Sunday, July 12, 2015

Ethiopia 2015 - looking back

Well, we've been home for a few days. It's always a challenge getting adjusted, and this year is no exception. It's my prayer for our team that they would carry the spirit of our time in Ethiopia into their daily lives, and find ways to serve him and others like never before.

Speaking of our team...what a group!

Every single member of this team was amazing. During the time leading up to the trip, we went through a book to help us prepare. It talked about things like teamwork, flexibility, unselfishness, love for the group, being submitted to God's will and many more. I've got to say, these friends of mine got it. Everything they did was about God's glory, loving the children, respecting the culture, and loving each other. It was a joy to work with them. Here they are, in action:









And then, there was our team member who supported us in prayer all week. Steve really wanted to be with us but circumstances prevented him boarding the plane. But through prayer and encouragement, he was with us all the way:

Steve, 2013
And so we are home. There is still work to do. There are our families and friends who need to see Christ in us every day. There are people in need right here in our hometowns. There are things we can do to support the work in Ethiopia from afar. And then, God willing, there is the opportunity to go back.

Whatever we do, I pray that for each team member, God will use the experience to bring them closer to him, so their lives can be an expression of his glory every day.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Ethiopia 2015 - last night in Addis

An empty living room. Our team has retired for the evening, and all that is left is one more day in Addis - a day that will end with us boarding a plane. I can't believe the time has passed by so quickly. It seems like a day or two ago that I was seeing old friends and meeting new ones in Dulles International Airport. We qucikly meshed into a team, but more than a team, a body of Christ-followers who have grown to love each other.  I am staying up a little while longer, savoring the glow of God's love that has filled this place throughout the week.

The last day is always a hard one in the field too. You spend time with kids, share the gospel, visit some of their homes, and see them every day for four days - it's not easy to leave. Thankfully, we still have tomorrow morning with one group of children. But that will be over soon too. I expect to be back soon, God willing. But that doesn't make it easy.

I will write more about the team after we get back - that is after the 43-hour jouney that begins tomorrow night. But I'd like the focus of this post to be on the ones who make this kind of ministry possible. I want to thank all those who have supported our team from back home. I mean:

- The spouses, parents, and other family and friends who will have gone 10 days without seeing their loved one(s).
- Those who have provided financial support for team members.
- Everyone who has been praying for our time here.  
- The staff of Visiting Orphans, Out of the Ashes, Mercy Ministries, and Holy Savior Guest Home.

All of you have made a difference in the lives of chidlren and adults here in Ethiopia. Your support has allowed children to know that God loves them enough to send us halfway around the world to see them. And you have been part of spreading the glory of God to the ends of the earth.

God's richest blessings on each of you. God said, "Go!" And you made it possible.

So let me finish with a few more pictures of what we have been doing here:

Thanks again from the bottom of our hearts. God bless you. See you all soon!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ethiopia 2015 - Wednesday

Today was another awesome day in Addis Ababa. It had everything we've come to expect: time playing with the children, opportunities to talk about Jesus, meeting some needs by bringing needed materials. And serving lunch to But more than anything else, it has been fun watching our team pour out their hearts to children. Here are a few shots of that...

Hard to really see from pictures - but an amazing day!

We also got to spend some time with the local workers from Out of the Ashes. These dedicated men and women spend their lives year round making sure that the children have their physical needs met while hearing about the One who loves them more than they can imagine. It was an honor for us to get to know them better.

This is a special place. We love being here. Another great day in store tomorrow. We appreciate your prayers.