Wednesday, August 7, 2013

10 Things I Have Learned This Summer

Our summer here is drawing to a close. On Monday, we pack up our borrowed Land Cruiser and make the (harrowing but gorgeous) journey to Addis Ababa. Language school starts soon and we need a few days to settle in. 

It's über bittersweet to leave here, I will write more on this in a later post.

The past few days, I have been thinking, "Am I changed?" If this was it, one summer in the highlands of Ethiopia and then it was back to the USA, am I a different person?  I want to be. To be exposed to a different world and to not be changed would be a waste. I realize that I am different, probably in subtle ways but here are ten of the lessons I have learned, I will not bore you with more! In no way have I arrived and am now an expert. It's exactly the opposite.

I see how little I actually do know, how, as I have been here longer, I understand more fully the depths of that I don't understand.

1) Don't take things for granted. Not your electricity, cell service, internet, grocery stores, running water, clean water, hot water, washing machines, cars, houses, heaters, availability of anything you want or need, clinics,healthcare.

IMG 3622

2) Don't take people for granted. Absence truly makes the heart grow fonder. Thank God for your family, your friends, your church, your neighbors.

IMG 4731

3) Sit a spell. I haven't done this well. It feels like a visit should be for a purpose, saying, "Hi, how are you?" on the way by is sufficient but oh-so-Western. Take the time for people. They make time for me in spite of my language deficiency. Is someone hurting? Just sit with them. Passing a friend on the road? Stop and talk. Find a place to squat down and be the relational people we are intended to be. Did someone die? Just go sit with them for a while, even if all you can say in the language is "I'm sorry". 

IMG 4619

4) Do things in community. We aren't meant to be cooped up in our big houses all alone, out of touch with our neighbors. We are made as relational beings.

IMG 3581

5) Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (More on this coming soon!)

6) Baking from scratch is messy but I don't know if I could ever go back! We have used over 24 pounds of flour this summer, WHITE flour. While I am astounded by this and hoping to find a whole wheat source, I realize how much we consume now that everything is homemade. Need crackers, tortillas, bread, muffins? Make it from scratch.

IMG 1494

6a) Start every meal with olive oil, then add vegetables available here, carrot, onion, cabbage and then go from there. It gives great encouragement to me to have something started. 

7) Try new things.

IMG 4185

8) Always be a learner. There is more to the situation then meets the eye.

IMG 1578

9) Just because it is different from what I have always done, doesn't mean it's wrong. It's just different.

IMG 4685

10) Jesus is enough. He is enough for me, enough for Jon, enough for my kids, enough for our dear friends here.

IMG 4699


Erica K said...

Amen. Such good learnings! Thank you for sharing and for reminding me to look up what I wrote down as our learnings when we were leaving ET. It's hard to hold on to them here in the US! Also, had a sweet chat with your mom Sunday when we were in Bluffton :)

Tamara Widmer said...

Thanks Amy, those are great reminders! Praying for you guys as you travel.

J and A said...

We love your blog (Liam will constantly sit down with me to see what is happening in your lives) and are thankful for the lessons you continue to learn and share- they are such great admonitions for us as well. May God bless you with a safe journey back to Addis Ababa. We will be praying.

MJgerst said...

Love this blog! Thanks for sharing what you have learned! Your blog posts really encourage and challenge me! Love you guys!

Justin & Sarah said...

Absence DOES make the heart grow fonder. I pray and think of your little family far more often than I ever did; and I miss you more, though our time away is no more than it ever has been. Thank you for sharing these wonderful lessons! The LORD is using them to work in my own heart. xoxoxo

Jill said...

Love this post. Thanks for writing it.

Christen Leigh said...

Great post! Loved reading your thoughts. Love and prayers in this next transition to the city!

Todd ~ Teresa said...

This beautiful. You have a gift of being able to share your feelings. Prayers continue!

Andrea said...

Wow, So true. Easier to say than do huh? Our prayers are with you guys!

Sarah said...

Oh Amy, u make me cry!! Thank u, thank u for sharing this...

Rachel said...

Thanks for sharing, Amy. I know it takes time, but the girls or I read your posts out loud to the family and we are encouraged by your experiences. Simple food, simple joys, taking time to share--oh my heart is full! It's how I want our lives to be--to be together and to share God and the good things He gives us. We continue to pray for you. Thanks for giving us your goodie list!! (This is Julie--I just realized that Rachel is signed in to google.)

Linda Sherwell said...

Hi Amy and Jon. Stumbled onto your post doing a study of treasure in jars of clay and I am hooked on your story. Signing up and look forward to more posts. We also have adopted internationally but my blog pictures do not look like yours! The pics stunningly beautiful! Will pray for you and your work. God bless you both and your precious twins!

Faith Dore said...

Thanks for sharing with us.
Makes a lot of sense and hopefully we (I) can at least take something or if anything all the pointers you made and apply it to our own lives to improve.

Remain blessed and may God continue to protect you and yours, now and always.
In Jesus Name Amen.