April 2016: Post from Rachel

Today, one of us almost got pick pocketed: my dad, David. We visited a local market in Fiche,and we were advised to keep an eye on our bags. Nothing got stolen, but on our way back to the bus, Kelly noticed a small Ethiopian woman poking around my dad’s pack. I think he watched his bag a little more closely afterwards. We also got to try riding on Bajas. Bajas are the common way to travel in Ethiopia. They’re basically three-wheeled dirty cabs, and they’re super bumpy, but they’re pretty fun.

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{my fajah in the baja}

The best part of today, however, was what Marela and I got to do before dinner. I went out to this playground that’s on the hotel. Marela and Jax had headed there earlier. I saw Marela talking to a local boy. We both tried to talk to him, but we didn’t have a translator, so we only got so far. We did find out his name (It was really long) and that he was 10 yrs. old and a student. We fist-bumped and high-fived and thumb warred each other. I found he knew Ahiya (guessed spelling-means donkey) and we brayed for a bit. We couldn’t communicate much, but it was still a lot of fun.

April 2016: Post from Bailie

I pray a lot about my future. One of these prayers for the last four years has been that international adoption would someday be a part of God’s great plan for my life. After meeting Andrea and talking with her, my eyes were opened. She adopted three children from the Philippines. But apart from that she has a children’s outreach program that she and her husband are a part of running.

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Andrea and team member Taliah

She had a small eight year old Ethiopian child with her when we met. His name was Melkuanint. God spoke to me a lot through her story and Melkuanint’s story. This child had tuberculosis when he was little and it was never treated properly which left his hip completely deformed. He has been in pain for years. Andrea was preparing to take him to the hospital the next day for the extensive surgery he needed. He has been waiting for this surgery for two years because his mother wanted to keep him crippled so that when he begged they would get more money.

God really used this conversation to remind me that I can care for, invest in, and love children right now, wherever I am. He showed me that I don’t have to wait to adopt in order to make a difference in a child’s life. Andrea’s heart for children was very evident and has inspired me and challenged me greatly

April 2016: Pre-Excitement Fatigue Syndrome

From Dave:

Less than 7 days before our flight leaves – CAN…YOU…BELIEVE…IT?!?!

Yes, it’s official!  I’m suffering from PEFS – Pre-Excitement Fatigue Syndrome (not a real thing, so far as I know).  If you’ve not heard of it before, PEFS is condition where you’ve been excited for so long waiting for something to occur, that you get worn out just from the wait.

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I have been waiting, as have we all, for what seems like ages.  And now we are less than one week away from leaving for Ethiopia!!

The first time I left for Ethiopia, I had no expectations.  I was afraid to.  God was so amazing, that on the next trip I dared to believe God would do something – He showed Himself even more incredible.  For that reason, I am so excited to go this time to see and be a part of what God will do.

When people ask me why I return to Ethiopia, the answer is simple.  That’s because God keeps calling me.  I wish it were more courageous, such as when God asked Isaiah who would go and Isaiah said, “Here am I, send me.”  But alas, my calling was much more like Moses – God nearly had to light a bush on fire before I would go.

As others have said and continue to say, we greatly appreciate your prayers and encouragement as we prepare and as we are in-country.  We know God will do more than we can even ask or imagine, and we look forward to sharing with you what is happening via the blog.  Then, we hope to share with you in person afterward, rejoicing in what God did, and rejoicing with the angels in heaven for all the new believers in the kingdom.

 

April 2016: No Loopholes

From Allison:

Hi my name is Allison, and my eight year old son Jax and I are thrilled to be a part of the team headed to Amhara, Ethiopia next month.

When God placed this trip on my heart, raising funds to go was never a concern for me.  I had no doubt that He would provide.  He called Jax and me, and I knew He would pave the way.  What I wasn’t prepared for was how He provided.

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Jax and I sent out letters to our friends and family, and I posted a video of Jax describing our trip on Facebook.  The funds slowly poured in, and it was exciting to watch the number increase each week.  Our family prayed faithfully for the support, and each time we prayed I heard God telling me that it would all be raised in time.

A few weeks ago I received a phone call from my mom (who is also going!) asking how much money Jax and I still needed for the trip.  I looked up the number and saw that our balance was about $2700.  She told me that a friend of ours felt God telling her to pay off not only Jax and my balance but my mom’s as well.  Like I said, I was confident that God would provide, but He blew me away with how He provided.  That’s how He works. 

God provides in ways we don’t expect.  We don’t need to try to figure it out or make it happen by our own means.  He’s got it covered.  He provided safety for Noah and his family in the form of an ark.  He provided enough food to feed the large crowd by multiplying some fish and a few loaves of bread.  He provided deliverance for the Jews through a simple woman named Esther who found favor with the king.  He provided food for His people in the dessert by making manna rain from the sky.  He provided safety and hiding for the spies Joshua sent into Jericho with help from the last person you would expect, a prostitute. 

Those are just a few examples from the Bible of God’s provision.

He has promised to provide in abundance everything we need to do His work, and we know that we can trust His promises.  2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;”

As my pastor said this weekend, “God’s sovereignty has no loopholes.”

Do you believe that?  I sure do.

April 2016: Only 35 Days

From Erin:

Welcome to the Ethiopia team blog! 

Our team is Ethiopia bound in 35 days.

We are a team of 14 people… wait, actually, that’s not true… we are a team of hundreds.

Do you know the book of Jonah?  It’s a short story:  Jonah didn’t want to do what God said…he got on a boat headed the opposite way…God created a crazy storm…the sailors threw Jonah overboard…God sent a big fish to rescue Jonah… finally Jonah obeyed (but still with a bit of an attitude).

Pastor Jerry is preaching on Jonah this month (you should come!  LifeBridge Church, San Diego). One of the points that Jerry made this past Sunday was:  we are not in this boat alone!   When God created the storm because of Jonah’s disobedience, it didn’t just affect Jonah; the sailors’ lives were in danger too.  After Jonah was thrown overboard, the storm stopped and the sailors feared the Lord.

We are so living that out on this trip.  God has called hundreds to this trip – some are getting on a plane, some are praying, some giving, some are taking care of the kids and handling responsibilities here.  He’s called Ethiopians to our trip too – they’re training, booking hotel rooms and delivering chickens.  And all of us are in the boat together with those whom we will get to share the love of Christ.   

That is one BIG boat!! 

We are so grateful to be in the boat with you and we want to do our part too.  We want to share what God is doing through you.  This is our blog.  It is our plan to keep it updated with stories of God and his awesomeness.

Today, let’s all get on the same page – those of you who have been on the boat to Ethiopia many times and those who are just joining us. 

Pretty soon, chickens will begin to arrive in 5 villages near the town of Fiche, Ethiopia.  In each village, 35 families will receive 5 chickens each.  Those families will be told about you and your love and your generosity. 

In just over a month, we get to follow the chickens into each of these homes.   We’ll arrive at their front door in teams of four – two Americans and two Ethiopians.

The families we visit most typically live in mud huts with thatched roofs.   As we arrive, there is a cacophony of activity.  Cows, goats and chickens are taken from inside the house to outside in order to make room for us.  Children who have never seen a white person before whisper to each other and stay well away from us at first.  Often babies are crying because they can’t figure out what happened to make us look so funny.  Women busy themselves grinding coffee beans, cooking them over an open fire and brewing coffee.  And men proudly greet us at the door.

It would be impossible for me to explain to you the incredible privilege that it is to spend time with these majestic people in their homes.  You’ll just have to come with us to experience it yourself .  (See how I did that?)

While in their homes, we will visit, laugh, share stories, play games, eat together and drink lots of coffee. 

We will warn them about the very real and devastating problem of human trafficking that is happening in America and Ethiopia and tell them what they can do to keep their children and their villages safe. 

We will tell them about our lives.  They wonder why we would travel halfway around the world to come into their homes to visit with them and we will tell them about the love of God that so drastically changed our life.   We’ll share with them that the God who sent us loves them so much that He sent his son to die on a cross for their sins and that through believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, they can have a relationship with Him.   We will answer questions and pray.  We will invite them to believe, to be in relationship with God.

Many will believe and some will not.  We will love them all. 

In Amhara, Ethiopia, only .2% of the people have heard the gospel. 

God is changing that.

Only 35 more days!  Can you hardly wait?!