by Julie Steimer
A year ago I went on a mission trip with YWAM. My desire at the time was three-fold. I wanted to serve. I wanted to “meet” Ethiopia. I wanted to meet the boys that we were in process of adopting. I was blown away from the whole experience and hope to go again on another trip someday. Some things that stand out that I wasn’t expecting and that made the trip so worthwhile are:
- I was surprised at how quickly I felt close to my team. I had never met a single person on the team before meeting in Dulles. I am actually not an adventurous person so this was a big deal for me to just take off to parts unknown with people I had never met, but God wove our team together and I still keep in touch with several team members.
- I loved getting to hear from missionaries and pastors that YWAM is connected with and/or support – their hearts are so passionate about loving the “least of these” for Christ. They are the hands and feet of Christ with so little consideration for their own needs.
- I very quickly felt close to many of the Ethiopians we met; especially some of the staff at the orphanages, a social worker/minister in Korah, and some others we met along the way. Even after we have completed the adoption process, I know I will have a divided heart – missing the people I met, wanting to stay connected with them.
- It took me awhile to feel comfortable diving into the culture (things like shoulder bumps and the food), but once I did, I just wanted more – more language, more dance, more history.
- In my sheltered US home, I guess I always thought of Ethiopia in terms of the pictures we see on TV of the drought and poverty. On the missions trip we were able to travel outside of Addis and really see the beauty of the country and its people. Yes, there is extreme poverty, but there is also amazing beauty.
I have since been to Ethiopia two more times in the process of bringing home the first of our two boys. While those two trips went very well and have their own fond memories, I am thankful that I also was able to go on the mission trip and see Ethiopia and her people in a different light.
Julie and her husband Mark have adopted one boy through the YWAM/CHI program and are in the process of another adoption with us. Their family is a great example of the way God often creates an ongoing connection to Ethiopia in the hearts of adoptive families.