By Rachael Burnett: Today was our last day at the drop-in center; we didn’t do our usual rotation of activities so that we could just enjoy being with the kids without the confines of a schedule. We had tons of fun playing, singing, and dancing (They loved the Cha-Cha Slide and Cupid Shuffle!). Joyce brought some really cool 3D puzzles and many had a great time putting those together. We shared lots of sweet hugs and smiles.
After lunch, we all headed to the Freys’ for our closing celebration. Many of the street children from the center came and the half-way home kids and parents were also there. The newbies got to witness the killing of our dinner…a sheep, which actually was more like a goat. That was definitely a new experience and interesting experience for us. And while we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon, many of the ladies—staff and half-way home moms—worked on preparing the food. Their constant efforts to serve us are amazing. We played basketball, futból, had an egg race, made bracelets, played on the playground, sang, and just spent quality time together. It is so refreshing not to have a set schedule and feel rushed; often times in the States we are so preoccupied with the next place we have to be or the next activity that is planned that we do not just rest in and savor the joy of now. I think the Ethiopian people are teaching us the value of slowing down a bit.
At the end of the night, several people spoke including Kelly. M., Nega, Joyce, Howard, one of the half-way home boys, and Pastor Ernie. It was such a sweet time of reflecting on why we are really here and how God has knit all of our hearts—Ethiopians and Americans— together to serve Him and love others like He loves us. Then Ernie led us in a time of prayer for each other, and it was so neat to have the privilege to pray for one another even though we mostly couldn’t understand what was being said. Finally, Nega presented each team member with a gift to thank us for being here this week. Again, we are all blown away by their generosity and service to us.
One last thought: when Kelly M. was sharing tonight, he mentioned how when Nega came to the States last year, he noticed the immediacy and accessibility of everything—fast food, ice from a freezer, microwaves, etc. Then he asked a probing question: What do you do with all your extra time? A little convicting, huh? I know it has been for me. Everyone is so “busy” in the States, but what are we busy with and how much time are we wasting? Are we spending our minutes on what matters?
We have an early morning tomorrow to get to the Center at 8 a.m. to watch the foot race to the futból fields, and then watch the championship match! Should be an exciting last day, but bittersweet to be leaving! Pray that we’ll soak it in and have safe travels back home!