Team Ethiopia: Loving Leadership

The following is an update from Team Ethiopia, a small group from Central Church in Memphis, TN, who will be serving as short-term missionaries at Children’s Home Ethiopia in June 2010. We’ve invited our dear friends and ministry partners to post their trip updates and prayer requests here on the TFC blog.  Enjoy…

The reality that we will soon be departing from this place is beginning to resonate with many of the team members. Tonight in our debriefing we are talking about that reality --- tomorrow is our last day with the children and amazing staff we have been working with. TOMORROW - Friday - we really cannot believe it has already become that time. Honestly, the acknowledgment of Friday is leaving many of us with sadness and shedding tears anywhere from a few to uncontrollable moments for some... more evidence of what God is doing here in  us, through us, around us.

Today we had a split day in which we spent the first half of the day at the Drop-In Center teaching, playing, and loving on the children and staff. It was Liz's turn to teach the VBS Lesson this week and she talked about prayer and helped correlate with the children that praying to God is like talking to your football (soccer) coach, but even easier. She encouraged the children that God hears our prayers, wants us to inquire upon Him, and is easily accessible. Kelly McGoo helped Liz with her presentation, showing the children how to make paper airplanes... Liz let them know that they do not need an airplane to send prayers to God, rather He's always listening and available for them. Additionally, we had another hygiene lesson for the kids that Bonnie instructed. She showed them how to properly take care of minor injuries and cuts. She also taught them the signs of heat exhaustion (after yesterday's experience) and how they can work to make themselves or someone else better who is suffering from it, and also preventative measures to keep from getting heat exhaustion. She did fabulous, as did Liz. Additional activities included, volleyball, braiding of the girls' hair (they braided our hair, not vice versa), inventory organization and counting for the center's supplies, and beyond.

After lunch, we made our way again to the Boy's Halfway Home. The girls also joined us. We were greeted with a coffee ceremony (don't think we mentioned that about Monday, but we were also greeted the first day there with one). The gist of the ceremony is a welcoming, hospitable thing in which each guest is served coffee (think expresso with lots of sugar - very strong). The serving cup sizes are smaller, but the serving occurs three times, along with popcorn to eat. Following the coffee ceremony (which was a great time for us to sit with the children, hold them, hug them, and just love on them - also feeding them the popcorn to show our respect and affection), we enjoyed arts and crafts time, played with bubbles, and held a Rock,Paper,Sissors competition that the children loved. Leaving them for the day was difficult, as we are not sure if we will see these specific boys tomorrow (our last day with the children). We had some very touching moments as we were saying Dehna hunu... let's just say it wasn't easy.

This evening however was a BLAST as the Team went out to dinner with the staff members. We ate at a very cultural restaurant that had music, dancing and singing throughout the evening. We so enjoyed the one on one time with the staff, as often our attention is directed at the children mostly during the day. These men and women are AMAZING - seriously amazing. The work they are doing here in Addis Ababa is the most beautiful depiction of Christ's love. Below are some photos of the evening... you'll notice that a few of our team members made to the stage for part of the entertainment.

Before we close for the night - a couple prayer request updates.... THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS - Kara slept last night for 8 hours!!!! Keep praying so tonight might be the same! Additionally the little girl from yesterday that we took to the clinic, we have heard from the staff that she is doing much better and should be back at the center tomorrow to participate in the activities. Praise God! Please keep lifting all the other requests up for us - - - the missing donations bag has yet to arrive - Pray specifically that it arrives tomorrow!

Thank you.

Resting in God's Grace,

Team Ethiopia