25 July 2012

Supply Ziway

I can't resist new school supplies!
Notebooks covered in the latest colors and designs.
Unsharpened pencils with full erasers.
Crayon boxes with pointy tips and every single color in the box.
Pencil boxes just waiting to be organized so everything fits in a perfect spot.

Really isn't school supply shopping one of the highlights of the summer? After going years without a need to shop for supplies, I love taking my kids to the store and deliberating over the Star Wars or Angry Birds pencils. Maybe it's a tangible part of imagining possibilities and anticipating the things they will learn.

This year in addition to school supplies for my own kids, I'm collecting supplies for the kids at the Misgana Ministries schools I visited in Ethiopia.  They don't need a lot, just the basics of crayons, glue, pencils, pens, and erasers. I plan to have them delivered in ziploc bags which can be left in the classroom rather than carried back and forth between home and school risking getting lost or ruined.

Would you like to help?

Join me in imagining the excitement of Ethiopian kids get fresh supplies and also pray for God to use the education they are receiving for His good.

09 July 2012


Have you ever seen an injustice happening and been unable to stop it?

I have before, but none has stuck with me so much as what I saw in Ethiopia. 

Yes there is the extreme poverty. Only one child in a family of many gets to go to school. Orphans pick up the slack and do the dirty work for extended families in exchange for a place to sleep. The sick have no access to basic medical care.  A pastor and his family sleep together in a tiny one room home in the backyard of a property.

One of these stories alone is enough to make you want to ask why? Why are they there and I am here? What in God's sovereignty made the decision to allow me the abundance?

But this one injustice I had never seen before. I have read about it, seen documentaries about it, and signed petitions to try to stop it, but never saw it happening as I did when I stood in line at the Addis Ababa airport.

My mom warned me of what I would see. She said it doesn't matter what night, what month, what year, the guarantee is they will be there.  I prepared to see what before I had only read about, but it still surprised me to see so many.

As I stood waiting to check into the flight back to my family, in front and behind me stood young Ethiopian girls shrouded in black abayas that only allowed me to see their faces.  These young teens traveled in groups led by a Middle Eastern guide.  Dozens of these girls carried only a backpack but embarked on a journey to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, or some other country with the plan to work in a home and send money back to their families.

Having read what I've read and seen what I've seen, I can't believe this intent would actually happen. I guess in the best of cases, they would be hired by a kind family who would treat them with respect and pay them a fair wage. The young women could send their money back home to Ethiopian villages and improve the lifestyle of their parents and siblings. After a few years of working they may earn enough money and be able to move back home and reunite with their families. 

Maybe I am too much of a skeptic to believe that is what actually happens.  A booming sex trade, domestic slavery, harsh abuse, those are the images and scenarios I saw when I watched them walk through security and head for those airplanes bound for a life that could be their worst nightmare.

As I stood in line, I tried to talk with the nervous girl standing in front of me, but she claimed not to speak any English.   I wished I could send her off with some hope - to give her a phone number to call if she found herself in trouble, give her a Bible or a message of the hope of Jesus, a few hundred dollars that she could use in an emergency.  Something!  But under the watchful eyes of the guides, I couldn't physically do anything.

I prayed a lot.  

The injustice is so big but as I think of those girls I stood in line with, the problem is so individual.

I still imagine her face and pray.

I pray for kind treatment and I pray for someone to be available if they need help.

What more can we do?