“Why on earth would anyone want to go to Ethiopia?”
The question already echoes in my mind and I have only physically known I was going to Ethiopia for a week. Yet already I have been asked this question and I am sure this same one will be asked repeatedly over the course of the next nine months.
It’s an easy question to ask… but not so easy to answer because it includes a whole long story that starts when I was nine years old then travels around the globe only to find me in the chair I am today. That was the short version… here is the long.
When I was nine years old, I came home from school and told my mom that someday I was going to go to Romania as a missionary. No really, true story. I had watched Nadia at school in gym class and God spoke to me through that movie and told me I would go.
For the next few years when something would pop up about gymnastics or Romania, my ears would perk and I would remind my mom I was going to go. I think she humored me.
The year I turned 17, I was still having thoughts of Romania… but now I was “Uber Cool” and almost legal! I signed up for my last youth convention EVER as a youth group member (bitter sweet) and headed off to have the time of my life in Oakland, California with 10,000 other Northern California Teens.
Just like any teen (and most there) I was doing the social butterfly thing –flitting from place to place, talking to everyone I could– when Coco Perez got up to speak about the Mission Trip that the denomination would be sponsoring that year. In the past, it’s always been to Mexico or Central America, places I had never thought about.
I remember the moment clearly in my mind –my words traveling 90 miles a minute– when Coco said “… the iron curtain has fallen and this year our team will head to Romania.”
Needless to say, I freaked out and was the first to visit the table when the session ended.
The cool part was that all the money I needed was pulled together to the DOLLAR. That is another story that would knock your socks off if told in full… I will only tell part here.
After an offering was taken at my tiny church (to try to get the remainder of the trip cost), I was short two dollars. I told no one, because surely I could find two dollars somewhere… right? God had other plans… A little old lady rushed up to me after church and stuck money in my hand and said “Put it in your pocket, it’s not much but God wanted me to give it to you and tell you that he always provides.” Yup, it was the two dollars.
So now, I’m going to Romania! I get there and see things that I had dreamed about since I was nine. It was totally cool.
When I returned, I knew I was being called into missions. So a few years later, I attended Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in Nashville TN and really felt the “missions” call strong on my life. Little would I realize the mission field I was being called to was right here in the United States on my Military installation (Husband is prior Air Force) and in my daily life. Reaching people that just needed to see that regardless they were still loved.
Cool, but not the normal “mission field” as most would know it.
Fast forward to two years ago last month. I attended a Women’s Conference with my church with Margaret Becker as the speaker. Awesome conference. Talking about her book COMING UP FOR AIR … It was amazing. Being that she is a World Vision supporter, she brought hundreds of kids with her for us to look at and think about sponsoring.
I knew I felt a tug in my heart, but could no sooner pick a child from the piles, then pick a favorite star in the sky. So I asked them to pick for me. And they chose Alissa… from Ethiopia.
At that point, God placed Alissa and Ethiopia on my heart. We write to her, she writes back. It’s really a great experience!
However, I never considered going to Ethiopia… until May 2009.
Michael Hyatt (Thomas Nelson Publishing)and his wife Gail went with a World Vision team to Ethiopia… One better. They went to Alissa’s project. My heart just burst into joyful song as I watched both Michael and Gail’s tweets from Ethiopia. My prayers went with them as I read and experienced Ethiopia through their tweets and dirty feet.
When they got back and shared their pictures, I went over and over them looking for Alissa’s face. She could have been in any of them!
It started then… God was putting the desire in my heart to go to Ethiopia.
When I volunteered for World Vision at a concert a few months ago, I was able to share my stories and letters with other possible sponsors. My heart swelled with pride as I talked about “my girl” from Ethiopia.
The desire grew.
We recently felt like we needed to find a church closer to our house and God led us to Living Way Fellowship here in Highlands Ranch, CO. The second week we attended was Missionary Sunday… and Pastor Peter Henderson mentioned Ethiopia!
The desire kept growing.
I told myself, “Goodness, wouldn’t that be cool if–” Pretend again my thoughts are interrupted here like for Romania. Because on Sunday March 21st, 2010, Pastor Peter announced that Living Way Fellowship would be going to Ethiopia.
*insert heart explosion of joy*
Are you KIDDING ME?!?! Nope, God was preparing me. He was creating that desire… and now, it’s here. And yes, it means I will get to meet Alissa face to face…
When we arrive in Ethiopia, we will be working on phase two for a school/orphanage that Living way did phase 1 for. We will also be bringing supplies like vitamins, clothing and other things with us. Ministry will mainly be with the children and that makes my heart happy.
So why, oh why have I share this with you? Well because I need people to believe in this trip and sponsor me to go. The sticker price on this mission trip was enough to make me want to admit defeat and run in the opposite direction. But knowing God came through for me for Romania with that two measly dollars –and hearing that small voice that said, “Trust me…”– I knew this was something he had been preparing me to do.
The cost of this adventure will be around $4000. This includes almost $2000 in airfare and the costs of our two weeks of lodging, food, travel and supplies (along with visa costs, etc).
Still worried about the cost of this trip, but believing I was really called to go, I posted on Facebook on Sunday Night (to my Family page) that I was going, God willing, and needed 130 people to sponsor me for a one time gift of $30. Within 10 minutes… I now only need 120 people to sponsor me.
*Yah, it’s that cool*
If you want more information on how you can sponsor me, please email me. If you want to sponsor me, you can do so in two ways… Paypal with my email address or send a check made out to Living Way Fellowship (With the word Ethiopia in the memo), which then makes it tax deductible. You can also write a check made out to me, but it won’t be tax deductible.
If you don’t, that is fine too… 😉 I just knew I needed to share. 🙂
I am going to Ethiopia!!! 🙂