Friday, September 7, 2012

There is Nothing There to See?

Hello from Addis Ababa! Two days after embarking on our journey, we are finally here, safe and sound!  It’s surreal to be sitting here in the Kidan Guest House surrounded by the rest of the Awake and Alive team. I also apologize if my writing gets fuzzy, we’re all running on little sleep. So here’s a brief rundown of our traveling adventures.  A group of 6 of us drove together from Mishawaka to Chicago, where we met up with Brandon and Kate in the airport. Let me just say that 2 a.m. is a humbling and very amusing time to meet new team members. There was lots of laughter for sure! Our 6 a.m. flight to D.C. went smoothly and we met up with Jen and Anna in that airport. I thoroughly enjoyed watching each team member prepare for the long 13 hour flight ahead. Some smiled with anticipation as they eagerly eyed their sleeping pills while others lay down on the floor and stretched their muscles out. 
One amusing adventure of our long flight happened within the first few hours. The flight attendants were getting ready to pass out food when suddenly there seemed to be some commotion coming from the back of the plane. Several flight attendants walked quickly past us. Jolene, Amber and I were all sitting next to each other and, like any curious human being, craned our necks to see what was going on. As a flight attendant passed us again, Jolene inquired about the ruckus and we learned that there was a guarded deportee on our flight. Jolene asked the flight attendant, ‘Are we safe?’  She shrugged and smiled hesitantly, ‘I tink so.’  Everything turned out completely fine and we sure got a laugh out of her answer. 
I think one of the things that has stood out most from this first day is a conversation we had with the flight attendant. She was asking us where we were going in Ethiopia and Jolene said ‘Kechene.’ This seemed to confuse the attendant and she asked again where else we were going. The same answer was given. The attendant responded ‘Why? There is nothing there to see.’ Jolene  told her about Bright Future Academy and the opening of the school next week. The attendant still seemed confused and asked, ‘You know there are other places to see in Addis Ababa?’ We smiled and nodded and the attendant left. There is nothing there to see. I thought of all the precious children and families. People. Precious people. Jesus' ministry on earth was people. My heart broke to realize that most Ethiopians view Kechene as cursed, but beyond that, that they think that it is not worth your time. As we walked through the muddy streets of Kechene today, children ran up and held our hands. I looked down into a sea of beautiful smiling faces and was reminded of Hagar’s story in the Old Testament. Remember what she named  God? The God who sees me. Kechene is not forgotten to Him. He sees each precious child and adult in this place and His heart longs for them to know that He passionately loves each of them. I can’t even comprehend this but I’m thankful that I serve a God that is bigger than poverty and unknown places. As I go to bed tonight I am blown away by the reminder that our God is a personal God. He sees Kechene. My prayer is that He can use our team this week to make a love statement to these beautiful people. 



Joyful said...

This is a very touching post. How precious these children are to God and He has made a way for others to "see them". God bless you as you embark on your mission there.

Anonymous said...

Incredibly touching post! I am touched by the work that you are doing:) God Bless You all!!
Sandy (a friend of Anna)

Kristi said...

Love hearing the life God is already weaving together! :)have love and prayers!