Sunday morning, I finally woke Benjamin up after 13 ½ hours of sleep. He had a quick breakfast of bananas and water melon. We then loaded up the van and headed off to church. We went to the Beza International Church, the English service. We started out with an hour of praise songs. We were in a large beautiful building, praising God with people from all over the world. Everyone was smiling and worshiping one God. If was beautiful. What an amazing God, we all worship! After about an hour of singing, they collected offering and dismissed the kids to childrens church. Benjamin decided to join the kids and went outside with them to a tent in the parking lot. I was proud of him for going. I have to say that I was more nervous about him going than he was. The service was good, there were a few things that were said that didn't sit quite right with our group. It made for an interesting chat after the service.
We then had a picnic lunch of rice and vegetables and rice and meat. It was delicious. While we were eating, a mom with a small baby came over begging. It is so hard to eat, when you know others are so hungry. We offered her a plate of food, some snacks, and some birr (Ethiopian money). She finished the food and then moved onto the next car to beg for more. It is really sad and heart breaking to think this is the only life they know. If this is the only life they know, will this also be the life for the child, or will the child be able to break this cycle?
I know that we are planting seeds, sharing God's Love, sponsoring the kids, and giving hope and opportunities to the kids to help them break this cycle. I just wish that we could help more people and do more. It is so hard to see people living like this and going hungry. It is amazing to me though, that we have so much and yet we complain. They have so little, yet they have big beautiful smiles, and would share what very little they have.
After our picnic, we went back to the post office area shopping. I love all the little shops. We found a few more things to buy. While walking around these street shops, you constantly have people approaching you. With out guards on Sunday it is even worse. Some people are trying to sell you maps, shoe shinings, belts, sunglasses, or anything else. The shop keepers are trying to get you into their store. They will follow you down the street to show you items from the shops. There are also people begging, little children, mom's nursing their young in the open, handicapped, or very sick people. It is very hard not to be able to help them all. Benjamin saw the same little boy from Monday that had touched his heart. He gave him some more birr and a hug. Benjamin really loved this little boy and would have loved to bring him home. He thought he would be a great addition to our family. He really struggled seeing him on the street living like this. I saw a boy Michael's age or a little older selling gum. I asked him if he knew Robel, (our guide from 2008, when we adopted Daniel). He told me he did. Robel took in boys off the street, played soccer with them, found them sponsors so that they could go to school, and got them started selling gum. They sold gum to earn money instead of just begging for money. I met this boy in 2008, saw him again in 2011, and met up with him again on this trip. It is bittersweet. I am glad that he is alright and working, but it is sad that after 4 ½ years of selling gum life has not gotten better. A cycle continues. I gave him a hug and gave him some birr. I told him to keep the gum. I really need more time to pray and digest all that I have seen.
We then headed back to the guest house to get ready for dinner. It was sad to see the rest of the team head off to the airport to fly home. The four of us from Belchertown headed back to the guest house for our last night in Addis. Fikre from Children's Hopechest and Zellalem from One Child Campaign came back with us for a little while. It was great talking with them. They are two incredible Christian men. They were with us the entire week helping us every step of the way. They love the teams that come to Ethiopia, they love the children, and they love serving others. We always felt safe with them around. They are our guides, our translators, and our friends. This was my first time meeting Zellalem, but my 2nd time meeting Fikre. They were both very helpful with Benjamin this week. Out driver this week was Teddy. He did a great job driving us to Kombolcha and back and around town. If you have ever seen the driving in Ethiopia, you know it takes a special person to safely drive a 20+ passenger van in traffic, through detours when you aren't on a road anymore, through a small river, around the mountains, dodging camel, cows, sheep, mules, dogs, people or anything else in the road. Teddy did a great job and tonight we had to say good bye to him. We soon called it a night and packed up our things, as Monday we would head to the airport.