A few years ago I got the opportunity to lead a team of people from Valleybrook to Ethiopia. Lauren Lebsack was one of the people who went on the trip and was changed by what God did there. She has spent a ton of time serving and investing in KVI and now Eyes That See. Lauren currently is studying in Dallas, Texas and wears a Rangers hat when a Yankee hat would look better. We asked Lauren to tell of what she saw in Ethiopia, and here is what she wrote.
"In July of 2008 as 17 year old high school student I flew across the world to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In retrospect, I am absolutely amazed that I was able to take such a life changing trip at such a young age. God’s hand was obviously on it. During my two week trip God really birthed a strong passion for the Ethiopian people. He opened my eyes and ears to see a people with an entirely different background, culture, and set of circumstances. All that I experienced became overwhelmingly beautiful; God allowed me to understand a portion of His love for this people.
Ethiopia as a whole knows the physical meaning of hunger like few nations do. To the naked eye the signs of hunger are obvious and everywhere! What this trip did for me, was it opened my eyes to the truth that Ethiopia needs the power of Jesus Christ more than anything else. I love that Eyes that See isn’t only focused on the physical need but also the spiritual. As partners of Eyes that See we are providing physical, tangible support so that the love of Jesus can be known. Already Matt has blogged reports from Endris saying these tangible programs are sparking spiritual interest. Jesus never turned his back on the reality of people’s need but instead he met them.
When I look at the current situation in Ethiopia there are so many things I don’t know: I don’t know how God plans to feed Ethiopia spiritually and physically, I don’t know how he plans to restore them, and I don’t know long it will be before we see a major transformation. However, I do know, with resolute confidence, that Jesus is passionate about this country and has a masterful plan to restore every aspect.
When you latch on to the beauty that Ethiopia posses, like I did, you know that something must be done. In order for life to change for our Ethiopian friends something substantial must shift. I strongly believe that God is using Eyes that See to aid in this major change. But I also believe that we can’t only give gifts to sponsor our friends but we must pray…with passion. Pray for Matt, Nikki and their family, pray for Endris, pray for the children in the after school program, for the women who are now pursuing a career in hairdressing, for the start of the Keziah project, for the Ethiopian government, and for the churches. Pray that God would move in this country and restore all that has been lost. In Matthew 6 Jesus teaches us to pray “your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” I believe with all of my heart that God’s will is to heal Ethiopia. And if we pray God’s will He is sure to respond."
Thanks Lauren. You are a gift to our family.