Archive for December 2010
OR “Ine Bunama Fikerye”. I have a lot of these, more then 20. Translated, it means Brown Loves, or My Brown Love… A term coined by yours truly, but adapted by more including my overzealous boys. Yeah, there are refreshingly no race lines in Ethiopia. Love it, though respect the ones in America, or at least where they came from. I really don’t think I see color, though I do see division, cultural divides and just ignorance. I am going to really miss all my brown loves. Just another testimony to God, how I went from a commonly racist white community outside of Philadelphia, to wanting nothing more than sharing my love with my brown loves.
I am coming home in less 6 days. That indescribable sensation is starting to creep in. I am also fighting off the anxiety of leaving my boys, friends, house mates, co-workers. I am leaving for 5 weeks! Wow. Writing about it nearly makes me tremble, especially for Muleken. He is left in charge. He is literally the only person I think I would feel comfortable leaving the boys with.
One great miracle was the appearance of a very qualified person to take my spot in the house while I am gone. That is the biggest thing easing my mind.
I can’t say I feel good about leaving my boys during the holidays. Ethiopian Christmas is actually January 7th, and the Holiday is .000000001% of what America makes of it. So it won’t be too drastic of a loss but what kind of father figure leaves his family during the holidays? I do recognize my need for refreshment though. My willingness to spend time with the boys is somehow less. Find myself busy with “managerial” stuff more often. Yeah, that’s needed, but all that is crap compared to the love these boys need.
I am going to spend the next 5 weeks bragging to people, eyes filling with some weird liquid, about my boys. I mean these guys are just amazing. Sometimes they just punch you in the heart, a good punch but one followed by unexplainable pride, joy, and gratitude.
I am the most blessed dude of all time. Seriously.
Yup, I am going to space people! Visiting the moon, more like klingon’s. Yeah right, space is dull, no people. I am re-entering my life this Sunday, meaning I am visiting my life that “was”. It allows me to examine some things. Compare my leaving America to now. Holy macaroni Batman!!! I mean I wonder if I will ever be able to settle for any life that doesn’t include major changes, major growth, major miracles?
Its an odd feeling to reenter an old life. I mean its still my life, my awesome family and friends, but it aint. Driving? No Donkeys? Nice Sidewalks? Individualism? Convenience? It makes it easy to see what has changed. I am telling anyone and everyone!! IF you want to learn about yourself, grow, get stronger? THEN GO!! STEP OUT, SERVE. With just those goals it would be worth it! Some things I have learned about myself? I am apparently a disciplinarian, apparently good at making tough decisions, apparently have an almost blind faith one that is never shaken, apparently don’t work well with women, apparently not very patient with people, apparently need to learn how to give mothers love a lot better.
Lots of growth still needed, lots of unexpected lessons and miracles.
I need to get more fruit in my diet! Fruit is the biggest piece of what my life has become in Ethiopia. Seriously I need to find a way to eat more fruit, but obviously that’s not the type of fruit I am talking about.
As I watch our 20 boys change and grow, I get excited to see the fruit that our passion and sacrifice will help grow. It takes a lot of patience to put so much work into something and have to wait years to see how that work pays off. It takes a ton of faith too.
In the midst of a tough week for me I finished a book that punched me in the gut. “All Gods Children?” is a book about one street kid organization in South Africa. It has some of the most horrifying stories I have ever read. It also seems to end in hopelessness for the boys of South Africa. Made me think some unhappy thoughts.
Luckily I have examples of success stories thanks to people like Ermias with Youth Impact. I don’t just think it “can” happen, I KNOW it WILL happen. One of the biggest benefits of serving the Lord is that your faith becomes nearly unshakable, or at least that’s how mine(though maybe unconventional) has become. All that to say, it doesn’t matter what I read or hear about, I know we will see fruit from this group of boys. Sure get hit with difficulties left and right, plus I have a long line of my own internal battles, yet my faith doesn’t waiver. I also already see the fruit in our boys. Some of our boys don’t even seem to belong in a “disadvantaged” or “ at-risk” category. With smiles gleaming, laughter abounding, respect plenteous, (break in action, sent 11 boys to watch soccer/futbol), and an eagerness to grow and learn, it encourages us all. (writing these words goes a long way in curing the ills of this week).
OH the anticipation!!! It’s like sitting at the top of the steps growing up, waiting to see what gifts I got for Christmas. I might have been a bit spoiled as a kid, but the feeling will be nothing to the pride and happiness these boys bring me in the future. HEAPS OF GIFTS in colorful Habasha wrapping. BUT I have to sit on these top steps for years potentially! With this experience and patience I know comes huge rewards for the boys but also in terms of my growth, my gaining wisdom. It’s not just that I can’t wait to see the fruit in our boys lives; I can’t wait to see what it produces in mine. I can already see that too.
I am so thankful to have this faith and lack of fear at a pretty young age. This fruit, biblical fruit, doesn’t go rotten, it multiplies!! That’s the best thing about biblical fruit. As the fruit grows it also plants seeds that start to grow. Wahoo!
It is amazing to me that I have already experienced the fruit of a large pay check. I can hardly remember seeing that pay check; don’t remember what I spent it on, and my heart DID NOT pump like it does now! My eyes didn’t fill with tears of gratitude, pride, happiness, sadness, or anger at injustice. What I do remember is looking at my bank account, thinking “wow that’s cool, where should it go”. That’s it. Almost like it didn’t happen. These last three months of my life will NEVER be forgotten. The fruit will be everlasting and multiplied. Thank God!
Highlights of week: 1)Muleken continues to stand out with our boys. The stuff this man does is amazing and though he is slight in stature he dwarfs me as a high quality, strong Christian man(understatement of my life). Watching him with our boys, learning from him is a huge gift. 2) Then there is Ermias. This guy has the greatest gift of speech, teaching, that I have ever encountered. The worst thing about him is that I fear his influence won’t reach far enough. I want to hire an author to record and write about him. 3) The boys have begun competing to clean the house. A product it seems of our adding some positive reinforcement that consist of acknowledgement every Sunday night and some American candy. A few boys are standing out(6 this week) almost cleaning too much! Each day the boys have chores which have been a struggle at times to organize/track, but it’s really paying off now. I would venture to guess we have the cleanest house of 20 teenage boys. 4) I started writing some life path plans for each boy. WOW, thank you God for being in charge of that, but happy to be a part of it. It has been good to sit down and think about what the next 2,3,4,5 years will look like for each individual boy. We have a wide variety of stories to unfold! Sometimes I think the responsibility we have would crush anyone without faith, I mean its ENOURMOUS!
Zanzibar: What a life huh? I got back last Sunday, thanks Lisa! I have been able to see three amazing countries this year outside of Ethiopia. I have been blessed beyond any wildest dream in that regard. I have seen two of Africa’s tropical paradises, and probably one of its most lush, ironic, and beautiful in one year! The highlight of Zanzibar was my first deep sea dive, unreal. The land world seems to pale in comparison to the land down under the water.
PS: The coolest fruit I have eaten is a jack fruit in Uganda. I don’t know if it was the hospitable happiness it was presented to us with, or the unique structure and taste.
PSS: We had a dip in helpers, but it is starting to rise again thank God! I needed that to feel comfortable as I prepare to leave for America in a couple weeks. For a whole month!! Wow.