I am not one who often has many words to say, but living in Ethiopia now for almost 5 years, I have been so privileged to have experienced many things, including being touched by many people’s lives, the culture, the heart of the country, that others don’t have the privilege to experience.
People ask me what living in Ethiopia is like. Often it is hard to sum it all up, actually it is impossible. I think about the mothers in Grace that allow me into their lives, the life stories they have and the things they have experienced. They are more courageous than I could ever possibly dream of being. Yet when someone hears what we do here often we are met with admiration for the work that we do. I am always humbled by that. In many ways, yes it is hard and it takes courage, but to watch these amazing ladies around me, these mothers who have experienced much pain in their lives, to have sacrificed so much, lost so much and now to step up to give their child a chance that they never had… I am the one that stands in admiration.
Recently, life seemed to get really hard for me. It has been a tough year and a half, much heartache. I found myself feeling like it was too hard, that I no longer had it in me to keep on helping the less fortunate. I was looking at my own pain and heartache. I, without realising, became the victim. I know that we were sent here to help those less fortunate, those that could not help themselves, we came with hope to offer these families, but once I took my eyes off that, I became useless to everyone around me. So, a couple of weeks ago, I had a bit of a ‘wake up call’ when I had the chance to get away for a couple of weeks to rest, refresh and really pray about where I was in life. I was reminded of the true victims in this world, the young girls who get sold into the sex industry, brutally raped until they have lost all sense of what is right, and all hope of escaping. I was reminded of the child slaves, I have met many here, the young girls who do not get a chance of going to school, but instead have to work. They do not get the same opportunity as my own children do, they will never say ‘when I grow up I want to be….’, they do not get to dream. They do not get to choose. I could clearly see our mother’s faces who are now getting help in Grace, as clear as if they were standing in front of me, even though I was many miles away. Their stories came back to me, I wept for them and all that they have lost and experienced, but also wept tears of joy, because now when you look into their once empty eyes, you see hope!
So, in my wake up call, I wanted to start a blog, so that anyone else who wants to feel more connected to what we are doing here, can journey with me. I am not the most eloquent of writers, and have had little experience, but I will do my best to write from the heart, so you have the privilege of sharing this amazing life we get to be a part of. And in reading, I ask that you pray for us please. Pray for Andrew and I and our amazing children, pray for Marcie (co director) and Sefinew and their children, for Tim and Cheryl (amazing volunteers and dear friends) and all the people who faithfully serve at Grace. Pray for the mothers and children (they are the future generation!), the fathers, extended relatives, for the teenagers and young adults studying. Please pray for our 120 faithful local employees who do their jobs so well. They are such a blessing to Grace.
I feel like I have much I want to share in future blogs, about our family’s experiences, our future hopes and dreams for what can be achieved, our employees, the Grace families and all God continues to do here. So thank you for being a part of it.
One thought I want to leave you before I go (hopefully it won’t scare you off for good), but how many of us play victim in our own lives? I think we forget sometimes the blessing our lives are, and how very blessed we are.