Sometimes a day does not always go according to plan. Today was one of those days.
We started things off like that. We had a great breakfast and talked about what we wanted to teach the kids at Kora. We walked to Chocolate and caught a taxi to ALERT and walked the remaining distance to Great Hope Church. Along the way kids came up to us and had us swing them up and over the many puddles that laced the street from last night’s rain storm. The closer to the church we got, the more kids were there to welcome us.
When we were within seeing distance of the church, my favorite little girl, Hewyet, ran and jumped into my arms with the sweetest giggle anyone has ever heard. Tesfaye, one of the boys who has claimed me as his special friend, was not far behind her. He grabbed my hand and after I had put my backpack (also nicknamed the mom-bag) in the office we walked into the church.
We got the kids warmed up with a lively game of Simon Says and then Sheridan taught them how to play Twister. Our story today was how Jesus (Dean) raised Lazarus (Walter) while Mary and Martha (Lizzy and Sheridan) watched in amazement. The kids got really excited when Walter jumped up from behind the table that was acting as his tomb.
After we got them fed and said goodbye for the day (always a heart wrenching thing) we caught a taxi to a restaurant in the Mexico district called August. Dean ordered the fried fish. They were really good until Sheridan came back from the bathroom and said she had seen a bunch of dead fish in a kiddy pool of dirty water…TIA! Still, the fish tasted pretty awesome.
During lunch we usually make a game plan for the rest of the day. We had to be back at Kora by 6:00 so we didn’t really have time to go back to the guest house and play with the neighborhood kids. We juggled around several ideas and didn’t really come up with a concrete plan (not always a good sign). We started walking around and Aki showed us an old train station and a stadium. At this point I was praying fervently that we would grab a taxi to where ever our next destination was when out of the blue Tsegaye shows up in his van. He offered to take us anywhere we wanted to go and so we asked him to take us to a church that Aki had heard about.
We ended up at Praise Church. It is eight years old and is almost the mother church of Great Hope. The founders grew up in the dump and found a bible in the trash when they were seven. They decided right then and there that this was the real deal and that they wanted to do all they could bring others the light of Jesus. So, when they were 16 they started a church. They build it bit by bit with whatever funds they were able to muster and the result is a small but beautiful church run by two God fearing men. Speaking of men, they also thought up a great way to draw young men from the community into the church. They built a weight room off the church. Everything is home made from the dumb bells made out of car batteries to the eucalyptus pull up bar. It was awesome to see how they had taken what they had and put it to the best use possible. And to top it off, when we were about to leave to go the bonfire at Korah, God decided to open the flood gates and keep us at Praise Church until we had seen everything and had gotten to talk with the men about their vision for the church and what we could do to help them. What had initially been a random “Oh I guess we have time to go” thing turned into a real God moment and it was a bit humbling to realize that our plans might not have been the right ones. If we had set up a regimented plan, then the true gem of today would have been lost. Sure some of the walking around got old and a lot of us don’t really handle plan-less-ness well but at the end of the day when we were talking about our highs and lows, seeing Praise Church and hearing its story hit the majority of our team as the best part of the day. We didn’t end up going to a bonfire or hanging out with the kids a Korah that evening but God opened our eyes to a whole new area of need in Addis and I can’t make myself believe that any of it was coincidence.