Before I post my travel journal entries for each day, I thought I would share a few random posts about Ethiopia and what we learned. I have been asked by numerous people, "Why would you spend all that money to travel over there when you could just send the money? You each paid a lot of money for airline tickets....think of how much more they would have been able to apply to the project if you had just stayed home?" I have pondered this and asked questions of our friends in Ethiopia, and here is a list of reasons I have compiled as to why we do what we do:
1. Money is not the most important thing involved, and we can't look at it like it is. Oh sure, it's expensive to travel to Africa, but when God calls you to do something, He will provide a way. He always has and He always will.
2. If we go to Ethiopia to adopt a child and never go back, the Ethiopian people think we don't care. We need to show that we are committed; otherwise, it looks like we are "stealing their babies" (we have heard this before) and could lead to the shut-down of adoptions. It's important for people from the communities there to see us giving back and making a difference.
3. We need to keep the culture and history of our children's birth country alive for them. What better way than to become immersed in it?
4. If the organization we're working for cannot tell a contractor that a team is coming and have a specific deadline, the work will never get accomplished on time.
5. We need to shine the light of Jesus and be a city on a hill. Staying home does not give us that opportunity.
6. We would miss out on a HUGE blessing if we did not go. We have met and formed relationships with so many wonderful people. The children at Kisanet totally blew us away and stole huge chunks of our hearts last week.
7. It changes us...for the better. After last week, no one on our team will ever be the same again. We have a different outlook on life because of what we've seen, and we've learned a lot more about God's love for us.
8. We are able to take lots of donations. Our team took 18 large totes of donations with us for free. To ship that much stuff would cost a fortune.
9. Our children have family members in Ethiopia, and so parts of our hearts remain there. We want to do everything we can to keep those relationships alive and well.
10. It gives our children a heart for missions. Shana adores Ethiopia and helping the people there. A couple of weeks ago, Jalen said one day, "When we get big, we're gonna go on a mission trip. Jordan's gonna tell people about God and I'm going to help people." And just yesterday, I found an assignment in Malia's school folder as we were emptying it of end-of-school papers:
To God be all the glory.