As I opened my eyes this morning before it was light outside and listened to the chanting of the Orthodox Church, I realized I have actually grown to like waking up to the Indian-style music.
It was at that moment that I began to feel a little panicky about coming back to the States.
I like it here. I really do. I mean, come on, where else do you see chickens coming to market like this? (Stephanie, I thought of you. This is a version of an Ethiopian chicken tractor. Haha)
Sure, there are things that irritate me about Ethiopia. For instance, not being able to walk anywhere without having a multitude of people begging for something. Or having the power go in and out and in and out all day long. Or never being sure if you'll have enough water to make it through the day. Or wading through trash-filled mud because there's not trash pick-up so it lays in piles littering the ground. Or having virtually no one think ahead, so it makes your life very inconvenient and frustrating.
But, for every little act that I won't miss, there are two that I will.
I'm going to miss:
- walking outside on our dirt road and having moms bring their babies up to me to kiss.
- the children that run to me to practice the English words they are learning in school.
- the way I am encouraged at every meal to linger over coffee or tea at the end, enjoying the company of those I am with.
- going to a restaurant and having the staff play with and joke with my children.
- having people come up to me offering to help with the kids no matter how loud they are without getting mad or thinking they are ruining their space.
- having people stop and come over to help if they think you are in trouble without turning a blind eye because they are so busy rushing to get to their next appointment.
- walking to the muddy soccer field and playing with all ages without having anyone expect you to be good or care if you don't play well.
- being grateful for every book, piece of paper, article of clothing, and morsel of food, because all of those things are much harder to get here.
-seeing all the kids coming into Bring Love In and watching them adjust to their new homes and families.
- participating in ministries that I have grown to love.
- having the opportunity to be part of a church plant that's growing and making a difference in the community.
- the new friends we have made- those that were born here and those that have been transplanted to this country ministering to others.
-driving through the African countryside and just reveling in the the beautiful scenery, getting dusty and not caring, because everyone else is dusty, too.
There are more. Many more.
I wonder if when I get home I can stay focused on the lessons I have learned and not get caught up in the hectic way of life that is so "American".
And I am anxious about whether or not I fit in anymore at home. I am changed. My family has been changed. What do I do with that? What will it look like? How will it feel?
I pray God can use every experience in Africa to help me love my brothers and sisters at home with a new sense of the way Jesus loves them- those in my family, my church, my community.
And I'm torn. Between longing to go and longing to stay. Panicky? I'm sure there will be a lot of turmoil on Monday. Tears, too.
I'm praying God will show me what ministry is supposed to look like now for our family.
I was praying that we would eventually feel like we "fit in" again with our friends and family. But then I realized- maybe we're not supposed to? Maybe there's a reason we don't fit in. Maybe there's a purpose in those emotions and it will be used to determine what we do in the future. Only God knows.
Please pray for our family and our transition. Pray for our plane ride with 5 children (2 of who have never been on a plane and one who gets motion sickness). Pray our flights are uneventful. There's a tropical storm/hurricane coming toward Florida right now and we really would rather not get caught in it. I hate to fly. I HATE TO FLY. When I say that, I really mean it.
Come to the airport! If you would like to see our family, we're flying in Tuesday, August 28, at 6:17 p.m. on United flight 1291. Our boys are very excited about America. They know there are people there who are going to love them and play with them. They have looked at your pictures every day. So, if you are available, come to the airport and show them you've prayed for them. We will not be able to spend lots of time with each individual person, but we can hug you and say "thank you" and take pictures for the boys' scrapbooks.
Before you come, please read this post"How to be the Village" from Jen Hatmaker. http://jenhatmaker.com/blog/2011/11/02/how-to-be-the-village. I read this a few months ago, and saved it to have family and friends read when we came home. We're now at that point, so please, please read it! It's funny, not boring, and it will help you figure out how to respond once we're home. For our situation, you can skip down to "Supporting Families After the Airport". Pay special attention to #5 (we're already experiencing a lot of grief, and it's going to be magnified once we leave Ethiopia). Then read the part about "what we'd like to experience after the airport". Reading this would be helpful for us and also for any other adoptive families you know. It just takes a minute.
Thank you for taking the time to help! We could not do this without support.
So, panicky? Yes. For lots of reasons. I know I need to focus on God's word, so I head back to the Psalm God gave me 3 months ago to meditate on, Psalm 34.
"I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
6 This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them."