Treasures. Gifts shared by American people, as God prompted their hearts, were then hand carried by Alex, Ellen and myself through the airports, customs and ultimately to Ethiopian soil. We carried 12 50lb bags and 6 carry-on’s. We must have been quite the sight! For me personally this is truly a trust issued. One of those “things” in my life where I am especially weak, yet God directed me through my own weakness to do what was extremely uncomfortable for me.
Please be gentle with me on this one. After all, I believe God helps me pack our bags. He sends people to me to help fill the bags with the items God has put on our heart. I will share more later about some of those connections and what we took, but at the moment, I am reveling in God using us in our weakness. Not only were we able to take the 2 bags each that are usually allotted, but Ellen was able to work with the airline and get 4 extra bags donated to Embrace Compassion for bringing aid. They are usually $200 each! Wendy Dilree and Karla White each sponsored a bag which allowed us to take everything we needed, wanted and God had put on our heart. Keep in mind, this trip we needed to take sleeping bags sprayed with Permethrin to keep away the malaria ridden mosquitoes and our own personal potty for sleeping in Alex’s mamma’s mud house in the village. We needed sturdy shoes for walking in the garbage dump. We took extra food in case we wouldn’t have access to safe clean food out in route to the village, 14 hours outside of the city.
Ellen used her medical knowledge to prepare us for possible African ailments and directions for helping others we came in contact with. No hair dryers, or extras. Just the personal basics. In fact, while we were very prepared for our African God adventure, I was not prepared for the 14 degree Amsterdam weather on our way home. Yikes! Flip flops, Capri jeans, 2 tank tops, three T-shirts, two open vested sweaters and my newly purchased African scarf just did not cut the cold! Anyway…back to my weakness.
I am not afraid of flying. I am afraid of the check-in counter. They ALWAYS hassle me. I remember the first time I was very frightened, trying to follow all of the rules and traveling home to see my parents for the first time as a new freshman in college and the lady at the counter was not happy to see me. That was when we had paper tickets and she went through my papers, which she was quite annoyed that I gave her everything instead of just the ticket, and she started chucking stuff. She looked up at me and said, nope, no ticket here. I was so nervous I passed out and literally fell into the baggage receptor. I eventually came to, the nice man behind me offered to buy me a new ticket (being the broke college student stuck in another state away from home on school break) and the lady behind the counter found the ticket. Another time I passed out on the plane and they had to bring it from the runway back to the airport all because of me. Now mind you, I am not a sick person and I do not regularly pass out. Something about following the rules of the big airport, getting everything from here to there, being on time and having little or no control about the decisions the people behind the counter are making on my behalf. I agree, not so rational when I am sharing the story, but my weakness that I am still over coming none the less.
So, can you see why it is so ironic that God would send me with so much luggage? So many treasures that he has in mind for specific circumstances and people? God loves them so much. He loves me so much to comfort me through my difficulty. He is strong in my weakness. We had to repack in Portland in the airport before we even left, we had to stand firm with our paperwork in Amsterdam and negotiate for what seemed like forever in Addis to get the luggage out of the airport. But, God was faithful. He didn’t make it easy. He walked me through what could be potentially very stressful for me, grew me in the process and helped us bring in what needed to be brought in. God comforted me in my weakness.
What’s your weakness?