In Ethiopia I got sick. I was worse than I wanted to admit. My pride kept me from swallowing the magical Cipro that would eventually make me feel better. Half-way into the week with sleepless nights and an upset belly, my attitude started to change. Little whispers of doubt floated past my ears.
I felt inadequate because I couldn't speak Amharic or Oromiffa. I felt inadequate because there are so many children who clamor for attention and goodies. Even with a 10 day trip, there is never enough time.
I allowed the doubts to linger too long. They didn't float anymore, but settled near me. I was ill, missed my family, and doubted my purpose on this trip.
"What are you doing here?"
I felt selfish in being there. The sacrifice of time and money for me to be in Ethiopia weighed heavily on my heart. I was standing on the property at Trees of Glory looking out over the buildings and into the valley where the stream runs. I felt discouraged and alone. Glancing over to my right was one of the Hopechest staff members, Alex. Over the past two years I have come to admire him and enjoy the time that we have with him. He was walking towards me, smiling, and directed my eyes to the swarm of excited children playing soccer.
"They love when you come. Just a few weeks ago the new children couldn't even tell us their names. They were scared, but when you all visit they open up. Only a few days and look at how happy they are. Your work here is so good." His words were a balm to my soul.
My discouragement? Not from God. Going to Ethiopia? Not selfish.
The two of us stood there smiling. Alex, because he is usually smiling, and me, because God had seen my spirit flounder and sent a kind word of encouragement.