I can't really explain what I feel right now. Our journey to Zane is nearing an end, but our lives as a family of three in Texas is just beginning. It's surreal to think we will drive to the airport in only two hours and we will not see Ethiopia again for years to come. Addis Ababa has been my home for over two months now, and it has been my son's home for more than 6 months. I've wondered today if he has any idea what we are doing today...that we are flying to the other side of the world...that we are leaving his country...that we really don't live in the Yebsabi Guest House permanently. My feelings are bittersweet now as I right this. I go from feeling sadness and loss about leaving this place to elation about going home. Addis Ababa has been the furnace in which God has refined me with His Holy fire. It has been difficult, lonesome at times, and painful, but God has met me here, and I don't want to leave it...Him. I fear I will forget how God came to my rescue when I was so helplessly depressed at my lowest points here, or how he sent me fellowship at just the right moments. I fear my mind won't recall God's words to me each week at the International Evangelical Church and the way the pastor always spoke the exact words God needed me to hear. Will I remember the sounds of the Doxology and the African, American, British, and German accents that filled the air? What about the chorus "How Great Thou Art" sung at everyone's full capacity on our last Sunday there and the way the Ethiopians behind us trilled there tongues in traditional celebration when we sang, "Then I shall bow in humble adoration and there proclaim, My God, how GREAT Thou art!" How will I remember the feeling I had when Mark and I saw Zane walk for the first time, and the way we praised God for allowing us to see that? Will my mind allow me to adequately describe Zane's birthmother's face when she gave Addisu her last wishes and watched us drive out the gates of Abenezer Orphanage? As the sounds of the girls that live next door flood through my window, I am reminded that they will be grown the next time we come here. I wonder if "R" will still love us, Zane, animals, and pretty much everything in the world as much as she does today, or will her reality become bleak for her? What will become of the kids at Abenezer, Kid's Care, or Kingdom Vision, just a block from the Yebsabi? Who else might come and watch them play from the terrace almost every day praying for them to have families? I wonder if the staff here at the Yebsabi will still be here when we return? Will I ever see there smiles and hear their kind voices again? My heart. I'm overwhelmed with saddness, gratitude, joy, and expectation.
I know I will struggle to remember the details of every moment here in Addis, but I will never forget what God has done here. He has shown us His presence in ways we've never experienced. He has reminded us of his faithfulness and goodness. He's given us a heart for Ethiopia and its people. And He's provided His power and His peace in abundance. The symbol of Ethiopia is the Lion of Judah, and we have experienced Jesus here as both the Lion and the Lamb. He has been our strength and He has been our salvation. We praise Him.
As Ethiopia celebrates their New Year this Monday, we will be celebrating our first day in Houston, TX with our new son, Addisu. Addisu means, "The New One", and it is a Christian name given to him by his biological grandfather. It is not by chance that Addisu was given a Christian name. God was His father all along, and He still is. In Ethiopia, September is the New Year because it is the season when the rains cease and crops flourish. It is the time when all things become new, fresh, and second chances are given. I believe that it is no coincidence that we will take home our "New One" during the Ethiopian "New Year", for our God makes ALL THINGS new. And we look with great hope and anticipation at the deliverance he is bringing to our son and his birth country.
We look forward to seeing many of you in a matter of hours. Your prayers have been our strength and encouragement for 9 weeks, and we love you. We are so blessed to return to the family God has given us through Christ and to our country that we love so much.
See you stateside!
Mark, Cimbrey, and Zane