Saturday, 5 March 2011

Day Three, Part I

     What's kind of sad is that I can't really remember it! I have to check my journal and my pictures to remind myself what happened. Even then, the days are still a little foggy. That's why I love blogging about these days because it forces me to organize everything that happened into each day, hopefully it'll help me remember more clearly!     Alright, Day Three: This was a Friday, the 11th of February, and  every Friday morning, MAKBC (for those of you who don't remember - MAKBC was the local church we worked with while in Ethiopia) has a program called "The Good Samaritan Ministry" where they minister to HIV/AIDS men and women. The church holds a service for them, and then, if the church has enough money, they prepare and serve a huge meal of the traditional injera and weit. A portion of the money each of us raised was used to pay for this meal, so we were able to, not only be able to witness the feeding, but also help serve it! But that wasn't until after the service...
     Kenny Stokes, a pastor for Bethlehem and the man who took over preaching for the eight months during John Piper's leave of absence, was on our team and shared an amazing message from 2 Corinthians 5 about how our bodies on this earth are like tents.
"For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life." 
     It was such a blessing to sit in this church, surrounded by men and women who's physical bodies are being destroyed by this virus, and to see the joy on their faces as they heard that this body is just tent - we have a better one coming. Even if I forget a lot of things from this trip, that service is one thing that I will never forget - the looks of joy and hope and happiness on their faces was breathtaking. 
     After Kenny was done, Darlene S. came up to speak about HIV/AIDS. Darlene and her husband have just come off the field after being missionaries in Kenya for twenty years. While on the field, they also lived in Ethiopia for five years. Her husband is a doctor and Darlene ran an HIV counseling center in Kenya. So for the last half of the service, she shared  basic information of how HIV is spread, how to prevent it, and tips for making the HIV medicine most effective. That time was good, but it was also a little sad. One of the ways to help the medicine work is to eat balanced, nutritional meals everyday. When Darlene first shared that, everyone started laughing and asked, "Do you have any idea how impossible that is?" In a country where most people live on less than a dollar a day, it is nearly impossible to get all the nutrition one needs to help the HIV medicine.
     Once the service was over, we all headed over the compound next door where a group of women from MAKBC were busily finishing up all the last minute food details. Once everyone had totally filled the building and then spilled into the courtyard, we began dishing out food. Everyone, even the little kids, got one plate with a full injera (the bread staple - it's a round, thin sour "bread"... you have to taste it to totally understand what it's like) and a generous serving of the red stew called weit and a hearty pile of cabbage and carrots with the life cooked out of them. Once the 200+ people were all fed, there was still enough food for anyone who wanted to have seconds. What a great thing to witness people being able to eat all they wanted! Darlene said that in her twenty years of working with churches and HIV ministries, she has never seen a church that was so involved with HIV+ people as MAKBC.
     That feeding was also where Mike K. and I found the woman who accepted Christ while we were in her home. It was so neat to see her again - and what a difference! When we met her in her dusty, dark house, she was clothed in old, stained, dirty rags. But here in this bright, sunny courtyard she was clothed in a bright blue and purple dress with an equally colorful headband and a huge smile.  What an unintentional but perfect spiritual example! I'm getting shivers just thinking about it.
      Once I pulled out my camera to snap some pictures of cute kids, everyone wanted their picture taken. It was interesting because they didn't know how to pose. They would stare straight into my lense, look nervously off into the distance, or giggle at their friend. They weren't used to having pictures taken of them. American teenagers on Facebook could learn a lot from them. But don't even get me started on that...
     It made for a great series of pictures, though. It was such a sunny day and the walls of the compound were painted a bright turquoise, and the smiles of these people were huge. What a great morning.
     Obviously, this post got a little longer than I thought. I'll try to post Part 2 (which was full of a HUGE surprise involving an intimidating search for a boy named Sami) later today. Meanwhile, enjoy the beautiful pictures of the beautiful people from that morning!

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