Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Reflections on Ethiopia

If I could pin my heart on any one location in the world it would have to be Ethiopia. Not necessarily because of geographical reasons, but because I have fallen in love with the people. Today is one of those days when I long to be where my heart has been placed.

My Ethiopian journey began way before I ever even got on a plane to go, and it actually doesn’t even start with me, but my dad. About 8 years ago my dad agreed to commit to 3 years of going to Ethiopia, twice a year, in 1-week increments. The idea of the trip is that he would be training pastors in whatever culture he went to. He could have chosen any location around the world, but he decided that he would go where no one else wanted to. That place ended up being Ethiopia.

On my dads first trip, he met a little shoe shining street boy named Tomeru. After giving the boy a tip, Tomeru quickly ran away and came back with a pack of gum to give to my dad as a thank you. They both went on their way, and my dad had nothing but a picture of the “shoe shining boy.”  Who would think that in a city of over a million people that my dad would run into the same boy the second and third time he went to Ethiopia by complete coincident. This could only be of God’s doing that this happened.

The third trip that he went on, Tomeru’s friend, Ambzach came up to my dad and told him that she knew who he was. Dad was slightly confused because he did not remember her, until she told him that she was Tomeru’s friend. She went on to say that he was hurt and wanted to see my dad, so my dad followed her as she led them to his house. (By the way, Tomeru’s house happened to be a 6x6 room made of dried manure and sticks that fit all 6 of his family members.) When dad saw Tomeru, his leg had been badly infected because he had fallen on a rock which got stuck in his leg. From then on, my parents decided to start supporting Tomeru and his friend Ambzach.

Today Tomeru is about 20 years old. Something I did not mention before is that Tomeru’s name means miracle. I see Tomeru as a miracle in several aspects. First is that we had the privilege to meet him and to coincidentally run into him so many times. Now we let him know before we come so we can spent the whole week with us. His is family now, and I call him my brother. Second, is that his leg is now healed. At one point they even thought he might loose his leg, because the infection had gone to the bone, but now he is a champion karate competitor. And third is that  Tomeru now knows the Lord and has received the grace and love of our heavenly Father.

Tomeru is my miracle. Who would think someone would have so much joy in such poverty and turmoil. This past trip was my second trip and was even harder to leave this time. I knew how it felt to come back and the sadness I would feel from leaving loved ones. Not just Tomeru, but Ambzach (my sister whom I will talk about another time),  and all the other people I have met as well.

This song by Brooke Fraser sums up my feelings on Ethiopia pretty well. She wrote this song about her trip to Rwanda and the people that touched her heart while she was there.

Much Love,


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