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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sacred Moments in Ethiopia

Home from Ethiopia for just about two days now, each of us on the travel team (17 of us) are working through raw emotions and experiences from our time in Ethiopia.  Today, as I drove home from work with the trees and hills turning white with snow, my tires making soft shushing noises through the slush as big, fluffy snowflakes blanketed the road ... my eyes kept filling with tears as my mind tried to balance where I was two days ago, with where I am today.  Thanksgiving is tomorrow and we will be enjoying time with our families, with a crackling fire dancing in the fireplace, good and plentiful food made by those we love, and easy, comfortable conversation with sisters, brothers, mothers and fathers.

I have over 4000 photographs from my trip to Ethiopia and I will be dedicating time over the weekend to sort through them, emailing photos to sponsor families who are anxiously awaiting news about a child on the other side of the world that they have come to know and love. 

I want each of you to know that every single child at the care-points had one-on-one time with someone on the travel team as we went through each care-package.  Each person on the travel team is a mom or dad (or a sister or brother) that wanted each child to feel loved and special, valuable and worthwhile.  (Even the new children received a package of gifts that we assembled with extra items that everyone brought.)  Letters were read with a translator, photos emerged from the bags and little faces lit up as they realized these precious gifts were from their sponsor families. I wish you could have been there to see the smiles on their faces as they hugged the photos to their bodies. 

With excited smiles, each child tucked their package into a brightly colored tote-bag, nearly skipping from the room to show their presents to their friends.  Later, we noticed children reaching into their tote-bags to touch the photos, sometimes pulling them out again to look at the faces of the family that loves them so dearly.

This is Temesgen, one of the little boys at Kind Hearts, as he spends time
with a translator and Rob Thomas (one of the travel team members)
to pour over the contents of the package.  The children treasured
the letters and photos the most!!

As Temesgen played out in the schoolyard with his friends later, he kept looking
at the photos of his sponsor family in America!!

For 5 members of our travel team, they got to meet their sponsor child face to face. 

Please click over to Apryl Harbaugh's blog to read about her meeting with Jirgna, her sponsor child.  I had the privilege of being present as each person met their child and the intense emotion and love was so evident.  Apryl told me later, "I did not expect how emotional it would be to meet him for the first time!" 

I got to watch as this shy boy first came to realize that the woman sitting next to him, showing him photos and explaining each item in the care-package that she and her husband and kids had picked out just for him at home - was his sponsor mom.  With tears in her eyes, Apryl explained how much they love him and pray for him and think about him everyday.  And Jirgna smiled shyly and then reached out and embraced her. 

The rest of the time we were at the care-point, his eyes would search her out of the crowd, and he would come up quietly by her side and slip his hand into hers or just lean against her.  These were some of the most sacred and special moments during our entire time in Ethiopia.  Please click over to Apryl's blog to read the story in her words.

1 comment:

Becky Lee Burk said...

Karen, how exciting. I am so excited to see all the pics. I can't imagine how daunting 4000 pics is! WOW, I sooooo wish I could have been there. I know Sarah feels the same way. I pray that each of the new additions to TOB and Kind Hearts will find sponsors ASAP!