Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Heart Is In Korah

Hello, friends...
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.
From the smell of the mountains of trash, to the feel of the mud between my toes, to the tiniest of hands slipping into mine as I walked down the mud filled streets, to the desperate cries of a woman who just lost her husband to AIDS and she is now dying, too, while her 3 children watch... God is in Korah -- and so is my heart.

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;
              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."
May God hear the cries at Korah and lift them up... thank you for letting me share.

Please consider sponsoring one of the beautiful children of Korah. Go to 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.


Me said...

I want that joy, man!!!

La Dolce Vita: The Sweet Life said...

Thank you, Laura, for sharing your heart and your experience. I hope you'll share more. It truly is a gift. God will use your voice to touch many. Speak FOR them.

These little faces just burn holes in my heart. Their joy is such a beautiful thing. As you said, it is a reminder of OUR poverty...poverty of spirit (faith, joy, etc.). That they could exude such joy despite their circumstances, makes me feel so selfish, so stuck in my own world. May we all live a little bit less for ourselves every day.

God is good. He heart is with them. That is evident.

We'll be praying, and would love to support the education fund more. Will check out the website.

Emy said...

Wow! I was just reading all about this on ordinary hero's blog too. I just kept thinking of you and the little girl you were able to sponsor as I was reading and then saw this post.

Thank you for sharing the experience and these amazing joyful people with us! Praying for all!

emily said...

Oh, really no words. I feel blessed that we will be able to go there in October and meet dental needs, and SEE their joy. Thank you for sharing.

Unknown said...


Thank you so much for this post. Korah was the most beautiful place I've ever seen and each morning I wake up dreaming about being there again and finding myself less and less concered with the things that use to be all consuming.

Erin said...

What a beautiful post. After coming back, it's so hard to put thoughts into words and express the depth of your heart change. But you described it beautifully. These people truly are remarkable and I am forever linked to them, as well. Isn't it amazing how God sends us to care for the least of these, and THEY show US what it means to live an abundant life?

Angela said...

Beautiful. Want to see it for myself. Keep the posts and pictures coming!

Lennah and Delylah's mom said...

Thank you Laura for sharing this post. I have contacted them about sponsorship as well or least of all a one time donation.
Your post has certainly touched me.

Anonymous said...

Just look into their eyes and you see happiness, amazing! Darlene

NaCole said...

Moved by your words, by the pictures and by the Holy Spirit. Thank you for going...thank you for sharing...thank you for serving. May our God continue to direct your steps.

Robbins' Nest said...

beautiful post, beautiful people. Praying for the joyful souls of Korah. Thank you for going and loving on them.

Melinda said...

Wow, beautiful post! Thank you for sharing your heart, it is amazing how happy and joyful the people are of Ethiopia, goes to show you how you don't need "stuff" to know true Joy! I am planning to visit next month when we go and pick up our new son.

Nina & Wes said...

Just found your blog via another adoptive mom's blog! :) God used your post to minister to my husband and I, and we are trying to find out if we can sponsor a child there! :)Thank you for sharing!

Deb Lieber said...

This was a beautiful post, thank you.

Janie said...

Thank You Laura - you probably don't realize how many people's lives you impact that you don't even know - like me for example. You brought tears to my eyes, and once again reminded me how small my little problems are in this world. Thank you for bringing your memories back to share with us.