Friday, May 13, 2011

Ethiopia Mission Trip :: A Look Back

Ok, I know this has been such a long time coming and I promise I have valid reasons for the delay... 4 little ones to be exact... but I finally found the time to put together a video recalling the mission trip experience from this past February. Here it is...

It was an incredible journey that we set out on as a team; we came together from all sides of the states to form this close-knit, nearly indescribable bond... the best word I can think to describe our experience at the end of the trip was family.

Dealing with the emotions, experiences has been difficult. Christie and I have talked about it, but it is so hard to grasp unless you are there living the moment. A few highlights from our trip include...

• • • • • • • • • •

DIAPERS!!! :: Delivering 4 tubs of diapers to 3 different orphanages: A government orphanage in Addis [not allowed to give actual name], a private orphanage in Holeta [Debre Berhan] and a Catholic Orphanage in Addis [Kidane Mihret]; and giving away to a few different individuals too (including a few moms in Korah and one of our drivers who had a 2-month old baby girl!

• • • • • • • • • •

Me and My Bud
GIR-MON!!! :: (I'm not sure if that is how it's spelled, but that's how it sounds) is a 6'3"(ish) blind boy (well, he's 20... but I'm 30 so I can call him a boy). He came up to me while I was standing in the road in between the shelter and the church.... he asked if I had anything to help protect his eyes. [Cue Despicable Me voice..."Lightbulb"] "Marcy has sunglasses!" I thought. So I took him inside where the church is and the two of us sat down on the bench and chatted. He was/is amazing. I know I've said a lot of things on our trip were amazing, but this moment was "it" for me. I found out Marcy had left to help Mercy get new clothes so we were left w/o sunglasses for the time being. Then McKenzie came up and gave him her sunglasses... and they fit him perfectly... and I must say he looked pretty stylin' in them. He sung for me, hugged me, kissed me, told me he loved me, called me his best friend... affection for other men doesn't come the easiest for me, but I can honestly say I fell in love with this boy.

• • • • • • • • • •

SOCCER IN AMBO! :: When we met up with the kids in Ambo we played this huge soccer match. Kids vs. Adults. I have a little footage in my video... but it was a blast. It got pretty intense out there... I was dying for water and so were the kids. I had 2 huge bottles in my bag that were all but gone by the end... I scored a few goals (thanks to awesome assists from Spencer) but the most memorable moment came when a boy came up to steal the ball when I was kicking a goal and I kicked him in the shin. He fell down and got up with a limp... I carried him off the field but he ran right back out there... what a trooper... what a game. (Note: by the end of the day his limp was gone... I felt sooooooooo bad.) Another memorable moment came when I let Helen record with my videocamera and she held it backwards and recorded herself, upside down, for a good 45 seconds... my kids think it is the funniest thing. classic. :)

• • • • • • • • • •

Ice Cream!
ICE CREAM W/ THE BOYS! :: Every evening we'd get back to the Ethiopian Guest House and a group of boys from the neighborhood would show up looking to play some soccer and to see if we had any candy or anything. Well, about half way through the trip we thought it would be fun to treat them to ice cream... so we walked down to the market and each boy picked one out. Interestingly the two flavors available were: Coffee and Milk.

• • • • • • • • • •

Digging In!
COW STOMACH! :: One of the last evenings we were there the whole group went out for a traditional dinner. I sat next to one of our drivers... Bebe. (Who might I add is amazing!) Once dinner was served him and I dug in... we were the only two (at our table) that had embraced traditional cuisine while we were there. I pointed to this odd looking meat on the platter and asked him what it was. He said "Try it." I said "You go first." So, he ate it. Then, as a man of my word... I took a large hunk of injera, picked up the funky meat and plopped it in my mouth. Just about gagged myself, but I managed to chew it and keep it down. It had the consistency of rubber and the taste of worst gristle you've ever eaten. I asked him what it was, his answer... "Cow stomach." EWW!

• • • • • • • • • •

Monkey & Soda!
NATURE PARK! :: Returning to Addis from Ambo we stopped by a nature park where we say some amazing sites. Including a monkey drinking an orange soda. How about that. It was super cute. I took a 6-foot leap across the top of a waterfall and climbed to the top of another waterfall (with about 5 others). At the top we took a trail back about 1/2 mile to a super small village where we helped a lady break sticks that she would later use as kiln and met up with a bunch of kids. Upon returning we saw a lady washing her clothes at the top of the waterfall.

• • • • • • • • • •

Shoe Distribution
SHOES! :: Shoes were another big part of our trip. We took part in a TOMS shoe distribution at a school in Dahley. We were able to bless these children (and a few members of the community) with shoes by removing their current shoes and placing new ones on their feet. The condition of the shoes was saddening... every foot was dirty, but several were cracked and bleeding and many were suffering from different types infections. I washed and sanitized my hands several times that day. :) Another part where shoes played a big impact were the 3 pairs I gave away to kids that lived on the street and needed them. One of the boys I gave a pair to (Ti) had asked my wife for her pair of shoes when we traveled to pick up Zek! He was still there and still needed shoes. I gave him the pair off my feet. I arrived with 4 pairs of shoes... I came home with a pair of flip flops.

• • • • • • • • • •

There are so many more things that I could talk about, those are just the ones that come to my head right now. As more come up I hope to share them with you.

This was an amazing experience and if you are considering a mission trip, I highly recommend it. Loving on the people I came into contact with was so soul-filling. I left nearly on empty, I came home overflowing. Joy is contagious and the people you meet are so joy-filled that you will never want to leave. In fact, based on the conversations I've had since returning home, most of our group feels that way.

God Bless!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Urgent Help Needed In Orphanage In Ethiopia

This young women named, Ashli moved to Ethiopia last November...

This is from a post on the Ordinary Hero Blog...

"as of recently she has been led to an orphanage that is entrusting her with the care of the children. To protect the kids in the orphanage we will call it Restoration Orphanage, because I think God will restore their lives from the mirey pit and use this place as a place of Restoration in the future for other children. God has handed this place to her for her to step in and help when there are certainly children on death's door. She has gone in and described the needs of these children to me, especially the babies, and it is devastating and heartbreaking! They need care and they need care fast. A few babies have not made it and I believe that is why God has now led Ashli to this place through a connection that I have and is now going to use her to bring these children back to life. It is going to take a lot of work, money, formula, supplies, etc but I know it can be done. AND it can be done by this one young girl.....WITH ALL OUR HELP. Here is an excerpt from her as of yesterday......"


by Ashli York on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 4:15pm

"As I held an orphaned little girl tonight who is 10lbs underweight, I began to sing Jesus Loves Me. She stared in my eyes as I sang and I started thinking about her life. Her last name is X because she has no father, she is malnourished, found in the street, and has a horrible bacterial infection that if went untreated would kill her. As the song was ending her eyes slowly closed as she drifted off to sleep. A peace that passes all understanding was shown through the sweetest smile as she slept. I whispered, "Lord, you are her Father. She does have a name, and you know her by name. You know her life and her destiny. Protect her heart and give her peace." There are 15 other babies with a similar story in this orphanage, and 10 more on the way, and only 3 nannies to care for them. I pray that all who read this would prayerfully consider helping this orphanage financially care for these helpless lives. The nannies LOVE these babies but the funding just isn't there for proper care. You can turn tears of hunger into peaceful nights of sleep, and the longing for someone to just hold you into security and happiness. Will you help an orphan fall asleep in peace tonight? Please contact me if you are interested in helping!"

go here to donate through ordinary hero - click here - make sure you type in "for orphanage aid" in the message box

to read more about ashli and the orphanage and its needs - click here

Please pass this on...Put a link to the Ordinary Hero blog where you can donate on your facebook or blog!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A few pics from the last few days...and some questions answered

Emery fell asleep eating pasta :)

Homemade chalkboard that we made over the weekend.
The girls love it and Zek thought it was a slide :)

Zek playing in you see it all over his face?
yep he likes to eat sand. I gave up and he can eat it if he wants :)

He likes to eat everything. This is mulch. and no I didnt let him eat this :)

Emery likes to eat sand too! It must be a boy thing.

Aunt Abby (my much younger little sister) stayed the weekend with us.
The girls had a blast! (and it gave mommy a break!) :)

One of Hazels favorite things to do

Emery playing

more playing...

First, thanks to everyone who is praying for us as we begin this journey!

We have had a few questions or comments that people have asked or made about us moving to Ethiopia. So I will answer a couple...

When do you move?

After we do our 3 day assessement we will know a better time frame, but we are expecting 12 - 18 months from August.

You are brave...

We by no means feel brave. We feel that this is Gods calling for us and we are simply following Him and he is bringing us peace about it all along the way. There are days when I feel super excited and there are days when I wish God didn't lay it on our hearts. But we want to be fully devoted followers and we know this is the plan He has for us.

Does someone pay you to live there?

We will be fully supported by our church, other churches, family and friends. We will have to raise the support on our own (this is one reason why it will take 12-18 months before we move) We will raise the support from partners that can make it possible for us to work with and teach God's love to the people in Addis. We will know more details on all of this once August rolls around.

I want to challenge anyone who is reading this post who hasnt read the book Radical yet to read it. I just finished it last week and it is awesome!!! It took me over month to finish it because well it just takes me that long. I love reading but finding bits of time between taking care of the kiddos is impossible somedays :) I am currently reading When Helping Hurts. A missionary at CMF gave it to us when we went there a few months back. It is a really great book and very insightful. I have learned lots of stuff already! So I highly recommend it!