Monday, June 27, 2011
and discovering her extraordinary heart. She is more than a
hair-dressing instructor for the women in the project and she's lived
a trying 25 years but a gentle spirit of gold is what she has to show
Meseret used to live near Somalia where she trained women in her own
salon, about 10 years ago, but she always had a heart for the poor.
From my understanding she is now divorced and has one son from a
marriage that God had his way in. Her strength is personified in the
way she carries herself and pursues the women she teaches. The things
she has walked through has made her extremely approachable and a
valuable resource for others craving restoration. I got to ask her a
few specific questions, all of which confirmed my suspicion that she
was someone extremely special...
What's special for you about this job?
God has restored my live from poverty of all kinds and I have found
freedom here. This is a place God has restored me physically and
centered my life. I have found a spiritual restoration as we often
pray together and are free to speak of God and worship. There is a
different atmosphere; it's one of helping, training, sharing tears and
stories, and restoration. There's even a sort of spiritual connection
with the staff and people from America.
What has changed in you because of this opportunity?
I used to work for money, now I work for people. I am here for the
glory of God. I get paid, but God helps me to rescue and help people.
God is here. We have nothing to fear because we are family and
friends. I feel rest and safety. My joy is in people coming here.
So many great, godly and encouraging people come here that I hope God
What do you hope and want for the women in this program?
This group especially is very energetic and they strive for the best.
I hope they will continue to train and follow their dreams with that
energy. They are a very special group and I expect a lot. I also see
their bible determination. In the beginning they were not interested
in having a bible study, small group or prayer time. But just last
week they brought their own bibles, carrying them proudly. They are
making breakthroughs, asking questions and wanting to learn. There is
an atmosphere that you can't avoid. You can't be here and remain the
same, so I expect spiritual transformation for the women as well.
How do they bless and encourage you?
Just this week they were sitting, waiting and looking bored, worn out
and down-cast. I, on a whim, invited them to pray with me. They
willingly got on their knees and cried to God. It's these moments
that are so valuable and change is so visible.
What are your prayer requests?
My biggest request is for the salvation of the women I am with daily.
I hope for them to give their heart and soul to Christ. Many are
restless, without peace and with unmet needs. I want them to know
Meseret has a beautiful and unmatched patience about her. You can
tell that the women love and trust her. Her presence is joyful and
inviting; I don't even speak her language but I find myself wanting to
be around her. Her heart and faith are big and unmistakable. I know
God is using her as a conduit of blessing and change.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
I think it is because it is very hard to understand and accept that Addis Ababa, Ethiopia exists at the same time Cottage Grove, Wisconsin exists. Our Sabbath Day really gave me freedom to reflect on this question and marvel at the work God has done in my life. As I starred at the beautiful lake with the mountains in the backdrop I was reminded that God is Holy. God is Sovereign. His ways really are higher than our ways. God grieves the hurt that has come upon His children more than we can understand. This hurt is not exclusive to Ethiopia or Africa, but is evident throughout the whole world. Nothing is as it was supposed to be. Ethiopia gave me a clearer picture of how truly sin has separated us from God.
But our God is not dead, He is alive. He is still in the business of restoring lives. God is at work in Ethiopia. Endris, director of LIA, opened up to us and explained the heart behind LIA and Eyes That See. Fifteen women that come from very broken backgrounds (prostitution, drug abuse, physical abuse, etc.) are invited into freedom. They receive professional counseling, spiritual counseling and attend beauty school taught by a teacher that genuinely loves them and believes in them. They are fed at LIA. Endris and others visit the women in their homes. They keep track of the women. They love them. There is hope for them because of LIA. The same holds true for the children. They are selected to come to LIA because of their great need. They are either single or double orphaned and they do not have adequate means to survive. The children that come to LIA are also selected because they have great potential and dedication. They are tutored at LIA in math, physics and english, are fed a meal and are importantly given a chance to be kids. As Endris told us of the troubles of Ethiopia he spoke with such passion and heartache. He told us, “the need is so great. So many are starving. But for these fifteen women there is hope.” He told us again, “the need is never ending here, but our God is a great God.”
I think if we really saw our lives the way that God sees them, we would feel the need is never ending, even in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin. For me this trip to Ethiopia was about coming awake. Our God is real, we are the body of Christ and He has so much in store for our world. Matt told our group that he and his wife are not special, they just believe God. Their willingness to believe God has spurred people to freedom. They have shown God’s love to women who would never imagine that they have value and lifted huge weights off the shoulders of young children. They have saved lives. All because they take God at His word and follow Him. This is the same quality that made King David “a man after God’s own heart.” We cannot afford to shrink back. Let us all take God at his Word and live by faith.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
me into her family's home is 21, like me. Her name is Betlhem and many of
the women call her "Beti". She lives with her mother, father and three of
her five sisters. It was a good first site for me because she explained
that her family is of "good social status"; they raise cattle for a living.
Her family is healthy with the exception of her father who struggles a bit
with Uric Acid, a condition resulting from eating raw meat.
Beti went through primary school and two years of college for housekeeping
and laundering. After college she applied to work for a number of hotels
and businesses, but was turned away because most places are looking for 2 or
more years of experience. She enjoys what she is learning now and happy to
be at the hairdressing school. She shared that hopes and dreams to open her
own salon after graduation even though it may be difficult as rent and
here are expensive.
She would ask for our prayers for "continued health and for good things to
come in her life".
I have included two pictures, one of Beza, Beti & I laughing (because a lot
of our time together was joyful), and one of the three of us with Beti's
mother. Although the photo I will remember most vividly in my mind is that
of leaving. It was pouring rain, as it often does each afternoon here now.
Beti took my hand and pulled me under her umbrella to walk me out of her
street and back to the van. With one hand she held the umbrella over our
heads, and with the other she supported most of my weight as I slid around
on the muddy rocks. Again I was reminded that in every intention to serve,
I am humbled to be taught exactly what that looks like. It's a blessing to
emotionally and literally walk through the 'tricky' and 'sticky' parts of
life with her and each of these women.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Thank you again for your support and prayers. The team could really feel them.
Monday, June 6, 2011
the eyes of someone here for the first time. I have heard over and
again from our team how beautiful the people are. They are struck by
the beautiful eyes of our friends, as well as their “million dollar
smiles.” Still, it is not until several days pass that we are able to
begin to see why God has brought us here.
Our first day here we got to see the new class of women. Immediately
it reminded me of when Nikki and Christy were here and went house to
house. The women are at about the same stage in the program. The
counseling is helping them to make sense of their stories and they are
beginning to believe that there is hope available. As we walked in we
saw that they had moved the salon to a bigger room where there was
more lighting. In the corner was a photo of the first graduating
class. I wonder how many photos God will allow us to put on the wall.
A few hours later the seventh grade arrived. As they walked in our
team was so excited. We don’t know their language, so we spoke
through the universal language of superballs and soccer. It took
several day, but just yesterday Kyle said that the kids are running to
greet him instead of the other way around.
This team is a gift. They will spend some time writing what they have
seen so far, but I want to thank you right now for your prayers and
support. It has been a great trip already, and we are not finished
Saturday, June 4, 2011
If I didn't have Jesus now, it would be hard to know what is good and bad because without Jesus there is no Holy Spirit, without the Holy Spirit there is no way of knowing what is good or bad. Parents can't always protect you from every single bad thing, sometimes you just have to depend and trust the Holy Spirit. That is the best thing Jesus has given us.
- Ezra Ness
12 years old
Friday, June 3, 2011
This is 22 year old Roman. She is one of the women in our second group of The Kezhiah Project. She is unmarried and without children so this is a very critical time in her life. Now is the time for Roman to make a huge decision about her future.
Because of Eyes That See, she will have the opportunity to receive a trade/skill and finish up her education. She has currently only completed the elementary level. Not only is her life changed and she is now able to provide for herself, but she also gets to feel the love of her Father God through it all.
Thank you so much for your continued support of Eyes That See. We will be hearing from the team that is currently there very soon.