Two months ago today, we arrived in America with the newest member of our family...and I STILL haven't finished blogging about our trip to Ethiopia! Anyway, here's an account (finally) of our 2nd day there.
When Sintayehu woke up on Thursday morning, he looked around quietly for awhile, staring solemnly at us with those huge eyes of his, and then he snuggled up against me and was all smiles. We got dressed and headed downstairs for breakfast, where Sintay ate 4 sambosas, a roll, a hard-boiled egg, a piece of French toast, yogurt, porridge, and fruit. The kid was definitely into exploring all of his options! Afterwards, we played in our room for awhile until David headed back to the airport to search (again) for our lost luggage. Sintay and I went outside to walk around and chase a ball back and forth.
When we went inside for lunch, we met our first missionary family of the day. Brittany and Ian Bentley had just moved to Addis a few days prior, and Michael and Mindy had brought over some items for them. We had also brought some items to Ethiopia for E, an Ethiopian friend of ours....and in a God-ordained set of circumstances, E just happened to be the Bentley's driver for the day as they scoured the city looking for housing! We were able to give E the items that we had JUST retrieved from the airport that morning, and we were also able to give him a book of photos for Yikealo's birthmom. We had tried in so many ways to arrange to meet her on this second trip, but God had other plans. Maybe someday we'll know some of the reasons, but at least for now, Mihiret will have about 300 photos of her son's life over the last 3 years. As we ate lunch, we were able to talk to the Bentley's about their new ventures in Ethiopia. Their little girl and Sintayehu shared french fries, E shared some new information about Y's birth family, and we all rejoiced in meeting some English-speaking friends on the other side of the world. You can follow the Bentley's journey at steadfastlove.org.
After naps and more play time, we met our second missionary family over dinner. Before we left for Ethiopia, David had been e-mailing Allen and Susan Stoller over the possiblity of meeting up while we were in Addis, and the Stollers had arranged to come to our hotel for dinner that evening. Allen and Susan are in Ethiopia working with Loving Shepherd Ministries in combating the sexual exploitation that runs rampant in Addis Ababa. You can read about their work at Loving Shepherd and at Sharing Hope with Hearts. We had a wonderful evening sharing food and stories and discussing the difficulties of moving to a third-world country with one of the world's top-5 most difficult languages. We had asked Michael and Mindy and the R family to join us, so we had quite a table-full!
The R family was just getting ready to head back to the US with their sweet girls, Esther and Emma. Emma and Sintay had spent a lot of time together at HH, being the youngest two of the "older kids" and it was good to be together during their last moments in Ethiopia.
After finishing dinner the Stollers wanted to wait for the streets to clear somewhat before heading home, so after bidding farewell to the Rs, the rest of us went to our room to continue our conversation.
The thing that I remember the most from that night was a story that Allen related. A few months before, when they had gone out on the streets in one of their rescue missions, the counselors had stopped to talk to a young prostitute. They told her that although they would not use her "services" they would pay her for her time if she would just come talk to them. She agreed and eventually shared her story with them. Several months before, she had become pregnant by her boyfriend. When she learned that she was carrying a child, her boyfriend left, and her family kicked her out....not wanting to take on yet another mouth to feed. She had been wandering the streets for several weeks, pregnant, alone, and afraid....trying to find enough work to stay fed. In desperation, she had finally turned to prostitution. Here's where the story gives me chills: the night in question was her 2nd night in her new "profession." The first night had not yielded any customers, and the counselors were actually her very first "clients." Instead of taking her up on what she had planned to offer, however, these people took her to a safe place where she heard the gospel message, and learned that God had other plans for her life. Today, she is a believer, and is supporting her new child by productive, legitimate work. She has a support network and a good life....all because there were people willing to step out of their comfort zone and listen to the call of the Holy Spirit on one dark night in Addis.
"And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire..." Jude 22-23
May each of us be open to His voice and ready to reach out in His name.