Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Lord's Sense of Humor

When I went to the Insitute I had to write belief statements. To sum it up, I wrote 10 statements about different aspects of my faith and backed up my beliefs with Scripture. in mY God the Father statement I stated that I firmly believed that God has a sense of humor. It's true that the Lord has a sense of humor because even in Africa I just have to laugh at my life.

 1. I despise moving, I hate packing and like being settled and organized. I traveled almost 9,000 miles away from home to still be living out of a suitcase and storage containers. I spent 6 days in Ethiopia, 6 days in Uganda, 3 days in Ethiopia, 6 days in Uganda and then finish the trip with 6 days in Ethiopia.

 2. I hate feet. I dont enjoying painting women's nails. And especially don't enjoy painting toenails. My team had the opportunity to minister to a tribe in Uganda that is the lowest of the low and the poorest of the poor. Essentially the social rejects of Uganda. When my team went to the Kilamonjung tribe, we brought fingernail polish. I kid you not, each woman hat came to me want their toenails painted. Now remember that most women in this tribe don't have shoes. So their feet we're not necessarily the most taken care of.

 3. The last 2 summers I was in charge of the kitchen at kamp. I joked with my girls that my proudest moment as DHDL was being able to maneuver myself under the dishwasher to scrape food particles into the drain without touching the ground. Little did I know that would come in handy when I have to use the restroom and that restroom consisted of just a hole in the ground.

 4. Physical touch is not my love language. Apparently it is the universal love language of Africa. So basically that means I have had no personal space since the day I arrived here. As my support for my belief that the Lord has a sense of humor I just said my life was an example. It's constantly proving itself true!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Some Days

The thought of sitting down and summarizing days 4-8 is an overwhelming task. It is hard to process everything but know this for a fact: this is difficult, uncomfortable, tiring and emotional. But I wouldn't change where I'm at right now, even though I miss the comforts of kamp.

 Some days I feel guilty about how I worry about employment in the fall when the people I work with daily don't know where their next meal is coming from. Some days my heart is so full of joy because I see a tangible result at the end of the day. Some days I am covered in thick red dirt that has staned my skin because I laid on the ground with a child to look at the clouds. Some days are easier than others. Some days I don't want to see anymore hurt, poverty or need because I can only do so much to fix the problem. Some days I don't think my heart can take anymore breaking.

 The passage of scripture that brings me comfort is Daniel 4:34-35 which reminds me that the LORD is sovereign and His domain is everlasting.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Ethiopia: Days 1-3

Day 1: The day we arrived we went straight to the Fistula hospital in Addis Ababa.   This was one of the three things i was most looking forward to.  Women who struggle with fistula are shunned from their villages because they are unable to have children.  We toured the facility and spent time sitting with the women.  The fistula hospital not only helps heal the women, it teaches them that they are worth the fight to keep alive.  The nurses teach trades so the women learn how to sustain themselves after they are healed.  It is a phenomenal program that literally revamps the entire life of a woman.  These women have been shunned from their tribes, so for a group of people to willingly come in sit with the women and spend time with them was a highlight for them. Dispite their circumstances they possess so much joy. At the end of their treatment they are given a new outfit to signify their new, fistula-free life. Despite the team's pure exhaustion from traveling for 48 hours with little sleep, it was worth it to see the smiles on the faces of the women learning that they are a vital part of society. Day

2: The next day we spent the day in a village called Korah and a leper colony.  Korah is home to 120,000 people.  Their main source of finances and food is to dig through a trash dump and either sell or eat what they find.  I have never been so humbled and so convicted of how I live.  Even the smallest amount of gifts meant the world to them.  The kids flock to us and so badly want physical touch, at one point I had one child on my back, one on my hip and was holding the hand of another. In any other situation I would have probably been disgusted by the flies, the smells and and the leprosy but here it is a different ball game.  I willingly picked up kids that society wants nothing to do with. They are so affectionate and show their love for others in tanglible ways. Even thoughh Korah seems hopeless, the Lord is working in mighty ways. It is home of three vital ministries: Great Hope, Mission Ethiopia and Project 61. Great Hope focuses on rebuilding Korah's community by starting feeding programs and utilizing natural resources. Mission Ethiopia focuses on empowering change and impacting those of Korah who are fatherless. They teach the residents of Korah to support themselves and their families by working at the trades they are gifted at. My favorite of these is Project 61. Project 61's primary purpose is to partner with local organizations in under-privileged areas to develop communities and their residents. Care is given to immediate areas of need such as orphan care and health issues. Through feeding programs and child sponsorships, urgent needs are met to allow for development of long-term solutions.    
     Later that day we spent time in a leper colony.  I will admit, I was naive of leprosy.  The only thing I knew about it, I took from scripture. Walking into the colony, nothing phased me but not in an 'I don't care' kind of way but in a 'every person needs to feel Christ's love' kind of way which is of course how we should live our everyday lives. You can't catch leprosy from physical contact. That simple fact alone gave my team and me freedom to love on people who have been shunned from society.

 Day 3: Part of Project 61's sponsorship program allows each sponsored kid to attended a boarding school about 4 hours away. P61's believes that education is the gateway to freedom and change. My team had the opportunity to spend the entire day at Shashamne Boarding School. With having been at Korah the day before, it meant so much mOre because we knew where these kids had come from. That afternoon we split the girls and boys up and spend the next hour talking to the girls about their worth in Christ. I had the opportunity to share the Gospel at the end. Which in itself is a personal victory because this time two years ago I would not had enough confidence to share my faith. The Institute grew me so much in this area because I have nothing to fear because I know that what I am saying is Truth. The things I am most passionate about in life is God's Word. I got emotional after I sat down because it finally hit me. I am in Ethiopia sharing the Gospel with the people that need to hear it. After I sat down, I got such a sense of urgency to share with the unreached people groups.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The time is now

I am 13 hours away from living my dream. Literally. I'm in DC getting ready to board.  It has been a 6 year long journey since I first realized the Lord was calling me to Africa. And in His perfect timing, the time is now. For such a time as this He has been preparing me over the past 6 years for this trip.          At kamp we have morning meetings with the staff and we can sign up to do a devo. In typical Sarah fashion I signed up for the day before I left since clearly I didn't have enough to do. I spoke on living outside of your comfort zone which I have plenty of examples to go off of called my life.        As I left kamp yesterday I had a conflicted heart. Staff kept asking if I was excited or ready to go. All I could say was 'I'm not there yet. I'm in kamp mode.'  I wanted to stay and minister to families. I wanted to do what was comfortable. The thing is, the Lord has not called me to be comfortable.          I need to be out of my comfort zone to be reminded of the Lord's faithfulness.  I need to be out of my comfort zone to grow in my relationship with the Lord. As I look back over the past 6 years, I have spent majority of them out of my comfort zone but I would not trade what I have learned about His character for a comfortable life. I know I will not fall because I stand on His Word and His truth nor will I cease to bear fruit in this time (Jeremiah 17:7-8)      So here I go again, doing something else that scares me so I can learn a little but more about the Lord's character and serve the Lord in a way that I wouldn't be able to do in the states. Peace out friends, I hit the ground running when I land!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tomorrow is Only a Day Away

I leave tomorrow afternoon.  WHAT the WHAT?
I have been allowing myself to get excited for what tomorrow brings.  My to-do list is shrinking (and nothing is getting added which is usually the case).
I have never left kamp when it was still going on.  I have a weird range of emotions but the Lord did not call me to be comfortable this summer so I am traveling roughly 8,300 miles away to see what the Lord has in store for me.
Bring it on.