My name is Alena; I am the daughter of Adoption Ministry’s missions director Mark Wolbert. Just as my father loves Ethiopia, it is a country that is also dear to my own heart. This summer I am blessed to be leading teams alongside my dad.
We (my dad and I) arrived in Addis on the 4th of July and have been spending the past few days preparing for our first team to arrive. Though we have only been here a few days, the Lord has already began to do so much in my heart.
I tend to be a person who values promptness and efficiency. Not a bad trait in nature, but I find that many times I get stuck on auto pilot and rarely take a moment to stop and appreciate small blessings. I’d admit that my “busy schedule” distances me from the Lord because I tend to get wrapped up in important projects rather than seeking Him first. He has been prompting me to slow down this past week.
There is a big contrast in the value of efficiency and time well spent in Ethiopia. It is a culture that values relationship over all and will forsake the clock to invest into the things held dear. Here, without the distraction of the constant “ping” of my iphone and the craziness of my daily routine I find myself free. Life slows down and I am free to take a moment (or three) to give thanks, to enjoy a conversation, to pay attention to seemingly insignificant details.
Over seven years and four trips to Ethiopia I have had the pleasure of becoming close with a woman that I refer to as “Mama Konjo” meaning “beautiful mama” in Amharic. I wasn’t introduced to this amazing woman through a ministry project or sponsorship program. Mama Konjo is a housekeeper at our guest house. Through countless conversations in fragmented sentences of an English/Amharic mix she has captured my heart.
Everyday she comes to my room to clean and talk about the goodness of God. We discuss things as important as our passions in life and as insignificant as the weather. She is love personified. I appreciate her and love her so much. She even jokingly tells me that when I finally get married, she will come to America for the occasion.
Sometimes it’s the under appreciated things that we normally wouldn’t pay much attention to that become the most precious to us. It only takes a moment to stop and ask the Lord to see the way that He does. He holds the whole world in His hand yet he takes the time to appreciate even the smallest of things.
I am thankful. I am thankful for the church bells that clang at six o’clock each morning to wake me to a new day. I am thankful to learn how to wash clothing by hand. I am thankful for my little cup of strong Ethiopian jibbina made coffee.
My cup truly overflows.
Thank you Jesus for this nation. Thank you for this summer. Thank you for this adventure
Alena and her dad Mark are leading three mission teams over the next several weeks in Ethiopia. Stay tuned for more updates on their adventures!