Hello from Ethiopia. I have been traveling for Compassion once again just in case you are catching up with me.
Can you just see the beauty in these people? My last five days of life have been spent looking at these faces.
I am back in Addis Ababa and we are leaving tomorrow night to come home. I have been in Debre Zeit without internet for the last 5 days staying at a rustic camp. It’s been hard to be disconnected to the world and I have missed my family like crazy, but I was around such amazing human beings.
Shoe distribution was a blast for Shoesforkids. I can’t wait to tell Isabel about how it all went down. I am saving the stories for when I get back. Let’s just say the project staff were blessed and so were some sweet little feet! I must consult with the president of www.shoesforkids.me before I tell you all about it.
I received a million kisses this week. Seriously! I don’t think I have been kissed this much in a five-day period ever. The children would grab my face and pull me close, plant a big kiss on my cheek followed by a hug and a gorgeous smile. They would crawl on my lap, wrap their arms around my neck, snuggle close and hold my hand.
It was if Jesus reached down and wrapped me in love through these children.
On Thursday we traveled on dirt roads out into a rural area. We stood in the middle of nowhere surrounded by fields and fields of teff (looks like wheat). The rolling hills in the background offered a picture perfect backdrop for this little country church.
The children in the area, with their tattered and dirty clothing, offered us the most beautiful smiles.
We walked through fields to talk to people and share our faith. It was a new experience for me and I felt completely out of my element. A woman approached, she said to me, “Woman, I will follow your God, I will be like you, but my donkeys need water and my children need to go to school. What can you give me? I would die today and be fine, but I need my boys to be able to go to school!”
It was a common story and many of the children labor with their parents just to survive missing the opportunity for education. It tore me up.
Despite these desperate circumstances, the children in this rural area still had joy. I clung to their innocence and the sound of their laughter, hoping and praying this small church might be able to help these people.
As we drove away, the children chased the van with huge smiles and I felt a lump in my throat as I watched the precious children disappear in the dust. Something didn’t seem fair.
We visited homes this week and walked the dirt streets of Debre Zeit. I met this sweet thing and she wanted me to take her picture. Her little smile provided relief from hearing tragic stories of mothers clinging to existence because of the grips of poverty; mothers who have lost children and family. My heart needed her smile.
I heard the songs of hope at the Compassion church project. These people have courage, strength and perseverance. They have lived through famine, death, communism and persecution. Their faith is deep and expressive. Their lives revolve around God and this is what they cling to. They see this world as temporary, but take every opportunity to love others. Their love is infectious and somehow they survive. I was amazed to hear that suicide is a foreign concept in Ethiopia.
What is wrong with us Americans?
There is an Ethiopian saying: When you don’t get what you need, you are thankful for what you have.
So true! I have been humbled this week and overwhelmed. I don’t always recognize my true need in this life because I have so many things.
All I really need is God. He is sufficient.
Life, Family, Faith and Travel...the life of a Jones
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