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Month: May 2012

All Sons & Daughters

All Sons & Daughters

You are the air I breathe.
Still you move inside of me,
You are the song I sing.

With every breath I breathe,
with every song I sing,
I want ot shout it out,
Lord, I am listening.

To every word you speak,
I’ll go where you will lead.
To love the least of these,
It’s my greatest offering.

I am the least of these.

Addis Adam

Addis Adam

I am so glad that today is my day to blog because I couldn’t have asked for a better experience to share with y’all! The Lord put someone in our path yesterday that we could have never expected or planned for, Addis Adam. He has been a huge blessing to our team, and I get to share his story with you!

Yesterday was a beautiful blue bird day. Our whole team went to lunch in the city together and invited some locals that we met on the street to come share the meal with us. Picture this: When we walked up to the restaurant, there was a huge skinned animal hanging in the front window with a butcherman grinning and hacking at some raw meat. It didn’t exactly make my mouth water..  We ordered tibs and angera (a local favorite) with our beloved translators and the locals. Despite my picky eating habits, tibs and angera is actually pretty basic food (beef strips and spongy type bread) and I really enjoyed it. Although, the best part of lunch would have to be the local people that ate with us; it was really neat to share a meal with them and hear each of their stories.

After lunch we headed out of the downtown area of the city toward a woman’s home that we heard from one of our translators needed prayer. I found out later that as our team was walking through the city, Kate and one of our translators, Aki, were praying that the Lord would put someone in our path today that needed our help. All of the sudden as we walked along a main highway, we encountered someone crumpled in the middle of the sidewalk with their entire body shaking. As we came closer to them, it looked like it was an old man in his 60’s or 70’s. Our translator, Yosi, went to him to see what was wrong and when he turned him over on his back it caught me completely of guard to see that whom we thought was an old man was actually a young boy. He was unconscious and looked like he was seizing. Our translators quickly carried him off of the sidewalk unto a patch of grass and began to help him regain consciousness and gave him water.

Locals began to crowd around and help as much as they could; I remained in the back of the crowd trying to remain composed and just pray that God would help us help this young boy. As I stood there in shock of everything going on around me, I became overwhelmed with emotion and heartache for this boy. I have two younger brothers and to think that someone around their age could be in that state brought me so much overwhelming sadness and anger that something like this is so common here.

After the boy had gained consciousness and stopped shaking, Kate told us that she and Yosi were going to take him to the hospital and asked if anyone would like to come along. I really didn’t want to leave him so I decided to go with them along with my teammates Eddie and Leslie. We walked to a clinic that Kate and Yosi were familiar with located in the same area as Amazing Grace Guest House. Along our walk to the clinic, Kate and Yosi found out that this young boy is named Addis Adam and he is 14 years old. They also tried to find out how he came to be on the streets and why he collapsed but struggled to find out exactly what had happened. Though, it was evident that Addis had been on the streets for some time now and didn’t know where to go next.

 

At the hospital Addis got different tests and and an xray of his arm that we later found out had been broken a couple of years ago and had healed the wrong way. While everyone waited in the clinic for results, Kate and I went and picked out some pants and a shirt for Addis. It felt so good to know that we were able to just do something for him even if it was something small like that. After we came back from shopping, we sat in the clinic for a while longer waiting on the test results. I got to sit by Addis while we waited, and we all finally got him to smile. He has the biggest dimples and one of the most beautiful smiles I have ever seen.

After the results came back, the doctor explained that Addis had collapsed because of dehydration and malnutrition and that he also had a bladder infection. It was a relief to know that we could cure both of those things with medicine, food, and water. After we got Addis his medicine we asked him if he would like to join us for dinner tonight and come stay at our house and he said “yes.”

That night was amazing. Addis put on his new clothes and shoes once we got to the guest house and literally looked like a different person. He just seemed so incredibly happy and his joy seemed to spread throughout our entire team. Before dinner we played games with all of the kids in the neighborhood and Addis showed off his soccer skills. I sat watching him for a while thinking to myself, “I wander when the last time was that he felt safe and was just able to play and be a kid.” Probably 10 times throughout the night I went up to him and smiled and gave him an awkward side hug. He probably thinks I am a complete weirdo, but I just can’t help but love on this kid!

The Lord is blessing our team in incredible ways. We have only been in Ethiopia for two full days, and I feel like we have experienced so much and are already making a difference in this city! Our prayer is that God will continue to lead us to the people that he wants us to serve. Will you please join us in that prayer?

Much love from Ethiopia!

Alex

PS Today is my birthday.. and I have a feeling it is going to be one I will never forget EVER. Can’t wait to see what is in store!

 

 

 

The Light Outside the Guesthouse

The Light Outside the Guesthouse

Yesterday was the beginning of our journey here in Addis. We woke up to the sound of rain hitting the roof, birds chirping, and synagogue music playing. Our team started the morning off with some tasty coffee, Bible reading, journaling, and great company along with an amazing spicy egg and toast breakfast. Just having a simple meal and interacting with the people at the guesthouse was more than we could ask for. After breakfast, we made our way outside to the courtyard to play some soccer and a little table tennis… Let’s just say the Ethiopians kicked our butts at them all! We had no chance.

That afternoon, time seemed to stand still. It was like God wanted us to be patient for what was next, and didn’t want us to skip a beat on being present and relaxing with what and who we were with at the time.

That afternoon we broke into three groups with our translators Aki, Josi and Masti. One group traveled to the city of Korah near Bright Hope School where Masti was from, and the other two stayed within the area surrounding the guesthouse. We were graced with a challenge to speak our story and the word with complete strangers that day. I thought to myself, are you crazy Kate Townley? You want us, as a team, to speak our story and the word to people we can’t even understand?

At first it was very challenging to get past what we saw and smelled to think of anything except sorrow. Once we got into people’s homes and heard their story and struggles, the anxious feeling went away. Knowing in your heart that we are no different and are all here on this earth God created for the same reason was the most relieving feeling He could ever give me. It was such a blessing to see their way of life and admire their faith after everything they’ve been through. After praying for a family and walking out of their mud house into the rain, nothing seemed crazy at that point. Everything seemed right. He wanted us to be here.

After wrapping up the afternoon with some crazy taxi rides, we made our to a restaurant called Chocolate, which by the way, has the best macchiato coffee drink ever. America is totally missing the boat on this one.  We grabbed some pizza and made our way back to the guesthouse to unwind and talk about how each group was challenged and how our experiences grew our faith.

All it took was one afternoon

[One challenge]

[One greeting]

[One Faith]

To see and feel a difference in life on earth.

 

Some first time nuggets:

* While walking through the city, pedestrians do NOT have the right away. Being on your toes is a must!

* When eating, if someone wants to feed you, let him or her. It’s a sign of friendship, even if they feed you too much and want to choke.

* Lastly, if you don’t know the language, try it and if you butcher every word, at least you will get a smile and probably make someone’s day.

Love Always,
Iowa

 

It’s A Brand New Day

It’s A Brand New Day

We have arrived in rainy Ethiopia after 30+ hours of travel. As morning dawns and we see the country for the first time in the light, the overwhelming feeling among the group is one of great anticipation and expectation. There’s something quite powerful about removing yourself from your comfort zone and stepping out into new places surrounded by new people and the possibility of new experiences. It places your senses on high alert and forces you to be more present in the current moment.

Our day-to-day lives seduce us into the comfort of familiar routines and life’s distractions, causing us to miss the miraculous moments in the world around us. When you travel, especially to places so drastically different from the one in which we live, it can be like stepping into another dimension, one in which at least for me, God is a bit easier to see, feel, and hear.

The weeks leading up to our departure were busy and emotional for me on a personal level. As a result, I stepped on to the plane both exhausted and anxious that I wouldn’t be able to leave the concerns of life behind and be fully present in all this trip has to offer. Yet as we lifted into the Montana sky, those cares fell away, replaced by the calming of God’s presence. This happens often to me when I travel, it’s why I love to go, for unfortunately sometimes it takes going to the other side of the world to quiet my heart and mind enough to be fully present in the world around me.

Throughout the day, we descended to the city of Minneapolis, the city of Amsterdam, and even into the country of Sudan for a brief refueling. Each time, our bird’s eye view from the plane highlighted the vast expanse of the cities below. Homes stretched from horizon to horizon, each filled with people, people known and deeply loved by our magnificent God. I was struck by the awesomeness of His power and the breadth of His reach, knowing the Bible speaks often of how God cares deeply for the concerns and fears of each member of His creation, paying such close attention He knows the number of hairs on each head…there were a lot of heads! I couldn’t wrap my head around the vastness of His love and power, couldn’t fully understand how He could know everyone intimately in the plane around me, in the homes below me, and even in the places outside the far reach of what I could see. I felt dwarfed by His omnipotence.

Turning from the window, briefly distracted by a small voice nearby, I bumped into God in a different way, within the eyes of a child nearby. She was patiently saying and waving goodbye to all the passengers around her as we prepared to debark. What caught my attention was her acceptance of everyone around her. Surrounded by a variety of people of all shapes, colors, ages, and nationalities, she embraced them all, making sure each one received their own wave. In that moment I glimpsed another side of my savior, the part of Him who comes to dwell among us, loving and accepting each of us regardless of history, creed, nationality or beliefs. The side that reminds me that I am treasured, that my relationship with Him is intimate and important, that my vast and powerful God is personally reachable and present all around me…if I pay attention.

Today is a brand new day, the start of two weeks of being fully present in the world and people around me, and of expecting to meet God in both big and small moments. A mere forty-eight hours into our journey, we have already witnessed God’s miraculous intervention in an eleventh hour passport delivery only He could have orchestrated, experienced His loving care as He brought us all safely to the other side of the world, had a front row seat to the vastness of His creation and to the intimate way He reaches out to each one of us through the voice of a child.

So today I rise with a tremendous feeling of expectation for what this time will bring each member of the group, the miracles we will surely witness, the lives we will touch, the ways our own lives will be transformed, and the moments we will interact personally with our God and savior.

Yes, it’s a brand new day and we are ready to seize all that it will bring.

-Sara