Thursday, June 19, 2008

New Blog!

Just a friendly neighborhood reminder: my Ethiopia blog site has changed! This site will no longer be updated. Please bookmark the new site, and check it often! (the plan is to update it DAILY!)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Oh....Is All I Have

The feelings of being overwhelmed have officially hit. After a crazy busy (yet wonderful) week, I finally got to the point today where I turned my phone off, because I couldn’t handle listening to it ring anymore. As I walked through Target, I wondered why I kept returning, day after day, walking through the aisles as if I had nothing better to do. I came home, collapsed in front of the TV, resigning myself to “take the night off.” As I sat, watching my favorite show (Jon & Kate plus 8, anyone?), I realized that I had way too much to do to just be sitting. I completely repacked both of my bags to redistribute the weight, so that I’m not stuck doing it at 5am in the airport on Friday. So I sit here now, reveling in the fact that when tomorrow afternoon comes, I can sit and truly relax. I hope.

*you must know that I only returned to target day after day because I kept forgetting to get something or another every other wasn't by choice!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

2 Days & Counting!

I leave for Ethiopia in 2 days. WOW! There are a few changes that will be made to the blog - mainly the site. While I'm in Ethiopia, I will not be able to update blogger, so I've created a different blog site that I can access while I'm there. The new address is I will repost this new blog site again before I leave.

Many of you have been asking me how you can be praying over the next little bit, so here's a good starter list. enjoy!

-for physical rest this week. There are many people that I am meeting up with to spend time with in the next few days, and my schedule is beginning to fill up. I'm excited about each of these times with people, but know that I have to keep some time in for me. Pray that during these "me" times, I am able to rest and focus on what's ahead.

-for sleep on the plane from Chicago to Frankfurt. On our flight last year, I slept a total of 30 minutes during our 16 hour flight, and was completely exhausted once we arrived in Ethiopia. It is really important that I am able to sleep during this time, so any prayers in this area would be greatly appreciated!

-for physical health (especially on the flights). Pray that I am able to stay healthy, and have no stomach or viral issues while I'm gone.

- pray for the relationship between Kristen and I. Pray that we are able to clearly communicate in healthy, Christ-like ways. Pray that our time together would be good, and not burdened by being around each other all the time. My heart is to be an encouragement and a help to Kristen - pray that my heart will continue to beat for this, and that I can truly be the encouragement that she needs.

- that I am able to clearly teach my lessons to the staff and the kids. I'm really excited about the lessons that I've created, and am hoping that it will be as much fun as I'm thinking
they will be (and that they will learn from them!).

- that I can be an encouragement to the staff in Zeway. I'm excited to pour into them, as they give 100% to their communities. I have a beautiful opportunity to bring love and encouragement to them, and I want to make the most of every opportunity to do so.

- pray that I am able to spend as much time as possible with my 3 sponsored kids, Sintayehu, Burtukan, and Masresha. I want to be an active part of their lives while I'm there, but it will mean that they initiate coming up to the FH compound during the week. I will be able to visit their homes at the beginning and end of my trip, but probably won't have much time through the week to do so. I'm pretty sure that their social workers have visited each of them and told them that I am coming, so I would ask over the entire length of my time in Zeway you will pray that they make an effort to come to the compound to see me (and perhaps they will even be in my English classes!)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Loved and Being Loved

Last night, my wonderful friends Jordanne and Katie planned an awesome going away party in my honor. Just because I'm me, I was hoping for a good handful of people, but didn't get my hopes up for a big group...and my expectations (or lack there of!) were blown out of the water! It seemed as though every time I turned around, several people had come in. It was a great night of being in community with each other, and by the end of the night, I felt loved beyond belief. People came and wrote me (what I'm sure are going to be) beautiful encouraging cards to take with me to Zeway. Some cards came with a general "read me whenever," while some came with explicit directions, such as "read 7 days after you step foot on Ethiopian soil." These cards make my heart beat with joy, knowing that they will be in my luggage until just the right moment: waiting to bring me encouragement and love from across the world. Things like this actually make me look forward to having a rough/lonely/discouraging day! Words cannot express the gratitude I feel towards my friends - people who know me, people who love me, and who desire to be part of this trip in such ways. God has truly blessed me with incredible friends.

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God...We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. - 1 John 4:7, 16-17

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I am sitting here, on the screened-in porch at my 4 bedroom house in middle America, and it's hard to imagine anything different. I've been to Zeway, I've experienced a small part of what life there will be like, but at the present moment, my mind is wrapped up in suburban living, and I'm not sure how to change that - or if I should. Suddenly, I'm aware of this tension I'm feeling: sitting here, having everything I need (and things that I don't) at my finger tips, knowing that two weeks from now, if I have a craving for cheesecake, I can't jump in my car and run to the grocery store just down the street. I'm excited to live totally different than I am now - to really experience life in another culture. The confusing part is how I should be feeling right here, right now. I'm not sure that I can put what I'm thinking into thoughts that actually make sense, beyond what's here. And I'm not even sure that makes any sense. For those of you that have been on the other side of this: is the tension normal? Am I not really supposed to know how to feel right now?

Monday, June 2, 2008

So Long, Old Friend

I said goodbye today to my first college-graduate-and-employed-full-time apartment. I moved out two weeks ago, but have had the opportunity since to drive back over, climb up the stairs, and sit in the middle of the empty room, reminiscing about the memories that were made there. This was the apartment I moved into when I came to Kansas City, and have known no other place as home in the past 4 1/2 years. Thousands of memories were made in its rooms, and at various neighbors homes around it. When I moved, I felt as though I were leaving these memories - and a piece of myself - behind. The past few weeks have been emotionally hard, not realizing how much I loved every part of that apartment, the neighborhood, and the many neighbors I've gotten to know. I am realizing that my memories aren't tied to the building itself, but they will go with me regardless of where I'm at in life. I won't stay in Kansas City forever, but what joy will come from thinking back to this home. I spent an afternoon there last week, taking photos of every inch of the place - so that one day, I can pull them out, show my kids, and begin to tell them of the stories that took place at 3525 Jefferson Street.

A few of my most favorite memories....

-listening to my friend Dan, who lived downstairs, play his guitar and sing his heart out to Jesus. Often times, I would lay in the dining room, with my ear pressed against the floor, just to hear him. Some of my most powerful times of worship came out of these experiences.

-sitting on the porch next door night after night with three neighbors I've grown to love.

-listening to Annie do vocal warm ups, and running over to ask if I can borrow a cup of milk!

-talking late into the night with friends

-setting up my tent in the dining room, just for the heck of it.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

So, Yeah...

I leave in 19 days.

NINETEEN DAYS!!!! As my friend Natalie would say: "Holy Helba!"