25 June 2012

Ethiopia 2012

I hadn't visited Ethiopia for more than seven years and much had changed. Modernized buildings and roads in Addis Ababa impressed me and so did the many trendy coffee shops. Stopping for machiatto became the norm of every day. That alone might be enough to compel me to come back!

Since my last visit, my parents have founded Misgana Ministries. The ministry's first project in Ziway produced a bridge that villagers now walk across everyday to access the school and market. Before the bridge, they had to balance across logs or wade through muddy swift flowing water to get across.

Hundreds of students now receive an outstanding education at three school campuses. While at school, each student receives breakfast and lunch.  The school buildings are clean and bright. When I visited a government run school, the contrast of dark dusty rooms with broken desks shocked me.

The stories of children who don't have a mom, dad, or both would break your heart into tiny pieces if you could handle listening to them all. Some are cared for by family friends or grandparents, but many live on streets selling gum, shining shoes, or simply begging as a way to survive.  With the desire to do something to help as many children as they could, my parents began a group home.  Orphaned boys and girls now have a home with houseparents who love and care for them.

My mind boggled as I saw the construction projects underway as well as the sites where current dreams will one day become reality. Additional school sites, expansions, vocational programs...wouldn't you love to meet every one's need?

Many outstanding Ethiopians who also have big hearts to serve God assist with managing daily operations. They work hard, my parents work hard, teams work hard, and yet much more waits to be done.

Lives are being changed every day because of opportunities that weren't available to them before. I wish you could see it. I wish we could snap our fingers together and start the programs and open enough classrooms for everyone who wants to attend.

It was good for me to go and I hope to do more.

18 June 2012

He changed!

I don't know where to start.

The first year of Kindergarten is long over.
Grandma passed away and I missed her funeral.
I've been to the other side of the world and back.
My dad's cancer was diagnosed and prayerfully completely removed.
Swimming, tae kwon do, and baseball are in full swing.
Mother's Day, Father's Day.
Asher's first lost tooth.

I've had deep thoughts, encouraging words, insights into life that I've thought about sharing. But this...this is the thing I am inspired to get out here first.

Please don't judge me to be shallow. I've never been enamored with kids walking dogs and am having trouble thinking of a great inspiring thought to add to this. Maybe my inspired thought is that kids can change!!

Asher has long had a severe dislike of dogs. No Dogs is the first sign he posted on the porch. On our walks on the Constitution Trail and at the Farmers Market, he would walk along shouting at any dog we passed that it should not be there. When we saw one from afar, he stopped dead in his tracks and started yelling wondering "What is that creature up there with its tongue hanging out?" While most kids wanted to pet a dog at the park, Asher wanted to loudly talk about how much he did not like them.

But this weekend, he delighted in walking my aunt and uncle's dog. After the visit at their home, he even stated that he would in fact like a dog!

I'm in shock and excited about all of the things that can change!