Team Ethiopia: Saying Goodbye

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…

After our last day with the children (today), mixed emotions are flying throughout the entire team. For some there is sadness, for others joy within the sadness, for others there is excitement at the thought of reuniting with their families, and for others a longing to see what God has in store for us and this ministry, and often it is a combo of many.

We went to the Drop-In Center today - we played with the children, loved on them, taught a VBS lesson about respect, a hygiene lesson educating the children about HIV/AIDS, did arts and crafts, completed dental checkups on some children, tangible donation and inventory organization, and tied up other loose ends from the week that had to be completed before our departure. We ate lunch at the Drop-In Center and enjoyed the company of the children and staff.

Being unable to stop or slow time, the afternoon came and it was time to close out our week with GOODBYES! The team stood up individually and spoke to the children... thanking them for their hospitality, love, acceptance, and affection; reminding them of where the greatest love of all comes from - CHRIST ALONE; encouraging them; and sharing our admiration for them. It was a heart felt experience and an often teary event. Once everyone on the team had spoken, we had all the children get on their knees together in a big group - Team Ethiopia, along with the staff members stood around the children in a circle, holding hands and prayed over them! It was powerful... ALL ABOUT YOU LORD, NOT ABOUT US!

A friend to many of the team left this verse in the comments section of yesterday's post... we want to share it with you today as it has truly resonated with many of us. Isaiah 61:1-3

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, [a]

2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,

3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

We closed our day with a wonderful dinner at the Director, Nega's home. We enjoyed the Ethiopian meal, as well as some football on TV, and were able to fellowship together again over food, coffee, and tea. It is still hard to believe for some of us that we fly out of Ethiopia tomorrow (10:15pm Ethiopia time). Thank you for your prayers and continued support. God is good.

We leave you with a photo of each team member interacting with the children. Enjoy...

Thankful for His Grace,

Team Ethiopia