Day 3, Addis Ababa Ethiopia. October 19, 2015
It is late here and I cannot sleep. I think I have a fever now, which is even more annoying. I fought to stay awake until 9:00, made it until 9:30 by luck, and then woke back up at 12:00. It is 12:45 am now. Gotta love the jet-lag experience.
I went downstairs a short while ago to get some dry cereal so I could get something on my stomach and take some motrin. As I was finishing the cereal, in very low light, I realized a spider had crawled into my cup and I almost had some unwanted protein with my snack. UGH I can barely even write about it – it was terrifying!
To try to get back to sleep, I started reading a book that a friend had recommended to me a long time ago called Orphan Train. This story begins with a family immigrating from Ireland in the 1920’s to America. They believed they were coming to “the land of plenty” with abundant food, jobs, money and luxuries. After a particularly hellish boat ride across the ocean, this family of 6 – plus one on the way they discovered after they set off to travel – soon realized all that they heard about this ‘land of plenty’ was far from the reality that awaited them. The father was an alcoholic, who for some reason could only find employment in a bar, they were poor and and they were Irish – in a huge city that was particularly unwelcoming to the Irish at that time. They had a tiny apartment to share between them, with essentially no money coming in. Life had literally gone from bad to nightmare over the span of the ocean.
This picture is eerily similar to the story we heard today about girls traveling to the capital of Addis Ababa from rural areas outside the city here in Ethiopia. Families who are destitute – a situation particularly dire this year due to the severe drought conditions – send their young daughters and sons to Addis for jobs and a better life, with hopes that they will send money back home to the family that stays behind. They come in on a bus. At the bus depot, brokers are waiting and will inspect the girls as they arrive, and determine if they are better suited to be domestic workers or prostitutes. They are promised money and security by the brokers, and in fact they are taken to places where they can sleep, and get food and money. They are easily lured in – they are being promised exactly what they expected before they made the journey – but after only a few months, things quickly change, and their lives are destroyed. They are given drugs, submitted into prostitution and abused as housekeepers. Some of the girls are as young as 11 years old.
We met a man today who works with an organization within SIM known as “girls on the move,” working to save these girls and bring them to Christ. They are literally going to the bus depot, to the streets, and anywhere they can to reach these girls, to educate them about the gospel and give them true hope for the ‘better life’ they were looking for when they came to Addis. This ministry group also, and even more importantly, reaches out to the families back home to educate them about the reality of what they have sent their daughters into, and through intense education, prayer, and follow up, many of these girls are able to reunite with their families in a lasting and loving way. God is working miracles through gospel to these people – the girls, and their families.
There are so many opportunities to bring God’s people to the gospel. Hearing these stories and seeing what God is doing here makes my heart heavy for the United States. People back home are rejecting Christ everywhere, and the political correctness is becoming one of the enemy’s most seductive weapons against an American’s soul and salvation. We are literally living in the land of plenty, wealthy beyond measure when compared to the developing world, and yet we are spiritually as poor as some of the lost we see in the most remote and underdeveloped parts of the planet.
Many of the people here in Ethiopia have never heard the gospel, and have never experienced the kind of love shown to them by the people within this ministry. Without the gospel, there would literally be no relief, no help and no escape from this cycle, which has in so many ways become a way of life for the poor uneducated families in this country. Desperation causes people to make very poor choices, further worsening the desperation. The enemy is hard at work, but God is so capable, so powerful and so present in this place. His presence is truly palpable when you see the result of these miracles.
with love and many many blessings and prayers, heather