God is so great in his Grande Finales! Just to put some finishing touches/confirmations on our trip, we ended up sharing the plane home from Addis with 31 orphans all going to "camp" in the States. They were part of a host program where an agency selects them to live with different families in the states for 2 to 3 weeks. The awesome thing about this type of program is that there is a 99% chance that all orphans get adopted by the families who sponsored and hosted them!!! This is amazing b/c older orphans rarely get adopted, which is a heart breaking fact to me.
If you go visit orphans like God admonishes us in James, then you too will fall in love with the older orphans and you too will be burdened by the fact that it's mostly baby girls who get adopted. These children need you!
This was "Teddy's" airplane ride to camp. Can you imagine what he was going through as he'd most likely never been a few blocks from his orphanage. Sweet thing, I had to ask him if he needed to use the toilet, as they call it there, as I don't think he knew the airplane had one. He was trying to be so sweet and obedient that I think he was afraid to move. I wonder if he would have tried to "hold it" all 14 hours to DC.
Please pray and ask the Lord how He would use you to make the difference in the life of one of these orphans! God considers these orphans "treasures" and we are to go into the dark places of the world and seek and find them. They will bless our lives and become part of the inheritance God wants to bless us with. Sometimes the fact that they are hidden treasures is that we have yet to change our perspective to see them as the treasures they truly are. I challenge you - take a mission trip - visit an orphanage - you will never be the same!
Isaiah 45:3 I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name...
We never did settle the argument whether or not we were riding mules, very small horses or ponies. One thing's for sure! Just don't call them a donkey! There's obviously a huge difference to the guides there b/w donkeys and the other.
The story on this picture....hhhmm...this one makes me think! Here I am, praying spontaneously for this woman who we saw crouching on the side of the street. She was blind and my heart just literally went out to her. And I spontaneously obeyed...stepped out in faith. What I felt was that I was to touch her..to tell her how beautiful she was. I couldn't imagine the last time someone touched her or told her this. She was probably younger than I was...How long had she been blind? How long had she been homeless? Did she have kids? I watched as she took the money and snacks I gave her and very quickly brushed them inside her skirt so that no one would steal them. As I began to pray for her, I of course, prayed for her healing...but I touched her eyes. When was the last time someone touched her eyes?! You know, I hope God heals her, but what mattered most in that moment was that she felt God in that touch. I prayed she would know how beautiful she was and how much God loved her...even if by that one moment...that someone felt compelled to stop and talk to her and touch her. She truly was beautiful. Beautiful in her weakness and her complete humbleness. As I left she tried to give me her ring. It must have been the last valuable possession she owned and she wanted to give it me. I was glad that she was unable to get it off her finger, but maybe it would have blessed her to have been able to give it to me. For some reason as I write this post, I miss her. I wish I had spent the day with her. Listening to her story and just sitting with her. I feel God's presence in these times.
I love this photo as it shows a glimpse of what this trip was all about. Katy and Jennifer are washing the feet of two young, homeless boys as we'd bought new shoes for them. We played soccer with them in the pouring rain and the Lord highlighted these two and a young 4 year old girl. They all got new shoes! The smallest boy had a crooked leg and was scared to death of us...afraid that we were going to take him to the doctor, so his older buddy insisted he go with us for new shoes and came along with him so he wouldn't be afraid and he got a pair of new soccer cleats, wonderfully donated by the local YMCA here. This was probably one of my favorite days of the whole trip. When we arrived to play soccer with the kids they were using a ball that was deflated and Jennifer stepped out of the bus with a air pump and the kids came running and screaming, so excited! Little did they know that we had so many brand new real soccer balls in the bus that we'd brought with us. They were just elated to have their old ball blown up. Jennifer was so cute as she looked back at the bus as us all with this huge smile of amazement and awe at their excitement. Those of us women who aren't as competive, stood under umbrellas as little boys hundled next to us, soaking wet and shivering. I would just pull them close to me and hug them as we watched, with little care to how wet I was getting from their clothes. We used this great opportunity to speak through interpreters to tell the kids about Christ and lead them through salvation prayers. There had to have been 50 of them. Then, a random man, an angel I honestly think...came over and told us that there was there big "christian" event going on in the convention center around the corner, so I loaded a boy on my back and all of us..walked through the rain to this event. This man also told me that "they" had saved seats for us. As we walked in I was content to sit in the back on the vacant rows, but no, this usher immediately told me to follow him and there were two WHOLE rows completely empty at the very front of the service and our team and about 30 of these wet, dirty little boys all piled in. They jumped and danced to the worship music and the service ended up being about orphans and one little boy was in tears as the preacher spoke in Alhamric about HIV. On our way back to the bus this little girl, about 4 years old came up to me to beg and so I put her on my back and I noticed she had no shoes. I was trying to figure out a way to get her new shoes without all the other kids literally rioting, and this wonderful, handicapped man came up to me in front of all the ohter kids and told me, "if you do not do a thing for the rest of us, do something for just this one..." That was a word from GOD! So, i took her with us and she got some new shoes and a new baby doll and clothes that were donated. They told us that her mom was homeless and was mentally ill. I continously prayed over her...
We are home now. those of us from Nashville arrived about an hour ago to a wonderful reception of friends and family. When we flew in it was raining...it seems it has rained every day for us since we left for Addis since it was winter, hence the rainy season in Ethiopia. So, it seemed so much like home to truly arrive home to more rain.
I am tired and empty but yet but very full in many ways. Overwhelmed with many things still left to do now that I am home.
"To whom much is given much is required." Will write a full blog once pictures and video are downloaded.
Love you all and thank you so much for your prayer support in every way!
Follow along as I take this mission seriously and minister to the orphans in this world.
Visiting Orphans...It pretty much speaks for itself. Our lives are made to give away to others and I love it that helping orphans is pure and undefiled religion! Follow along as I take God seriously about this mission and minister to the orphans in this world. He is constantly at work in our lives..we just sometimes have to shift our perspective to notice Him. I pray you will hopefully see Him in the words and pictures below..through my perspective.
This blogpage follows the mission trips I lead to minister to orphans in this world. I am the Executive Director of a mission sending agency called Visiting Orphans. (www.visitingorphans.org) I believe my mission in life is similar to the President of Compassion International, Dr. Wes Stafford. In his book, "Too Small to Ignore" he says, "On one side of this international bridge, my role is to minister to the poor, to the orphans, to "comfort the afflicted." And then I cross the bridge, coming back to the Western, more affluent world, where my job is to speak and write and to "affict the comfortable" to call them to action." Loving people on both sides of the spectrum...
I pray that something in my words or pictures will inspire you to reach out beyond yourself...to GO and help the "least of these".