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Sunday, August 11, 2013

This week is about remembering.....

August 11, 2012, one year ago today, we were on our way to Ethiopia with great anticipation of all that God planned out for us!  Gabe, Jordan, Todd and I were so excited to leave GR and begin our 26 hours of travel to Addis Abbaba where we would meet our families newest member!  Our family has been reliving this time, talking about what a fantastic trip it was, looking through the photo albums and reading the journal that I wrote.  

I know you're not supposed to wish time away and that living in the past isn't good either...but oh how I wish I could relive what we experienced a year ago!  Having never traveled out of the country (except to Hawaii and the Caribbean) it was an anxious and yet exciting time for me.  I am not gonna pretend that my stomach wasn't in knots a few times or that I didn't pray many times for protection, and I still am humbled how God proved Himself faithful over and over.  

We met so many wonderful people in Ethiopia!  We keep up with them through email when we can and talk of getting together one day again.  I truly fell in love with Ethiopia and dream of going back one day.  

This past week, Jordan and I stepped outside to the smell of smoke from a fire.  Jordan immediately said "Oh, I smell Ethiopia!"  It has such a unique smoky smell that you never forget and that we learned to just love.  I smelled it immediately and just teared up.  Although it was more than likely someone burning their trash, it was a sensory flashback that gave me chills.  ...someday...

Not sure I shared this before, but this the referral picture that we received of Kyah on July 13, 2012.   Just one month to the day later, she was in my arms!

This is Dongite (her Ethiopian name) at one year old.  She weighed 17 pounds and was 29 inches long.  She was malnourished for the first year of her life.  When moved to a "nicer" orphanage, she ate corn porage, mushed carrots and sweet potatoes, lots of noodles and was on formula.  She had absolutely no protein foods at all.  When we had initial labs taken on her back in the US, she was very anemic (no doubt with that diet!)  And eventually were referred to a pediatric hematologist at DeVos Hospital for further testing.  Thankfully, as her diet improved, so did her hemoglobin!  I can't imagine where her iron levels would be had she not been given eggs, ham, chicken, and good ol' Klaasen beef!  I am so thankful that she has this opportunity to flourish! 


Which brings me to this topic....we in America have it made!  We may at times not think so, but comparatively, we absolutely do!!  Even the poor here in the US will be able to go to a food pantry, soup kitchen, get welfare, food stamps, WIC cards, Bridge cards, free health care, live at a mission, etc, etc....  Most places in the world, if you're poor, you're poor.  It's as simple (or complicated) as that!  Perhaps if you are fortunate enough to live in a place where World Vision, Compassion International, or the like, are available, you are able to receive daily necessities.   I found this following information staggerding:

If your family income is $10,000 a year, you are wealthier than 84 percent of the world. If it's $50,000 or more a year, you make more than 99 percent of the world. (taken from Oregon Live in August of 2012).

Why is it that God plants you, where He plants you?  I have come to the conclusion that God has put me here in the affluent United States of America to see what I can accomplish for His Kingdom.  Not that I can make everything all better, but that I can use my gifts and my heart to help where I can.  Todd and I have sponsored kids through World Vision since the day we married. (over 22 years of being sponsors!)  It is something that we see as a privilege and are honored to do so.  We are raising our children to have hearts for others who need help and I see them jumping to causes that they are able to in order to help others.  Gabe, Jordan and Jesse each have their own children whom they sponsor.  We didn't tell them to do it, they each, on their own, did it!  We are fortunate that we have a small business in which they each can work at and make their own money.  And, they are using their money to help others!  Each of them have a really cool, unique story, but I have to say that Jesse's is tops!  I don't want to publish his "story" in this blog, so if you see me sometime and ask about it, I'll be glad to share it. It'll put a tear in your eye.

What can YOU do for what the world considers garbage, unwanted and useless?  Each person created was created for a purpose and in God's own image.  Not everyone is called to adopt, but everyone is called to help.  Christians should get it.  But, many just don't.  It's really sad to me!  Orphans are people.  Many are all alone.  No hope.  No chance.  No future.  No purpose.  Is God calling you to make a difference in just one little life?