My heart is aching for the people of Gambella, Ethiopia...the region in which my twins were born. Over the weekend, South Sudanese gunmen carried out a raid in Gambella, killing 208 people, wounding 75 others, abducting 108 children, and stealing 2000 head of livestock. I can't even imagine the pain and suffering that these people are dealing with.
I have visited Gambella twice, and have friends and family there. It is a beautiful place that holds a big piece of my heart. A year and a half ago, I helped to build an orphanage in Gambella Town. Kerri, one of the women that traveled with me, recently stated, "A work in my heart was done during my time there on those dirt roads lined with sweet smelling mango trees. The place where the tallest and most beautiful ebony skinned people live. Gambella is a tribal community rich with culture and relationships, along with deep and extreme poverty and difficult circumstances. A juxtaposition of sorts that is hard to describe, yet seared into my mind forever...Gambella will always be a part of me, not only because of my experiences there, but because it is my daughter's history and beginning years of her life. While her life is much different now, I am reminded every day that she is a gift from this beautiful and complicated region." I feel the same...and am thankful that God brought 2 little boys from half a world away into our family. As I think about the fact that Jalen and Jordan could have been involved in the raid, or in the recent clashes between tribes in their hometown, I want to squeeze them tighter, hold them closer, and earnestly pray for the children who live in such danger every day. May God have mercy.
Will you join me in praying for the people of Gambella? May God deliver the kidnapped children and bring peace and comfort to the region. Also, Ethiopia as a whole is reeling from a widespread famine right now, and millions are starving. Sometimes it is hard to fathom what is going on across the world...we hear of heartbreaking stories, but they are easy to dismiss because we don't know the people or don't understand what they're going through. Ethiopia has become a very familiar and beloved place to me over the years, however, and I entreat you to remember this country and its people in your prayers. Thanks, friends.