Rachel Justiss went to Ethiopia with Mocha Club for a month in July 2011. Here she tells of a life-changing experience that impacted her deeply.
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I’ve been sitting here tapping my fingers against my laptop keys trying to think up the right words to describe Korah. Nothings seems to easily fit. To impact those, who have not been to Korah, through words almost seems impossible to me. There simply aren’t words to describe to someone the things I’ve seen, touched, smelled, and loved in Korah.
We were in Ethiopia for one month. A month none of us ever wanted to end, and we were in Korah for only a week of that month…. a week we never wanted to end. Korah is the poorest village in Addis Ababa, the capitol of Ethiopia. It was established by people from the countryside seeking treatment for leprosy and for many years only lepers were the ones who lived there. Now, a third generation of children live there. Over 100,000 lepers, HIV/AIDS patients, widows, and orphans live there, and many find their food in the trash dump that the village surrounds in order to survive. Going to teach and play with the kids everyday that week, you could smell gagging whiffs of the dump as breezes passed through upon entering the village.
That week was the hardest week, yet the best week all in one. This is the week that I broke. Many questions for my God, yet so many answers and revelations as well.
While we were in Korah, every day a few of the older men with leprosy came and sat down in the same spots to receive their daily hot meal. Many of these men were unable to feed themselves because of the lack of feeling in their limbs. Some even had missing hands and feet. I had always heard of leprosy throughout the Bible but never really understood what exactly it was or did. They needed a few volunteers to feed them and I jumped in with two of my other teammates. Everyday, I fed him, and everyday it blessed my soul to do that for him. I never learned the name of the man I fed, but everyday I fed him, and everyday he would whisper blessings to me after he was finished. As I would leave him I gave him a kiss on the head to let him know that I appreciate him as much as he does me.
It is important to LOVE and HELP people. That is what Jesus did and He set the example for all of man. You become close to God when you help the poor, and that is a main point I have learned on this trip. There is nothing like it when you go out and see the true state of humanity. In Korah, it is raw and real. In America we have blinded ourselves with false riches and find ourselves getting lost in those things and not resting in what makes us truly rich. The people of Korah, even though having no earthly possessions, know what true richness is and possess it. They live it out in their joy and dependence on the Lord. Having nothing yet possessing everything important to a soul. Though they need us, I have learned that I needed them more than anything. That is what these trips are about….. We needed Africa more than it needed us.
If you would like to see the day to day of what a Mocha Club trip is like you can visit my blog. Every single day is recorded from day one. To learn more about Project 61 and how you can help support what they are doing, please visit www.P61.org.