On my last day in Ethiopia my group was riding in a van and came to a stop.  As usual people approached the windows to beg for food or money.  We were instructed to not give money.  But, we had brought some snacks to eat from home and decided to give some to people.

I passed out a bag of Cheez-its to a woman and her small child.  Then an older woman approached my window.  As I prepared to hand out a Kudos bar, she held up both hands and all of her fingers were missing.  She had two palms that looked worn.  She was dirty and looked very poor.  As she looked me in the eye I placed the Kudos bar between her two palms.  Our hands touched.

We pulled away and I had the strongest urge to grab a bottle of anti-bacterial lotion and cleanse my hands.  I wanted to stay clean.  But, I resisted the urge…

As we drove away I wrestled within my heart.  I  thought of Jesus touching the lepers, the unclean and the outcasts.  He met practical needs, but also shared his very life.  He seemed so comfortable in uncomfortable circumstances.

So, I resisted the urge to use the anti-bacterial lotion…

… for 10 min.

Kudos to Jesus for showing us how to truly love.

Help me God to stop trying to protect myself and stay tidy and clean.  Bless the woman with the Kudos bar.  Amen.

“Me, America.”

Kids on Mount Entoto

While in Ethiopia we traveled to Mount Entoto.  This historical site is covered with Eucalyptus trees (thanks to Menelik II & Australia) and provides a beautiful view of the city of Addis Ababa.  There is an Orthodox church on the top of the mountain that people, seeking healing, travel to.

As we walked around, taking in the sites and history, a small group of kids came over asking for money.  (Begging is very common in Ethiopia and we were encouraged to not give money to beggers, which is VERY hard NOT to do.) I began to chat with the kids in my broken Amharic.  I asked them what their names were and how old they were.  I asked about their parents and most had lost one parent.  I told them I was sorry.  We were smiling at each other and a little boy said, “Me, America.” I understood what he meant immediately from his choice of words and body language.  He said it again, “Me. America.”  In his limited English he was gesturing to me and asking to be taken to America.

I kindly replied, “Sorry, no.  Ethiopia.”

What does the future hold for this young boy and his friends trying to make ends meet by begging on the mountain?

“God, today, give hope to that boy.  Provide for his family and bless them.  Help him to know he is loved.  Amen.”

So much need.  God help.