Archive for September 2009
The 16 hour flight was pretty good. I had an entire middle row to myself that allowed me to sleep most of the way.Wish airplane sleep was more refreshing though. I also had the pleasure of flying with Seyenie, the wife of Aman, my boss. It was amazing and great to talk to her. SO COMFORTING. She is wonderful even though she yelled at me for forgetting to include her in this blog. I am sitting in Aman’s (man who runs the operations here and now runs his dream magazine) office, he uses for the magazine he just launched called Addis Life (www.addislifemag.com).
I am pretty dazed, dream like state. With the poor sleep and being in a extremely different home, I can hardly think.
The internet here is pretty rough so I hope I can stay diligent about communicating through the blog.
I will spend the first couple days getting set in my new place with Ally, her adopted baby, Ruth, and the house help. I have to do some shopping for a phone, water filter and more. Accommodations are bare but could be a lot worse.
The exciting news is that the leadership team here meets with Hope For Ethiopia’s children to start an experiment of integrating the kids who live by Bole bridge(The Crew) with that organization. I am invited to join. I saw Hope For Ethiopia’s Children during my June visit and I love it. I am SO curious how this is going to work and play out.
Thank you to everyone for support and prayers.
So this is it. After I spend all night finishing up packing and loose ends I am off for this new adventure. Amazing. I can hardly put how I feel into words.
I have spent months saying goodbye to you all, those I love dearly. I am not even sure how I did that, specially without breaking down completely. Maybe it can be called strength, but it is not my strength but a gift from God.
I have been pretty independent and selfish person for so long, but for the last couple months have relied on, been blessed by, and received so much from so many. What a whirlwind of amazing people, relationships, generosity, fun and more. I sometimes wish I could repay everyone and do more for everyone, but then use that desire to fuel my motivation to take this leap and serve the neediest.
As I have gotten ready to go, I have been doing the hard work so that I can live in the severe passion I have for the kids, needy, and just service to others. It has been hard to remember what that passion is like, but I can’t wait to devote every ounce of my energy for this higher purpose. Finally, I will be a workhorse for God!
I love you all and thanks for helping me get through this and over to Ethiopia!
I leave DC at 10:00am on Monday to start what I know will be a ridiculous adventure and just plain miraculous. Wow and wow. Did I mention wow.
Really, I feel numb. It is emotional overload. Excitement, fear, anxiousness, unrest, sadness, thankfulness.. OK I could go on forever. It’s hard to avoid reflecting on how fortunate I am to have the life I have in DC, with the family, friends and experiences that I do. But I don’t want to reflect!! It’s hard and sad. There will be a breaking point I am sure, where I just weep! I’d like to save that for Africa 🙂
I knew when I made this decision that it would be very hard eventually. I made a choice to make this sacrifice knowing that me and others will reap the rewards. I also wanted to show the power of God, His ability to use anyone at anytime. Finally, I know there is nothing else I could have done that has a greater purpose.
Could I have stayed here, succeeded, lived a good life, found a wife and started a family? Absolutely. I just knew that for me it would always be 80%-20% until I learned how to change that. The 80% for me and the 20% for God and others. I wanted to force myself to make the shift so that God and others got at least 80%. It is so hard for me to not get caught up with what our society throws at us. So I am very willing to put that aside as I learn to follow my passion and the will of God. I pray I never revert back to spending 80% of my life on me.
I wanted to write a quick note about my most wonderful parents. I am one fortunate son of a gun. Two great people of faith.
You wanna talk about unconditional love? This year I asked my mom what she thought about my “old days” and the trouble I got into and caused. She just said ” we didn’t think you were bad at all, you were our son and we just loved you”. Ah, mothers. I asked “do you remember the police stations, extra late nights, and so many teachers conferences”?
How fortunate I am to have two parents who love me and show it so much! Not to mention a God who has shown His love and mercy for me over and over again.
I can’t wait to pay it forward. My heart bleeds for those boys who don’t have those parents or experience with God that shows them they are so loved.
I talked with my new boss, Aman yesterday and his wife Seyenie. The conversation with Aman was great. Things are starting to move already in Ethiopia and with the street kids. Aman told me that the partnership with Hope For Ethiopia’s Children has moved to the next level. That is exciting. After the launch of his new Ethiopian magazine, he is ready for some infusion of helpers to work with different outreach projects. Also, it just so happens that Seyenie is in DC and on my flight back to the mother country.
The timing of this is really divine. It is so amazing to think that I might get a chance to be a part of this thing. I hope I can plug in and help out where I can, but also have to try and stay realistic that it will take me some time to ramp up.I have to be disciplined in my growth with the language and culture!
Hope For Ethiopia’s Children is the place I had a chance to see in June. What a place! Touching the lives of 4000 street kids, prostitutes and children rescued from forced labor. Started by 10 Ethiopians who rebelled against advice of “what they should do” to live with the kids for 6 months, on the streets, eating out of trash!
I am sitting here with Walter and Helma Monts, whom I still swear are the best grandparents! I am trying to tell them what facebook, blogs, evites, twitter, and other new technology. It is funny how fast we are advancing in technology and even funnier trying to explain it to grandparents.
My grandpa, Walter(nick name Pinky) was a Presbyterian minister with a family of four children. He and Helma Gene (love the name of grandma), made so many sacrifices for their family and for God’s kingdom.
The dividends are quite evident. My family is small but full of servants. Nurses, teachers, social workers, fundraisers for non-profits, therapist, ministers, and so on. I feel blessed to have so many great examples in my life.
Though of course it saddens me to say goodbye to my grandparents, it reminds me how fortunate I am to have such strong examples in my life. They not only positively influenced their generation, but the many generations after theirs. I love the idea of influencing generations to come. What if? What if I can play a small roll in helping Josef and his crew of street kids? What if they become leaders that influence other street children or children of their own? The influence we can have with the power of God behind us is everlasting!! Wow. I mean maybe; just maybe I could help one boy, who then becomes a leader who helps hundreds or thousands! I would love to be like Jesse, the father of King David! It is fun to dream of the possibilities.
After the drama while walking a dog and a potential drug addict cleaned my car(that happens in DC hood), I had an interesting conversation with a friend.
The sum of the conversation was challenging to me. It reminded me again what a huge responsibility it is to use other people’s money wisely. Yes, I know its all Gods and His work, but the people who have given so generously deserve 100% confidence in their investment.
I look forward to the challenge, but it hits me frequently how big that challange will be. I am thankful I have OCD enough to have tracked every spent doller in 2009. What a great lesson learned that has been.
Too much thought makes me less action oriented, so I need to learn a balence between analyzing and overthinking every dollar spent and just spending wisely.
In summary, I am very clear that honoring the generosity of others is an extermely important task on top of whatever I can accomplish for Josef, The Crew and more. I think I can do that.