Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Friday at the Leper Colony

Friday dawned as another beautiful day! I was so excited about this day ...
We started our day with devotions as usual. Songs and scripture and prayer... we prayed about our time in the colony, about not judging each other for fears in visiting the people of the colony and the grace to care for and love those that Jesus loved.

This is the view from the balcony of the guest house...
This is the bathroom...notice anything missing?
This is the room. We each had our own here. It was pretty spacious and comfortable.
Rob and I actually had a bit of a different agenda this morning. We were heading to AAI and AHOPE to see what I could do about meeting E's family. I had had some spotty contact with the SW but no real info and I wanted to make sure we were all set. Plus I had to visit AHOPE, to visit the new compound, love on the kids and share a letter with my friends sweet son. I got everything accomplished that I needed to and then we were off to the colony to meet the others.
Yosef our interpreter was with us, and when the taxi dropped us off in a seemingly random city square it was a bit creepy. :o)
Tesfaye one of our friends from the colony came to meet us and lead us back.
As we made our way back the alley, we were picking our way through sewage and other interesting items. It was hard to imagine people would be living here.
We spoke to a few people and then were led into the church's 'courtyard'. It was teeming with activity. There were people sorting coal and wheat. There were bags of health care kits being sorted and soccer balls being inflated.
The pastor led us into the church and shared with us the pride of having a place to worship the Lord.
This is the church's stage. The walls are made of tarp, the floor is dirt and the ceiling is tin... it's the most beautiful church I have ever seen.
These twins found Brita and attached themselves. They were so stinkin cute!
This is the coal that we shared with the families in the compound. We shared with 23 families.

This is my little friend Tade'. He found me when we walked out of the walls of the church compound, took my hand and walked with me. He was so very sweet. He showed me that he could saw his ABC's and just kept me company.
This is our parade... seemed a little weird to me. But it was sure fun to deliver the coal and kits.
The first house were stopped at had a young father sitting outside. He was lying on the ground with the stump of his leg in front of him, covered in sores and welcoming us to sit with him. We were invited to go into the house to visit with his wife. I wasn't prepared for what I saw. She was sitting inside a 9x9 home, with no windows, no light and it was about 100 degrees inside. She was sitting on her bed holding baby Helen, who was only 1 month old. I cannot describe to you the look on her face. It was sadness, grief...resignation... I immediately walked over to her, sat down and put my arm around her. I couldn't think of anything else to do but to hold her. I will admit to the brief second of pause in thinking I had just sat on the bed of a leper and put my arm around her... then the thought that this was a sister...a sister in Christ that needed someone to hold her took over. I asked if I could pray with her. I don't know what I said... she doesn't either as no one translated. All I could think of was that I wanted to hold her...I wanted to take some of her pain. That moment will be one I will never forget.
We left and shared more coal and candy with other families. At one point the guys were walking out of a home they had just delivered coal to, when the woman came running after them with a pitcher and bowl so that they could wash their hands. This act of kindness from someone who doesn't have ready access to water was extraordinary.
The children were nuts for the candy.
These 2 were fun to watch. I saw no parents. It's hard for me to fathom that children this age are able to play like this by themselves. It's to imagine a life where they can, and do fend for themselves.
This sweet boy was my shadow. He wouldn't speak to me, but he would follow and smile and giggle. I wanted to hug him, but he wouldn't get close enough, so I shared smiles and candy with him.
We left for lunch and ate at my favorite pizza place, Metro Pizza. I think it's totally insane that I have a favorite pizza joint in Addis. Once that even our resident Ethiopian know-it-all had no clue about. :o) I was in heaven!
We went back for some more work with sharing the coal and loving on the kids. These guys love to have their pictures taken! And then look at them when you are done. I did however run into a young man that would not let me take his picture. But he wanted to use my camera to take my picture. It was kind of cute. He seemed to be the silent, serious, leader of the pack, I have prayed for him....wondering where life might take him or God will lead him?
We closed our day with prayer by the pastor of the church in the colony. He thanked God for our presence, he praised God for his provision, he praised God that we would one day walk the road to heaven together, and then he said something that struck us all. He said that he and his church would be praying for us. In that moment we were humbled to the point of tears... this man that is sharing the gospel with the outcast of Ethiopia, is praying for us.... oh ...we are not worthy.

This is a day I am still processing. Tesfaye asked me what I thought of the day... I told him I didn't have words. I thanked him for opening my eyes to things I would never have seen without him.


Andrea said...

Those beautiful faces touch my soul.
Blessings, andrea

Adeye said...

Oh my goodness, friend, I am just catching up. I am moved to tears by your pictures. They are amazing and tell your story. Whew, breaks my heart. It really does put life in perspective, hey?

Come quickly Lord Jesus.

Cindy said...

I am crying as I read this. Especially where you put your arm around the women holding the baby and prayed with her/for her. So touching. so moving.
Talk about a faith lesson huh?
There is nothing like when God uses us to be His hands and feet. Nothing like it.
Love ya.