Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"Nothing Else Like It In The World" ~ Guest Post by IHH team member Mindy

When we arrived at El Olam orphanage, my controlling, over-planning self was not thinking about who would be on the other side of those doors. I was worrying about whether or not we would have enough sock monkeys for each child. One of my past co-workers had generously donated them but they were so cute and so big that we really didn't have anything else comparable to give to anyone if we didn't have enough. I think God probably laughs at the silly things we stress about. Usually they are things we have no control over at all, and that He has already handled with his attention to the tiniest details. Well of course we had 25 sock monkeys and 25 older children at the orphanage. The children were so excited to get the sock monkeys, and I just thought it was so incredible to see so much joy in one room. It really gave me a perspective about how thankful I should be for the little things in life.

We followed handing out the sock monkeys with handing out the beautiful dresses that the kids at Kimberlin had made. The little girls were so precious picking out their new dresses and just as God had provided with the sock monkeys, we had just enough dresses and shorts to clothe all the older children. Once we handed out the dresses, this precious little girl in the picture stole my heart. There were a few babies there with the older children. It appeared that if they had an older sibling they were allowed to stay downstairs with the older kids. Well this precious little girl wanted to make sure the babies got new clothes too.

When we first arrived we had dropped off some baby clothes upstairs, so I told her I would go get the clothes. The only thing standing between me and those clothes was the ability to communicate in Amharic the words "baby clothes". I grabbed my camera and recorded a video of the orphanage director translating for me. I ran upstairs and played the video back for the workers that were with the babies. They understood and brought the clothes back out that we had left with them. When I brought them downstairs, this sweet girl picked out an outfit for each of the babies that were downstairs, and then she asked to take the clothes back upstairs for the babies. We headed back upstairs and as we went she asked if she could carry the clothes. I said yes and filled her arms with baby clothes. I just thought I had seen real joy earlier. This little girl burst into the baby room with her arms full of clothes and didn't rest until she had picked out the perfect outfit for each baby in the room and helped to dress them. She was just beaming. She was just so excited to be part of the process, to be the hand that delivered the gifts.

I reflected back on this little girl over and over during the trip each time we were able to be His hands and feet. As we were painting fingernails, blowing bubbles, handing out bears or cars or suckers I totally understood how she felt when she handed out those clothes. I was so overwhelmed and blessed that our Heavenly Father who could fulfill all of these needs with a single spoken word loved me enough to allow me to be part of the process. Our team was priviliged to share the love He has so generously given to us and to personally deliver a message of Hope.

If you've been considering going on a short term mission trip but thought of a million reasons why you can't go this year then you would be right where I was last April. My prayer for you this year would be that come next January you would be right where I am now. I've now gone on my first short term mission trip and I can tell you: "There's simply nothing else like it in the world."  ~ Mindy

Mindy joined our team in September, after God had placed Ethiopia in her heart months earlier in the spring.  Mindy directs our church's large Awana Sparks club, and was instrumental in leading the "change drive" in which the Sparks raised hundreds of dollars toward IHH's water project.  Unbeknownst to her, even then God had plans... not only to miraculously bring the water project forward so quickly, but for her to go stand on the very land that had once been dry, to fill a water container with the water she helped to bring there, and to look into the eyes of the precious people of the village.

She has a heart for the Lord, the gift of leadership, views the world through the lense of compassion, and serves others diligently, as though serving Christ Himself.  As a team member she spear-headed fundraising efforts as well as became a point person for key donations such as medical supplies and...sock monkeys!  What a blessing and it was to have Mindy on our team this year and serve alongside her. ~Cyndi

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