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Choosing to Go: My experience in Ethiopia

Choosing to Go: My experience in Ethiopia

Every experience God gives us, every person He puts into our lives, is the
perfect preparation for a future only He can see.

– Corrie ten Boom
As long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be a mom. Everything else in my life was prone to changing and I have gone through countless phases, but the desire to someday be a mom was in my heart through every stage of life. So, four years into marriage after a year of trying to start a family, I was left wondering why God had delayed this desire. I was filled with questions, until I started to dwell on the truth that the Lord does everything on purpose and for our good. That is when the opportunity to go to Ethiopia arose. I quickly realized that if my prayers would have been answered right away, I might have gotten swept up in the busyness of life and never considered an opportunity like this. 
Right when I made the commitment to go to Ethiopia to care for orphans and bring help to families to aid in orphan prevention, it was as if I suddenly entered a season of peace and contentment. It was definitely a peace that surpassed my understanding. While discussing the possibility to go to Ethiopia, my husband and I both had the same thought. Why wouldn’t God want me to go and care for those He says in His Word to go and care for? It was clear that this was His plan. 
As I stepped onto the first orphanage grounds, I had no idea of what to expect. When I caught a glimpse of the room I was directed to, all the cares of my life back in the States quickly faded away. The children in this particular rooms all had a spcial need of some kind. Most of the children couldn’t walk and were lying on the floor on mats and a few on a bed in the corner. There were about 4 older children standing and pacing. As I got down to each child’s level to talk or sing to them, my world and perspective shifted. I completely lost myself as I began to love on the precious kids and do anything I could to convey to them that they have value and that they are chosen by God. It was life changing to see their huge smiles that came simply from placing my hand on their faces, looking into the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen, and speaking to them.
Why had I ever questioned what my purpose is
when there are precious children that just need someone to love them, to hold them, to feed them? 
Eyes shifting, arms raising, babies desperate, toddlers crying. Walking in the orphanage that had the most difficult conditions out of the four we visited, I felt the extreme urgency to meet
the needs of the babies and children that I saw. With their locked in expressions, it’s as if I knew right then what filled their little minds. Will you take care of me and love me just simply for who I am? 
Toward the end of our time during the first day that we visited this orphanage, we were led to another building to see older children. For only about a minute I was able to go in a very small room filled with cribs and multiple children around ages 3-5 in each one. The smells and sights were overwhelming, but I knew I would only have time to hold one child so I scurried to pick up a little boy with his arms held out. I pulled him in close and felt that his pants were cold and wet. As soon as I picked him up he began to smile so big and let out the sweetest soft gleeful giggle that was just simply in response to me holding him. I will never forget that moment. His pure joy struck me in that small dark room. I didn’t have to get my whole life in order so that I could love this child. I didn’t need to have any special abilities or talents to love this child. I didn’t need to be wealthy to love this child. Because Christ first loved me, I could love this sweet baby. 

In response to what I’ve seen and experienced, these verses have spoken to me:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you
will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30
Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Proverbs 31:9 
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 
Mark 16:15

Shared by:Victoria Landmark

A note from the Director of Missions, Erica Ho:

Here at One Orphan and America World we unashamedly boast a mission to love children where they are. For us, that means sending teams to SEE children where they are and to tell them how worthy and perfectly created they truly are. Although these methods may be crticized by some we are unapologetic. Our teams are trained to enter situations respectfully and with cultural sensitivity. The call to serve vulnerable children is, in my opionion, one of the greatest in the world. Our teams also bear the responsibility of speaking up and telling these stories once home. We believe that there is great power in stories and that they can be used to create change, to gather sponsors and to increase funding to help more and more children. 

If you feel led to help after hearing Athena's story consider going to Ethiopia to serve. If you can't go physcially consider becoming a monthly supporter. Alone we can do nothing, together we can do so much.

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