Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ethiopia Water thoughts...

I'm tempted to apologize for not posting sooner about the water project in Ethiopia this summer with One Child Campaign. However, I have spent the past couple of months thinking, praying, meditating, pondering in my heart all of the individual moments of our time there. I needed that time. God needed me to have that time. Now I'm ready to tell, so I pray you're ready to read. More than that, I pray you are changed as I try to put in words what we experienced.

Korah is a community on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. It's a community of unwanted outcasts of society. It's a community built on a trash dump. It's a community of dirt, filth, smells, hunger, disease. It's a community of some of the most beautiful people I've ever had the privilege of knowing. It's a community of HOPE.

When we arrived in Korah, I was immediately overcome with love for these people. They had nothing of material value, yet it was so obvious that they were wealthy, rich in love. I was able to listen to their stories- stories of leprosy, HIV, death, desperation, hopelessness, fear. And I heard over and over again, "But then you came to us. God sent you to us, and now we have great hope because of Jesus".

We were able to spend time with the ladies of Mission Ethiopia, hearing the stories of these beautiful ladies and how God has redeemed their lives. One by one, they told us how "before I had this work (with Mission Ethiopia), I did not have time to do what I love most which is praise God". I was humbled by those words. They have haunted me every day since then.

One of the first things we did in Korah was to test their water to see what impurities were there. It was positive for fecal matter. Really, is there anything else to say? These beautiful faces, forced to drink water infested with human waste in order to survive. I will never forget the moment that I showed the Pastor there what our test had proven. With tears in his eyes, he looked over at his beautiful little girl and said "She has been drinking that?".

Oh, but the story does not end there, my friends!

It was our honor to give this small section of Korah a water purifier. In just a few hours' time, we taught them how to work the system and chlorinate water to get rid of the impurities they were currently drinking. They were eager and fast learners, drinking in all of our explanations, ready to demonstrate what they had learned. And in just a few hours, we were standing there witnessing our new friends taking their very first drink ever of clean, pure water. The Pastor looked at me, with tears flowing down his face and said "She doesn't drink that anymore". This is church, folks!

We placed this purifier at the local church. You see, Korah doesn't need to think that some white people with money from America came in to give something to them. What they need is to see the local church providing their needs. After all, that's what the local church is really about, isn't it? Once they are meeting the physical need of clean water to the people of Korah, they can then teach them about the LIVING WATER. beautiful.

My heart is still soaring from that day. Even now, we are preparing and raising funds for the next water project in Ethiopia. You see, although what we were able to experience this summer was great, the need is still greater. Others need clean water too. They need food, clothing, sustainable income, medicine, love, compassion, hope. Our eyes are indeed open, and we cannot quit now. We want to now work to empower other local churches with the ability to meet the needs of their communities as well.

By the standards of this world, these folks are poor. But by God's standards, they are rich indeed. I've never seen a rich man smile as brightly as these children. I've never seen eyes that sparkled quite so brightly as the eyes of the lady telling of how she was now free to praise her Savior all day as she worked to provide for her family. I've never before seen anyone Smile from ear to ear as he talked of being imprisoned for sharing the Gospel, then tell me that "it's my honor to suffer for Jesus". But I did there. And it has changed me.

I'm changed to the very core of my being.

And I beg God to never EVER allow me to go back to the person I was before.

So, all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord- who is the Spirit- makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:18