We slept wonderful this night in our comfy beds at Hotel Maya. We did, however, wake up to no water again, but we had our buckets. We were able to get some clean water brought to us, and Aaron and I took turns taking a VERY COLD sponge bath out of the bucket. But, it did the trick, we were clean...and cold :)
We met everyone downstairs for a nice Ethiopian style breakfast buffet and then we were off to start our day. Abebe was very excited to take us to a special place called 'Living Hope Ministries.' In Ethiopia abortions are very easy to get. There are many clinics and it only cost about $30.00 American dollars to have the procedure done. Living Hope ministries shows women and young girls that there is a different way. They offer them a free place to stay, they take care of the baby being born, they teach them a trade (jewelry making), they educate them, and teach them about Jesus. It was a wonderful place to visit! We were told that 95% of the girls that have been to Living Hope end up keeping their babies and 100% of them have come to know Jesus!!!!! AWESOME! We were able to meet some of the babies that were given Living Hope and a chance at Life and their beautiful brave mothers.
(sweet baby born at Living Hope)
Our husbands also left the place with their wallets a bit lighter than when we arrived. These women make beautiful hair bows for babies and girls, paper bead necklaces, and my favorite....the very unique and beautiful scarves with the beads and flowers attached to them!
(women working together to make jewelry)
50 % of all profit of these gems goes into savings account for these mothers for when they are ready to go and live on their own.
(Abebe with the directors of Living Hope and one of the mothers)
One really amazing thing is that you can hold jewelry parties at home to help support this awesome ministry! If that is something you may want to do you can check out their website at http://www.livinghopeethiopia.org/EthiopiaDefault.aspx
From there it was time to get back to the widow's and orphan's home! We couldn't wait to get our hands back on our babies. We spent the day cuddling, kissing, and listening to Tezera tell stories of our children and also about provision. We brought some Welches gummy snacks for the kids andc we enjoyed watching Abebe get a big kick out of feeding these to the kids. They would line up one by one and take turns getting a bite. Each time Abebe would pop one in one of their mouths, he would just laugh and laugh. I loved it! It was so precious! Just a side note if you are traveling there anytime soon...Abebe said that these gummy snacks were a perfect treat for the kids. Since most of the kids were smaller, the fruit snacks were soft enough for them to chew. They are too little for the hard candies.
One other neat moment for Aaron was when he was talking with Tezera's husband and telling him that he was a farmer. In Ethiopia men and women do not hold hands in public, but men will hold hands with each other as a sign of friendship. So her husband took Aaron's hand and led him outside to show him his garden. I looked up and saw him walking outside holding this sweet man's hand. They were going to talk shop. Aaron admitted that it was a little awkward and not what he was use to obviously, but it was also very special. It was a sweet moment for me looking up and seeing him take Aaron's hand and lead him outside.
The widows enjoyed having their pictures taken. I walked over to take one picture and they all quickly gathered and waited their turn! It was so cute...they were like excited children wanting to see their pictures after we would take them! They would look, show one another, and talk in Amharic and give a little giggle. I LOVED these sweet women!
(See the woman in the middle, with the green scarf on her head? She was totally blind and the Lord healed her and now she sees! And the woman on the far right is the one that comforts me before we leave...just FYI :)
We also had the honor of being fed a scrumptious lunch by Tezera while we were there. We were fed rice, spaghetti, french fries, injera, and shiro wot. Aaron made the comment that this was his favorite meal of the whole trip. I would have to agree. Not only was it delicious, but Tezera was so honoring as she served us. She made sure our drinks and our plates were never empty so we were so full even half-way through our lunch. Her servant heart made me emotional while we were eating. I had to get up and go to the bathroom and regroup. I just kept thinking we should be honoring her and her staff and serving them. The Lord just really overwhelmed my heart on many occasions and I just felt such gratitude and love towards the people who live so selflessly!
We headed back down to spend some more time with our kids and Abebe announced that we had about 33 minutes left before we had to leave. I think you could've heard a pin drop. I ran over and grabbed "M" and held him tight, and immediately started crying. For some reason, I had thought we had a couple hours left so this was upsetting news. We sat on the floor holding our babies and Tezera had Brandy read from the Bible. We then had the pleasure of listening to the widows and the nannies sing praises in Amharic to the Lord. What a gift this was! It was beautiful! I sat holding tight to my little man knowing that these were my last moments with him until we would see him again. I had a water bottle that he set his eyes on, so I fed him little squirts of water from my bottle which kept him entertained as we listened to the women worship. They then honored us with a coffee ceremony and after what seemed like just a few short minutes, Abebe said, "It's time to go." I immediately started to bawl like a big baby. Aaron was crying as well. Brandy was really emotional as well and the nannies were crying with us and hugging us. I knew in my heart that they were crying because they were happy we were crying. I think our tears showed how much we already loved our children and this made them very happy for our children. On my way out one of the precious widows came and cupped my face in her hands. She said something in Amharic and hugged me and kissed my face and cupped my face in her hands again repeating something in Amharic. I didn't know what she was saying, but I knew she was comforting me! It was a moment I will cherish always! As I cried my way to the car, Abebe giggled at me and told me, "It's ok. Your babies are in good hands." This is knew, but what I didn't know was how hard it would be to say goodbye once I had met him. I thought our hearts were prepared. We knew exactly how everything was to go, but it didn't matter. No amount of mental preparation would've prepared me for how my heart felt as we were leaving. It was as if I had been pregnant for a year and-a-half, and I finally was able to meet this child who I had dreamed about and prayed for for so long, only to be able to see him for a couple days, and then to have to leave him and not see him again for another several months. It was so sad!!! I am still sad. I have cried everyday since we have been home, but I rest knowing that my God is in control, and I pray that our reunion will be sooner rather than later.
The ride home was pretty quiet for a while. It took us a while before we started to talk again to each other. Abebe had to stop to bring home a few watermelon.
That evening we ended at up at Sishu, which is a very nice and modern hamburger restaurant. I would also have to recommend Sishu as well if you travel to Ethiopia. They make great gourmet-type burgers with gouda cheese and special yummy sauce. I have to say that we have some pretty great hamburger joints in Texas, but Sishu could definitely hold their own. It was one great burger!!!! I have to mention the french fries in Ethiopia as well. They have the best fries! Everywhere we went someone ended up getting fries and we would all share. I think it's because they are all made from fresh cut potatoes. So Ethiopia's fries rock (but the ketchup is different), and so do all the soft drinks. They still serve them in the glass bottles with pure sugar cane as well, just like when I was a kid.
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