Editor’s Note: Shay Sanderson was on our Mocha Club Ethiopia trip #3 from July 17th-26th, 2008.
As I prepared for my trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I tried to imagine what I would encounter. I envisioned a people of poverty and loss; a country with limited resources and dire situations. When I arrived in July, I realized my visions were tainted by my American way of thinking. Don’t get me wrong – these people do face poverty and loss. They don’t have a lot of things – but they have hope. They have love. They have a smile and a happiness that comes from something greater than the sum of their being. They have a faith in God that many cannot understand.
As we spent time loving the people and learning their culture, I realized something. As an American, I tend to see things very black and white. I like to think that there is room for gray, but I rarely open myself up to the possibility of a third color. While I was there and since I have returned home, God has continued to open my eyes to the possibilities of His love. He does not see two or even three colors, God sees every color-every spectrum of the rainbow.
Many others have talked about the street boys of Ambo. The time we spent with those boys was heartbreaking, to say the least. But it was also a joyful time. Watching them care for each other in a way that is indescribable really stayed with me. I only hope that as a generation, we can teach others to care for one another the way those boys do. They took the time to see that the other had food, clothing, a place to sit. It was remarkable! I know that it may seem second nature to be aware if someone has food-but when you have no parents to teach you those things, and you have no one else to rely on but yourself – it was a blessing to see!
Throughout the trip, and even before, I felt God leading me to do something to help these kids-something more permanent than spending 2 weeks with them in July. On our trip, we got to hang out with the children at a few orphanages. While we were there, I really felt God calling me to adopt. The more I would stand there and take in their surroundings, the more I could hear His voice. After many nights of talking, crying, praying, and journaling, I was sure about what I had to do. When I returned home, I immediately found an adoption agency and started the adoption process. I can’t wait to actually hold my own child and know that I have helped one-for now anyway 😉
One of my favorite quotes is, “I will go to my grave with the life that I gave.” And that is what I want to do. I want to give my life to help the lives of others. Through this trip, I really feel that I connected with a group of people that love purely, with no pre-conceived notions of what is in it for them. And each day I strive to become that person!