Today began with hope. We slept so well last night, woke up early to the sounds of roosters (and barking dogs), and we went up to the terrace to see the most beautiful view of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Next, we ate breakfast at the guest house with five other American families, and we loaded the vans to go to the international evangelical church. This church was PACKED with people from all over the world. The pastor is an American, and the praise team is American, Ethiopian, and maybe others. They have two services, both of which were full. The music was great! Hillsong songs were sung predominately, which I LOVE! The pastor's message was about fear. Hmmmmm...the minute I saw the sermon title, I knew I was meant to be there.
Since our arrival here in Addis, I have enjoyed every minute; however, I have become increasingly anxious about Mark's departure on July 22nd. I will stay here until the U.S. embassy decides to clear our adoption, which could be 12 weeks or more with the rainy season beginning August 8th. It is very nerve-racking to me to imagine myself navigating this city that is so very different from what I'm used to, especially not speaking the language. I have said aloud to Mark a couple times since we have been here, "I'm scared." The Lord has heard me, and this morning he spoke directly to me.
As I sat on the terrace I read the chapter I happened to be on in 2 Samuel. Chapter 24 is about David being called by God to build an alter on the threshing floor of Araunah. He has been told by God to buy it from him, build an alter there, and worship the Lord. David obeys, and Araunah emphatically says, "Oh King, I give you all of this. Take whatever..." He wanted King David to have it for free. However, David insists on paying Araunah for the threshing floor. David could have easily rationalized the "free alter" as a gift from God and claimed it as the Lord's favor, but David remembered God's words..."buy it from him." I love that David obeyed even the details of God's call. Then David says, "I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." Whoa. I felt like God gave me those words to reflect on today. What am I so scared of? What is the cost of staying in Ethiopia? My comfort? My security or safety? And what does the Lord want from me? A sacrifice that cost me something. I worship the Lord every Sunday in America, and I spend time with God in his word and in prayer. But it costs me nothing to do these good things in the comfort of my own home and my home church. It is easy. God is calling me to sacrifice.
If that wasn't a word from God that was clear enough, the pastor spoke on one of my FAVORITE passages from scripture that I memorized when I was a teen, "When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God whose word I praise. In God I trust. What can mortal man do to me?" Psalm 56. I was reminded by his message that God's perfect love casts out fear, and that God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind, and that my fears should drive me to love. These words really caused me to think about what my purpose is here. Yes, I have predominately come for my son. I want to bring him home as soon as possible. But why am I here when I'm not bonding with him at the transition home? Is it just that I'm waiting on government red tape? Oh Lord, let it not be! What a waste it would be if I spent my time here complaining about the process, the government, the difficulties of a new place. I am here to sacrifice myself, and love these people as God loves them. Every moment is an opportunity for someone to experience the peace and love of God through me. I want to remember that in the low times when it gets hard to spend another day here and I just want to go home. God is doing a new thing through me each day.
The rest of the day was filled with much more peace than I've had since I've been here. Our time with Zane was precious. He laughed, played, and reached for us to hold him. His guard was down a bit more today, and we found out that he has a precious little friend in his room that is being adopted by a family we know. It was a wonderful time together today.
Tonight's traditional dinner was an amazing even filled with food, dancing, and great conversation with our America World travel group here. I'll post a video about that later. Right now, it takes too long to upload.
We appreciate your prayers and kind words on facebook and email. Love you all!