Posts tagged ‘Ethiopia’

July 31, 2013

Calling all coffee-lovers!

Hi friends!  As many of you know, Adam & I are leading a team of 10 from our church, Movement NYC, to Ethiopia this October.  In an effort to supplement our fundraising efforts, we’ve set up an online store from with Just Love Coffee Roasters.  They offer several varieties and blends of coffee, as well as samplers, t-shirts and travel mugs.  A portion of all purchases made from our storefront will go towards offsetting our trip costs!

If you love coffee as much as I do (or even half, or a quarter, as much as I do… because my love for coffee is borderline idolatrous…), please consider making a purchase from our online store!

Movement NYC – Ethiopia 2013 – Just Love Coffee Roasters


March 29, 2011

Follow You.

“God isn’t looking for people of great faith, but for individuals ready to follow Him.”

— Hudson Taylor

This song came to mind (seemingly out of nowhere) last week as I was sitting at my desk.

Lately it seems I’m living out the struggle to remember Ethiopia.  It’s something I need to fight to hold onto, to actively pursue.  My flesh wants comfort.  My flesh would rather forget.  Why?  Because it’s easier.  But it’s not the better way.  The easy way is rarely the better way.  Jesus told us that.

The chorus of this song brings me back to Mother Teresa’s in Addis Ababa.  It brings me back to a place so overwhelming, so heart-wrenching, so consuming… There’s a lump in my throat just thinking about it.  The chorus brings me back to that place and back to those challenging moments.  Every selfish part of me wanted to bolt as quickly as I could.   Rooms and walkways were full of sick and dying people.  And children.

If I’m being honest, emotionally speaking, I did bolt.  I checked out.   I was afraid.  As I wrote in an earlier blog post (“Journal Excerpts“), I knew that those were the people Jesus surrounded Himself with, and yet I felt like I could barely look at them.  Yes, physically I stayed, but emotionally?  I couldn’t have run faster.

I’m certain that I will encounter moments like that again and be given the opportunity to stay and engage.  First of all, because God is gracious, and I’m so thankful for that.  Second of all, because this is life.  It will inevitably get difficult and be painful at times.

Will I follow Jesus into those hard places?  Will I give myself to Him fully, knowing that it will not always be neat and easy?  Will I roll up my sleeves, trust in His all-sufficient grace, and step into the mess that is life?

I’m more aware than ever that apart from His grace, I’m absolutely incapable.  I just can’t do it.  But He can.  I want to follow Him there.  And by His grace, I will.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”

Matthew 16:24-25

March 1, 2011

Prayer request.

As many of you know, I spent two weeks in Ethiopia a little less than two months ago.  I’ve blogged about it here, and I promised I’d post prayer points for you.  I have yet to do that, and I apologize.  I’m going to start here with one request, though I do ask that you pray for all those I’ve mentioned before.

Please be praying for the street boys in Ambo.  I don’t want to say too much here, but our time with them was very difficult both for our team and for the boys.  Please pray.  More than anything, please pray that those boys would come to know Jesus as their loving and merciful Savior.  Pray that they would believe, that their hearts would be transformed, and that they would share their hope with all of the street children they encounter.

My heart is heavy today.  Not just for these boys, but for all children who don’t know what it feels like to be loved and cherished.  May we seek to show them the unchanging, selfless, perfect love of Jesus, both in our words and in our actions.

We have a God with whom nothing is impossible.  We have a God who hears us when we cry out to Him.  Let’s intercede on behalf of the street boys and believe God for healing, redemption, hope and restoration.  He is able.

The righteous cry, and the LORD hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The LORD is near to the  brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:17-18

PS – The prayer I posted HERE from John Piper’s Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ expresses so much of my heart in this situation.

Your Turn:

What’s heavy on your heart today?  How can I be praying for you?  What are you believing God for right now?

February 1, 2011

Reading material.

I’ve been on a reading kick lately.  Actually, I’ve been on a reading kick since I graduated from college.  I used to think I hated reading, but then I just realized I hate reading assigned books and articles.  Who knew?

Coming back from Ethiopia and feeling more passionate than ever about caring for “the least of these”, I went on a shopping spree on Amazon (thanks to a gift card I received this Christmas) and have just ordered three new books:

The Hospital By The River: A Story of Hope
by Dr. Catherine Hamlin

Too Small to Ignore: Why the Least of These Matter Most
by Dr. Wess Stafford (President & CEO of Compassion International) with Dean Merrill

It’s Not Okay With Me
by Janine Maxwell

Have any of you read these books?  What are your thoughts?

I desire to know more, both about the issues in the world and those who have given their lives to caring for “the least of these”.  God is stirring a lot of things up in me, I don’t know where they’ll lead or how He’ll use them, but I’m trusting Him with whatever comes!

My friend Kathryn sent me an email yesterday and in it she said, “He gives us big dreams for a reason!”  I love that.  Let’s use our dreams to bring glory to Jesus, to share the gospel with those who are broken and to care for His people!

I was reading Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper as I was on the subway this morning, and this prayer really resonated with me.  May it be the cry of our hearts!

O Lord, the suffering in the world is so widespread and the pain is so great! Have mercy, and waken the souls of suffering millions to the hope of some relief now and unsurpassed joy in the age to come. Send your church, O God, with relief and with the word of the Gospel that there is forgiveness of sins through faith in Christ and that no suffering here is worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to the children of God. Protect your church, Father, from callous thoughts about calamities that leave millions destitute, and protect her also from cowing to critics, like Job’s wife, who cannot trust the wisdom and power and goodness of Christ in the midst of inexplicable misery. Oh, help our unbelief. Incline our hearts to your Word and to its assurances that you “work all things according to the counsel of your will” and that “no purpose of yours can be thwarted” and that you are doing good and acting wisely in ways that we cannot now even dream. Keep us in peace, O Lord, and forbid that we murmur and complain. Grant us humble and submissive hearts under your mighty hand. Teach us to wait and watch for your final and holy purposes in all things. Grant that we would “rejoice in hope” even when present circumstances bring us to tears. Open the eyes of our hearts to see the greatness of our inheritance in Christ, and send us with tender hands to touch with mercy the miseries of the world. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

-from Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper (pages 48-49)

August 21, 2009

go in peace

bettyThis is Betty. I gave her a pedicure on our first day at Women At Risk.  I knew enough Amharic to be able to ask her name.  Then I asked how old she was- she’s 18. During our time at Women At Risk, Betty was awfully quiet. I’d often see her go off to the side by herself and just sit and observe. That day I decided to join her. We didn’t have much to say given the language barrier, but I think it was okay. It broke my heart that this sweet girl had been through things I couldn’t imagine. Here I was, five years her senior, and yet this girl had seen the hardest of times. When I was 18 I went to college. My parents provided. I had no cares or worries. Meeting Betty put things into perspective.  I pray that whatever pain and hurt she has suffered, whatever shame she may feel, that she would truly know and grasp the amazing love with which Jesus loves her- that just as Jesus said to the prostitute who washed His feet with her tears, He will say to Betty, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

August 20, 2009

hope for addis.

I met a beautiful woman at Women At Risk. Her name is Addis, and she has two wonderful daughters. Addis was quiet but so loving. She told me she wished she could come back to New York with me. Funny, because I would have rather stayed in Ethiopia with her. I think about Addis often, praying that she continues forward in the path that God has laid out for her, and experiencing His joy and peace. I am so thankful to Women At Risk for the work they are doing, and for reaching out to people like Addis. It is for her that I have started a new Mocha Club team (in addition to my team supporting Orphan Care & Vulnerable Children).

Please join my new team, Hope For Addis. As little as $7 a month can change lives. Hope For Addis is supporting the Child Mothers & Women At Risk projects through Mocha Club.

August 14, 2009

fun fact.

I can’t believe I didn’t share this earlier:

The day we arrived at the school in Ambo, tons of kids surrounded our bus as we were getting off. There were so many sweet faces. The first child I locked eyes with looked familiar. It hit me in that moment:

THIS is him.

The boy I just happened to use a picture of on this blog was smiling right at me. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to take a picture of him myself. But it was such a beautiful moment to see that familiar face– to connect what I’d simply seen online with a real, sweet little boy. I had him in my English class a couple days later. He was so smart and eager to learn. He raised his hand to answer almost every question.

It was such a blessing.

August 12, 2009

I miss you.

I miss you.

I miss you, Addis. I miss you, Abrahet. I miss you, Selam. I miss you, Segarada. I miss you, Howee. I miss you, Giftikia. I miss you, Tura. I miss you, Surafel. I miss you, Tadios. I miss you, Donawhet. I miss you, Romiya. I miss you, Derebe. I miss you, Tgist. I miss you, Sefen. I miss you, Genet. I miss you, Rael. I miss every face, every voice, every story.

I miss you, Africa.

[Warning: Several name spellings were butchered in the making of this blog post.]

July 16, 2009


Join me in supporting Mocha Club’s projects in Africa. When we give a little, there’s a lot to be gained.

For more information, visit the Mocha Club website. Their new website is being launched tomorrow!

July 16, 2009

broken again.

In the past week I have missed Africa. I’ve missed it so much.

But today I didn’t just miss it. Today my heart was broken all over again for these people. I can’t say exactly what brought it on. I just know that my thoughts and prayers were with them and the weight of their need fell on me yet again.

I can’t forget.

Sweet little faces, their little hands in mine, their big eyes looking up, all smiles. I can’t imagine what it’s like to live as they live. I complain about such insignificant things. And yet they find a way to be joyful. Their laughter is beautiful because it transcends their circumstances. It rises up from poverty and need and speaks their heart. They are children. They love to run around and play games just like any other child. They are forced to grow up so quickly and yet their innocence is written all over them. They are the most loving, appreciative children I have ever encountered. The smallest acts and gifts mean so much to them. (Matthew 19:14)

And then there are the women in Nazaret. The women who had been so used and disrespected in the past, and yet still found a way to open up to us. They glorified God for His faithfulness and chose not to dwell on the pain of their past, except to testify of God’s awesome salvation. Their mourning has turned to dancing (Psalm 30:11-12). Their need is still great, but their joy in the Lord is greater (Isaiah 61:10).

And the street boys. The boys who go without so much- shelter, food, money, education, even family. The boys who depend on one another and do whatever it takes to get by. These boys broke our hearts. Not only for the needs they have, but because they are truly boys. They are children. And instead of reaching out to them, their society looks down on them and avoids them. They need love. I am so thankful to people like Derebe who see these boys and see their need – both physical and spiritual. I pray that they would seek the Lord who loves them and take refuge in Him (Psalm 72:4, Isaiah 41:17).

I pray that we (the team) would find ways to serve these people while we’re here in America. If nothing changes after this trip, that would surely be a tragedy. May the Lord guide us in our giving and our prayers, that His will would be done and He would truly be glorified. I am so thankful for the things He has shown me and the people He has brought into my life. May I continue to learn from the beautiful people of Ethiopia. May He continue to break my heart for the things that break His.