Saturday, October 31, 2009

sample in a squatty...huh?

Kenli is a very healthy child. The last time she went to the doctor she wasn’t quite two (excluding annual well visits). She has thrown up once in her life…she was still a wee toddler. So, needless to say, when the puke came yesterday we were both caught off guard. She grew sicker and pukier as the day went on. Eventually we ended up at the local clinic. After we entered and took a number, she was weighed and had her temperature taken. Than we sat outside in the back courtyard with all the other waiting patients. Watching the stray kittens and puppy helped pass the time. Our turn came for the doctor, where we were questioned, checked and sent for lab work. Now this is where Ethiopia has the upper hand… America you can wait days or weeks for simple tests….not to mention the drive to what ever random place you have to go to get the lab work done. Not here… we just took the gravel path, past the lady doing laundry, and into the last small room. There were two tables, a small refrigerator, three chairs and one nurse pricking fingers. She simply squeezed the blood onto a small slide and handed it to the guy at the next table with the really nice microscope. Than we were off to the “waiting room” again. Back to the doctor… Thank God it is not Malaria or Typhoid. Meanwhile Kenli is as pale as me (now that’s pale) and her fingernails were as white as clouds, as if she had nail polish on them…not to mention she was about to pass out and was burning up with fever. The next logical step….well IV fluids of course. This was taken care of a few moments later in the hallway/exam room/breezeway where others were now being weighed and probed. It was quick, painful as any long needle in the top of the hand, and once you saw past the flies, not that unusual. Than the nurse was off with the IV bottle; Kenli nearly sprinting behind so as not to have the needle yanked back out; back down the gravel path and to the other small room. Here she was put in bed….this particular bed being reminiscent of one you might see in a documentary about Romanian orphanages… we stayed here for over an hour while the fluids dripped and the mosquitoes bit (now we might need that Malaria test). Once the fluids took their course, Kenli had to go (in the worst way)….so we’re off… running down the gravel path to the outhouse… please picture squatty potty… me holding up IV bottle and Kenli’s skirt….her about to pass out….a slippery floor…the unmentionables of course …and the nurse trying to pass me a plastic lid (no lie…like off a water bottle) through the door so I can get a small sample …are you kidding me …there was no time for a sample and my third hand wasn’t cooperating anyway. Eventually we did retrieve a sample and hand it over to the cool guy with the microscope…did I mention the microscope …sorry I was a Biology major in college and I still get giddy around them. A large antibiotic injection later …and we’re on our way home. I should mention the doctor was fabulous and spoke wonderful English…and no doubt all were doing the best they could with what they had. My one regret… no camera …back in my scrapbook days I would have had it with me. What I learned…On the way to the clinic/hospital …grab the camera, OFF and a snack.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Are We Holding God to a Standard?

Today in church, as we all stood and clapped along with the upbeat music, my mind was wondering. Yes, I’ll admit to it. I looked to my right and noticed a man. He was different from the rest. He looked so tired and his body was worn beyond its years. His arms were rail thin and his feet were dirty as I would imagine a disciple’s to have been. The back of his t-shirt was nothing but holes connected by struggling thread and the bottom was very tattered. Yet, he had managed to tuck it into his corduroy pants (it is 80 degrees). His pants were covered in dirt, but the holes were still visible. They were held up by an old scrap of material. His eyes were closed and his hands were raised. He was praising God and I was captivated. Why was he praising God and I wasn’t? As I watched him, I knew there wasn’t much he had to be grateful for….but he WAS grateful. Am I holding God to some kind of standard? I will praise him when the promotion comes, when the sickness goes, when there’s enough money, when my food is hot, when I’m having a great day, when I hear good news……but most of my time is spent in the valleys not on the mountaintop. People I love are dieing, my friends are far away, someone’s marriage is failing, I walk past starving children, I worry about support, my daughter is being mouthy, a friend lost their job, I don’t feel appreciated….the list goes on and on. Am I praising Him in each of these times? Am I praising Him despite my situation or because of it? It’s easy to say “Thank you Jesus” or “My God is worthy” when you have a smile on your face. But it’s the times I’m broken that I need him most….and it’s those times that I am asking Him for things…..when I should be praising Him. He is still capable, even if I’m having a bad day. He is still Holy, The Creator, King of Kings….He inhabits our praises. I saw Him inhabit that man’s today. There is nothing like praising God. You can’t help but be filled with joy….I think this is the point. To let Him turn my sorrow into joy ….to be made strong in my weakness….for His joy is my strength. So if I’m not praising Him in every circumstance, then I will remain weak and full of self-pity. So I’ve decided to praise God when I’m happy and when I’m sad….when I’m laughing and when I’m mad….in my human weakness ….in all the places I fall short…. on the days I want to quit….with every embrace of a precious child…in victory and failure…. Because all else will fail….. But not my God…

Shout with joy to God, all the earth!
Sing the glory of his name;
Make his praise glorious!
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power
That your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth bows down to you;
They sing praise to you,
They sing praise to your name.” Psalm 66:1-4

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
And his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:4-5

Saturday, October 17, 2009

No Picky Eaters Here

There are things I have never heard here. For instance: I’m not hungry, I don’t like that, That looks gross, I don’t want to try it, Can I have the red sucker instead of the yellow one, That’s not the way I like it, This doesn’t taste good, I can’t eat another bite, I’m saving room for dessert……Children who have known hunger…They are a unique bunch. I’ve heard adoptive parents comment that their children have food issues, but I never understood it until now. They turn down NOTHING. Being a member of the clean plate club is not an option, it’s a matter of survival. Perfectly good food is not off limits just because it hit the floor. Touch so much as a bean in their bowl and you might draw back a nub. Eating is serious business! It is not about taste or pleasure, but staying alive. And these children get 3 meals and at least one snack a day. They have plenty. I suppose it’s not so easy to leave hunger behind. It must stay with them…even haunt them. It is so very real…the possibility that there may be no more food. It breaks my heart and honestly, it makes me mad. How do we allow this to happen? Jesus is hungry and we are not feeding him! (and for anyone thinking, “well, it’s not really Jesus”…you might want to skim through Matthew) Today, 30,273 more will die. The hunger pains won’t go away…more food will never come.
Dear Lord, forgive us! Open our eyes!

BONUS UPDATE: Our little girl “R” passed court !!!! Jesus Rocks !!!! Her family should be here to get her in a few weeks. I will do a post about her with pictures when that happens.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I love to be inspired by what God is doing through His people. I received a message from an amazing lady a couple of days ago. Check her out at . Her name is Sherri and she is from little ol’ Cleveland, TN. She has a heart for the orphan and has started Operation Giggle to do something about it. Originally she was just working with the orphans in China, but now, thanks to God’s hand, she is working with the little ones right here in Ethiopia too….with the organization I work with. I love the way God worked out all the details and I love Sherri’s obedience. They will be sending Christmas gifts to the children here. To find out how you can be involved visit her blog. I know, like you need one more Christmas project….but hey, if God prompts…….Love you guys !!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Kenli sporting her braids…now she definitely looks Ethiopian. Betty, who is the nurse, also does all the girls hair. Kenli finally got up the nerve to ask her to do her hair…and there you have it. Everyone already thinks she is Ethiopian…people speak to her in Amharic all the time.
Yesterday the children were playing taxi. They lined up their little stools and took turns driving each other around…they paid with money they had made with leaves. I heard things like “Café” or “Airport”…eventually I overheard “Wal-Mart” and “Payless”…seems like Kenli is preparing them for America without even knowing it…I had to laugh !!! Below is a picture of some of the boys lined up with their taxis…waiting on passengers. It’s fun to delight in the little things.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Jesus Never Fails...

Today, I decided to quit…(with some of you I have shared how I want to quit every day)…but today I was pushed to the very limits…my values tested one too many times…my boiling point reached…the lies of the enemy lingering by my ear had gone from a whisper to a scream…feeling defeated and unappreciated…I was having a crash landing…I was mad…and I was even madder that I couldn’t vent because no one speaks English…I had bit my tongue too many times…kept quite so as not to give in to the enemy… I am at an ugly place on the inside right now…trying to find my way…trying to wait on God, but feeling more alone than ever…trying not to throw arrows even though some people deserve one right between the eyes… feeling sorry for myself…hmmmmm… what to do…well cry of course… because I was sad…which led to … I have no one to share this with… which led to… I’m so alone… which led to … crying over a lost love… which led back to… feeling sorry for myself… which led to… why am I even here… which led to… I am a horrible mother… I think you get the pathetic picture… I am now a crumbled mess at the feet of Jesus…and than I remembered a story about someone who had a really BAD day… He was betrayed by a friend, arrested without cause, falsely testified against, beaten, disowned by another friend, judged by those in power, accused of many things and than a crowd of people who didn’t even know him shouted, “Crucify Him”…they stripped him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head… they mocked him, spit on him and struck him on the head again and again… they divided up his clothes by casting lots and shouted, “Let him save himself”. He was forced to carry his own cross up to the place where they crucified him… as he slowly died, they sneered at him and hurled insults… not to mention the agony, blood, and pain… or the weight of my sin on his shoulders… not once did he shout “this isn’t fair” or “I didn’t do anything wrong”… he was the King of Kings… he could of saved himself…it’s a good thing I don’t have that power…because I believe I would save myself… and from circumstances far better than the ones my King endured. Dear Lord, forgive me…on the days I complain and feel sorry for myself I am so glad that although I am weak, you are made strong in my weakness; that my lack of faith always causes me to sink, but you can walk on water; that my eyes still doubt the miracles I see, but your miracles open blind eyes; that I see a mountain as reason to change course, but you move mountains; that I fear there may not be enough food, but you care for me more than the sparrows; that I complain my load is heavy even though you held the weight of the world’s sin while hanging on a cross; that I resent the authority placed over me, forgetting you are the one who placed me here; that I can walk past a homeless man without taking notice, not even remembering I just worshiped one on Sunday; that I have no problem climbing up on a pedestal to condemn the sin around me, when I need to be on my knees begging forgiveness for my own; that I tell someone I’ll pray for them and never get around to it, all the while you are at the right hand of the Father interceding on my behalf; that I complain that my food is cold while others are begging for food; that I doubt the promises you make me, even though your words have the power to speak a universe into existence; that I am so bothered I can’t help many that I overlook the joy of helping one, knowing in my heart that you would have suffered and died that day even if for one…even if that one was me. Thank you for not quitting Jesus. Thank you for greeting me each morning with brand new mercy. Thank you for the shadow of your wings. Thank you for always moving our meeting place to where I am. Thank you that all your gifts are good and perfect. Thank you for letting me start over every single time I mess up.

“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in - behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from you presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” Psalms 139:1-10


Monday, October 5, 2009

Hush Litttle Baby...

We were on our way home from the store, walking down a street that was new to me. I take in all the people with my eyes, especially those lining the streets; the homeless, the unwanted and the down and out. Suddenly, there she was…I first noticed the pink hat on her tiny head…it was a baby, a very small baby. She was covered to her chin with a blanket…and her face…well, it had obviously been handcrafted by the Master…she was gorgeous. As quickly as I was amazed at her beauty and the fact she was on a mat on the ground next to her homeless mother…we passed by and kept going. They don’t stop for much around here. I looked back over my shoulder and wanted to run back and pick her up…but I didn’t…I couldn’t…she was not mine. I was told the mother would not give her up… she brought in too much money. I want to go back and get her…I am haunted…truly she is etched in my mind and heart. I think of her through each day and night. Why didn’t I stop? Would God let our paths cross again? Was she hungry? I would go back alone…but I don’t know the way or the language. I asked if they would take me back…”sure, maybe tomorrow”…that was 3 days ago. I think they find it funny that I want her…that I want to help. Maybe they are numb to it. After all, it’s my first encounter with a newborn living on the street. I want to pray for God to remove her from my mind, but I don’t…because that’s all I have of her. I want to remember…I don’t ever want to be numb. I am here not to judge “why” they are on the street but to be Jesus to them however I can…even if I don’t know how. I pray for her…that I would have another chance…it is possible…with God. Lord, I feel so helpless… I am broken… a failure.
“He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy: he will crush the oppressor.” Psalms 72:4