My own poverty – Day 1 Ethiopia

I made it safely to Addis Ababa.

It was good to see the sweet faces of our staff, and much to my surprise the beautiful woman at the hotel, Hannah, recognized me for before and greeted me with so much warmth.

“Welcome back,”  she said enthusiastically and her gracious smile made me feel a bit like I was home for some reason.

The dogs barking outside my window this morning woke me at 4 am.  Then the jet lag kept me awake.  It’s 5 am, and all I can think about it how good the coffee at breakfast will be.  Ethiopian’s say they invented coffee, and let me tell you my friends, it’s darn good!

I am feeling an overwhelming sense of thankfulness in this early early morning.  My bed was so comfy, the internet works, my luggage made it, I am with a wonderful group from Tri Lakes Chapel, but most of all, I feel God’s presence this morning.  I can’t wait to hear from Him this week and see what He has in store for me and this group.

When I left my house yesterday morning, I had a knot in my stomach and I was having a hard time letting go.  Yes, I alluded to this yesterday in my blog.  I left my babies in the wee hours of the morning and saying good bye to Stephen was sad.  My flight from Portland to Chicago was lonely, and I hung out in the Chicago airport by myself for another four hours.  Of course, once the group arrived, my extroverted self was happy to have new friends and company, but thoughts of home continued to fill my mind.  Why so hard this time?

I laid in bed last night and thought about it.  I have some things in my life I need to work on.  The details of life are becoming more important then the living.  I am not the wife I should be.  I am not the mother I should be.  I am not the child of God I should be.  I am not taking enough time to care for those things that fill my soul and matter most.  I am not exercising like I should.  I am not eating as I should.  The list could go on.

So then why travel?  Well…the timing is good.  Sometimes God has to pull me out of the daily grind, and refocus me.  Sometimes He has to get my attention by giving me moments of loneliness and experiences that show me what truly is important. So I am leaving the details for someone else for awhile,  so that I can soak in the presence of the HOLY and Living God in an amazing place like Ethiopia.

I really can’t think of a better place to be this week to hear from God.  The Ethiopian Christians are power house believers. They may have physical poverty, they may lack the things that I have, the meals, the shelter, the fresh clean water.  And of course there are those that still need the good news of a God who loves them.  Some live in hopelessness, despair and a constant feeling of powerlessness within their impoverished circumstances. Imagine having nothing and without any hope.

But the Christians here are rich in their faith.  My own spiritual poverty becomes more obvious…and I recognize just as they need my help,  I need their help for my spiritual poverty.  For sin and sin and I am no better.   God did not curse those that are poor, He is not punishing them, on the contrary, He is with the poor.  The Ethiopian Church is rich in their faith, and we in American are rich in our pockets.

Not too long ago, I heard someone preach that God will take care of all of our needs. And then they went on, when we trust Him, He will give us food,   shelter and water.  Humm…These words were confusing to me, because in this country I meet Christians who are starving, without water, without shelter.    While we at home have full pantries, cars to drive, the ability to eat out in restaurants costing as much as what they may make here in a month, our brothers and sisters, Christ followers struggle to get their physical needs met.  Yet their faith is  so strong! The hunger for Christ, they breath His name and they are filled with the Spirit of a Living God.

Man does not live on bread alone.

We have something they need, and they have something we need. God is providing our needs right in front of our very eyes, but it’s up to us to see it and obey.  Sponsoring a child, yes this is one way, but there are many other ways to help our brothers and sisters in need.

God is with the poor.

Is HE with us in our wealth and busy lives? Yes, but we often can’t see Him because these things easily become our little gods instead.

I look forward to my week and soaking it all in and listening, and praying and seeing the children, being with those who God loves and calls for us to serve.

Indeed God is faithful!

Please forgive me in all my typo’s, grammar, and writing mistakes.  I don’t have time to edit much so give me grace:)

 

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5 Comments on “My own poverty – Day 1 Ethiopia

  1. Wonderful post once again. And a wonderful reminder that I have all I need in Christ, and He gives me the rest as a bonus. Praying for you.

  2. Hey, my name’s Katie. I found your blog through my friend Peder Eide.

    A few months ago I was thinking about the idea that God provides for our needs and contrasting that with the poverty that I’ve seen and the people–like you described–who have literally nothing but faith. I was upset, frankly, that He was providing for me but not for His children in other parts of the world. It wasn’t an audible voice but I clearly heard, “Katie, I am providing; I’m providing you.” That very day I finally made a leap of faith and sponsored my own child even though I was (and still am) unemployed. Yet every month God has provided not just for me but for a little girl in El Salvador, too. Neither one of us are rich by the world’s standards but I hope we can be rich in the Lord, rich in His joy because ultimately that’s what lasts. Physical hunger comes and goes, but I pray spiritual hunger stays, the more I eat the more hungry I become.

    Know that I’m praying over your trip and I look forward to hearing more.

    Katie

  3. Thank you for your honesty….I am struck, yet again, by how God uses your experience to tap me on the shoulder and say, “Hey…pay attention. I’m talking to you too!” When you said, “Is He there with us in our wealth?” I paused and asked myself, “Is He?” “Have I allowed Him to be?” “Will I allow Him to be?” Thank you for pointing out my spiritual poverty today as well.
    May God truly bless you through this trip, and in return, those of us who are following along.

  4. Wow! Powerful post – – and so right on. Have a great trip and God’s best!

  5. Praying for you guys…and your babies at home! 🙂

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