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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

.Nuts and Bolts.

Details regarding our call to Ethiopia from my husband, Jim.

Picture yourself standing in a grassy field looking at the back end of a cow. In the air you smell the faint aroma of barbecue as you watch this curious sight: a cow leaning so hard over a fence to get a bite of the grass just beyond reach, that the electrified wires at the top of said fence actually begin cooking her flesh. As you step back, you notice that there is far more luscious grass right at her feet. This is a sight I have seen- and a reality I have lived.

I was that cow.

For so many years I wrestled with looking over the fence and wanting a taste of the grass on the other acre that I now wrestle every time an opportunity comes into my path. “Is this my nature, or is this God?” For years now I have wanted to move my family to the place my heart calls home, but because I could never be sure it was what God wanted more than my affinity for wanting something on the “other side,” I waited.

A few weeks back my family came from all over the east coast to gather for a week of fun, hanging out, and rest. As a part of that week, we threw a huge “Ethiopian Party”—the works, Doro Wat, Tesga Wat, Dinich Wat, Injera, Timatim, and all the other sides. I remember everyone eating, laughing and reminiscing about their times enjoying the ET culture. Then, everyone left, all was cleaned up, left overs in the fridge and I sat at the table nursing my cane sugar Coke (a must for an Ethiopian feast). My head was hung- there it is again… the Ethio-depression. My mom was the only one left in the kitchen and she walked over and asked what was wrong… I told her I could not explain it. I could not form the words to explain how I was synthetically home for a few hours, and now have to grapple with being teleported back to the place where I fit so well before, but no longer fit at all. How when I ticked past thirty, all I wanted and want for my life is to matter for the King, and how I didn't—not here, not like this. Honestly, I can’t anymore—it is literally not in me, maybe one day it will return, but right now, I just don’t have it.

Fast forward a week in which God began to show His plan. Like a soft, “Are you ready?” My friend was in the closing weeks before beginning his life with his bride in Ethiopia. He told me how everything was going, I asked about a bunch of things—and then he dropped the bomb on me: I am closing the Guest House. I asked a bunch of questions, and in the end he said, If you want it, you can have it.

Instantly I was faced with the question, “Is this Him, or is this me leaning over the fence?”
So, we stopped. We put down all of our devices, all the screens, all the distractions… and we fasted and prayed. We begged, yelled, cried, and asked for clear direction.

And it came - Ethiopia.

So how do we proceed?

At this point there is still a plethora of details floating in space and a million things could change, but this is where we are right now.

We will be working toward a Business as Missions model. This means that the long term goal would be that the Guest Home would provide for all of our financial needs. We think that it will take at least two years to get to that place. The Guest Home has been put together and legalized, furnished, etc. However, it still needs management, marketing, etc. That is where we will come in. This home has hosted very few guests, and still needs some improvements. We may even change homes prior to our management of it. Because there is a transition taking place, we are unsure how much turnover there may be. You can pray with us that we are wise in the avenues we utilize to market and manage. Not only will we be hoping for provision from it, but there are many Ethiopian families relying on its success as well.

In the time before the Guest Home is completely viable, we will need to raise support to live. Right now we think those numbers look as follows: $35,000 of upfront money that we are hoping to raise from individuals, churches, and businesses (We have already raised $5,000 of this). And then we are hoping to raise about $15,000 annually, with a two year commitment from churches, individuals, and/or businesses. So, in total that would be $65,000 for two years. These numbers are subject to change as we are doing a bunch of research right now, and may look huge or tiny, depending on your background in missions, etc. These numbers are frankly quite small for two years on the field. Essentially, most missionaries to Ethiopia are raising at least this much money annually and it does not have the ability to multiply. Because we are doing Business as Missions, we can raise fewer funds (anticipating that the Guest House will at least support in part toward next year and in full by the end of the two years.) In addition, we are hoping to partner with an already existing ministry that has taken care of its own funding, so we will not have the burden of raising additional funds for ministry expenses. Please pray with us that God connects us with some individuals, churches, and businesses that see the value in what we are doing and support us as we move forward with this.

That is the survival part. The mission part is this:

Our passion and hearts lie in serving and ministering to the 100,000 children living on the streets of Addis. There is a new ministry project being launched for these boys and girls. We have spoken with the founders of Make Your Mark, Trent and Carmen Post, and they are in need of people who can step in and help. It is our desire to be those people. How this partnership will look and when we can say we are “on board” with them, etc. is all up in the air, but right now we are all praying though the possibilities. Tiffany and I are extremely excited at the possibilities here, as our hearts are drawn so by the boys who have been put in situations just like our Habi. We believe that our family is tailor made to help in a ministry just like this. We have read through the Make Your Mark plan, and believe in what they are trying to accomplish. It is a God sized, complicated plan… just the kind of thing we are looking to jump in on! You can read all about their plan here. Please pray with us that we would have clarity regarding this partnership and that God would continue to put the details together. It was awesome talking to the Posts via Skype. For me, the most memorable moment was their relaying the fact that they have been asking God to find them partners in His way, and how those prayers coordinated with our sensing His call for us. They will be here fund raising for the rest of the summer, and if things heat up, we may travel down to North Carolina to meet them in person and discuss things further. No matter what or how God orchestrates the pieces, we know that he has burdened our hearts for the street kids in Addis, and that is where will we be serving.

That is the mission. Here is the time table:

We are hoping to be standing on Ethiopian soil by the beginning of January. This means that we have to trust God to do some God-sized things. We need to complete Habi’s adoption (At this moment we are at a complete stand still, because we do not have the money to proceed. The next step is to petition the court for his case, but first we need to pay our lawyer $3,000 for that to happen. We have already paid $10,000, and we are begging God to provide for this need as well.) We need to sell all of our possessions – including our home and vehicle, and we need to raise all the funds in a pretty short window of time. Please pray with us that we would get those things done so that we can move forward with this time table. There are some issues that are time sensitive with the Guest Home, where we will need to be there to get things going so we can move forward!

In the end, this is a God-sized thing that only He can accomplish. Pray with us that He continues to light the way as we follow his path. Pray that we would see His plans and say yes, and amen to Him every time. Pray that God would prepare our hearts, donors hearts, our kids hearts, and the hearts of our extended family as they are forced into seeing their children, sister, brother, grandchildren, nieces and nephews move across the globe.

Thank you for always taking the journey with us!

Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.


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