“What would Jesus say, what would Jesus do?
Where would Jesus go? We’ve got to go there too.
He wants to love them, love them through me and you.
We must be his voice, we must be His hands,
We must show His heart so they understand,
Brothers and sisters, we’ve got it His work to do……” (Julie Miller)
That moment, that week, at GA/Acteens camp changed my life forever. I had never taken time to look beyond my own struggles or to see what others around me may be going through. Because of that moment, I've never been the same and I’ve never stopped having that heartbeat for serving and missions. For years believed I would be a missionary in Africa. In all honesty, at that point in my life I wanted to be a martyr and die serving God working in an underground church. It’s amazing what a husband and kids will do to change that type of perspective and dream.
As life changed and different opportunities presented themselves I chose to continue living, serving and loving but always held on to the dream that I would one day have the chance to serve in Africa. Twenty years later with trips to Hungary, Romania, Greece, Dominican Republic and Haiti, hasn't dulled the tug at my heart I felt during that skit at camp which inspired the most real and purest desire to just serve God through missions. As I sit typing this up from the heart of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia I continue to be in awe that I am finally, 20 years later, in Africa, amazed at how I got here and I so very thankful.
I never could have imagined the opportunity I happened to stumble across on the Facebook page of a Canadian friend (an adopting from Haiti mom) who had a post from musician Andrew Allen asking people to enter a video contest for a chance to win a pretty much FREE (major expenses paid for) trip to Ethiopia.
It’s rare that someone gets a legitimate opportunity like that so I did some research on the sponsors, Canadian Humanitarian and Kids Hope Ethiopia (the US side of the organization), and was not only impressed but felt like the work they are actively doing in Ethiopia is something that needs to be shared and used as a model for other ministries so I put together a little video that showed the humanitarian work I’ve done over the years and why I wanted to go to Africa. Voting created a Top 5 that was then evaluated by a board and I was one of the very lucky people chosen to join on this expedition.
Four of us headed out from the US and Canada early Friday, March 27th to meet up with Deborah Northcott, the expedition coordinator, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and after a 12 hour flight from NY to Dubai, a 3 hour layover and a 4 hour flight on to Addis Ababa, we finally made it Saturday afternoon. We spent the rest of the day getting settled in their very nice guest house and adjusting to the 7 hour time difference and the fact that we had traveled back in time to 2007, according to their calendar which has fewer days per month. On Sunday morning a few of us ventured out to visit the International Church where we enjoyed worship music, also from the early to late 90’s.