Day 14: Ethiopia



Christmas of 2013, our dossier for our adoption had been mailed to our agency, and we were waiting for it to be translated and mailed to Ethiopia.  A few of our new adoption friends, including my Target Friend Shelly, were talking about joining one of the mission trips our agency was sending to Ethiopia in the summer.

The money was my biggest worry in signing up for the trip, but God confirmed that I should not worry.  The way this was confirmed for me was kind of funny.  We were sitting in church on Christmas Eve, and I leaned over to James before the service started and said, “Is it crazy to spend money on a mission trip when we are trying to save money for our adoption?”  That service, the preacher specifically said these words, in sermon that had really nothing to do with missions, "It is never wasted money to send someone overseas."  I knew I was suppose to go.  The next night I submitted my online application to join the mission team.

Raising money was actually pretty easy for that trip.  We did some fundraisers, and some extremely generous people donated money to help cover my cost.  I have some very sweet friends and family members.

It was my very first trip overseas, and my very first organized mission trip.  The church I attended after I became a Christian as a teenager was extremely small, there weren’t any opportunities for missions.  And the church I’ve been at my whole adult life is Citychurch.  Our motto at Citychurch is living the mission.  We treat our city as a mission, and we reach out to the neighborhoods downtown in many different ways.

It turns out missional living is good training for mission trips.  I felt right at home meeting the kids and adults we encountered that week in Ethiopia.

Before going on that trip to Ethiopia, I had always looked at the verses in the Bible about caring for the fatherless as something I was already doing.  The neighborhoods that Citychurch ministers in are full of fatherless children.  But as I met parentless children in Ethiopia, I knew I had not been fulfilling that call that every Christian is commanded to carry out of caring for the fatherless.

He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.
— Deuteronomy 10:18 ESV
Learn to do good! Seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
— Isaiah 1:17 ESV

Everything about that trip required faith: the fundraising, worries about flying on a plane that far, overcoming worries about the food and sanitation, overcoming worries about getting to know a whole group of ladies from North Carolina, worries about homesickness, worries about how my daughter was doing getting ready for public school without me there, and worries about how useful I would even be on the trip.

Maybe I should finally start listening to Jesus’s words about not worrying, because God was faithful on that trip.

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
— Matthew 6:25 ESV
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
— Matthew 6:34 ESV

I wrote about my first week in Ethiopia extensively.  Here is the post that covers that week.

As the next summer was approaching, James and I were considering the idea that both he and I would go on the summer mission trip to Ethiopia with our adoption agency.  At this point, James had been to Africa 5 times (but never to Ethiopia), and I had been the one time.  We had never gone at the same time.

There were two things that immediately concerned me:  1.  Would our children be ok without us for almost two weeks?  2.  Would we be able to pay for the trip when it would cost double the amount of one of us going?

Going on the first trip had built my faith.  I had saw how God had provided everything physically and emotionally that I had needed to accomplish His work.

We took the leap and signed both of us up for the trip.  I’m so glad we did.  It was a little bit of a sacrifice financially for both of us to go, and being away from our kids wasn’t easy.  But it was worth it.  That trip was such an amazing time of learning about orphan care and learning about where our son would come from.

I wrote a long blog post about this week as well.  If you would like to read it, here is the link.

I would just encourage you to be open to new missions and ministries that God may want to involve you in.  I was sure that I was checking off all the boxes of commands to ministry in the Great Commission and in commands to care for the fatherless by being active in ministry at Citychurch.  God allowed me to see those commands in a new light when I was able to GO and offer love, compassion, and care for orphans on the other side of the globe from me.

Always be willing to allow God to show you His work and His commission in a fresh way.