We are about half way through our trip and it has been an unforgettable experience! I am not going to hold back on this, but it has been heart-breaking to see the amount of need and multitudes of children crying out for someone to love them. It is easy to be discouraged because we can’t save them all, but the best thing we can do is pray.
As a team we spend our mornings in devotion. It was encouraging to read Ephesians 6:10-18 because the text showed us that it is not in our own strength that we can stand firm, but it is only in God’s strength where by we are able to withstand in any circumstance. This is done by putting on the full armor of God by being in His Word and in prayer. Now more than ever is the time for us to stay focused and mission minded as Storytellers, we are here to tell you of the lives that we encounter. If the best thing we can do is pray, then this is how you can pray.
Today, we were blessed to visit two of Ethiopia’s government orphanages! Our team was split into two and we each went to one of the orphanages and then swapped after lunch. The team I was on visited the baby orphanage first. We arrived and they graciously gave us a tour. The first room that we came into was the infant room. There were 26 infants in the baby room and we were able to spend time holding and loving on them. I was able to hold a premature baby. Her eyes were so big and as i hummed “Jesus loves the little children” I began to see the biggest smile! Two teammates started laughing because the other infants they were holding were looking back and smiling too! We were also able to sing, clap, and tickle the kids.
When we walked into the toddler room the energy of the room exploded as some of the kids jumped up from their beds with huge smiles! They were so excited to see us and loved to be tickled and held. It was an honor to serve this orphanage and your prayers and support have helped! We unloaded four donation bags full of (crib sheets, clothes, diaper rash ointment, medical gloves, and first aid items), baby formula, and TONS AND TONS of diapers!
Our second stop was an orphanage for girls ages 8-18. We arrived in the afternoon and when we pulled up we saw girls of all ages involved in various activities. There was a vigorous game of volleyball up on the court, girls braiding hair, jumping rope and strolling through the woods. The Assistant Director met us at the van and led us on a tour of the buildings and grounds. Our first stop was the barn – they have 4 cows that give milk and they are an integral part of the nutrition for the girls. We picked up friends along the way…sweet, smiling girls wanting to hold our hands and ask us our names…then giggling at our pronunciations of their Amharic names. We visited their rooms and admired all of the pictures and posters on the walls.
After our tour we sat on the front stairs and made prayer bracelets. Some of the girls wanted to fix our hair, so a few of us left with new “do’s”. There was lots of laughter and giggling and we learned the Amharic word for “beautiful”…which we don’t know how to spell!
After this, the girls that had formed a dance team put on quite a show for us. They are so talented and after they danced they asked many of us to join in…obviously much laughter followed. When it was time to leave, I don’t know who was more disappointed, us or them. Our prayer for these girls is that whether or not they remember us, they will remember the love of Jesus that we shared with them.
- by Team members, Kayvan Keshavarz and Cynthia Jernigan