We arrived in Addis Ababa early in the morning on Friday after two days of traveling (one day was not 'traveling', as we were delayed out of OKC and spent the day sitting at our home airport). The Hero said I did really well on the flights, which is great for me because as most of you know I HATE to fly. After meeting two of our team members and spending two hours through customs and baggage claim, we had arrived safely back in Africa. I couldn't have been more excited. For 18 months I had been aching to be back and here we were at last. Even my breaths felt at home.
Seeing Yemamu again was beautiful and throwing my arms around his neck brought tears. Seeing him again so clearly reminded me of the paths that God intertwined to fulfill His purposes and it began 18 months ago with Yemamu being assigned to show us the city by our adoption agency. Through those two weeks of seeing his heart and his passion for the people he was raised with in Korah, God planted the seed for Yemamu to start Hands for the Needy and I began to love this man like I did my own family. Yemamu proved to be such an amazing guide and trustworthy soul, I referred everyone travelling to Addis to meet him, which led to him being introduced to Amy and then my LoPa partners, which led to LoPa donating our profits to Hands for The Needy.
He took us to our guest house, a two minute walk from Korah, and let us rest before dinner. We napped and when he asked us what sounded good for dinner, our entire team laughed and screamed "We're in Ethiopia, Ethiopian food." We spent dinner talking and telling stories about our kids and learning about the projects that HFN had going and the progress that had been made in just a year of existence. By the time we left dinner, our team couldn't wait to see the center and meet the kids that we were going to be supporting.
Some people need time to adjust to time changes, sensory changes and the differences between being on one continent after directly coming from another. Not me. Not this trip. I felt like I was home. As if for the first time in 18 months there were no expectations of me, no time lines or due dates to follow and I felt my soul relax, as if it had settled on the back porch with a pitcher of lemonade and was watching the sun set. It was beautiful and all I could pray for that night was that God use my being to bring Him glory and to embrace every opportunity to show His love.
As The Hero and I climbed into bed that night, I felt like a kid preparing for Christmas morning. After a year of praying, planning and seeking God's direction, we were finally going to see the faces and touch the hands of those we would be serving. I barely slept.