Team Ethiopia 2017: The Universal Language

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Team Ethiopia is a short-term missions group from Central Church in Collierville, TN. They partner with our Ethiopian Team on the ground in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for about a week. Here is their daily update regarding their experience in 2017 and the way God moves in and through this ministry. We thank them for their service!

Written by Karen Miehe

As I reflect on our team’s last day with the kids, I’m experiencing mixed emotions of joy and sadness. It was stated in an earlier blog by Aiyat (Howard) that everything was going perfectly. Truly it has been an amazing experience. I’m so thankful that we have remained relatively healthy, except for some allergy issues. The comradery amongst the team has been wonderful and encouraging. God has shown up in a big way. It’s very humbling to think that He would allow me to be a part of it. The sadness comes from leaving the children.

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We all have gained so many wonderful memories. If I had to sum up the major theme this week, it would be the universal language of LOVE. We didn’t have to learn Amharic to love on these children. We didn’t have to wear the right clothes or have everything perfectly planned. All we needed was a willing heart for God to use us. We needed to be the hands and feet of God to these children. All they needed was to know that we came to see them and to love them. Love in any language is still love. Our job was to show these kids love which was to show them God’s love.

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Last night we held our nightly team debrief at Joe and Karyn Bridge’s house. They made us a wonderful meal and we were able to bring some of our Habesha (Ethiopian) friends as well. The debrief with our Habesha friends was a first and it was a rich blessing. Some of our questions were, “What made you laugh/cry?” , “Do you have a quote-worthy saying from the day?” , “What was the best part /hardest part of your day?” , and “Who do you appreciate?” Every night at debrief, at least one person said how they appreciated Joe and Karyn. We’re seeing what they see. We’re feeling what they feel. They are truly walking in the way of the Lord. Last night was no exception. It was wonderful to hear from the Habeshas and their perspective on everything, especially the last question. Let’s just say that we had to go through several Kleenex’s!

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I appreciate how everyone went above and beyond to love the children. Aiyat (Howard) continued to do an amazing job with communicating the stories for each day. The way he tries to speak to everyone in Amharic is wonderful to experience. Liz is in her natural element of digging through the story and explaining it on a deeper level. What a gift! Starr and her teaching skills really shined as she worked with the kids on their Love Letters. Diane was my assistant and I don’t want to think about this trip without her! I appreciated her every night even though she told me I didn’t have to. (I didn’t listen to her!) This trip would not have gone as smoothly without the organizational skills and prep work from Meme. Kelly is our veteran team leader. The trip would not have been as amazing without her! She has such a passion and a heart for this ministry, that it encourages us to be our best for the kids. Vicki (Karyn’s mom) helped with crafts and was such a big help. I’m so glad that she could join us on the trip.  I (Karen) loved dancing with the kids, making them laugh and reiterated the story through crafts.

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God can use anyone who is willing and open to His adventures. It doesn’t have to be halfway across the world. It can be as close as serving your family or neighbor. Be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and see how God can use you. Everyone needs/craves/looks for the universal language of love. Will you be willing to love?

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