Swaziland in SLC

Sunday was an amazing morning!

Truly Amazing.

For Crystal and I, leaving Swaziland in 2010, we thought that God was taking us away from Africa and that we would have to find a way to bring our heart for Swazis into the ministry here at K2.  But on Sunday, God proved that we don’t have to manipulate anything at all – that He is the Architect of the story and His good plan!

Man K2 – you really blew us all away!  We sponsored 74% of the children of Ekudzeni on Sunday morning before the servers shut us down!  How cool that the church of K2 responded so fast that the credit card company could only assume that some kind of scam was going down!

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I was so excited about 74% and a great morning that I was surprised by Crystal’s response.  She and her friend Kristi helped on Sunday with registrations, and while they were excited about the kids who were sponsored, they found their hearts filled with concern and eyes filled with tears over the 53 that don’t have sponsors yet.

Isn’t it amazing – a community that most of us didn’t know about 3 days ago has now been knit deeply into the heart of our church?  Can you believe how quickly God has called us to SERVE and love this church and its children?  I praise God for all He is doing, and I look forward to being at 100% sponsorship of this church carepoint for the children of Ekudzeni.

If you haven’t had a chance to sponsor your child yet, please visit our K2 page on the CHC website at http://www.hopechest.org/community/ekudzeni/sponsor/ and bring hope to a child in Swaziland today.

Thursday aftre:noon from Amy Rose

When my friends who have been on mission trips before said the only thing to plan is for change, I had no idea the extent of it.  We are in another hotel in Mek’ele and everyone seems pleased with the move and at least on the mend if not 100% yet from illness.  We have not done a lot of the teaching that we hoped to do, but you can see God’s love and spirit working in these men at the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.  I also feel like God is doing a work to open my eyes to the way the rest of the world lives.

We were very excited to get to do a first CHE lesson with the visually impaired group yesterday.  They wanted to learn about dental care.  I got to help since they were down two team members.  They had a good laugh as I brought around the plastic mouth to demonstrate how to brush your teeth.  They probably thought we were crazy and thinking about it in hindsight, if I had never seen one before, I may have laughed at it as well if someone handed me a giant plastic mouth.

If you have never worked with anyone who has a disability, I highly encourage it.  They are amazing in the fact that other abilities are so much more heightened.  We had the opportunity to visit their homes and they led us from the orphanage where we did training to almost a mile away with twists and turns down roads, through a locked gate, all while holding a conversation.  I can barely walk in tennis shoes, knowing and seeing where I am going without falling.  Three girls live in a shack that used to be a toilette and was cemented over.  The three of them sleep on one “mattress” on the floor together.  They are clean and happy and it looks like their accommodations are better than most of the other visually impaired.  They have a strong desire to be taught something that will allow them to support themselves and you can tell just from our short interactions with them, they are very bright and capable of doing something amazing.  I hope next time I come back, we have found a way to teach them so I can buy the things they have been making to support themselves.

Thanks for all your love, support and prayers.  Amy Rose

the view from mrs. andre:son

Hi all, today is a great day.  We have been able to go an orphanage that was really wonderful.  There were children that weren’t on the streets, had food and were loved and cared for.  They had a bed to sleep on and caregivers that wanted to be there.  This orphanage was build (funded) by a Jewish couple that had a heart to help these children and it is run by an Ethiopian couple that want nothing more than to give these kids a start in life that they would never have had.  When we think of children in an orphanage we think about how sad and lost they must be.  These children today were not lost and they had what so many over here don’t.

The other place we have been to is a hospital for girls that have “fitula”.  If you don’t know what that is, let me explain.  In this culture, girls are circumcised at a very young age.  Now, most of these girls are “changed” to say the least by this practice. Most of these women need medical attention fast just to save their life and they don’t get it.  They spend a month locked in a room surviving the infection and horror of what has happened.  Often when they give birth later in the rural areas, the outcome is a very painful delivery and tearing that results in Fitula, where the woman is not able to control her urination.  Culturally, this causes a lifetime of pure hell, they are shunned by their family, they are divorced by their husband and put out away from the rest of their family for their condition. Try to think about what it would be like to spend your life like this.  So . . . we went to the hospital and rehab today where people that believe this to be a “insane” practice want to do all they can to change this.  Holy moly, what a huge blessing these people are to these women.  They want to make a change in the lives of people and that change can only come if people go out in the community and teach others that this has to change.  Anyway, it was very nice to see that all that we see each day in the city can maybe be changed. There is a reason for us to be here.  We are doing what God has asked us to do.

Now on the other note, this team is a really great team.  We are having so much fun together, learning a lot about and from each other and love this mission.  We can’t get internet too often, so please don’t worry if you don’t hear from us, everything is great.

Melodie Anderson

Monday Re:port

Today was our first full day in Mekelle! We got picked up to be taken to the theological college and spend the day hearing from Hilay, Tesfay and Gooday, three men that are passionate about what they see God doing in this little acre of His kingdom.  They joyously and proudly shared the history, doctrine, cultural and social involvement of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

What stood out to me was [a] their joy and passion about the movement of God over here and [b] the unity we have as “being one in Christ” even when there exists some belief and practice differences of faith in following and living in Jesus.   In the business of listening to God and living Him out in a community and country of great need, these issues become peripheral and even fall off to the floor at the table of the Lord.

We had what was called a coffee ceremony and were caught up in the beauty of humility and servant mindedness of Martha, the woman who prepared everything for us.   “When in Rome” got practiced by this zero tolerance coffee drinker and you know what?  It wasn’t about coffee, it was about being with one another and breaking bread, listening and learning, living in the kingdom of God and the Son He loves.

The evening meal was authentic Ethiopian food that to me was like eating a Greek gyro involving lamb, bread, vegetables and spices – delicious!  So our evening is winding down, some went to an internet café and I’m writing to you up in my room.   Much love over the distances to each of you and thank you for your embrace of us here, however that is happening!  – Mark DiMeglio

 

arre:ived in Addis Ababa

So after a very long day of travel that started on Thursday, we arrived this am in Addis.  We’ve checked into the hotel and will go on to Mekelle tomorrow – getting our feet wet today in the culture and style of the people here.

Here are some of Sandy Mitchell’s thoughts as we flew through the night:

A big part of this  mission trip to me has been how God is bringing us together as a team. The opportunities we have to had to get to know each other just by sitting next to someone on the plane, or next to someone else to eat or even riding around in the van (at 4:00 in the morning) seated next to someone else. We get to share how this experience has impacted our lives so far and how it has affected our loved ones. From the 3 year old who said he wants to go with mommy and he would “wait in the car” to the college student son who, when asked by his mom if he would like a link to our blog replied “do you want the truth? ” ( ouch!). Our ages range from 16years old to, let’s just say 60ish”.   We come from so many different backgrounds with so many stories to share and what a great opportunity to share it with people who have the same goal. To love God and to love others and to share that message with  people in far away lands. We all feel honored to have been given this opportunity and are so looking forward to see what God has planned for us. Please pray for our eyes to be opened to see the needs of the people through God’s eyes and for us to be willing servants emboldened by the Holy Spirit to do whatever he asks of us, no matter the task. We are anxious to see how God is going to meet our every need as we take this step of faith knowing that He is leading  and providing all along the way. And at the end we will have stories to tell of His faithfulness. I can’t wait.

re:packing for Ethiopia

So it’s 11.58pm night before … and we’re all awake packing at this point – well at least I am.  Most of us are working tomorrow until the moment we head the the airport!  I’m going to start packing here soon 🙂  My boys Crusoe and Parker helped me get a head start this afternoon with some toothbrushes … taking them out of the packaging and getting them ready to hand out…

We’re all full of expectation of how You, God, are going to work and move.  We’re excited to discover what you are at work doing in the church in Ethiopia, and how you will use us.  We’re excited to hear Your voice as we unplug from the norm of our routine.  We’re excited to see how You change us.  Thanks to all of you who have helped us get ready to go and are praying for us as we go!