I want to thank each one of you for your thoughts and prayers while I was in Africa. My biggest prayer was for God to open my eyes to anything He wanted me to see more clearly. He surely did that...
I come home with a, once again, crushed heart for not only the orphans of Africa, but for the poorest of the poor in Ethiopia. As you know, we spent two days in Korah. My life will never be the same.
Let me tell you a few facts about Korah:
- Korah in Amharic means "cursed".
- 75 years ago the Ethiopian government moved everyone with leprosy to this area of Addis Ababa.
- Approximately 100,000 people live in the slums of Korah - the "outcasts" of society.
- The city dump is located in Korah.
- The people, both adults and children, spend their days digging through the dump searching for anything to eat or sell.
- God is alive and well in Korah thanks to Pastor Sammy Liben and Project 61 Ministries. They have started an education sponsorship program for the children of Korah.
Just recalling these things, tears sting my eyes - not because I feel sorry for these people - but because I feel sorry for us. You see, in Korah, children dig through the trash for food, they live in shacks smaller than my cube at work with dirt floors and no beds, there are widows, orphans, and the poor and needy, but yet there is joy on many of the faces. Joy that most Americans do not possess. Why is that? We are so caught up in our material "needs" and dreams of a "richer" life, yet we have no joy.
Here is one brief encounter I had in Korah. We went on a few home visits. When I say "home", I am talking 5x7 shacks with dirt floors, no electricity, no beds, no running water - just a small box, basically. We walked through the gate of one area where there were a few of these homes. The mud so thick that my shoes were sinking with each step. Children were running up to me, grabbing my hands, hugging me, smiling, laughing, and wanting their picture taken.
When I walked in, sitting on the ground was a man and a woman. A small child sat in the woman's lap. The man was shaving his wife's head. She was clearly sick and he was caring for her the best way he could. I stopped, motioned to ask them if I could take their picture. I snapped the picture and showed them. Their laughter was contagious. Their smiles infectious. I could not help but laugh too, and telling them over and over how beautiful they are. They loved seeing their pictures -- and in the midst of a dark moment in this woman's life, they found joy in each other when looking at their picture. I have not been able to get them out of my head since that day. Their love was so evident for each other. I am praying for this family...
God literally took me to one of the poorest places on earth, only to show me some of His greatest riches - the "least" of these. Oh, how He loves them... and Jesus says that someday the least shall be first! I am excited to see the day when that happens. When the people of Korah will be first in line with their King.
As I walked through Korah and reflect on it now, I am reminded of Psalms 40:1-3
"I waited patiently for the LORD;May God hear the cries at Korah and lift them up... thank you for letting me share.
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD."
Please consider sponsoring one of the beautiful children of Korah. Go to www.p61.org for more info or post your questions here.
More to come, I promise. I have so much to process. My heart and soul are turned upside down.