Friday, June 12, 2009

Febuary 2009 Pictures From Ethiopia

Below are photos from the city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia when we were there in February of 2009. In the 1st picture this man walks the street trying to sell handmade mops.
This boy walked on his hands as he begs along the street, busy with traffic.

As far as we could tell, this man was dead. We never saw him move or breath the 20 minutes that we sat there.

Shoe shine boys.

Selling garlic as they walked the streets.

Our friend from church traveled with us and made some new friends at the drop in center.

This little guy was praying asking Jesus into his heart.

Wow, what white skin you have!

A modern day swing set.
More of our new friends from the Drop in Center.
If you have something to sell, you sell it anywhere you can.
This beautiful girl was just standing along side the road.
This man was washing in the dirty puddle next to the road, But also notice the different clothing styles between the 4 people.
Notice the modern excavator on the far side of the building and the people with picks and shovels on this side of the building. Picks and shovels were the norm of what we saw in the city.
These people were just resting from carrying their loads in the median of the roadway.

















Monday, June 8, 2009

Where it all started

I've been a "Born Again Christian" for about 20 years now, and have seen God shaping my life year after year. The more I search, the more I find. The more I put self aside, the more God has worked.
The most transforming event that has taken place thus far in my life has just happen this past February (2009), as I traveled to Ethiopia with my Wife, my 11 year old son, and a 14 year old friend of our family, to adopt 3 girls ages 3, 10, and 13. [You can read about all of our adoption stories at http://www.contentmentinthechaos.blogspot.com/ ] I have never felt or seen God move like this before in our lives. It all started in February of 2008. We had 6 children, 4 biological and 2 adopted from South Korea, and my wife shared that she felt as though God was calling us to adopt again. This was a shock to both of us as we felt that we were all done having children, and were going to start living a "normal" life. You know, plans of children growing up, moving out, and retirement. Well God had other plans for us.
This was the beginning for us to stop looking at how we could live our lives, but instead live the life that God wants us to live. Time to forget "OUR" plans and look to Him for direction. It was at this point that the words to the song "March Out' by Fort Pastor really spoke to me. We all are selfish to the core from birth and we can make all kinds of excuses as to why we can't do, serve or help, but when we are willing to truly live for Christ, we must put that selfishness behind us and "March Out". Another song that spoke to me was Brandon Heath's song "Give me Your Eyes". This coupled with Marching Out, and praying that God would break my heart by the things that break His heart truly have transformed me. Please take the time to watch and listen to them.
Anyway as we pursued the call of adoption, we were stunned that Ethiopia would be the place that God called us to, and totally blown away that He would trust us with raising not one or two but 3 more of His precious children. After realizing where He wanted us to go, I knew that He was calling me to go and not just to bring the girls home, but for something else. As we traveled to bring the girls home, I prayed that He would show me what He wanted me to see and do while we were there, and He did. I was broken by the poverty, and crushed by the number of orphans. It is estimated that between 4 and 6 million orphans are living in Ethiopia, or should I say trying to survive day by day. We visited a 'Drop in Center" for street children and had a chance to make "Wordless" bracelets and necklaces for them and share the gospel of Jesus with them. The hunger for love and affection of these children was overwhelming. We we left the center and drove away quietly, trying to process what we just experienced.
This was what God wanted me to see. The need. The hunger. The poverty. The lack of Love. The sting that death has left behind. The need for Christians to show the unconditional love that Jesus freely offers to everyone.
After returning home, Ethiopia is still calling out to me, but I can see how easy it can be to be sucked back into the "rich" American life style and forget about all those less fortunate than us. After all, when I wake up in my beautiful home, stuff myself with 3 meals a day not to mention all the snacks, go to work, and come home to my beautiful wife and family that all bathe regularly, why would I want to think about an country whose unemployment rate is over 60%, all those who only get 1 piece of bread a day to eat if that. And what about those who don't even have a place to sleep, or a parent to give them a hug or kiss. Who wants to think about them? JESUS, that's who! He sees every single one of them. He sees every tear, hungry belly, and pain that they feel. But why me? Because "what ever I do to the least of them, I have done it to Him". He as called me out of my comfort zone, out unto the unknown. It is time to listen to the "Voice of "Truth", and make a difference. To March Out so to speak. To see what Jesus sees, and to do something about it!
So this blog will follow my journey as Christ lead me to travel, plan, and make a difference in Ethiopia with the orphans. This will start this August with a 1 week trip with a Church friend of mine named Bryan. We will head to Addis Ababa planning a Missions Trip for our Church for February of 2010. Please pray for us as we seek to do His will!
In Christ,
John~

Brandon Heath Video of "Give Me Your Eyes"

video

You can see the March Out Video by Fort Pastor by clicking this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsSUr7ChMPI