Thursday, February 12, 2009


At the end of Wednesday it seemed like a good idea to pick a word to describe the day—a way for me to remember the significant impression of the day.

I shared this with one couple I met, Michelle and Chad from Indiana. She picked the word Freedom for Thursday’s adventures.

We saw children loved, cared for and children making a future. We stopped at a drop in center where the children swarmed us!!!

Not being one who enjoys an abundance of physical touch it was overwhelming.

I fell in love with a little girl with large brown eyes. (Half of Ethiopia, by the way).

She didn’t join in the play with the parachute, preferring a spot on the concrete step. So I joined her. She did not reach for my hand so I took hers and held it for a long time. When they were called to the meal time (lunch, I think). I reluctantly let go of her hand, touched her cheek and kissed her good-bye.

As a group we hung around for awhile longer so I wandered over to the lunch room for a peek inside since the children were singing and tapping as they waited for their food. She was sitting at the end of the table and when she looked at me a moment of recognition flickered across her face. Then when it really was time to say good-bye, I waived and she waived back with a big smile.

Then we headed over to the vocational training site of Win Souls for God

Gizachew Ayka is one of the founding members with an inspiring story of youthful passion to serve God and help the poor and needy of his community, making a profound different in the lives of hundreds just by obeying God.

The final stop of the day was a residential facility for former commercial sex workers.

These beautiful women are living in a large, clean building where they work together with each other raising their children. Yohannes spends his “free” time here providing prayer and counsel to these ladies – he’s a godly man who shares an example of a protecting, kind, honest, non-abusive man.

Hope abounds for these ladies as they re-construct their lives. They prepared coffee for us and showed us their babies.

Like all mamas so proud of their babies. We prayed with them and now continue to pray for them.

Freedom isn’t just another word for nothing else to lose. When you know you are safe, you will have at least one meal a day, you have an opportunity for learning and you can be secure in the love of God for you and yours that’s free.

Addis at night.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


The first full day in Addis was interesting. Noah was eager to begin the day—I think that was 1 a.m. When you’re three years old jet lag functions the same way as for other age groups, it’s just cuter. Who doesn’t want something to eat, chocolate milk to drink and fun pirate video to watch first thing even if it is the middle of the night?

Our accommodations were provided by the Ethiopian Guest House It is a lovely place located somewhere in Addis. The only way I would be able to find it would be to walk up and down the streets (more like alleys) and look for the tribute picture of Mother Teresa painted on the wall. I’m sure that could take days (maybe weeks). Coffee (the best) and breakfast were served starting at 7 am and since I decided to sleep when I got home that worked out great for me.

I took our trip leaders request to de-bling seriously but I think I was the only one. I was clean, but dressed for a camping trip, minimal make-up, t-shirt and jeans, only one ring, sans gem stones and a modest pair of earrings. Not my best look but then I didn’t feel so good either – jet lag.

After pulling the group together—no easy task—we departed for Win Souls for God office compound. We were escorted into a meeting room on the compound where our interpreter Yohannes introduced Tariku Wondimu who gave us a general over-view of the work of Win Souls for God.

One of their areas of concentration is a home for former commercial sex workers and since some members in our group had met some prostitutes the night before they were committed to finding a safe place for them. Well, we were invited to return the next day and no answer was given that day for the needy women.

So all 24 of us piled in the two vans and we were on the road again. My observation from the back window of the van was the aimlessness that was pervasive in the city and on out to the outskirts of town. People were walking all the time, shops were open with product and produce to sell, but no was selling, no one was buying. No one seemed to get anywhere.

We were headed to some meeting arranged by Amanda and her group, Better Care Network's Faith to Action Initiative.

Well, we had 2 flat tires along the way and were unable to make the meeting. Lots of drama over this, but the part of the event that sticks in my mind is our attempt to be generous. We had lots of p and j sandwiches left over from our “picnic” lunch and one in the group took the stack of containers over to a group of men on the side of the road and handed the entire stack to one man. When another man attempted to grab a container a fight ensued. It was not a pretty sight. I guess when you are hungry, really hungry, sharing is not an option.

We turned around on this road to nowhere and returned to the guest house. Day One memories are filled with a strong sense of the beginning of the paradigm shifting of my world view.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Just back from a trip to Addis Ababa, ET. I joined my daughter and her family for the purpose of meeting their daughter. The Young’s are adopting the most beautiful girl, Myra. She is small, 6 lbs. 8oz. (at 2 ¾ months). Also, she’s soft, delicate, content, and totally my granddaughter!!! There are no words for me to express the joy of seeing her. She is receiving GREAT care. The facility is big, bright, and clean. The staff ratio for care-giving is good. The staff is committed to the care and love of these little ones – not just a job but a service of mission.

The rest of the time spent in ET was for the purpose of learning about children’s services. Adoption is only a very small part of the solution to the extreme poverty experienced by the millions of needy children in Addis and ET. We visited drop in centers (no real comparable service here in the US, but similar to Head Start), a home for unwed mothers who were formerly making their living in prostitution, a training center for young men; teaching them to learn a trade while providing additional services including a meal, and pick-up soccer games with street children who joined us for a meal that evening to name a few of the highlights.

I will be posting over the next few days about the experience in a more detailed way, but to begin, Ethiopia humbled me. Here is a beautiful city, Addis Ababa, an ancient resort city for royalty, banded by mountains, canopied by blue, blue sky with the most gracious, humble, service-minded believers that I stand in awe of their commitment to our God. Young men who work all day and then serve the most needy, HIV+ children and women, abandoned and scorned children with little resource other than the Word of God and His sustaining strength.
Women who have endured the greatest humiliation and suffering at the hands of harsh men, open their home to guests and serve me. They receive our gift of donated formula, knowing that the nutrition for their babies is life giving. They will not let us leave their home without serving us coffee. Everywhere I turned the Ethiopians gave; they gave when by American standards they have nothing.

A land where there is no reason for hope or joy is embedded with profuse hope and abundant joy. God is in Addis Ababa.

All they asked is that we remember. We remember what we saw, what they need, and what we can give. I will remember.