The Trip That Changed My Life

Originally posted June 26, 2014. 

"All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along."- Galatians 2:10

It is almost midnight here is Ethiopia

We just got back from a true Ethiopian dinner- with dancers and all!

It was a long, exhausting day so it was nice to sit down 

We ate, we chatted, we made new friends

I still can't comprehend that I am in Ethiopia, Africa

But then we leave to go to another organization and I remember 

I am around children who have been abandoned 

Children sold into labor because parents cant afford them

Children who don't know who their parents are

Children who dont know where they will sleep that night

Children who have no shoes, holes in their shirt, dirt on their faces

Children who don't know Jesus' love 

Children who don't know any love 

Children who are hungry and HIV positive 

I knew my heart was going to break 

And it did, it does and will continue 

However, I was not prepared for the overwhelming brokenness 

I see poverty worse than I ever imagined

The streets filled with mud, people, animals and trash

No movie, no story could ever prepare me for this

This was a breaking of the heart I was not expecting 

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Today we went to an organization called Make Your Mark

MYM provides education, food and encouragement in an extremely poor areas in Ethiopia

A story of an American couple who take care of young boys off the street

They started in America and were later called to start MYM in Ethiopia

Today we painted and played card games with the boys - then Trent and Carmen shared their testimony  

I sat there in tears as they shared a story of God's salvation, Grace and Forgiveness

They way that God changed their lives and is now using them to change lives in Africa was inspiring

I look back at what God has done in my heart to get me here and it amazes me

But my love, my belief and my faith increased as I listened to their story and how God moved

The best thing about Make Your Mark is everything they do points to Jesus

They share about His love, His grace, His forgiveness and redemption everyday 

That no amount of addiction can fill their voids or fear

I heard these boy's stories- Horrible stories on the street 

Is this really happening in the world? 

But after a couple months of being around shown protection, grace, forgiveness and love

After a couple months of being in Make Your Mark

These boys start to believe the Truth 

That no amount of darkness can chase away The Light

They still may be poor to our world's standards 

But they are joyful

They are being restored

They are feeling love, peace and grace 

They know Jesus is the only way, truth and life

Only God

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God used Trent and Carmen's story not just to show me how BIG He is, 

but the fact that God can use anyone, anywhere for His Glory

Carmen and Trent were called to Ethiopia to serve and impact lives

They knew that God had a specific plan for them in Africa


Not everyone is called to serve in Africa

Not everyone is called to start a non-profit

BUT

Everyone is called to serve, love and make an impact

Everyone is called to point others to Jesus- in the way we live, talk and act

Everyone is created for a specific purpose for His glory 

And we are all called to obey when He calls like Carmen and Trent

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Wherever God calls you right now, Africa or right across the street from the comforts of home  

Make your mark on this BIG world we live in

I promise you when you say YES to God He shows up

He moves in ways we never imagined

He gives more than we ever imagined 

 

"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."- Ephesians 3:20 

 

So, as I sit here in Ethiopia listening to the comforts of Chris Tomlin 

I still am unsure exactly what my purpose is for this trip

I am still uncomfortable being away from home

 

But I know God was expanding my world view

I know God was going to use my breaking heart

He is expanding my territory for His Glory 

He was placing children and women strongly on my heart

 I know He was placing Africa on my heart for a reason

Maybe God needed to send me across the world to remind me how big He is

He is a worldly God, not an American God 

Or maybe He needed me to be obedient and say Yes to Him

Whatever the purpose,  

He is showing me that the poor and least of these are not just in my neighborhood or in Africa

They are everywhere in this broken world 

 

No matter where we are in this world we are called to love

We are called to serve  

Serve the poor in money, poor in shelter, poor in love

Whatever it is, everyone in this world is poor without Jesus

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To find out more or give to Make Your Mark click HERE