"But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day." Habakkuk 2:3

Sunday, August 1, 2010

This was so well written from a family that just got home from Ethiopia

This was posted on the blog of another AGCI family who just got home from their 1st trip of the two to Ethiopia. It was very thought provoking and I want to share it on our blog for some "food for thought" It really made me think and I know that we will come home with some of the same thoughts as we are already feeling them. Thank you to Kristin for this great and challenging blog post-here is their blog:
http://www.thisisagreatadventure.blogspot.com/
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Africa Reflections
Since I couldn't blog during our trip, I wrote a journal entry daily on MS Word that I will try to edit for posting here over the next several days. Because I hope to put this this blog in a book format someday (somehow people do that), it will be pretty detailed because I want to remember everything. SO, I apologize if I bore anyone reading! For now though, I wanted to get my immediate thoughts down after this life-changing week. I'm in a bit of a fog right now because of the jet lag (3am now Addis-time), but I feel tremendously grateful and blessed by all that we experienced last week and now here at home. I really don't think I can put it all into words, but I feel the need to try somewhat lest the experience not fully sink in. And I want it to melt into my heart, blood, and soul. We went to Ethiopia to meet our son (he is an awesome little guy and it kills me he's not with us!), but God had even more in store for us to encounter. I cannot walk away from life so drastically different from my own and not wonder, "What am I doing here?" I don't know that I feel called to leave the comforts of our home and community in PA but I do know that I'm a bit uncomfortable with it after seeing some of Africa. I truly believe that people everywhere-- rich, poor, good, bad, happy, sad-- need the same thing: Jesus Christ for a fruitful, fulfilling, and eternal life. To that end, I know that God will use me wherever I am. But, is my life focused on His will or am I motivated by my own perceived needs and desires for comfort?This past week, we did without many of the luxuries we take for granted and that give us "fulfillment" at home (and we stayed in a pretty nice hotel). God met the needs He knew we had. Without our wonderful community of friends and family, we made a new community of terrific people that I'm so glad we met and now can't imagine not knowing. We were so thrilled with our agency and the way that everything was handled for us as adoptive couples having to make this 1st of 2 trips. Hannah's Hope is a lovely place, and we saw that our children are in great hands. With regards to culture, this was a first experience for me in being the minority, and by minority I mean the only 2 white people among thousands of black people at times. Often we were stared at, sometimes we were smiled at, and a few times we were glared at. In addition, people in desperate need surrounded us whenever we left the confines of our hotel-- children carrying children, barefoot, begging for money, tapping on our car windows, kids in the street constantly selling things to us, wanting photos taken of them (for Birr), and some just wanting a hug. Yet they were often smiling. We saw the huge gap between the rich and the poor with no one in the middle. We saw people working very hard, whether shining shoes, plowing fields (old wooden plows with donkeys), or working construction (scaffolding made of thick sticks!). Our taxi driver who is doing "well" by Ethiopian standards lives in what we would consider a shack with no running water, heat, stove, bathroom, shower, etc. with his wife who also works and has a university degree and 2 sons. Yet, he invited us over to his home for a traditional coffee ceremony and time with his family. Our adoptive children came to the orphanage starving because they had little to no food and now, their bellies are big and round as they've tried to make up for so much missed nutrition and growth. We ate almost every meal in our hotel, rarely leaving except to go to the orphanage, museums, shopping, or short walks. The hotel staff, museum guides, taxi drivers, orphanage staff, and everyone we met in Ethiopia was unbelievably gracious, kind, warm, and friendly. We all wanted desperately to "help," to make a difference for those we met-- how hard can it be to get our taxi driver his own car so he doesn't have to split his pay with a boss? How hard can it be to get every child shoes, get them off the streets, out of the city dumps, to give them an education and hope for a future? How hard can it be to prevent and treat malaria so that parents aren't dying and their kids wandering the streets? At home, I go back to eating fruits and vegetables which we couldn't eat this week, to drinking tap water, Diet Coke, and Starbucks, to going to the grocery store and Target to get whatever I want whenever I want, to exercising several times a week because I can, to signing my kids up for camps and lessons because they're available, to driving my car on very good roads without breathing in tons of exhaust, to using a washing machine, dishwasher, oven, shower, etc. I know I cannot do these things anymore without thinking about how insignificant these things are that often consume our thoughts, conversations, and time while much of the rest of the world is focused on survival. I can't help but think that perhaps if more of our conversations were spent talking about plans to help others, more of our money spent on making those plans feasible, and more of our time and energy spent on putting those plans into action= being the hands and feet of Jesus, the world would be a different place. Instead of letting culture dictate what defines and drives us: beauty, wealth, education, skills, reputations, and stuff, we let God define and drive us. At home it's easy for me to get caught up in American culture and let God in where it's convenient. In a third world country, there is no convenience: God is #1. I believe that Americans are in a position where much has been given and much is expected BUT not without much blessing in return. It's not difficult to turn off the tv, so you avoid seeing the poverty worldwide, to drive through impoverished communities to get to luxurious all-inclusive resorts for vacation and never leave it, to change thoughts when it occurs that perhaps we could do something. But what if you researched a little, started asking questions to others and God about what you could do, visited a 3rd world country or inner city projects, served at a homeless shelter, sponsored a child so that he/she could go to school, or looked into adoption. What if you established a relationship that would require something of you that you didn't know you had. There is risk involved and you could be stretched, but if you keep your eyes on Christ, He promises to be your strength, shield, guide, comforter, and rock. You will grow, and oh, you will be blessed. As we continue to seek God's direction for our lives in coming home from Ethiopia and preparing to return again for our precious son, I am overwhelmed by God's faithfulness and blessing for us each step of the way. I am excited about seeing where God takes us as I think of all the wonderful possibilities there are. Whether involvement in one or many organizations-- Wiphan, Lifesong, Project 61, Childrens Hopechest, Visiting Orphans-- or Galen's continuing education toward his MBA in Microfinance for developing countries. The future, long and short, are unclear right now but one thing is for sure: I am the sheep on Jesus' heels, His robe between my teeth so that I stay right where He's leading. If I go astray, I pray He takes His staff around my neck and pulls me right back in behind Him!


Also, here is a video that really put the number of orphans 143,000,000 in perspective for Adam and I-


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Our Airport Homecoming for our 2nd Adoption~

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Our Journey up to our Referral

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Seble's Referral Video

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"Although it may not always be obvious to us, there seems to be one distinct moment when God begins a new story in each of our lives. He writes words on our hearts that long to be spoken and strain to be lived out. Then with His own great hand, He begins to write the script. Experience by experience through seemingly ordinary days, He supernaturally orders our lives. Only when we look back and reflect on what appeared to have been the ordinary events of life does it become clear what a miracle the Lord has performed." Jan Beazely

LUCY LANE-AGCI-ADOPTION VIDEO! This inspired us to follow our dream!

WHY WOULDN'T I....WHY WOULDN'T YOU?

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We Love this family and this video is inspiring!

HANNAH'S HOPE ETHIOPIA

FATHER, BREAK OUR HEARTS FOR WHAT BREAKS YOURS~

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