Another amazing Ethiopian day! The day started with a return visit to my old friends in Korah. I was a little unsure going back to it would feel. My good friend Brady (who has been there multiple times) told me that each time he returns it is better and better. He was right. Seeing all of the people, homes and small market when we were pulling in brought a lot of good memories back.
The instant we got out of the car in front of the Great Hope church, we were greeted by a host of children, many of whom I recognized and recognized me. We were instant friends again – holding hands, hugging and getting kisses on the cheek. What a great way to start the day!
I shared some of my pictures with the children that I had taken in August and brought back to give them. They were very happy to receive them and had a lot of fun seeing them. We were able to talk with the band of brothers and show Shannon the dorms, kitchen, clean water project which was recently finished by One Child Campaign, and saw where the Mission Ethiopia women make their beaded necklaces.
Then it was time to worship at the Great Hope church. I wish we could have understood more of it (the only words we knew in the 90 minute service were Amen and Alleluia), but there was no doubt that God’s presence was in that building. We sat with many of the kids that greeted us and one young boy crawled up on Shannon’s lap and fell asleep (snored through much of the service). She is obviously a natural at this.
Many of my Man Up friends will remember “Brady’s girls”. They are two young girls (kindergarten age) who have made a great friendship with Brady. We were able to meet up with their older brother who wanted us to come visit their house. Upon our arrival, we were blessed by their mother with wonderful coffee and popcorn, while the kids played, sang, and acted crazy for iPhone video recordings.
After leaving there, we headed to Mercy’s house. Mercy has a very special place in the hearts of Man Up and Simply Love mission teams. She is a beautiful 15-year old girl who has a heart and seizure condition. Thanks to the great work of Kari Gibson over the past year, she has done well with new medications and is prospering in school. Her mother, Mulu, is a very sweet woman also. Upon our arrival, Mulu indicated to us that Mercy is sick and sleeping. She told us that yesterday at school someone hit her and it triggered her heart condition and she is not doing well.
We sat with Mulu as she made us coffee and talked with her, trying not to disturb Mercy from her rest. After coffee, we prayed over Mercy, asking for God’s help in healing her. Mulu was so appreciative of our visit that she prayed over us, blessing us and praying for a safe journey home.
Our final stop in Korah was back to the house that my team renovated last summer. It was great to see the kids again, because the oldest is usually at boarding school, but was home for a short time to complete some paperwork to return to school.
Unless you have been to Korah, it is hard to explain what it is like. It consists of 130,000 people living in very close and difficult (to put it lightly) situations. Korah is where the people of Addis go when the city wants to forget or ignore them (i.e. Lepers). As my good friend Maste says, “No one comes here, not the police, government…no one. That’s why it means so much to them when you come, even just to visit”.
They are such wonderful people in the most difficult of situations, but they don’t complain and for the most part, they aren’t looking for a hand out. They are just seeking love, hope, and a little bit of help to find their own way out. I can’t put it into words the amount of happiness it gave me to return and to share Korah with my wife.
The day finished with something else that brings me great happiness…Island Breeze. For whatever reason, this local Ethiopian restaurant makes the most incredible brick oven pizza (not to mention onion rings and nachos, and I’m sure a whole lot of other things that I haven’t been able to taste yet).
As much as I loved the day, I know it will only get better tomorrow. We finally get to meet Zion!! According to the schedule, we will have almost a full day with him (much more than anticipated). I remember meeting Landri for the first time and if this experience is half as good as that, I won’t be able to contain myself.
Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we travel, meet baby “Z”, and try to serve these people and God in some little way.
With great Love, Mitch.