Thursday, March 22, 2007

Ethiopia Trip #1

March 22, 2007
10:30 a.m.
Denver International Airport


I could get used to traveling first-class. Hanging out at the Admiral’s Club. Reading the Wall Street Journal.

Our flight to Chicago is already delayed, but thankfully we had a three-hour layover, so hopefully we’ll be fine. Missing the flight to London would royally suck (get it, London, royally. You know I’m funny.)

It’s funny to me that 36 hours ago, I wasn’t even sure if this trip was going to happen. Some issues came up, some doubts were cast, and I was left in limbo, my emotions protesting at the yanking around they had dealt with. I don’t think they’ll stop complaining until our plane touches down in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia!

I always like to process before a trip…try to figure out what my expectations are, preparing myself emotionally and spiritually. This trip encompasses so many firsts for me. My first time to Africa. My first trip with Compassion. My first encounter with unbelievable poverty. I’ve seen poverty before. I saw it in the tiny cinderblock houses in Brazil, in the long extension cords that shared electricity from the house of the most “wealthy” to the least.

But I didn’t see poverty like expect to see in Ethiopia. I didn’t see children whose stomachs were bloated with hunger. I didn’t see mothers dying of AIDS. I didn’t see houses of cardboard and dung.

Part of me is scared that my heart is hard, that this poverty will just bounce off of it. But then, the other part of me is scared that I won’t be able to handle it. That my heart will implode under the weight of what I will see.

When I shared those fears with my prayer group, the most succinct way I could think to pray was that God will break my heart while keeping me together enough to do what He’s called me there to do. To tell the stories of these beautiful mothers who are doing all they can to raise their children. To serve with dedicated Compassion workers who spend countless hours traveling to distant villages and patiently teaching mothers how to keep their children healthy, their homes clean and their stomachs full. To open my eyes to the ministry of Compassion, and see first-hand the lives that are being changed, even saved.

Well, that’s entry number one. I’m curious to see how this will compare to the entry I will surely write when I return to Denver. Maybe I’ll sit in this very same chair, with the people of Ethiopia embedded firmly in my heart and their stories flowing through my fingers.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Vicki Small said...

You're on a life-changing tour, guaranteed. I look forward to reading more about it.

9:40 PM  

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