Team Ethiopia: Right Place, God's Time

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…

Today was our "off schedule" day, meaning we did not go to the Drop-In Center at all today like we did Monday, Tuesday, and will again Thursday, Friday. Today was the END OF SCHOOL CELEBRATION program for the children. We traveled, along with the entire staff at the Drop-In Center and around 75 children to a park that was over an hour away from the city. There the staff members led a program inside celebrating the end of their school year. The program included the choir singing for the group, a drama skit, a couple funny games, and K.C. had a chance to speak and present the gospel.

After the program the entire group ate together... the house mom for the girls Halfway Home prepared food for all of us - probably 100 of us! We had PLENTY! While eating together, we were able to experience an Ethiopian cultural experience in which the children fed us. Oh, and you eat with your hands, along with pulling off some of the injara and using that as your utensil.

Once lunch was complete, the Team Ethiopia responsibilities kicked in. The McGugan's organized and delegated responsibilities to each of the team members regarding the afternoon's activities. We had a huge area to play in so we did many things: small sided soccer games, volleyball, we brought Styrofoam airplanes and the kids enjoyed that, a kickball game, badminton, and more. The main event after all the activities played out for awhile was a DAVID vs. GOLIATH football (soccer) match. The kids were David and the staff members plus Team Ethiopia was Goliath. David trumped Goliath, just as the kids learned in their VBS lesson the day before! Ps. Let's just say according to the Scriptures, we knew ahead of time who was going to HAVE to win. ;)

And last but not least is the reason for this blog post title - Right Place, God's Time... After leaving the festivities today - a wonderful afternoon full of action - the team loaded up on the bus and began to leave the compound/park. Right as we pulled around a curve, one of the older boys walked out of the bushes, into the road ahead of us, a limp girl in his arms. We stopped and he rushed the girl to the bus - there we saw her fully limp, eyes rolled back into her head, making a grunting noise of some sort, hyperventilating, and looking extremely rough. Immediately we believed it was possibly head exhaustion/dehydration or worse. Praise God for Nurse Bonnie and God's wonderful, perfect timing. Should we have left 5 minutes sooner, we would have been past the boy and girl already by the time he hit the road. The team began to act in such a uniform fashion, doing our best to alleviate the problem quickly. Bonnie directed the ways, Kelly McGoo held the girl up as we attempted to get her to drink and breathed slowly as she laid against his chest in an attempt to slow her breathing. Joe worked to get the translators there and working with the team as well. We began to pray- pray for God's healing, as well as for divine interpretation- desiring the girl to hear Bonnie and her ways of helping. It was a full team effort and we were able to get her better and take her to the clinic to be sure. Thanks to God's awesome provision and timing!

While most of the team waited during the clinic visit, we entertained one another at a nearby Cafe, sipping Fanta and Coke - - -this information is mentioned because of the picture that is posted below. We found a furry little friend crawling down a web above our table. Enjoy the photo.

And last but not least, the team was asked to give one prayer request each to share on the blog AND share a cultural thing about Ethiopia that has interested them, surprised them, or endeared them. Without realizing how long this post would become, the request from the team was already made, so enjoy the additional length of today's recap. God is working in us, through us, and around us!

Ps. Keep the comments coming - - - they are read out loud in our morning devotional time, so that the entire team can hear! Also, Kelly McGoo has been blogging on his own personal blog - - - there is some detailed personal experiences and reflections on there that you might enjoy also:

Wednesday – Ethiopia/Cultural Experience & Prayer Request

K.C. – Prayer Request – Please pray that the kids begin to connect the love they feel from our team and adults/staff with the love that God has for them. Cultural – Interesting that everyone wears warm clothes like sweaters and turtlenecks to stay warm, even though we are in north east Africa.

Kara – Prayer Request – Please pray for adequate sleep and rest tonight & energy tomorrow. Cultural – Young kids acting so responsible and taking care of younger kids and being responsible for them – in America they would expect to just be carefree with very little responsibility at their age.

Liz – Prayer Request – Please pray that I can more adamantly learn and remember the names of the children. There are so many children and different names than what we’re used to - I want to be able to call them by name without hesitation. Cultural – quietness of the culture/people – they are often soft spoken & the amount of English seen all around, especially on the signs and such.

Kelly D – Prayer Request – Please pray for the children. They are precious and have so many things stacked against them. Our God is more powerful than any of these challenges – Pray that He reveals His power in these kids’ lives in a mighty way! Pray for team morale & energy. Cultural – I’ve never been off roading in a bus before.

Joe – Prayer Request – Please pray that we will get all we planned to get done, done and that our lost donation bag will get to us (we’re still waiting as of 9pm tonight). Cultural – Watching the team members struggle to eat the huge handfuls of food offered to them from the children was fun. I was proud of the team as they were stuffed full of injara!

Bonnie – Prayer Request – Please pray for more exposure for The Forsaken Children, the Drop-In Center and this entire organization… so more money can support this great ministry. Cultural – I’m amazed by the affection of the men. They are not afraid to be affectionate and show respect, friendship, and admiration by a hand hold or arm around the shoulder.

Kelly McGoo -  Prayer Request – Please pray for the staff of the Drop-In Center. I’ve realized just in seeing how ridiculously tired we are at the end of the day, and we’ve only done this three days and these guys and women do this 6 days a week. Lift them up, pray for serenity and rest, and renewed Spirit every morning for them! Even the volunteers! Cultural – Amazed at how nice and affectionate everyone is, even random people.

Heather – Prayer Request – Please pray for the individual team members and especially Joe as he leads our team. Pray that each member rests enough, feels well enough, and is able to be fully present in mind, body, and spirit during our last few days with the children. Cultural – I have found it interesting how strongly the people cater to the “faringy” (sp?) aka foreigners. It’s almost as if they stop everything to take care of them.

Tom - Please pray for continued strength and resolve to provide the intense level of attention and loving for the kids that we want to provide and need to provide. This is not always easy for me. Cultural – I enjoyed the children hand feeding me the meal today. This shows trust, respect, and endearment. After the 20th child stuffing my face, I was “Hulu sod” which means very full stomach. I then had to eat five more handfuls to keep them all happy.