Pastor Jeff Butler of Bonney Lake Community Church just returned from Ethiopia where he and Ben Hull served with Joy and Mark (who are still there) visiting several orphanages and YWAM's outreach in the community in both Addis Ababa and Adama.
It was an incredible blessing to travel and serve with the Adoption Ministry Team recently. My eyes were opened to see such a beautiful people with so many needs. My heart has been broken over the pain, loss and sadness I saw in the faces of both young and old. So many people with so very little - yet often joyful, kind and gracious.
It's hard to convey in words all of the sights, sounds, smells and experiences. It's impossible to fully convey how this trip has personally impacted me.
Let me share a few memories that touched my heart the most:
A little boy - having lost both his mother and father, a sister unable to care for him. He lives in the orphanage helping to care for widows, leading the blind ones around. He looks after the smaller children when they need a hand to hold.
He looks into my eyes with warmth and love, hugs me tightly and kisses my cheek. This little one has nothing on this earth to offer - nothing to give - except love! How could one who's lost so much, love so much? The orphanage director tells me that "On this earth he has only God." I will never forget how he ministered to me, when I thought I was there to minister to him.
A little girl - who asked, "Where is my family?" When would she be adopted? Tears running down her cheeks as we prayed over her life. Is she "the least of these" Jesus referred to? An Ethiopian, orphaned, girl, child with HIV? Yes, she is one of these precious ones dear to Jesus' heart. Who will He call to adopt this little girl? Who will love her and call her daughter? All she wants is a family.
A father - three children to look after. Their mother died only a few months ago. He doesn't have the means to feed them. His prayer is that they would be able to grow up knowing Jesus Christ. His only desperate option is to give them to someone who can feed them, clothe them, teach them and love them.
It's not that he wants to place them for adoption, but he has no options. A Christian father, just like me. A father who loves his children as much as I love mine and you love yours. Oh Jesus, do I know the pain of his heart? Do I understand his desperation?
These are just a few of the lives that touched me last week. I have many more memories. I treasure these. I'm asking the Lord what He would have me to do. My heart is broken and dislocated for these beautiful people and those precious children. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, would you begin to pray? Would you be willing to help? Could we not join our hearts and hands and reach out and reach down?
Let's ask the Lord to join us together and help Adoption Ministry to help these widows, orphans, mothers and fathers. It's truly an amazing work that God is doing through Adoption Ministry. I encourage you to pray again and ask God how He can use you to help "the least of these."
I will never be the same as a result of my trip. God use me. All that I am and all that I have is Yours. Bless me, break me, multiply me! We are His body, His hands, His feet.