Monday – November 15 (part 2)

It’s hard to get back into my chair to work. I’m writing this post, back in America, reflecting on our activities on Monday. It’s hard… As my mind floods with vivid pictures of children’s faces living in poverty, rusty dirt-filled tin villages with thousands of people, mud huts, child led homes, pain… pain of mothers who do not look into the eyes of their newborns in conditioned fear that they might lose them. They simply go through the motions of survival – feed them, grow them and treat them medically if possible. This is simply their reality. Mothers cannot pour all of their love into their newborns because it’s very possible that they’re child will die. In Ethiopia, 1 out of 25 children die before they are 5 years old. This is their reality.

Monday, Part 2 – After our morning with 200+ children, it was time to shift gears to our final farewell with our sister church. Our team gathered in the church building with the church elders, pastors and church staff. Every event is treated as an official ceremony – opening with prayer, a few words to announce the agenda, ceremony, then closing thoughts and prayer. The project coordinator opened us in prayer, gave the agenda and called on the visitors to take the floor first. I shared my heart with these powerful men and women of God trying to express the wisdom, encouragement and deep felt bond that we experienced in these few days. As I looked them in the eyes, I saw a group of Christ-followers that have inspired me. Some who have lived through great persecution, others who have selflessly dedicated their lives to children and those who tirelessly and passionately preach the message of the gospel with honor, courage and dedication. I presented them with a gift for their church.

As the chairman of elders stood to share his thoughts to our team and to Tri-lakes Chapel, you could sense wisdom. He is a professor at a bible college, gifted in teaching, which is evident as he spoke to us. “Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.” Psalms 68:31. He referenced this passage in several conversations we had and again during this time. He expressed his gratification of freedom and the opportunities that Ethiopia now has to live out this verse – Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God. A partnership bigger than we know.

They presented a hand crafted beautiful cross to our church, the solid symbol of our partnership. A reminder that Christ is the true source of our unity. They also presented us a group photo of our day on Saturday with all of the sponsored children specifically from Tri-Lakes Chapel – can’t wait to post those photos (soon, soon – I promise).

The floor was open for others to share a word. Darcie stood and shared a special thanks to the children workers for their commitment and hard work. Mark shared an US Air Force coin to the Major (who served in the Ethiopian Air Force). Others shared their grateful hearts to one another. A great time to a long lasting partnership.

We ended our time breaking bread together, enjoying a meal and conversing with one another. As Africa time slipped easily by us, I received a nod from our Compassion representative letting me know it’s time to wrap up. I stood and shared my final farewell until we meet again. We all embraced each other and said our good-byes.

Off to Addis Ababa. An hour long drive, time to reflect. As we drove toward the city, I watched out the window and tried to put together what all of this meant. Two different cultures, two different churches, coming together to accomplish one call – to advance the Kingdom by sharing hearts and reaching children in the name of Jesus our Lord.

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