Highly Contrasted Moments

by - July 05, 2011

We arrived safely in Addis Ababa on time, and with no sleep. It was 8 am here, but our bodies were at midnight. The plane to Ethiopia was one of the big planes you would expect it takes to carry you to another continent, but the staircases they wheeled up to the doors for our dismount kind of reminded me of those metal bleachers from high school. They herded us onto buses where we were packedinthisclose and began the journey to the terminal...I'd say about 30 yards. It certainly did not warrant the gas spent turning the ignition. An elderly lady in heels who knew exactly how my breath smelled looked at me and said "I would have walked that." Me too elderly lady whose breath I knew exactly how it smelled.

Our three checked bags were, if not the last three bags in the baggage claim area, then definitely the 2nd to last three bags. But we got them, intact and ready to roll. Yonatan (think Ethiopian for Jonathan) picked us up, and brought us to our guesthouse. He lives here. This is where this trip got pretty lovely. Yonatan is an absolutely wonderful host. He took us to get coffee. Really, really good coffee.

There is an Australian couple staying here in the house, a young lady doing work with women and children here, and a couple who adopted two girls a year ago from Ethiopia and have brought them back for a visit. She is from Chicago, is a nurse practitioner, and works for Minute Clinic. Jessica is a nurse practitioner and works for Minute Clinic in Austin. Say it with me: "small world." Yonatan upgraded Jess and I to the Master suite with two beds, a sitting area and a balcony. It is just like staying in a bed and breakfast in Ethiopia...

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...My Dad was admitted to Mercy hospital in Oklahoma City. I wish there was a way to type that sentence for full understanding, but it isn't possible. He has been in a lot of pain, but now that he is there he is not in pain. That is good. They are running tests to determine the cause of the pain he has had for the past several months that we have been thinking was a pulled ligament or infection. He has been to doctors consistently for several weeks ruling things out. We are now working to rule out cancer. I type that word as I sit here in Addis Ababa millions of miles away from him. I'm feeling a lot left out of the "we" not being with him, mom, Chris and Leigh and our family right now. But, yesterday morning as I was preparing for lift off in Washington D.C. I felt so at peace and overwhelmed by God's presence. I tweeted a Facebook status just to put it out there: "Wherever you lead. Whatever is clear, whatever is confusing. Because of who you are & faith you've given me. All my love, all my life, Jesus." That was a whole continent before I knew Dad was in the hospital. It is still my status today. Please pray for dad as we head into this confusing time this week. Pray for results that will lead us to treatment to heal his pain. Pray it is not cancer. Pray I don't hijack a plane and lose my mind before I can get home to him.

And then after all that, Yonatan took us to the orphanage and we met the kids. Soloman, quiet and gentle keeping an eye on everything while beaming a beautiful smile. Rahel, a little more shy. Her eyes smile first, but her mouth is not too far behind. She speaks less English than her brothers, so she lets them lead. Yoseph, likes to take the lead. He is a HUGGER, and he likes to give kisses and hold hands and he has a beautiful, let me repeat beautiful singing voice. I'll cry my eyes out. And Eyasu...he has an imagination, he wants to be holding hands and he says I love you a lot. Me too, Eyasu. Seeing Jessica with her kids is one of life's joys. Can hardly wait for the rest of her friends and family to see it too. The kids were right next to her the whole time. She showed them video of Ryan as they were laughing and saying "Papa." They are going to fit right in with Ryan. All 4 of the kids sang songs for us, showed us their rooms, held our hands, and showed us such love. I thought it would be the other way around.

I will get down in the floor and bawl there is so much emotion going on up in here! But, I have a God who is sufficient, who led me here and is allowing me to be a part of this time, in this place. It is confusing that all of this would have to happen in the same minutes of time, but I have a God who promises he never leaves me nor forsakes me. He never leaves Dad nor forsakes him. He has never left Ryan and Jessica. He never left these children. He works all things for the good of those who he loves and are called according to His purposes. That is peace in all circumstances. All my love, all my life, Jesus.

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