Spending 3 months in a place that you called home but haven’t visited in 2 years can be a bit of a surreal experience. It has held amazing lessons for us and some great take-aways as we head back to Ethiopia and settle back into life.
Here are some Take-Aways for us (and some photos).
1. Ethiopia is now home. It was interesting to try on “home” in different locations that we visited. In some cases these were places that we lived for almost 10 years. Yet, we realized that Ethiopia is home. We miss Kore’ and the people and our staff…and we can’t wait to return.
2. We have amazing people who partner with us. Some people we have known for years, some were family and others we were meeting for the first time. But in place after place we were met with incredible hospitality, amazing food and wonderful fellowship. People gave sacrificially of their food, their beds, their time, their transportation, their gifts and themselves. We are blessed.
3. We cannot do what we do alone. We are the lucky ones who get to go serve on the field. However, there is an army of people whom we take with us. They are the ones who support the work financially, cheer us on, pray for us, battle spiritually, advocate to their churches, spread the word among friends and care in very practical ways. They are our board and volunteers and advocates. God has given us rich connections with people in His Body. It is beautiful.
4. We know people who dream big dreams. Along the way we have met people who are dreaming of coming to Ethiopia and joining in the work in some way, calling for expansion of the project, looking for ways to plug in to what God is doing in their own spheres of influence and expertise and moving forward with God sized, faith filled dreams about what God is doing in the lives of these children and Moms, as well as the whole community. Incredible.
5. There is a growing movement of people asking hard questions. We were impressed by how many people are asking life changing questions. Time after time we found ourselves in conversations with people who are rethinking; what it means to follow Jesus, what success means, how much resource we should keep for ourselves, how should we remember the poor and others on the fringes, models of how to do church and what it means to give The Holy Spirit control of His Church.
6. We need to reintegrate some balance in our lives in Ethiopia. We are looking for ways to restore Sabbath and Rest and Lights Out time in our home. We believe that God has called our house to be a refuge and we know that it starts with us. God has restored in us a desire for deep rest and renewal in Him within an environment that at times can be hard to find those things.
Bottom line – We are so grateful to the literally hundreds of you who made our furlough an amazing time. You housed us, fed us, cried with us, laughed with us, bought jewelry, sponsored famiiles, dreamed with us, listened to us share vision yet again, took care of our kids, gave us rest and shared down time with us. You shared your lives with us and for that we are grateful!
Thank you for being with us on furlough – and for going with us back to Ethiopia.
We love you and look forward to all that God will do as we all partner together with Moms and Children to see hope embraced in all of life – for them and for us!