So here's something new: I'm going to two weeks.

by - June 14, 2011

“Oh! The Places You’ll Go!” By God’s Grace, for me, it looks like that is going to include Ethiopia. Even a week ago, I never would have thought Africa would be on my travel itinerary. Truth be told, I’m kind of a sissy, and Africa seems a little ominous to me. I have admired my friends like Seth and Marianne, and Sarah, and Heidi and Joel who love Africa, and have felt a call on their lives to serve there. Me, I’ve been thinking about mission opportunities in Ireland. You know, just keeping my eyes open. J

However, when you pray “Lord, send me” He gets to choose where, and it is usually where we never dreamed; and the blessing is far beyond our expectations. The last 4 years of my life are a testimony to that truth. My last blog was about my time in Austin with my friends Ryan and Jessica Walling, not every blog I write will include them, but...Ryan and Jessica are High School sweethearts who have been married for nearly 12 years. For those of you who understand the pain of infertility, you can understand their journey. For those of you, who don’t understand infertility, just consider one of your biggest heartbreaks…now you can relate. Several years ago Ryan and Jessica began the process of international adoption. God has patiently and persistently led them to adopt in Ethiopia.

Here is where the story for them gets a little bit radical. Ryan and Jessica have committed, after much prayer and confirmation, to adopt a sibling group of 4 orphans in Ethiopia who have lost both of their parents. I look forward to sharing pictures of these beautiful children ranging in ages from 4 to 13. Their smiles are breathtaking considering the loss and difficulties these precious hearts have experienced. Others from Ryan and Jessica’s agency who have travelled to the orphanage have met these children and are moved by their grace and hope. Ryan and Jess are so excited to welcome them into their hearts and home.

Then, Jessica found out she is expecting. How often do we hear of God moving this way? They had been told for years that it was a 98% certainty they would never conceive, but now they have been told this is not even a high-risk pregnancy. This baby and pregnancy are developing perfectly. Ryan and Jessica are experiencing the miracle of life and the blessing of children in ways only our amazing God could orchestrate. He’s kind of a big deal, and Ryan and Jessica trust Him with everything, even with what seems impossible.

So how does that equal me going to Ethiopia? Part of the requirements of Ryan and Jessica adopting their kids, is they both have to meet the children before they bring them home. Jessica is due to deliver in October. Bottom line: Jess has to go before she is too far along in her pregnancy to travel; and then she won’t be able to travel for months once the baby she is carrying is born. They have been praying for guidance for someone to travel with Jessica, so Ryan, who is a Family and Youth Pastor in Austin, will be able to preserve vacation time and funds so he may go when they are finally given their date to bring the kids home; hopefully within the next year. As their friend, I have been praying God would work it out for someone to travel with Jess, too.

I never considered maybe that would be me for a couple of reasons: I’m not a very good airplane passenger. Some of you know this about me. Ethiopia is a long long way away. However, I recently flew to Israel and back with mom and dad, and because of much prayer I actually enjoyed the flights. I even enjoyed the 11 hour flight to Tel Aviv where I watched some movies, read a little, and pretended I was on a secret government mission. (I like to play pretend. Don’t worry about it.) The other is I can’t imagine how I would afford to do something like this. I only have two days of vacation built up; I am fresh out of grad-school and don’t have a savings built up, and I, I, I…I can be ridiculous. I wake up thinking about going, and that thought continues throughout the day. I think I get it, but can’t do this on my own.

So here is the deal: I am asking for help from my friends. If you have just read this please support what God is clearly and intentionally doing for these 5 kids: the 4 who are half way across the world, and the 1 Jessica is lovingly carrying. Consider helping for Ryan and Jessica in their love for the Lord and for Solomon, Rahel, Yoseph, Eyasu, and baby “what’s it’s name?”; and for me as I am so blessed by these friends, and by our God who calls me to show love this way (knowing that I will be the one blessed).

The decision for me to go with Jessica has literally just been confirmed in the last 48 hours, and we are travelling the first week in July. Please prayerfully consider donating any amount. You may give through my PayPal account by clicking on the “DONATE” button on the right hand side of this blog toward the top of the page. Or, you may donate by mailing me a check. Please e-mail me at and I will send you my address. What is given will help me make up for unpaid leave I will take from work, then for travel arrangements for this trip including airfare and vaccinations. Any that is left over will go for future travel arrangements when Ryan will return to Ethiopia to bring the kids home. I will continue to share this story with you through writing and pictures. Thanks for your help, may you be blessed by your giving, and to God be the glory.

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  1. I love that you are blogging. LOVE! Ryland's aunt & uncle leave this week to go to Ethiopia to bring home their 4-year-old son, Dawitt. I am thrilled for your friends, it has been a trial for Ry's family, but so worth it! I love you- keep writing your heart!