I will continue to blog later about the rest of my day on the island but the last few days have been filled with more important things that I can't seem to get my mind off of. It started two nights ago at bedtime when Tia said, "Mom, Allo (her 10 year old sister) come to America?" I knew when she spoke those words that she was trying to ask if her sister Allo could come and live with us. I quickly reminded her the best I could that Allo now has enough to eat and that we are making sure that her needs are being met. Tia and I prayed for Allo and the rest of her birth family and as I left her room tears started to flow from my eyes. Our precious daughter so longed to share her new life with the one she loves the most.
What made this so very hard for me is that Kaylee has fallen in love with Allo as well. The day that we were on the island Kaylee spent most of her day with Allo and Allo melted her heart. As we were leaving the island Kaylee said to me, "Mom, I will do anything to bring Allo home with us. I will share or even give up my room for her." It broke my heart to say to my thirteen year old that there was no way for us to bring her home. I later heard her asking our friend Nicco if there was any way to get Allo an education visa in order for her to come to the US and live with us. When Kaylee gets something on her mind and in her heart she becomes unstoppable and this is something that I love about her. To think that two of my daughters want Allo in our home simply breaks my heart yet I know that for the time being Allo has to remain where she is. It is times like this that I wish I had an endless supply of financial resources to help my children fulfill their desires........not to have more for them but to have more for others.
I pulled myself together as I have found myself doing several times the past few weeks in order to go in and tuck the boys in. I said prayers with Jacob and then climbed up into bed with Garrett. As I settled in next to him he said, "Mom, America tellec (big) food and Ethiopia tinish (small) food. Island hungry and America no hungry." I agreed with Garrett and explained that God had provided plenty for us to eat and I am so glad that he is no longer hungry. He then said, "Werke no birr and no food." I then explained to him that we were helping to provide Werke and his siblings with food and that he didn't need to worry about them being hungry. He seemed to understand and just as I did with Tia I prayed with him for his birth family.
As I left Garrett's room I found myself again in tears. It broke my heart that my two youngest children were so concerned for the well being of those that they love. David was not at home and so I went into our room and spent time crying out to God on the behalf of those who are half way around the world yet right with me in my heart. I prayed that God would use our family to make a difference in the life of this family that we will forever be connected with.
Fast forward to tonight at dinner. Today is Tia and Garrett's birthday and so we decided to celebrate by taking them to a local Ethiopian restaurant for dinner. They were both so excited when we walked into The Red Sea and they were greeted in Amheric. We were the only people in the entire place (Ethiopian food must not be a big hit in the Queen City) and so the waitress took our order and then sat down with us to chat with the kids.
Garrett loved the fact that he could talk with someone other than Tia. I was thrilled that we had this opportunity to ask Garrett and Tia some questions and get real answers more than yes or no for the first time in three weeks. David and I ask them many questions and the waitress loved being our translator. She fell in love with Garrett and I could tell she loved talking with him. After many questions and answers our food arrived and Garrett started eating.
Our waitress continued to sit and talk with us and as Garrett was finishing his meal he started speaking to this lady for what seemed like forever. I noticed as he was talking she seemed to be very quiet and she started to look sad. When he finished I then ask her what he had just said to her. She looked into my eyes and she started to cry. It took her a few minutes to speak and then she said, "He just shared with me that every time he throws away any food he thinks about his mom and his brothers and sisters." She then said, "He is a very wise little boy and has a huge heart. He is really worried about his family and wants to make money as he gets older to send back to them." Again as everyday on this journey, my eyes filled with tears.
My son eats breakfast at our table each morning and as we clean our plates he grieves for his family, he goes to school and at lunch sees more food thrown away by his class in one day than his family has to eat in several months, he sits at our dinner table and wonders if his birth family has eaten today and his little heart breaks. My heart breaks for him and my broken heart will not allow me to just live life as if there isn't a great need in the world around me. I will do whatever it takes to make sure that Garrett knows that his birth family's needs are being taken care of. These are not wants that they have but their basic needs of food, water and shelter.
Notice the picture at the top of this post...........this is Tia and Garrett's younger sister. Notice the water in the bottle that she is carrying. This is the water that Tia and Garrett's birth family drink everyday. The water that Tia and Garrett drank the first four years of their lives. Not only are they hungry they drink very dirty and unsafe water everyday because that is all they have.
So as Tia and Garrett's mom I must do something......... I can't allow our precious six year old twins to have to worry about their family everyday while they are here living a much more comfortable life. I am asking everyone I know to get involved in making a change on the island for not only their family but for all 1500 people who live as their family lives. Enough money has already been given to build a clean water drinking well. I now just need for you to pray for the organization Water is Life to find clean water as they begin to dig the well. Pray that quickly the well can be dug and clean water be found for everyone who lives on the island.
The next need that needs to be met is for a medical clinic to be built and supplied. If the medical clinic is built and supplied the government will provide a health care worker to run the clinic each day. This would be amazing for this island in so many ways. At this time many women die in childbirth and most men on the island die at a very young age due to a bacteria found in the lake water where they fish. The men have no other means of making money other than fishing, and just like Tia and Garrett's father, the bacteria that could easily be cured with medical help kills them. The cost to build and supply the medical clinic is around $10,000.00.
The next step to help the island is to teach and provide them with irrigation. At the present time they only have one growing season and so they harvest only one crop to last the entire year. With a few generators, water pumps and someone instructing them they could easily be growing crops year round. This would dramatically change the hunger and poverty on the island. Nicco is looking into the cost of supplies in order for us to make year round harvesting a reality on this little island.
Each of these needs will be shared in the blog about the meeting on the island. The elders of the island all voted and the things that I have mentioned above are what they labeled as their greatest needs. I know that as a family we are called to be the voice for those who live half way around the world and have no voice. I am asking for your help- It will take everyone we know to reach this island in the way that they need to be reached. It will be my goal that no woman, man or child would ever go to sleep (on their dirt floor because their is not a bed on the island) hungry, that no one on the island would ever die due to not having clean drinking water, that no child would lose their dad early in life due to a bacteria that could be treated by medication, and that no woman would die giving birth to a child.
More importantly than any of these physical needs my prayer is that this unreached people group would come to know the One who loves them and gave His life for them. I know that as we provide for each of these physical needs they will come to know the great love of our Savior. Please pray about what part you can play in reaching this island. As you throw away your uneaten food the next couple of days think about how you can help and when you drink your clean water pray for those who don't have that gift.
Please contact me if you want more information on how you can join our family in caring for those who call Zadacha Island home and when we do this together I can tell my son and daughter each night as they go to bed that they do not need to worry...........their family is taken care of!