Friday, October 17, 2008

Hands & Feet

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.

Matthew 25:35-40

This is our hearts desire. To walk out what God has called us to do, to meet the immediate needs of others, to show them the love of Jesus in the every day. Not just here in the states, but around the world. Our hearts are in Ethiopia. We desire to have a long term connection with Ethiopia and the amazing people that live there. We have for awhile.

David and I have had many a long night discussions on what this means for us, what this means for our family, how are we going to instill this in our children, to teach them to love others, to care for the weak, the needy, the less fortunate. God put Ethiopia on both of our hearts but at separate times only to be shared later. Nearly two years ago. As time has gone on, having been there, bringing home our amazing son Silas the desire to do more has intensified. God laid Ethiopia on our hearts for a reason, he's given us a permanent reminder of this beautiful country, His unfailing love, divine plan, and provision in our lives through our son Silas. We desire for Silas to love God, love his people, his country, and to grow up with a deeper desire to reach others for Christ through practical application and ministry. We want this for all of our children. What better way to teach then to see it walked out first hand.

We're not sure just what that means for all of us in the long term but for now we feel God has provided an awesome opportunity for me to travel back to Ethiopia and see first hand some of the ministries going on there. We are looking to possibly partner, support, or work along side like minded people. Some of these ministries are already in place, need support and to get the word out while others are just getting started. We're open to whatever God has for us and are excited about this opportunity.

What does that mean? Lord willing I will board a plane to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to see first hand these ministries at work. To walk among the people in Ethiopia yet again, to meet the immediate needs of those I come in contact with and to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I go with full blessing from my husband, none of the details are worked out, this is a faith move. We don't have the money for me to go but God has made it clear to both of us that at this moment we are simply supposed to be willing, God will work out the details and we are EXCITED! This is completely unlike me. I am a mama, I don't leave my children and go to a foreign country to help others. Crazy I know, believe me, I've battled with my own thoughts and even told David I wasn't going when we were hit with some spiritual warfare days after committing to making this happen. None the less my husband is my biggest encourager and says its just more reason why I should go.

When I first learned about this trip (you can read more about Mission Ethiopia on Dave's blog.) I was intrigued but thought there was NO WAY I could do something like that. I mentioned it to David wishing we could both go. He quickly replied, why don't you go? I was shocked. We prayed for a week or more and in that week I met Steffany through the amazing blog world, I'd read her blog before but she posted something on a board I'm on and it struck me to the core. She brought a woman home from Ethiopia when she went to adopt her twins. A stranger! A stranger that has become her best friend. Why? To give this sweet woman's unborn baby a chance at life. I was so amazed it really hit me hard. Would I do that for someone? I honestly didn't know. I would like to think I would but seriously - would I? I want to be that kind of christian. David and I want to be those kind of people. We want our children to be those kinds of adults. A few days before that I had a conversation with Brandi who is always an inspiration to me. She told me about Katie. I read through Katie's blog that night, reading parts to David as I sobbed. This young woman is such an inspiration, she is a mother to 10, read it TEN orphaned children. Her faith is challenging, her surrendered heart obvious. She challenged me to do more.

Why all of this? God used each of these women to confirm in me that God wants us. Regular people, regular families, broken vessels. I'm willing, I know God will provide and while it seems crazy to some its feeling pretty normal to us.

What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. James 2:14-18

Now the tough part. I'm not one to ask for anything, I am the helper, the one who jumps to meet a need, the friend, the tough one. Yet God has convicted me in this area, humility, according to the dictionary: The state or quality of being humble; freedom from pride and arrogance; lowliness of mind; a modest estimate of one's own worth; a sense of one's own unworthiness through imperfection and sinfulness; self-abasement.

We can't afford this trip. We're far from rich in monetary means, we're still recovering from an adoption, the economy stinks and my husband is in the building industry. Yet I know my God is so much bigger then any of these things. We couldn't afford an adoption either but God could and he provided every step of the way. I know He can do it again and I rest in that. It goes against every bone in our bodies to ask for money. Yet the Lord has made it clear that this is an area He desires to refine in us. Humbling ourselves enough to say publicly this isn't in the budget. Allowing others who maybe can't go 1/2 way across the world for various reasons share in this journey by helping out monetarily. I was sharing my heart with a friend and she so wisely told me I was possibly taking away other peoples joy and blessing by not sharing what God was doing and what the need was.

Most of all we covet your prayers as we work through all of these details. Prayer for our children, prayer for the timing, and prayer that Gods will be done. In order to take donations if that is what is on your heart, I've set up a chip in account, I will post the link at the bottom of this post and it will remain on my side bar until I leave. Once the financial goal is met (having full faith that it will be) I will be taking the donation information down. This trip is relatively inexpensive in comparison to other mission trips to Africa. I need $235 bucks to hold my spot, my husband has said we'll be putting that down in faith. The biggest expense is the airfare. I have a goal of $2500 and whatever is not used on airfare/food will be used to purchase items in country to meet the immediate needs of those I come in contact with. Amazingly enough Dave and Rae are putting all of us up in their Ethiopia Guest House at no charge, Dave is the one arranging the trip and has done an AMAZING job thus far of putting all the details together. If this is something you'd like to do as well I encourage you to contact Dave or email me and I'll get you in touch with him. We are excited to see God provide and are grateful for this opportunity to share with our friends and family what God is doing in our hearts.


Christy. said...

Oh my, oh my!!! This is SO amazing! I know that God has us, in some way, serving Ethiopia. I have told Jeff from the beginning that I would go over on a missions trip if we don't adopt, or go over sometime after we adopt.
I am going to PRAY, PRAY, PRAY about this and Jeff and I will be talking lots!
I am SO excited for you! That's what it's all about, being Jesus' hands and feet!
How long is the trip? When is it?

Blog Shmog said...

Oh gosh, if I wasn't in an incredible financial situation with our adoption I would support you financially in a second. I will definitely be praying for you. Before we began the adoption process I was set on going to Ethiopia with RLC in March. That won't happen now (unless there's a financial miracle). Anyway, this is really cool news! I'm going to go to the link and read about your trip now.

Carla said...

I just stumbled across your blog and I'm so glad I did! What a beautiful family. My son is named Silas too! He's not from Ethiopia though...he's actually got the opposite pigmentation of your sweet Silas. :) I love the idea of adoption...but my hubby isn't so sure about the costs etc. We have served in Mexico at an orphanage with our kids in tow and are hoping to go back next winter for another 6 month stay. Its a big leap of faith to pack up a family and move into another culture...but its amazing. God will lead you in your hearts desire to serve him. I find that waiting for His timing is often the hardest part. God Bless you and your family!

Eric and Cheryl said...

Erica- I can't wait to hear more about this trip. What an amazing experience to be a part of. I will be praying for you as you prepare and I am really excited to hear what God will do with your time in Ethiopia.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I clicked the links and am humbled and teary eyed now!

Unknown said...

I am praying for you my sweet friend! We still need to talk!!! Sounds like it may be time to do a raffle :) I'll donate hairbows :) Call me!!!

Eric and Cheryl said...

We are still waiting for word of when we can travel, they are saying January. We'll see! Our sweet Ava turns 2 on the 26th and I am so sad she wont be home with us. Eric works for a company called EquityQuest Homes. He was looking over my shoulder and started laughing when you asked where he works. He said, I want to know where her husband works so we can move to Pheonix and maybe he could help me get a job. LOL :) He has been talking about moving to Pheonix forever! He loves hot weather and sometimes we think it would be fun just to up and move somewhere for fun.

Have a good week!

Steve and Aimee Walker said...

Erica it is a great thing you are doing. So nice of the owners of the guesthouse to offer a room to you.