Saturday, July 31, 2010
Day 7- A day FULL of God's Miracles in Rural Ethiopia
This morning we got up and went North of Addis to the rural countryside. I am talking REAL rural and REAL countryside. One thing that amazes me is once you get out from the city just how far backwards in time we travel. Farmers are plowing in their fields with oxen and wooden plows just like they did hundreds and hundreds of years ago. The African round mud huts are visible from the road as we make our way North of the city, towards another orphange. There is such a simpler, yet harder life in abundance here.
I am so glad that Kelly took us to the places that are less served. We went to one of the poorest and in my opinion, one of the best behaved orphanges today. Their clothes were definitely more tattered and torn. Their shoes were falling apart. They, of course, were so excited when we got there. From reading my other posts you know what happend next. More playing, more loving, more hugging, more kissing, more crafts and more soccer games. Kelly, our OH leader, went across the street to a local vegetable stand (store) and pretty much cleaned it out. She bought every vegetable, every potato, every pasta and a bunch of spices for the orphange. Every orphange we went to we provided lunch or some time of meal as a thank you for letting us come visit. They were so excited!!!
Now what I was most impressed about this orphange was how well behaved the children were. When we started handing out items there was no pushing or hoarding. If that had already received a toy or a pair of shoes then they didn't accept another. The male agency director seemed like such a nice and caring man to these children. He was very appreciative of us being there. You could tell these children were well cared for even though they had so little. We were surprised to find out these chilren are not being adopted out. He simply cares for these kids with no other expectations. He doesn't currently work with an adoption agency. This orphange is so far off the beaten path and probably has not been approached to do so. He did tell Kelly he would be interested in providing these children a chance to be adopted. His kids were truly amazing. So sweet and so respectful of each other. So gracious.
There were many times on our trip where I prayed hard that the Lord would provide MORE. MORE food as we were serving, more clothes or MORE shoes. This was the day I prayed for MORE shoes. We gave all the kids shoes today and there were times it looked like we weren't going to have the right sizes and I coudln't stand the last few to not get shoes. There were so many that had received shoes and the fair mom in me, offering shoes to children who needed so much with so little, was near panic when it looked like a few would have to go without. They never did. I thought of the fishes and loaves story in the bible so many times on this trip. He always faithfully provided JUST ENOUGH! I can think of 3 times that I prayed for enough and everytine HE provided it! For this I am so thankful!
I want to show you a little guy who stole our hearts here. We noticed him immediately when we walked into the orphange. He had really thick bottled glasses on and I think this was the FIRST child I have seen on this trip in eyewear. He was so small and meek. He was adorable. We were pretty sure he could barely see a danged thing even with the inch thick glass around his eyes. He would hold items all the way up to his eye, forever, trying to make out the color of a bead or a flower pot craft. When it was his turn to have his face painted he just kept looking at the drawings to choose from, but never picked an art choice. Pretty sure he just kept studying the picture, trying so hard to make out what was on the paper. He was so sweet, so humble, so precious, so lost. What touched me most was his gentle spirit and the thought that IF someone could adopt him, just HOW miraculous his life in the States would probably be. I bet anything that with our medical care and a simple surgery, this boy could SEE just like you and me. I just KNOW this is all it would take. Any takers?
After we left this orphanage we started on a truly miraculous journey. You see, Kelly, the founder of Orinary Hero and our trip leader of this trip, adopted a little boy from Ethiopia 2 years ago. Last year, on her trip to help with her sister's adoption, she was able to meet her son's birth mother for the first time. Since then, her agency has shut down and she did not have any way to get any contact information from them to recontact her. She was all the way over here in her son's homeland and desperately wanted to locate his mother to give her a few items from her son. So believe it or not, we set out to find her! We drove into a rural village and our guide got off the bus with a photo of the mom. Kelly's friend that helped her find the mother last year, remembered the "area" where she thought maybe the mom may have lived. Africa is HUGE and I was just hoping we were in the right vicinity. How in the world would we ever find her? There was only ONE way and we all started praying so hard!!
Within 10 minutes our guide was back on the bus with a positive identification of the mother. Her son, Nathan, also has an older sister who still lives with his mom and our guide happend to find a young girl who was her schoolmate. How amazing. And all of this happend in TEN minutes. The little girl got on the bus with us and took us to her village. When we got there the daughter had already heard we were coming and was waiting outside. I will never understand HOW news travels faster by foot than a bus....LOL. She ran out of her home and gave the Putty's a huge hug and just fell in their arms sobbing.
She told Kelly that she and her mom had been thinking and talking a lot about Nathan that very week. She had no idea we were in Africa and looking for them. She showed them her home where she and her mother live. Nathan's picture was sitting there, front and center on the table with the photo album Kelly had made for their family last year. Her mother was at work so we all loaded back in the bus to go to her work.
Nathan's mom works as a laundry washer. She is also deaf and mute. Once we got to her work, the Putty's got off the bus to find her and we watched the reunion from the bus. She ran out and nearly knocked Kelly into the mud; she was so excited! Tears of joy followed and Kelly was able to give her a few things they had brought for her. She gave her Nathan's first blanket when he came home, a photo album of new photos and a necklace that Nathan had made for her, which she put on immediatley. She told Kelly the same thing that her daughter had told them; that they had been talking about Nathan all week! What a gift from GOD! There is no other way to describe how this miraculous meeting took place, except that the Lord's hand organzied ALL of it! Nathan's mom NEEDED to see Kelly this week, she NEEDED to hear that Nathan was doing ok and we just happend to find her in Africa with a PHOTO! GOD IS GOOD! We loaded her on the bus with us and we were able to meet her and take up a monetary collection for her and her daughter. The guide told us she maybe made 200 birr a month, which is like 15dollars a month, thats less than 4 dollars a week. She has been struggling financillay to send her daughter to school. I watched this woman hide her money in her top so that her employer wouldn't know she had received a large gift from us. The guide told us that if her employer knew of the large gift, that he wouldn't pay her as much. It is so foreign to all of us how things work here. I can't imagine 4 dollars for a week of work or LESS than 4 dollars for a week of work because we tried to help.
I was so HONORED to have met this amazing woman and to see her smile and her tears of joy. She is an ANGEL. She is one of the most selfless women I have ever met. This is what selfless love looks and feels like. I can only imagine how hard it was for her to place her son for adoption. I know she struggled with this decision and not a day goes by that she doesnt think of him. She is so grateful for the Putty family and they are of her. She was able to meet one of Nathans's brothers and one of his sisters. She was able to meet Shane, Nathan's adoptive father and she was able to hug on Kelly's neck some more. She can BE AT PEACE that Nathan has a loving home and that he is thriving here in the USA. She saw his school pictures. She saw pictures of him playing soccer (that he is freakishly good at)! She was able to see him smiling and being loved by his friends and family. She was able to see a glimpse of all the opportunities he is afforded here in Brentwood, Tennessee. Kelly and Shane now have contact information so they may provide help for this family and remain in close contact. This entire exteneded family is so blessed! What an amazing day to see God's hand at work. His work was all around us today; we witnessed it over and over again, all day long.