I could type for days about my trip to Ethiopia. I could probably post several articles just about the whole foreign-ness of it all. This was my first real trip out of the country and the culture shock of encountering a 3rd world country, even the capitol city of that country took a few days to overcome.
But overcome it I did and eventually even fell in love with the people that I met there. In Addis Ababa there is a leper colony. It is a place that grew up a few generations ago around the government leprosy hospital, but now there are third generation children growing up in Korah. It is a place of extreme poverty and sickness is everywhere.
Our small group of people was partnered with a medical mission team out of Nashville. Two of the ladies on our team worked as nurses and the other three of us were crowd control. The lines were understandably long as people from all over Korah heard that there were doctors willing to see them. We spent 4 days there in Korah seeing patients for 6 hours each day and still we turned people away.
It was a humbling thing to see so many mothers bring their small children to us desperate for help. I could look in the eyes of these mothers and see their love for their children and my heart would break for them. I was very glad that we were able to help out.
I was also glad that we were helping out at a church. We were working with a local church there in Korah that will be there long after we have left. We were there helping them to reach out to their people. It was neat seeing the pastor move around through the people, talking to them, and building relationships. We were a doorway for that church to walk through to share the gospel, and I was honored to be a part of it.
We also spent some time outside of the city at a boarding school for some of the kids who used to live in Korah and you can see pictures of that and the rest of our trip in the little animoto video below.
Here is a way to incorporate art into your next local missions project.
Here is How it Works
Find a local artist or someone who can teach some basic principles of painting or drawing.
Bring students together to learn from the teacher and to create a few original pieces of art. Choose a theme like the love of Jesus or what heaven will be like.
Once students have completed their pictures pile them into a van or two and take them to a local nursing home or retirement community. Let students give their pictures away to the residents. Be sure that students also spend time explaining their pictures and talking to the residents.
If you are a regular reader you know that my sister and brother-in-law sold their house in the suburbs of Nashville to go live in a major city in Africa The community that they are working in is beyond poor. It is situated right beside the city landfill so most of the people survive by scavenging food and other things from the dump.
They along with people in their church, have started Project 61 ministries (the name comes from Isaiah 61). One of the ways that they are making a difference is by getting sponsors to send children to boarding school. Our Vacation Bible School offering this year was enough to send a kid to school and also help with the summer food program. So we we given a boy named Takley as our sponsored child.
Yesterday my sister posted something on her facebook account that just broke my heart. Takley says that he likes summer camp (a sort of pre-school program they are doing), but he is hungry. At the camp he only gets 1 meal a day, but, he says, “In the dump I can eat all day.”
Here is a guy who has no concept of clean and healthy food. He just knows that he is hungry and so he is willing to root through a trash dump to eat. I see so much of myself in this boy. Sure I have never missed a meal, but I have more times than I want to admit gone after the easy rather than the good. I have looked at the need in my heart for love, acceptance, purpose, etc and instead of going to God and getting something good I have turned back to the same old ways that always made the need feel like it was gone for a while. Like Takley I have turned down one good moment, one true thing, one thing to place my trust and faith in, for what I was used to, for a smörgåsbord of stuff that I know is wrong, stuff that will make me sick, but at least for the moment the deep need was gone.
If you would like to learn more stories like this check out Project 61 on Facebook. If you would like to donate to help children like Takley go to http://p61.org and follow the donate link.
Tomorrow night we are talking about how as Christians in America we are also part of the Universal Church. As such we should care about the persecution and sufferings of Christians around the world. If we honestly believe that what 1 Corinthians 12:26 to be true when one part of the body suffers we should all suffer with them.
The bulk of the lesson tomorrow will be a prayer time for persecuted Christians. We will have 3 prayer stations, 1 discussion station, and 2 letter writing stations. One of these is for a prisoner in China and the other is for the child our church recently started sponsoring in Korah, Ethiopia.
If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that my Sister and her family recently moved to Ethiopia to work with the children there. At VBS this year we took up an offering to send one of the kids who live in abject poverty to boarding school for a year. My sister thought it would be perfect for us to sponsor the sixteen-year-old older brother of the child that she sponsors.
Tonight I was writing a sample letter for the students to follow tomorrow. I was thinking about the fact how different the lives will be of the teenagers who are writing the letters and the boy who will be receiving the letter. I wanted the students to put something personal in the letter, but how do you say to a guy who spent his day scrounging for food that your favorite thing to do is sit in front of a computer all day or play video games in your air conditioned house with a room full of food right down the hall. How do you explain to this guy that you have spent more on random toys, gadgets, clothes, and well junk than he will make in his lifetime.
It is almost too much to comprehend that the students that I minster to and this guy have anything in common. But they both have a need to know they are loved. They both have a need to know they matter in the world, and they both have a need to know their savior. So I am very excited that our students get to be a part of this young man’s life. I hope that his story inspires us to give of ourselves for others.