The driver that kept us from dying. Think New York City with no traffic lights...
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We walked away rejoicing at all God is doing, seeing a huge need for resources, having a longer prayer list, and envisioned about where our hearts and money can be used. And to be honest, we can't wait to go back. This country is now tattooed on our hearts.

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