Saturday, January 25, 2014

Korah and Hope for the Hopeless Take 2

This was our last full day of ministry here in Ethiopia.  There was a huge to do list but our mighty little team was ready to conquer the day.  

First stop on the list, was back to Korah.  Ordinary Hero has an online store where you can buy various items to be distributed in Ethiopia.  Blankets, Amharic Bible's, livestock.  Today, we were to give out donkeys in Korah.  Surprisingly the donkeys were much better behaved than I expected. 

Some of the donkeys went to people who need help with their work. However, most were given to lepers and one blind woman who cannot work but are going to be able to rent out the donkeys for the day which will give them income.  Great idea! 

After retrieving our donkeys, we had to distribute them.  So marching through all sorts of neighborhoods in Korah we went.  Kat, who is a 19 year old girl with us asked if she could ride one of them. This became hilarious because it gave everyone in Korah a huge laugh as we walked by. I think they will forever remember the crazy Ferengi woman who rode a donkey through their streets. 

Everywhere we go, we seem to find a mob of children.  I always want to know where their mother's are but these kids just wander far away from home like nobody's business and it's all good. Peter has implied that maybe we need to take that approach because seriously, the children here are ridiculously well behaved and mature. 

And beautiful and joyful in the midst of the most extreme poverty.

We journeyed back through the trash dump in all sorts of nooks and crannies to notify a few families that they had been chosen for sponsorship.  I had 3 friends and family who had heard our stories and were already willing to help with sponsorship.

One of the most humbling experiences of my life was getting to tell these woman they had found a sponsor. Korah is by far the most disgusting place I have ever been, however I long to be there. I want to make a difference for the people who's lives feel hopeless right now.  In the short time we were there, it forever impacted my life and changed me. Let me share a few stories with you.

This woman below with Kat.  Has severe leprosy.  She can't work because of it and there is a huge stigma attached to her because of her disease.  Life is hard for this woman.  We told her she had a sponsor and the tears flowed.  Her burden was lifted.

We also visited a blind woman and were able to notify her that she also had a sponsor.  She was a kisser!  But the woman who impacted me most was a single mother.  She has two small children and she cried as she told the story of how her husband had left her and never returned.  She was two months behind on her rent of her shack (which by the way, is about $18 a month) and was at a very low place in her life.  We were able to inform her that she had a sponsor and she just bawled. I was just the messenger but she still bowed down and kissed my feet and hugged and kissed me.  She kept saying that God sent us to her and that there is a God!  There is a God!  Very powerful moment to realize that God really was using us to change lives.  As sad and as difficult as this week has been, I've had the biggest highs of my life through serving others and being God's hands and feet.  I don't want that to stop!

In the evening we headed back out to the boarding school.  We were all looking forward to spending more time with the kids there.

At the end of the evening, we were able to start a bonfire and teach the kids how to makes smores.

Kat and Peter were the fire crew.  There may have been a bit more concern from us American's than the African's about the risk of fire spreading.  They may or may not have been patting out multiple grass fires there in the beginning! 

As evening set in, the children erupted into singing and dancing!  It was a blessed moment to be standing under millions of stars covering the African sky and seeing pure joy erupting from children who have been through more in their short lives than I can even comprehend.  There is poverty that us American's can not even fathom without witnessing it ourselves.  But what I wish to share even more is that there exponentially more joy coming from Africa than we have ever seen in America.  In more instances than I can count this week, I have come across people who have literally lost everything and yet they are filled with more of God's love and joy than I, who have it pretty good am!  Life lessons taught to me from children this week!