Mocha Club member Linda Strohmeyer is currently on the Mocha Club Ethiopia trip from December 27th-January 9th. She sent us this blog from the field…
So today, the first day of the new year, we are leaving Nazaret, where we visited the “Women At Risk” Program. Our hearts are full, our spirits high from sharing our time with our African sisters. It was so rewarding to visit a program that I personally donate to, as do many of my family and friends. These women have all come out of prostitution and major life challenges, most of which are beyond our comprehension. A few of our goals were to serve these women, to share our love and faith, and to open our hearts to the lessons they can teach us.
I have to say, one of the highlights for the entire team was our time praying, singing and dancing with these women. We understood why our Ethiopian teammates called us “firengies”. They celebrated their faith and their gratitude with a passion that was liberating. This is something we all hope to take back with us, and more importantly to share with all those with whom we cross paths.
To get into our servant mindset, we decided to have the male members of our team wash the feet of the Women At Risk and for the female members of our team give them manicures, pedicures and facials. For us, it was so humbling to sit at the feet of others. The women expressed gratitude for our willingness to show our love and servanthood which helped to confirm their worthiness.
On a personal note, I was most taken by the testimonies of these women. One in particular stays with me. Early on, this woman’s life was filled with difficult challenges that included the death of a parent, and sexual abuse and homelessness that ultimately led her to prostitution. To her, this was the only way to be able to eat and survive. It was her courage and her leap of faith in God that led her to to the Women At Risk program. Through the support of the program and the word of Jesus Christ, she graduated and went on to work at a bakery where at night, she would see other women on the streets. She began to realize what God had in store for her. She started to reach out to other prostitutes and share her story. She now works at the Women at Risk program where she continues to support and enable these women to live better lives. She, like all the women, ignited our desire to take action to serve and support others in need, wherever in the world that may be. One person can really make all the difference for so many.
Our final hour with the women involved a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony which was, hands down, the best coffee ever. We prayed over our gratitude for our time together and how we changed each others lives. We said our goodbyes, with long hugs and tears, and know now that we have African sisters that we will carry in our hearts forever.