“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
– Colossians 3:12
This post is a conglomeration of thoughts, feelings and emotions from my journey in Ethiopia.
Two weeks has gone by incredibly fast. We just boarded our plane to Dubai, and I am sitting here thinking about the journey home and returning to “normal life”, whatever that will look like for me. To try to describe this experience seems nearly impossible. Attempting to put into words the sights, smells, sounds and tastes from this trip is indescribable. My life is forever changed!
Immediately upon arrival into Addis we were immersed into a new culture much different than that we came from. Evident poverty, abnormal driving, a language barrier, unfamiliar smells, trash lined streets filled with tarps and metal scraps for building structures and most importantly a welcoming of love from our hosts at the guest house. Anxiously we settled in and eagerly waited for the first day with the Bring Love In children.
Waking up and leaving for our first day of school I had no expectations but I was quickly amazed when the kids came flooding through the door with arms open wide, smiles and joy beamed in their eyes and it was so overwhelming. My eyes filled with tears meeting, hugging and falling in love with every single child that morning – and in this moment I knew God had brought me here with all of the best intentions. I was given purpose all over again.
Throughout my two weeks, I had many uplifting moments as well as my fair share of heart break and emotions. Each day was filled with a new set of emotions – but I can truly say God has broken my heart for the things that break his: The woman we drove past on the streets at 9 o’clock at night sleeping on a tarp with infants and young children, to the homeless man with one hand and no legs lying on a fence post unable to transport anywhere, the children selling odds and ends on the sides of the road just trying to bring in enough birr (Ethiopian currency) for food that day. That is what breaks God’s heart. Those are short glimpses of why I too, am left leaving Ethiopia broken hearted. Never before have I seen beauty and pain intertwined in such a powerful way. God, you truly take what is in front of you and you make it beautiful. The country of Ethiopia that I got the blessing to experience from Addis, to Meki, to the countryside at the Portuguese Bridge – it was all an absolute beautiful disaster.
I am sitting reading through pages of journal entries, pages of tear-filled thoughts, laughs and moments – moments of impact I will never forget.
Returning home I think of things, small things that I am excited and grateful for, things that I mistakenly took for granted:
- Toilet paper (that I can flush!)
- Personal hygiene
- Drinkable water
- Clean air
- Easily-accessible medical care
- Nutritious food
- Clean clothes
- Family and friends
- Access to education
I did not fully realize the blessings I am so fortunate to have daily until I experienced those around me that have literally nothing but the tattered clothes on their backs – who still walk with grace and joy because no matter who is against them, God will always be for them. I did not realize the negativity an ungratefulness around me until my heart was broken for those I was surrounded by. The eyes, the smiles, the love, it is all burned inside of me and engrained in me forever. I am going home with a feeling of uneasiness knowing God has stirred something inside of me and waiting, praying and trusting to know his plans are better than I could ever imagine.
See you in the states,