From Joy in Ethiopia
written on Feb 15th

Gimbi orphanage
I always look forward to my times at the Gimbie orphanage.  There are ten precious children there and it is fun to see how the older ones have changed and matured and, of course, I am always anxious to see the little babies.  It was a beautiful, warm day and the nannies had the children outside in an area that is mostly covered by an arbor so it is shaded.   Four little babies were laying in a row fresh from their baths and ready to be picked up and played with… well, somebody has to do it!  

Joy hand with babies
While holding and talking to the little ones, the “big kids” (ages 2 and 3) needed their share of attention, too, and soon I was led away to play ball and give and receive hugs from the delightful toddlers.  Life doesn’t get much better than this!  Sometimes adoption work in the states consists of mounds of paper work and constant problem solving and I admit that I can get bogged down with it all.  But today – playing with the children and showing a few of them pictures of their adoptive families – makes all the paper shuffling “real” and most definitely worth it.
Because it was a hot day, after playing for several hours I was a mess and needed something cold to drink.  We had lunch and then had meetings with several birth parents and one birth grandmother.  I have a huge heart for these women who have sacrificed much to see their children in a better place, and showing them pictures of their children happily adjusted to a life they can’t even fathom brings them peace and confidence that they made the right decision for their child.  There is also, of course, some melancholy with remembering and seeing their child, but over and over again they tell me that the pictures bring them joy knowing that their little one is in a good place and has a bright future.  I am extremely grateful for the dedicated adoptive families we work with that take the time to put together pictures or picture books for their child’s Ethiopia family.  It means more than I can express with words! 

Joy with grandma
Joy showing a photo book to an overwhelmed grandmother

In the evening we sat in an outdoor café enjoying the cooler air as the sun went down.  When dusk settles into night, the streets are full of people and there is music playing and it is almost a party atmosphere.  Friends greet each other and the coffee shops are full.  Others are just strolling or doing some shopping and it is just fun to be “out and among”. 
Jeff, my friend Abebe, and I met with a local pastor and an elder of his church and had a lively conversation about the strategy of {another religion} for Ethiopia and the church’s response to it.  YWAM provided training a year ago for Gimbie church leaders to learn how to relate to this community and strategies for introducing the gospel.  Subsequent to that training, an underground church was started in an area a distance from Gimbie.  Sixty converts are reported and two leaders had radical encounters with the Lord.  Our contacts in Dembidollo are giving a similar training the end of February (thanks to a very generous donor!!) and these two men will attend and continue strengthening the underground church that has been started.  I left my friends energized by the obvious work the Holy Spirit is doing!
It is an early start for Dembidollo in the morning.  No internet available right now in Gimbie.  Here in Ethiopia people accept inconveniences as a matter of life and have the attitude, “Oh well, it will get done when it gets done.”  In some ways I find that restful and then my American need for “instant” kicks in and I fret.  I am learning to rest and not worry over things I have no control over.  I’ll be in touch when I can!