Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Tiny Hands and Feet

11 – the number of days before I, and our team of five, leave Houston for my next Ethiopian adventure.
8,366 – the number of miles between Houston and Addis Ababa.
48 – the number of pairs of tiny hands and feet that will be climbing all over me and embracing me upon my return to CFI, the same organization in Addis Ababa with whom I served at this time last year.
2 – the number of meals that most of the children at CFI eat each day, and that’s because they are provided by CFI.
1 – the number of Gods there are in this world that make all of this possible.
Not that I’m counting or anything J
I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to go back to Ethiopia.  If you read my blog posts from last year after my first trip, you know that I fell in love with the country and the people who live there.  I had no idea how I would be impacted, but God took care of that and worked wonders in me.  In this Type A, organized, planner of a woman, God planted a seed of compassion and human connection.  And that seed has just kept growing and growing.  And that’s why, instead of following through with my original plan to head to Tanzania and hike Mt. Kilimanjaro this spring, I am going back to Ethiopia to serve God’s precious people over there.  The mountain isn’t going anywhere, but I know that God wants me back in Ethiopia right now.
What am I particularly excited about?
·         Introducing two new people to Ethiopia – two of our team members have never been before.  The third was with me on my trip last March, and the fourth is an adoptive mother who picked up her darling son in March last year, which is how I met her.  I want so badly for people to experience what I did, to feel emotions as deeply as I did, and to have tiny hands and feet all over them, bringing a huge smile to their face.  I know that the experience is not the same for everyone, but it would be hard to feel nothing.  God wouldn’t allow that!
·         Visiting with Kalkidan and her family – if you remember from my last trip, there was a little girl, Kalkidan, whose mother was very sick with schizophrenia and disappeared from the family’s home while we were over there.  My exact description of Kalkidan’s transformation during this time was “we have watched sweet, joyful eyes turn to eyes of deep hurt”.  Imagine being five and having to deal with that.  Since then, Kalkidan’s mother has returned and has been on medication for her illness, which has enabled the family to get back on its feet.  Reports from CFI are that everyone is doing great and the family wants to come visit while I’m over there!  I cannot wait to catch up with them and see how God has been healing their family.  I’m BEYOND excited to see Kalkidan and her sister Helen, and tell them how much they are loved. 
·         New doors being opened – I don’t know what God has in store for me on this upcoming trip, but I am willing and open to accept whatever challenges, emotions, convictions or blessings He sends my way.
We will be traveling from March 18th until April 1st.  We will spend time not only at CFI, but at several other organizations as well.  We need to spread the love, and the donation items!  And no doubt we will make time for a trip to the Ethiopian Cultural Restaurant for an authentic meal and cultural dancing performance, a birthday celebration of some sort will be had for one of our team members, and since I did NOT give up caffeine this year for lent, I will be indulging in plenty of Ethiopian coffee since I missed out on it last year.
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this trip and/or last year’s trip, through donations and prayers.  I’m so grateful to have so many wonderful and interested people to be able to share this with!  And if anyone is interested in learning more about Ethiopia, the organizations with which we work over there, or my personal journey and experiences, let me know and I would be happy to share that information with you.  In the meantime, I will soon be loving on lots of tiny hands and feet and doing my best to show them, and each Ethiopian with whom I come across, the love of our Jesus.