It was the end of a long, exhausting day. We were nearing the end of the week and we were tired physically, mentally, and emotionally. As we made the bumpy ride to Nathaniel’s home for a home visit, my eyes were heavy and my heart was already burdened from earlier encounters with the kiddos at our partnered CarePoint and their families.
I didn’t think my heart was capable of experiencing anything other than rest at that point.
As we made our way up to the home, I opened my eyes and heard one of my teammates ask who wanted to join her on the home visit. I felt a tug on my already weary heart and got up to join her–little did I know what Jesus had in store for us as we climbed off the bus. As we walked up to the home it was a beautiful contrast to the dusty ground it sat on top of. Colorful flowers surrounded the home and I couldn’t help but notice how calming and peaceful it made the environment feel.
We were greeted at the front door by sweet Nathaniel, and as we stepped inside, his mother motioned for us to take a seat in the chairs she had set before us. We began conversing with the family about who lived in the home (there were six people total), the church they attended, and what they did for work. After chatting with the family we gave gifts of macaroni and oil. The family was so grateful to receive these seemingly small gifts, and it was hard not to notice the pure gratitude and joy on their faces. As we were wrapping up our conversations we asked if there was anything we could pray for, for the family. Nathaniel’s mom explained that her husband had been working in a factory and while on the job had slipped a disc in his back, putting him in the hospital and therefore unable to work.
As we grasped hands and began praying for the family, Nathaniel’s mother started praying in Amharic, almost loud enough to drown out our prayers. It was nothing short of beautiful and the urgency in which she was praying made our Americanized prayers seem modest, lacking, and hollow. In the midst of the prayers, my eyes shot open and I looked down to see Nathaniel’s mother on her knees, hands lifted, tears streaming down her face. It is a picture I hold dear in my mind. I felt the Holy Spirit urging me to move toward her. As I approached her I fell on my knees and grasped her hands, feeling her warm tears as they fell from her eyes. She continued praying and began to lay her hands on me from my feet to the top of my head.
While I could not understand her exact words I couldn’t help but feel in my heart that she was praying a special blessing over myself and our team. I was kneeling there on a dirt floor in the middle of Ethiopia amongst people I had never met before now, but who truly desired and longed for Jesus’ presence just as we did, I knew without a doubt His spirit was there with us and that we were exactly where we needed to be.
With puffy eyes and full hearts we hugged the family and said our goodbyes. Getting on the bus to head back to our hotel, I felt refreshed and a longing to encounter Jesus the way I had while kneeling on that floor with that precious momma and sister in Christ. It was in that moment on our fifth day in Ethiopia that I had learned God’s purpose behind the call to travel thousands of miles away from home— to see and feel Jesus in a whole new light.
After returning home from an incredibly moving week in Ethiopia I came back grasping on to two things:
1) Jesus is enough–the people I met the week of our trip have little to nothing, materially, but are some of the most joyful people. I can’t help but contribute that to the love and passion they have for Jesus.
2) I want to be like that woman kneeling on the floor, hands lifted, tears streaming down her face in total awe of her Maker.