Browsed by
Month: August 2012

Time is running short…..

Time is running short…..

It was another day waking up to an amazing breakfast prepared by Iesha. After talking about the plan for the day’s activities, we headed out the door to Kora. Again, we were greeted by numerous children as we got closer to the church. I saw my buddy, Sisay waiting for me near the office door.
As we are getting closer to Tuesday, I have so many mixed emotions. It’s going to be so hard to leave this place and the people we’ve gotten so close to the last two weeks. Sisay is definitely one of those people. He’s been coming every day to hang out with us and his sweet spirit and big smile have become part of my day…I’m so thankful for the time I’ve had with him.
In the past two weeks, some of the kids have asked us to visit their homes. So, after lunch we stayed later than normal and some of the team went on home visits. While they were off at houses, some of us girls stayed and painted the new boys’ dorm. Walter designed

and drew the new emblem on the door. They have a program here at the church called Man Up. It’s designed to teach the boys how to be leaders and strong men. Some of them stay at the church in a dorm but they needed a new one. It was awesome to be part of making that happen. It was also awesome to be able to hang out with the young boys and watch how proud they were of their new “Man-up-cave”.
We finished painting before the group got back from home Guest House-visits. We had about a half an hour until we were supposed to all meet back up at the office so Sisay asked if I would come meet his mother. I walked with him and his friend, through the muddy streets to his house. He led me back into a fenced area and there was his mother and his little sister. I’m terrible with names, and I wish I could remember theirs, but I’ve forgotten. However, what I won’t forget is how sweet his mother was and how thankful she was that I was in her house. I also won’t forget his sister in a little shirt, no pants, and big brown eyes. I won’t forget the one bed in their small square footage of a house, the dirt floor, the one chair they have that she offered me, or the cat tied up to the coal burner.
I had to refuse coffee because there wasn’t enough time but as I got up to leave she wouldn’t stop saying thank you. Sisay kept thanking me too. I still don’t understand the thankfulness and the love I’ve gotten while being here.
Our group met back up and we started walking towards our lunch destination: Amigo Café. On the way, we encountered a man with open sores all over his body. Aki started talking with him and found out that he needed his prescription filled for the medicine needed for his disease. This became the mission while we walked to lunch. The few pharmacies we stopped at on the way didn’t have any of the medicine he needed.  When we finally got to the café, we still had not tracked down the prescription he needed. Aki and Dean

went on a journey to keep looking.
At lunch, I hit a wall. This trip has been so wonderful but it has hit me emotionally in so many different ways. The newness has started to wear off and the realness of the poverty and need has really set in. Almost eight million people in this city and we are only reaching a handful. There is so much to be done here and we are leaving in just a few days. I have to remember that it takes thousands of raindrops to fill a bucket and each raindrop is important, and this raindrop of a trip has been amazing as well as important.

The macchiato helped perk me up a bit and as we were finishing up lunch. Dean and Aki returned successfully being able to find the medication the man needed, and we headed back to the guest house.
On the way back, Aki told me that his wife had fallen and had hurt her leg. He asked if I would come over and look at it and of course I agreed. So after resting a bit at the guest house, Aki, Natalie, Darian and I headed over to his compound. We are here in Ethiopia during Ramadan, so his extended family (which is Muslim) was all having dinner together celebrating the Holiday. When we got to the compound Aki knocked on the gate, after a few moments it was opened slowly, and slowly our eyes traveled down to his two year old son who had managed to open it for us.
His family welcomed us into the house with a warm greeting and immediately my eyes traveled to Aki’s wife, Rihanna, sitting on the couch in pain. It turns out that she slipped and strained her knee pretty bad. After taking care of her leg and setting up a recovery regime for her, we were fed: Bread, chai tea, lasagna…it kept coming, and it was all so yummy. This was probably one of the highlights of my day…getting to meet Aki’s children Abraham and Sarah, and his wife and loving family. We were fed some injara and after lots of hugging, finally made it back to the car.
We drove back to the guest house, and everyone was waiting for us. Tonight, we had planned a bon fire, which is a Christian tradition that they do this time of the year. I didn’t quite understand the Ethiopian tradition but it has something to do with God showing the cross to the Queen through the smoke.
While the fire blazed, the kids danced around and sang traditional songs. The fire was set up in the street right outside of the guesthouse gates and kids from all over the neighborhood joined the festivities. By this time the sun had long ago set and it was getting late.
We still hadn’t eaten dinner, so Colin quickly finished making stir fry and again we were blessed with an amazing homemade meal.
Although it’s starting to near the end and I’m fondly thinking of warm showers, clean sheets, and normal hygiene, I never want these days to end because it means the end of another day and that we’ll be leaving soon. I was more than happy to finally get some sleep though! I think I was so tired I didn’t even worry about bedbugs for the first time, I was so thankful for a bed, a roof over my head, and an awesome group of new friends.


In front of the Amazing Grace Guest House
God’s Plans

God’s Plans

Sometimes a day does not always go according to plan. Today was one of those days.

We started things off like that. We had a great breakfast and talked about what we wanted to teach the kids at Kora.  We walked to Chocolate and caught a taxi to ALERT and walked the remaining distance to Great Hope Church. Along the way kids came up to us and had us swing them up and over the many puddles that laced the street from last night’s rain storm. The closer to the church we got, the more kids were there to welcome us.

When we were within seeing distance of the church, my favorite little girl, Hewyet, ran and jumped into my arms with the sweetest giggle anyone has ever heard. Tesfaye, one of the boys who has claimed me as his special friend, was not far behind her. He grabbed my hand and after I had put my backpack (also nicknamed the mom-bag) in the office we walked into the church.

We got the kids warmed up with a lively game of Simon Says and then Sheridan taught them how to play Twister.  Our story today was how Jesus (Dean) raised Lazarus (Walter) while Mary and Martha (Lizzy and Sheridan) watched in amazement. The kids got really excited when Walter jumped up from behind the table that was acting as his tomb.

After we got them fed and said goodbye for the day (always a heart wrenching thing) we caught a taxi to a restaurant in the Mexico district called August. Dean ordered the fried fish. They were really good until Sheridan came back from the bathroom and said she had seen a bunch of dead fish in a kiddy pool of dirty water…TIA! Still, the fish tasted pretty awesome.

During lunch we usually make a game plan for the rest of the day. We had to be back at Kora by 6:00 so we didn’t really have time to go back to the guest house and play with the neighborhood kids. We juggled around several ideas and didn’t really come up with a concrete plan (not always a good sign). We started walking around and Aki showed us an old train station and a stadium. At this point I was praying fervently that we would grab a taxi to where ever our next destination was when out of the blue Tsegaye shows up in his van. He offered to take us anywhere we wanted to go and so we asked him to take us to a church that Aki had heard about.

We ended up at Praise Church. It is eight years old and is almost the mother church of Great Hope. The founders grew up in the dump and found a bible in the trash when they were seven. They decided right then and there that this was the real deal and that they wanted to do all they could bring others the light of Jesus. So, when they were 16 they started a church. They build it bit by bit with whatever funds they were able to muster and the result is a small but beautiful church run by two God fearing men. Speaking of men, they also thought up a great way to draw young men from the community into the church. They built a weight room off the church. Everything is home made from the dumb bells made out of car batteries to the eucalyptus pull up bar. It was awesome to see how they had taken what they had and put it to the best use possible. And to top it off, when we were about to leave to go the bonfire at Korah, God decided to open the flood gates and keep us at Praise Church until we had seen everything and had gotten to talk with the men about their vision for the church and what we could do to help them. What had initially been a random “Oh I guess we have time to go” thing turned into a real God moment and it was a bit humbling to realize that our plans might not have been the right ones.  If we had set up a regimented plan, then the true gem of today would have been lost. Sure some of the walking around got old and a lot of us don’t really handle plan-less-ness well but at the end of the day when we were talking about our highs and lows, seeing Praise Church and hearing its story hit the majority of our team as the best part of the day. We didn’t end up going to a bonfire or hanging out with the kids a Korah that evening but God opened our eyes to a whole new area of need in Addis and I can’t make myself believe that any of it was coincidence.


Carlee and Sheridan loving on kids!
Friends who surrounded us on our visit to Shetai’s house
Birthday Day

Birthday Day

24 is a seemingly unimportant age. It comes with no extra rights or privileges, and often gets lost in the shuffle of days and weeks passing. If you were to ask nearly anyone what their favorite birthday was, a slim margin will say it was their 24th. But if you were to ask Darian the same qu

estion, I know what she would say; she would say that her 24th was the best birthday she’s ever had and, (in her words) the best she’ll ever have. And if I were in her shoes, I’d have to agree.

Who wouldn’t like a birthday that starts out with a handmade card signed by one’s whole team, shortly followed by a cake from Chocolate, delivered by Gerinea and Measgena for breakfast? This was shortly followed by our daily trip to Korra, where I surprised myself by being able to remember the name of one of the children. You may think that this is a small accomplishment considering we’ve been here for a week or so, but in my defense, the names here have sounds that we never use in American English, so any lack of mastery of the local names can be excused.

Following lunch at Korra, we made the taxi ride to the postal market, where there are no set prices and visitors are charged according to the color of their skin. When a price is given, it is expected that they try to get the price down as low as possible before buying. I didn’t think I would like haggling at first, but after the first few clumsy attempts, I found that I really enjoyed the process of finding a starting bid and working my way down from there.

Walt Celebrating Darian’s Birthday

The money we saved was quickly spent on our meal that night at Absinia, where our plates probably averaged around 75 birr each. It was worth it however, as the pictures and videos from the night can surely attest to. All in all, it was a very meaningful night, and while I could try to describe all that went on during the three or four hours we were there, I think I’ll let the videos of Colin and I dancing speak for themselves.



Cold Water Wash in the courtyard!


This is Africa do what Nat does. This is the rule of the trip, if Nat decides pancakes are acceptable finger food, well then you do too, if Nat decides that the oncoming truck is a suitable distance away in order to cross the street…then you do too (for the record most of her judgment calls are awesome…Colin’s are too).


On Tuesday we began our second day teaching in Korah (last week we were just hanging out there since another team from Texas was teaching) at Great Hope Church. We have begun to develop a routine; first we open with two games of Simon Says to warm them up and to familiarize them with the English names of body parts. Next we pray and Aki translates into Amharic, during the Amharic prayer the kids say Amen multiple times after any particular part of the prayer moves them. After the prayer we play hang man with the hang man phrase corresponding with a Bible verse today the phrase was, “the wise man builds his house on rock”, after which we spell the phrase out loud with them (Canadians must have taught them the English letters since they say “Zed” instead of “Z”). We then act out the story  the phrase goes with in a skit, while Aki reads the bible story in Amharic, the skit  today involved Dean the wise man building his house (Britney and Sheridan) on the rock (Colin) and the wind and rain (Nat and Carlee) could not knock it over, so pretty much Britney climbed on Colin’s back while he is bent over in table top position while Sheridan placed one knee on his back and her and Britney put their arms together in a “V” while Nat and Carlee danced around together making “wooshing” noises while waving their arms towards Sheridan and Britney. The wind and rain of course did not knock the wise man’s house upon the rock over, we then acted out the foolish man (Darian) building his (in this case her) house (Grace and I) on sand (Walter) and the wind and rain did knock it over, picture the same skit this time ending with Grace and I falling onto the floor. The kids watch our skits with the utmost seriousness without a smile or a giggle no matter how silly-or in this case insane-we look. After our skit we sing songs both in Amharic and English which Carlee, Britney, and Dean leading, today we sang, “the Wise Man Built his House upon the Hill“, (anyone beginning to sense a theme). After songs we do an activity today it was bracelet making, we had pre-made about a hundred three stringed multicolored strands knotted together at the end. The kids are constantly walking around with children’s shirts that they are embroidering in order to sell at the project 61 store and their artistic capabilities definitely showed, many of the kids already knew beautiful complex ways to make bracelets and the team helped show different techniques of bracelet making to the kids who were struggling. I cut the excess off bracelets so that they fit the kids better, at first the kids were not sure what the pocket knife was for after they figured it out though they began to bring me string after string to watch me cut them. Then we served lunch and said “ciao” to the kids.


After catching a taxi we headed over to August Café to eat lunch after lunch we headed back to the guesthouse where we regrouped for about fifteen minutes before heading out to see Wendeson (a man who suffers from a birth defect that causes him to be incapable of walking) Shehtai and Alezar (an HIV positive woman and her HIV positive son). Nat, Aki, and I went and visited them yesterday in order to give Shehtai and Alezar some clothing, to see her new house that the previous team that came in May (that Nat was on) had tried to build but had been stopped by a government official before completing, the house was now done and looked amazing Nat said it was a vast improvement from what she had been living in before. We also asked if it would be okay if the rest of the team came and visited her on Tuesday (today). We walked to Shehtai and Alezar’s house first and met them about ten feet from their home Alezar was wearing the sweatshirt and shoes we had given him and was excited to see Nat. We all filed into their house where we sat and talked to her about how things were going for her and asked about Alezar’s schooling. Shehtai said things were going much better and that Alezar’s schooling was going great and that he would be starting 5th grade this fall, she also said that if anything should happen to her that Alezar was ours to take care of. Since it was beginning to rain we took a short cut to Wendeson’s. Wendeson and his family were very welcoming and we gave him some clothing from Eddie and Leslie (from the May team) that he was absolutely delighted with. Colin then lifted him up and carried him outside to his wheelchair and we took him for a walk.


After dropping Wendeson at home we returned to the guesthouse the power then went out and we played cards with candles and headlamps before eating a late dinner of plain rolls and dates.-Lizzy



The only way to described this trip so far… TIA (This Is Africa)! The things I have a seen and the emotions I’ve felt and the stories I’ve heard, can’t be explained or told in words. They are things that have to be experienced, things that only happen because truly, this is Africa, and in Africa, life is very different. I have never been so in awe of life, than right now watching the Ethiopian people live their lives. So here I go trying to put into words what we are experiencing when words really don’t do it justice.
Today we woke up to our routine we’ve comfortably settled into since arriving here. Everyone met in the living room with their books, notebooks and iPods, waiting for our breakfast to be ready, while we sipped on the strong Ethiopian coffee we’ve all come to love. Today was a little different though, instead of the mild morning we are used to, it was down pouring outside and didn’t look like it’d be letting up soon. So a van was hired for our transportation instead of the 1 mile walk we normally make.
During breakfast we came up with the plan for our day and soon we were all climbing into the van waiting outside for us. We were sent off by the kids with hugs and waves and, after waiting for Colin to get outside (I’m pretty convinced he had to finish brushing his hair), we were driving down the muddy road headed to Kora.
It was still raining lightly when we arrived in Kora at Great Hope Church. The walk towards the school was muddy and we had to dodge puddles. (one of my favorite parts about the church) The kids slowly start to notice our arrival. First, one child’s face lights up and they run towards us, then another, and another, until slowly the entire road in front of us is filled with a crowd of children smiling and shouting “hello, how are you? I am fine” and running up to be the first one to hold our hand.
After returning the greetings to everyone, we headed to the main building. The “main building” is a few tree limbs and corrugated tin fixed together in the shape of a box with a concrete slab as the floor. But it’s just what we needed for today’s activities. We started off with a handful of kids who had followed us from the road. Walter lead a game of Simon Says, we sang songs, played hangman, acted out the story of Peter walking on water and played games involving balloons and animal noises…don’t ask. Before long, other kids had caught news of us being there, and the room was packed. One of the kids’ name that floated in is Sisay. He is a little guy, nine years old and reminds me a bit of my little cousin. I was informed that he has an amazing singing voice and when we asked him to sing for me, he told me he’d sing for me later. The rest of the morning he didn’t leave my side. During our conversation he said something that really struck me. Most of the kids will ask you to pray for them, and their request is always a reminder of how open we should be about our faith in prayer. But instead, Sisay told me he would pray for me, even after I went back to America. It tugged on my heart strings, that even though he was the one in physical need, he was willing to put my unobvious needs in front of his own and make a commitment like that. I’ll definitely be keeping him in my prayers, even after I go back to America.
Time went by fast this morning, and before long we were feeding them lunch. Here at the church they have a program called Project 61. It’s a project were people can sponsor kids and Great Hope Church uses the money to feed and care for them. So during lunch time we made injera for the sponsored children and they ate until they were full. We had so much left over afterwards that they went out and found other kids who were hungry, after it was all said and done I bet we fed 120 kids for close to $40.
We left the church after lunch and walked the short distance to Alert. Alert is the largest hospital in East Africa, and world renowned for its leprosy treatments. There is area of the hospital were the leprosy patients hand make scarves, bags, wooden trinkets, etc. and sell them in a gift shop. We walked past the rooms where a few of them were busy weaving. It was incredible to watch the way their hands moved, and we were told that some of them don’t even have fingers left, but still work fast.
After making some purchases from the gift shop, we all walked to the nearest bus we could track down and headed to Chocolate for a late lunch. Chocolate is a restaurant within walking distance of the guest house and has been our go-to place to eat while we’ve been here.
After filling our stomachs, we headed back to Amazing Grace, and played with the kids until dinner time. One thing about being here: we definitely get fed. Tonight the boys were in charge of making us dinner, so we sat in the living room playing games with Measgonewe and Geringa, while Colin, Dean and Walter made us some bomb spaghetti. We finished, had our devotion time with cookies and tea, and it was time for bed.
The end of another incredible day, shared with some amazing people. I am definitely looking forward to the things that are in store for us in the rest of the week.


Near Death Driving

Near Death Driving

Being in Addis and physically playing with kids and hearing life stories really changes your perspective on things. There is a bigger picture outside our little world of comfort that the USA has set up.

Anyway, on to the day of Sunday, August 12th…. Or how about we start with Saturday night (we stayed in a hotel in Hawassa)… Britnie, Sheridan, and I shared a bed. Don’t worry it was the huge size of a full. We were cozy, but it didn’t really bother any of us. What did keep us up was the noise. Let’s just say it sounded like there was a rave outside our hotel last night. Walter claims that we all missed out and that he had a blast partying until the wee hours of the morning. At breakfast, we were all talking about it and decided that we were all still very grateful, even though our hotel was less than mediocre. We had a bed. We had a roof over our head. We had mosquito nets. We had simple things that we take for granted every single day. We still had far more than the lady on the concrete sidewalk, rearranging plastic bags as padding for a bed.

After breakfast we went to church. We tried to find an English speaking church, but ended up going to an Amharic speaking church instead. The people of the congregation were very welcoming. Not to joke around about it too much…. But for a while it felt like we were (uncomfortably) the star attraction of the show. We were at everyone’s attention. As children walked past us in the aisles, some stopped right in their tracks to look at us. The people here are just not used to seeing fair-skinned people. The service was two and half hours long; full of prayer, worship, and a message from the pastor. It was actually really neat because they actually translated the message for us (which apparently was the first time they have ever done that). The service really was amazing, even though we couldn’t understand any of it. What you could understand was the energy that was in the church. In America, I feel like during prayer most of us think that it is respectful to be quiet (and this is the norm). This was not the case here. Left and right people were shouting out Amen and vocally rejoicing God. The worship part was filled with rejoicing and dancing. Yes, dancing. It was beautiful. At the end of the service the pastors thanked us for coming and it felt like they were very grateful that we chose to attend their church.

After church, we were back on the road to Addis. After being on the road for a short while, Tsguy (the driver) pretty much saved our life. At the screeching of everyone’s voice, I looked up and found myself screeching right along with. There was a bus passing something, a donkey pulling a cart, a car, I’m still not really sure. All I was worried about was the bus that was headed toward us in our lane. We were all waiting for Tsguy to swerve into the ditch. Instead he swerves into the other lane, dodging people, donkeys, cars, and of course the bus. Tsguy had it all under control though. The bus took the ditch and everyone was alive, just a little jittery. In the USA it would have been a really bad accident for sure and that is not an exaggeration by any means.

In our vehicle ride back, Britnie read the book ‘Love Does’ aloud, Walter and Colin wrestled like brothers, and a lot of good conversation went on. After dodging a few more obstacles in the road, we made it back to the guest house safe and sound. We ate some pizza for dinner, played with the neighborhood kids, had our nightly hang out/discussion, and went to bed.

Praise God for another amazing day.


It really just goes to show that some of the things that we think of as insignificant, in the eyes of another, it is the highlight of their day.

Darian Rauschendorfer

A Weekend Away

A Weekend Away

Today we all woke up to a breakfast of eggs, bread, and apples. All credit to Colin. The crew got to meet Tsegauey, our driver, and he took us to Korah. The kids were overly excited to see us as always, and we piled into the classroom. Aki introduced the new Montana team to the kids. Nat and Colin shared words of encouragement before I prayed over our time together. Aki gave an awesome sermon to the kids referencing John 3:16 about God’s sacrificing love for them. It was incredible to share that one thing we all have in common.

After playing with the kids for a couple hours, we set off for a five hour drive to Shashamanee. This weekend is our couple days to be tourists while we’re here since the school is closed. We skipped lunch, but stopped for a coffee and juice at a hotel in progress looking over one of the biggest lakes in Ethiopia. We got into a nice hotel, but Colin and a few others were getting a case of the “hangries” growing impatient for dinner. Our white skin did not work in our favor today. We were charged double for our hotel rooms and turned down at two restaurants for being foreigners. Then we ended back up at the hotel for a dinner of pasta and traditional dishes with injera. To wrap up the night we went back to our rooms to reflect and connect with God. We got in some girl time by doing a little workout together too. It was so amazing to get out and see the country side of Ethiopia. This country and all the people in it have captured my heart so far for sure.

Can’t wait to get clarity for what all God is telling me in this week to come!





Let Your Heart Beat Love

Let Your Heart Beat Love

Six month ago I called a good friend and told her I wasn’t able to make the May trip to Ethiopia, and now I’m sitting here for the second time on an adventure with an amazing team.
Let’s just say praise God.
Being here for the second time and so close together has been…well…
All the children remember who I am and for some reason my Amharic isn’t so rusty 😉

Today we spent the day in Kora at the church and painted two new buildings and spent some quality time with the children. Let’s just say everyone walked out today looking much more like a smurf than when we started. It was great being able to work with the community and see first-hand what it’s like to paint on a building made of corrugated tin. SO HARD! Our team really wrapped around the project to meet the need and beat the rain which may or may not have required a mild rain dance.

After spending some time with the children in the community, we headed for lunch with some interesting taxi rides and made our way back to the guest house. One great thing about this team is that they’re up for anything and we never go anywhere without having a great laugh or great conversation. I truly believe everyone is challenging one another in their faith and just being present with the surroundings. It’s very cool to see and I for one am very proud of this young team for taking so many leaps of faith.

Tonight we decided to stay in and see what kind of cooks we have on the team. I guess tomorrow you will have to see if we are all still breathing!
Thanks for reading, and just remember there are no words to describe this beautiful place and what God has in store for these amazing people. Everyone that is reading this, I hope one day you take a leap of faith and let your heart beat love here in Ethiopia, because here it’s a way of survival and life.

Love always,

August 7th & 8th

August 7th & 8th

Ethiopia August 7th & 8th.

We arrived late on the 7th after about 30 plus hours of transit time and one checked bag missing. No, we were not sleepy, more like completed exhausted and ready to move on to the Amazing Grace Guest House where we are staying. We were also very thankful that Colin’s carry on bag, which he left on the plane into Frankfurt, some how made into checked baggage and showed up on the baggage carousel in Addis Ababa. One of many small traveling mercies from our good God.

After a great night’s sleep lulled on by the patter of rain, we awoke and ate a delicious meal of eggs scrambled Ethiopian style, fresh mango juice, dark rich coffee and bread with jam. We headed out around 10 AM. We hiked about 10 blocks to a taxi station, an area where old soviet era taxis and some newer Toyota Corollas, mixed in with some Japanese and more modern European vans, provide service to various districts of the city. All 10 of us, plus our host Aki, piled into a mini-bus that took us part way to the orphanage, then we piled out, dodged traffic and walked to the next taxi stand, where we did it all over again, this time arriving close enough to the orphanage to walk the final distance.

The Bright Hope Orphanage is in the district of the city known as Korah, which is where the city dump has been located for decades. Consequently, it is an area where poverty abounds , streets are of mud and garbage, and the orphans and others scavenge for sustenance. It is a good place to have an orphanage, but walking through it the physical needs of the people hit you straight on assaulting your senses and breaking your heart. We have much to learn about real struggles and sufferings.

Addis Ababa is in a beautiful setting in the highlands of Ethiopia, lush with palm and Eucalyptus trees, with mountains arising around it and a mild August temperature in the low 70’s. The physical beauty of the setting is scarred by the poverty, yet the smiles of its beautiful people bring a beauty of its own that is framed by the same mountains that frame the city. We were greeted on the street with friendly smiles and waves, with the greeting of “peace” and nods of the head. As we approached the orphanage a swarm of smiles hit us from the children, dozens and dozens of them, who welcomed us with joy in their eyes, asking our names, speaking a few words of broken English, reaching out to hold our hands, hug or be lifted up into someone’s arms. Smiles seemed to be from ear to ear and a genuine excitement filled the air. We were greeted like royalty, or as I imagine royalty being greeted, especially those who were returning for the second time. Colin, our fearless leader, was the celebrity of the day, being cheered by the kids and remembered as Goliath from the small skit he had preformed last time he was here.

Today was casual as we introduced ourselves to the kids, met and held and interacted with them, helped with serving lunch and got a grand tour of the facilities, be they what they are. Tomorrow we return to help with some games and to paint some of the buildings, as well as hold and hug more kids, learn bits of Amharic, teach bits of English and practice speaking love without using words.

The questions of the day I find God raising up within me is not so much the why of suffering or a pressing desire for a solution, not even the heart tug of compassion looking for a way to give, but rather how can I so easily forget that God is so good? I sit here tonight humbled by the faithful goodness of our God, not because all suffering is gone, but because the goodness of Our God is here in the midst of this suffering, at work in this place in ways so forgotten and unknown to me. Montana may have big mountains and be the home of the Big Sky, but we are only a small part of what our God is doing in this world as His Kingdom marches on. I am humbled to be here in a place where God is moving, where His power is spreading and redeeming, where love for Him is growing, where life, suffering and death are meeting, and yet in the midst of it all, I see God’s grace working through some under-staffed, under-funded, under-equipped, overwhelmed ministries to build His Kingdom and bring people the abundant life found in Jesus. As Jesus promised to Peter, He will build His Church, and nothing will stand or prevail against it. Here today in Ethiopia, in the midst of some very hellish condition, I see God’s goodness coming through as He continues to build His Kingdom and rescue a broken humanity.

Matt 16:18- “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it”.

Dean Petty