Friday, April 19, 2019

"He Doesn't Hear My Prayers"

The mood was heavy and dark as we sat in the dimly lit hut. Once again, the family was without food and had no ability to change it. Their hard work of planting seedlings and daily watering won’t come to profit until June and that doesn’t fill the hungry bellies now. Their three wells, even the newly dug one, are dried up and along with it, their hope. They are tired, even their little ones are sluggish with dull eyes. 

After making provision for the family’s immediate future, I took our four kiddos back home while Jon and Misikir (visiting from Addis) stayed behind. As they peered with the family into the dried and crumbling wells, Misikir offered a humble prayer to God for rain and provision for the family. It’s not the season for rain, we’re through the short rains, and have over a month before the long rains start. 

Last night, it started to rain, slow and steady through the night. Jon visited the family again this morning and the wife told Jon, “Yes, God answers prayers for you and for Misikir. He doesn’t answer my prayers”.  I have time to type now as we had to bump off our afternoon invite and the drum of heavy rain on the tin roof warns us to hold off on the hike. It's raining, again. Pounding, pouring, heavy rain. Updated to add, as we walk, wet under our umbrellas, I asked why Jon hadn't told me they prayed this as I have sent all our rain boots and rain jackets ahead to our new home in Bahir Dar. We pass neighbors who exclaim, "What is happening?! Suddenly the rain is upon us!" and "This is a gift of God!" I pass the house of our friend with the empty wells. She is standing under her tin awning. We laugh across the distance and I yell, "God was thinking of you when he sent the rains to bless us all." She smiles and laughs, her eyes twinkling.  

Praise God with us for the miraculous change in weather and ask God with us for hope to be known and felt within our community. 

I sat today with open Bibles with several women, rejoicing in the glorious opposites we get to celebrate and praying God turns hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. 

Our Easter isn’t until next week but what a picture, Friday during Holy Week is called “the hanging” in Amharic. What a day it was. A day when darkness, lies and fear ruled, when a day like Sunday seemed impossible. But Sunday is coming and the opposite will come, Light, Truth and Love wins. 

Thank you, Jesus.

Monday, April 15, 2019

On The Horizon

Home Assignment is around the corner. We will celebrate Easter here, butcher and prepare 5 sheep (and chop 100+ pounds of onions) as we farewell our community (goodbyes and moving is not my thing) and then move and spend the last three weeks in May, settling into our new city. The month of June we will be in Addis Ababa (AA) wrapping up things in the capital and then spend the last half of the month visiting friends on a vacation before a conference/retreat designed for counseling and refreshment of cross-cultural workers. We are praising God for this provision as I’m feeling…just a second…I am trying to think of the right, honest word…tattered?…no, too alarming…tired? Not adequate…Let's just say, ”I'm not at my peak”. The past two years in Ethiopia have been full of challenge and abundance, God’s miraculous provision never absent. A constant stalwart and strength through our weakness.
Knocking to-do's off our bucket list, like movie night in the hut.
Tiger and Miss T love the shepherd life for about an hour.

 I feel like our trip back to the USA is our “finish line”, like I just need to keep pushing and not stop and make it there but in reality, it's another “start line”, getting through jet lag, with a strong desire to build memories, acclimate, snuggle nieces and nephews (we have four little ones in our immediate families we have never yet met), share with friends and churches what God is doing, pack in two-years of doctor, eye, dentist and other appointments, and eat so many yummy foods and doing this while feeling a little “green”. 

From a previous post:

Let’s assign the USA a color,yellow.
Before, we thought yellow, we dreamedyellow, we were yellow.
We love yellow.

For the sake of the illustration, Ethiopia isblue.
We now partake in many blueevents, we eat blue, try to understand blue, and where appropriate, we are trying to beblue.
We love blue.

And we come out a nice shade of green.  
One foot in two worlds, straddling both, trying to juggle in spite of our awkward fumbles, leaving us feeling a bit out of sync in both.

Before a home assignment years ago I wrote “My Kids Might Call You Fat” when I wrote about our cultural combination, I see now it's amplified now as Tiger and Miss T were so young when they came and as our time has lengthened here, we aren't sure which way is "home".  Miss T is the most Ethiopian of our family and huts are her dream scene. Animals underfoot, people feeding her in every direction. The other three love it as well but are less comfortable being the center of attention in group settings. 
Not everyone can climb a staircase to the attic and watch whoever is on the toilet or doing  laundry.
The strength of my neighbor women will always amaze me.

Exploring spaces, finding monkeys and bee hives.

A loaded plaster truck crashed nearby and J and A were so excited for "snow!".  Sorry for your Easter snow. 
And our focused, intent son started to fold diapers like a boss. He won't talk during it, he is so focused.
Blankie rides

We are hosting a KIBIR Retreat here and while wiffleball isn't on the schedule, it's always fun to teach and learn new games. 
It's started. They are raiding my clothes and wearing my t-shirts.

Church and time together in prayer
Thank you all for your capacity to care about us and our neighbors. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

That Holy Space

I am walking through a season of grief, of learning and repenting (maybe more to come on the learning and repenting later :)).  I’m searching to find purpose in the moments and realize they may just wash over me and I ask God for deep roots in Him that I may stand firm. It’s a hard space but it’s holy and sacred as I again acutely see my weakness, my complicity in patterns of this world and my heart so quick to stray from the Words of truth and hope. 

There is a sense of urgency in my mind as my tired arms go through the motions of life. (Does anyone else feel like as soon as you get dishes done it’s time for another meal prep?) But I am reminded here in these mundane things that there is no time to waste, no time to not consecrate to God. If you are a soccer mom, use that holy space to proclaim hope and love to all those around you. If you are in a stage of diapers or the time of cubicles, there are people all around you, yearning for the hope that we have as children of God, disciples of Jesus, radiating from us. 

Additionally, as we wrap up our time in our village, I visualize a deep and fleshy root system, being ripped from the soil and slowly, trying to carefully unwind roots that are entangled with others. It’s hard but by God's grace, I press into this holy space.  

And on another topic, I never posted pictures of Jake and Meika's visit! It was such a sweet time.  Here's a captionless smattering of photos. Someday, I am going to get all organized with pictures but not today. ;)

Sending love across the miles.

Monday, April 1, 2019

The Climb

Months ago, I decided when it was time to climb a mountain, I would send Jon, girls and any others around and it made so much more sense if I stayed back with the Littles. 

Our family is currently working on our bucket list of things important to do as a family in the highlands as we prepare to move in a month. (If this is new, a newsletter just came out, I can send one to you). In short, we are relocating within Ethiopia, we are thankful and excited for how God is directing but in deep grief over the move. We will be able to visit our community here and hope to often as our hearts are deeply imbedded here.)

It's important to create these memories together and it redeemed hiking with littles in my mind. 
J and A ran ahead and crawled through caves while I tried to chill about hyena holes.

Miss T held a stick and asked Tiger to say, "Cheese!"

Miss T is part bear. She hiked herself up the mountain, unphased by the drop-offs, thistles and steep surfaces. She is a hard one to describe but she is a hearty, little one, full of grit and giggles. 

Tiger is on the more cautious side and we made slower progress as his steps are selected with thought and he's in a stage of asking what the name of every plant is. Thoughtful and with a running commentary. "Mama, what is it? Be careful, I'm falling. I'm a strong boy, I'm on an adventure, hold you mommy!" 

The girls were 3 1/2 and scared the first time they hiked this mountain.

Now I can't keep in eyesight and beg them to stay from the edges

The next month feels tough...impossible even but God is here and His promises find a yes in Him, so we again embrace our weakness and beg for His strength.