Monday, May 28, 2012

Thoughts on Ethiopia

Our trip to Ethiopia flew by. I knew it would; it always does. It seems like we just get there, and I start to get a few phrases down, then it's time to come home. Don't get me wrong; I was ready to be with my kids. I missed them so much! But I left a piece of myself there, for sure. A huge piece of my heart is in Ethiopia forever. I love that country and the people there so much!

My mind is still processing all that we saw and heard and experienced. I'm pressing into God and His word to hear exactly what it is He wants me to bring away from our time in Ethiopia. I know this is just the beginning. I don't know what it will look like, but I'm okay with that. I'm learning that I don't have to know everything.

We traveled as a part of One Child Campaign, a group that we believe in wholeheartedly and are honored to be a part of. This trip primarily focused on clean water which is my heart. If you've read anything from me in the blog world or Facebook, you know that we also were able to have a videographer to capture the images, sights and sounds of those projects for use by Edge Outreach in the future. Jeff and I also had a chance to share our story of why we are so passionate about clean water. I knew it would be emotional, but I wasn't prepared for how some of this would take me off guard. Jon Morton, the videographer (amazing stuff!) interviewed Jeff and I together and separately. During my time, he asked me the question "what is it like as a mother to be able to give this gift of clean water to other mothers?" Truth be told, I expected the question. I actually had an answer in my mind that was rather eloquent, if I do say so myself.  But standing there in Ethiopia, having held the hands of my friends there who are mothers, touching the faces of those precious children who are sick with parasites, I found myself at a loss for words initially. But oh, when I started talking, the floodgates opened within my heart.  I knew why God had asked me to go. He's given me a Holy passion for this work. It all just clicked together within me.

When Bryan was a baby, it never occured to me that I might have to worry about being able to provide everything needed to raise him safely. I didn't know what it was like to worry about his environment. I knew that the things he needed to grow healthy and safely were right here within our grasp. But during the adoption process with Ellie, my eyes were opened to the fact that this is not the case for many mothers around the world. I disctinctly recall the day that her picture came across our computer screen, and it showed just how sick she was. We've used the picture to show the effects of bad water on a child's health a lot recently, but when I first saw the image, I just broke down. I had a different reality now; I was the mother who wasn't sure that her child would survive. I remember praying that God would let her be safe until she could get home nad have access to medication and clean water and plenty of food. I remember feeling so helpless because she was in Ethiopia and I was thousands of miles away.  I now see that the mothers I love so much in Ethiopia have this feeling every day. They want their children to be healthy. They are heartbroken in knowing that they don't have what is needed to give them health. They feel helpless because they can't give their babies what is needed.

This is not acceptable. Every mother deserves to know that she has access to what is needed to raise her children up in health and safety. Every mother.

My friend, B- so much like me! I'm so proud to call her friend.

As we installed the systems in Ethiopia last week, that thought resonated within me. As I listened to Muluu speak of how she and her children no longer have stomach aches when they drink the water that is from the system we installed last July, I knew that I was doing exactly what God is calling me to do; to bring hope in the form of clean water to others that are really just like me.

This work is far from done. We need more help, more money, more volunteers, more passionate people to get involved. Jeff and I are committed for the long haul. Will you join us? I'll be posting more in the coming days about the specific sites where we put water purification this trip. For $2000, we can completely set up a system in Ethiopia. This includes the purifier, all supplies needed (pvc, plumbing parts, platform, tanks, battery, charger,etc), and set up of the system. Can you give towards the next install? Perhaps your small group, office, bunco group, poker friends, baseball team, bowling league, Sunday school class, Zumba group, etc could sponsor a system. Perhaps you can go with us and catch the vision firsthand. There's something that we all can do to help. I simply cannot wait to see what lies ahead.

sweet Tigist has clean water to drink now!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Sometimes there just aren't the right words to say. You know that sick feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you know you should say something uplifting or encouraging, but all that will come out are sobs? Today was that day for me.

Today I sat in a service that celebrated the life of the sweet 2 1/2 year old daughter of my friends. To say that it was heart-wreching just doesn't do it justice. I saw my friend greeting friends and family, and I was amazed at her quiet strength. I saw her loving on her four other children, and I was overwhelmed by her courage and grace. I watched her sit with her husband and smile while a video played out their daughter's  life in pictures, and I was completely held captive by the peace that enveloped them.

This is how it's supposed to be, I'm sure. My friends showed me today how to grieve with the Hope of Jesus. They were living proof that God is real, and He is great and mighty. I was honored to witness this today, exemplified in the hardest of times.

I cried for the life of their daughter, taken so soon on earth. But I celebrated her complete healing, knowing that she is dancing with her Savior today, fully whole and at home.

I'm reminded again of why scripture says it's better for us to attend a funeral than a party. It makes us think, doesn't it? It makes us take a minute and realize what's really important in life. It makes us take a close look at our own life and ask the hard questions like "Is this what I want people to remember of me?" I've done that today. I've also held my children a little closer, told them how glad I am that they are mine and they are here. I've looked in my husband's eyes and rejoiced over this life we have together.

I'm comforted by knowing that the Lord is holding my friend and her family tonight, comforting them with His singing and His love. Praise be to God.

 The LORD your God is with you,
   he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
   he will quiet you with his love,
   he will rejoice over you with singing
Zephaniah 3:17