Team Ethiopia, a short-term missions group from Central Church in Collierville, TN, is now on the ground in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and ready to serve! Here is an update from Lana on Sunday, day three of the trip. I hate to admit this, especially being called to come on this trip, but in all honesty, I am not a pray-er. I do not pray much, and when I do, it is usually for others. I had a difficult time trying to decide on information to share with you. So while typing this, I asked God to help me push out my negative thinking at the moment and to help me organize my thoughts to share things about the whole team and not just about me and my selfish problems.
Thanks to Madison Frey’s and many others' prayers, the team was able to have a restful night, and we were all excited about the agenda for the day. This morning was sweet. Each morning we enjoy the sound of a an unknown man singing his praises, a lullaby of words that I do not understand, but from the cry in his heart and the depth of his tone, I know it is one of love.
After eating a delicious breakfast of thick waffles, fruit, fluffy eggs, and buttered toast, we met together for our daily morning devotional led by Liz from 1 Samuel 3:8-9. Joe and Kelly gave us the reminder to continue to challenge ourselves to focus on the reason why we are here and try our best to disconnect with the outside world, besides limited updates to family. I also discovered that during our morning devotional praise song, that Ben has a voice like Keith Urban.
The morning remained cool and crisp as we gathered together to attend worship service at the International Evangelical Church. We were all honored with the chance to see Dr. Ernie, Anne, Morgan, Meredith, and Madison Frey again. It was a joy to hear Dr. Frey speak the message to a church filled with different cultural backgrounds and walks of life; we met people from Australia, Asia, Europe, and other countries in Africa.
Dr. Frey’s message, titled, “More than Enough,” from Matthew 14:13-21, was passionately delivered and reminded us that we are “right in the middle of where God wants us to be.” “We have to conquer our lives with a childlike faith.” His message was perfect timing and just what Team Ethiopia needed to hear before we start our week of service and ministry to the children.
After service the team fellowshipped together for lunch. At our separate tables we were able to bond more with one another.
Afterwards, we headed on a search for a field to hold our bible school for the kids in tomorrow. The location God provided for us was more than we could imagine; a perfect size campus with two large play areas and several classrooms and a gorgeous sanctuary. This is my first mission trip, but I could feel Kelly’s excitement and thankfulness for God exceeding our expectations and needs for this mission.
After this amazing high, we returned to the guesthouse to rooms filled with our lost, late luggage. We finally had our supplies and equipment we needed, and we also received letters from our loved ones. We shared letters with one another, laughed and cried; the room was full of blessed feelings of love and gratitude.
After dinner together Ben led us in yet another emotional and reflective debriefing. These debriefings are the perfect part of the day; they are much needed. The team becomes organically honest and open to the questions asked each night. It’s a beautiful thing to see how different team members have been helpful towards one another during our journey with Christ. We are all on different spiritual levels but with the same purpose. Howard has been a father to all of us - his knowledge and encouragement has been instrumental to everyone on this team. The biggest inspiration to all is how amazing, the young ones (Lauren, Natalie, and Katie) are able to interpret their feelings and how awesome it is to see how mature they are in their passion and love for God mixed with their genuine bubbly personalities and laughter. During this night before our big day, we shared crazy moments, first time experiences, and heartaches. We were also blessed with three additional team members: Misty, Anna, and Liz #2; they will be joining us again tomorrow as we serve God and his children.
To end the night, we celebrated Meme, Ben, Ernie, and Nega’s birthday with a first class cake, baked by our one and only…Joyce!! We are now off to bed.... We are looking forward to loving on the kids tomorrow, allowing God to show his love through us. Thank you again for your many prayers and the ones you all will continue to say for us tonight. I am praying as well!
Team Ethiopia and Lana