I prayed a lot about returning to Ethiopia this year. I wanted to go back but was unsure and scared that it wasn’t necessarily what God wanted me to do. It is the hardest time of year for me to leave my job and family. After a lot of prayer and talking, I decided I would tell our church I wanted to return if they would have me back. In addition to being away, I was concerned about the financial portion of the trip. I had been blessed by so many generous people last year and knew I would need to fundraise again to be able to go. Two weeks before leaving, our family was blindsided by a cancer diagnosis for my father-in-law, which lead to major brain surgery and a stage four diagnosis. Timing again kicked me when my oldest son was scheduled to leave for the Army the day after I was leaving for Ethiopia. I once again was rethinking if I was supposed to go. It started to feel like the worst possible time to leave my family and emotionally wanting to be with them. Had I convinced myself God wanted me to go when really it was my want?! God provided once again generous supporters to help me. Trusting that God had answered my prayers and provided for me to go, I headed to the airport on Saturday morning the 14th at 10:45 in the morning.
I was so anxious and almost nervous as we drove up to Bring Love In and the school to see the kids on our first day of teaching. Would they remember me?? Was I worthy from last year to be remembered? Would they be excited to see me? Would I have just been another missionary who came to Ethiopia or did I truly show the kids that I loved them! Did I convey to them that they changed my life more than I could have ever changed theirs! There’s no hiding that last year these kids stole my heart and showed me what true joy looks like. They showed me how big our God is and how He can transform and change your life.
Right away the smiles and welcomes proved that they had been anticipating us coming and were so happy the day was finally here. The familiar smiles and hugs were confirmation of my purpose here in Addis: love! It was quickly confirmed that this is where God wanted me. I’m here to love these kids, not just teach them but show them God’s love through me. I came back because these kids and people of Ethiopia have broken my heart in ways I never could have imagined.
Over the past year, God has not only placed Africa, poverty, and orphans on my heart but he has also started to chip away at things in my life He wants me to change. Places that I need to work on to better serve him. Someone said this morning in our devotion time that with God’s blessings come responsibility. I have a responsibility to use my blessings to bless and serve others. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be in Addis not only once but twice. Now it’s time to carry out His mission for me back home.