God.Love.World. which means Hendricksons.Love.World.
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And in order to follow this calling, we had to have complete faith in the last year, but more specifically the last couple of weeks. At the last minute, some of our travel arrangements changed and things were not quite as tidy as we would like as we left work.
In addition, on our trip, we ran into a few things that could have been frustrating too. When we arrived in Addis Ababa, we had to wait for almost an hour for our ride, late at night after 44 hours of traveling and a surprise stop in Sudan. Then when we got in the car, the drive was supposed to be five minutes. Twenty-five minutes into it, we had to wonder what was going on. We arrived, I asked about payment and there were some language barriers and we decided to discuss in the morning.
Well, morning came at 5AM local time as a local mosque and the Orthodox Ethiopian church were singing in Arabic and Amharic and kind of competing. It was beautiful, but loud and for those on a different time table, this was not helping the change and our fear factor as to where we were really at. Then there were the rapid dogs that were fighting all night, and a misguided rooster who wasn't sure when it was supposed to wake everyone up.
Add to that finding out we were at the wrong hotel when we woke up, but it was a blessing in the end with all of the fantastic people we met (which we later found out the hotel we were supposed to stay at was still waiting for our arrival), Isaac wasn't in the city and we wouldn't see him for another day which would require eight hours of traveling in less than desirable conditions. Kevin wasn't feeling well, so I joined the group of people staying at the guest house and we went to a market and dinner without Kevin to make some lemonade out of lemons.
As the National Geographic photographer I aspire to be, I was taking pictures of this that and the other, when out of no where, I was grabbed by some local men and they tried to shove me in their van. I had read the guidebooks that warned of this and responded appropriately, and they were not able to take me, thank God. I have to also thank the people we were staying with, as they were also quick to respond. (Please note, I did not go anywhere without Kevin and a security person after this).
But after all of this, I still had an overwhelming love, and appreciation for the Ethiopian people. And I can't quite figure out how in a place I felt so out of place how I could feel this way, and it all boiled down to this...
For God so loved the world...What does it say that He did? "...that He gave his only Son, for whoever should believe in Him would have everlasting life." Basically, He put it all on the line for us. So here we are in a place, where we have left (at that time) our only son, we are feeling unprotected, resources are scare, our expectations were ruffled, we had put it all on the line, and things didn't seem to be working out.
What was our response? To whine and seclude ourselves? No...It was prayer, and I don't think we have prayed more in our lives. Our prayers of our own safety, the safety of the Guest House, the safety of the children in the orphanage, the children at the foster home, the families traveling, and those without food. Our family we had left behind and more.
It became impossible to take any action that didn't require prayer:
- Before food and drink - to ask for the food to be a blessing rather than causing food poisoning,
- Before driving - to ask for protection from all the wearies of driving in their driving conditions,
- Before meeting Isaac,
- At the orphanage,
- While traveling back to Addis with Isaac,
- When returning to the Guest House,
- While traveling to the Foster Home,
- Before we went to bed,
- When we woke up...
Pretty much, we became dependent on God, which is what we are supposed to do as Christians. This dependence brought about some revelations, of which were how spoiled we are, and how we have not been loving the World as He would. Why did it take this scare for us to turn to Him (again)?
Well, the Lord has our attention and we are praying through what he has presented us with. The orphanage that Isaac was in recently had two children die because of their lack of access to transportation to medical resources, in addition to this they have many other needs, the foster home has some needs, and quite honestly, Ethiopia still has millions of orphans. So Lord, now that you have our attention, please tell us how we can love the World the way you desire for us.
In His Name.