The scene above was where I found myself a few months ago. We had enjoyed the day on the island visiting with Tia and Garrett's friends and birth family for several hours and then we all piled onto the boat to set sail back to the mainland. I found myself very overwhelmed as I watched the men, women, boys and girls standing on the shore waving as we sailed away. My heart ached to bring the hope and help that each of them need so desperately. I cried not only tears on the outside but I cried out in my heart for God to help us help these that we had grown to love.
Five or ten minutes into our journey toward the mainland I was so caught up in my thoughts that I had never made sure that all six of my kids made it back onto the boat. I started to panic when I found five but I didn't see Lindsay. I quickly stood up and in fear started to ask where she was only to find her having a great time with Kari Burns-Anderson near the back of the boat. (A small side note that will soon be a post is how Kari loved on Lindsay all day long while David and I met with the island leaders) She was as happy as she could be and so when all six kids were counted for then I took my seat and started to pray...........Here is much of what my prayer sounded like-
"God, I know that you have been here with us today. I know you see the great need and want us to do something about it but how in the world can we? You know that we have just adopted these precious kids and you know the expense not only in the adoption but the expenses that are ahead in the years to come. God, I want nothing more than to be able to build the three wells that are needed and make sure that a medical clinic is built soon but how? I see no way of our family having the resources to do this and God you know where the funds will come from but right now all my heart can do is hurt and wonder how? I wish that I could bring all 1500 people off of that island and bring them home to live with us.........." the prayer went on and on and ended more than an hour later with me promising to God that I would do all I could to share His love with those on that island who need Him by providing for their needs.
After praying I started to dream about what it really would look like to be able to provide those wells and medical clinic that the elder's of the island told us were needed. My hope (and dream in that moment) started to be that in one year we could begin to build the first well and hopefully raise enough money the next two years to have all three wells built in three years. My goal was to have the three wells and the medical clinic finished in about 10 years. That seemed like a good goal when I knew we would need about $65,000.00 to complete the task ahead.
As always- God had such greater plans than my shallow plans of one well a year! He placed on our friends, Robin and Dave Laney, to start Garret's Heart in order to provide clean water and the medical clinic. I would never had dreamed that our friends in Nebraska would be the avenue that God would use to bring about His change on the island. Robin had read several of my blogs about the compassion of our son's heart and decided she could do something to help. I am still amazed that people who have never met us have given of their time and resources to allow those who call the island home to soon have access to clean water and medical care. People who have given hundreds and even a thousand dollars at a time and hours of hard work to allow change to take place on this small remote island in the middle of Ethiopia simply blows my mind. I cried today (a long sobbing cry) as I scrolled down my Facebook page to see friend after friend sharing www.Garrettsheart.webs.com with all those in their Facebook World- Simply Amazing!
To date enough money has been raised to provide for all three clean water drinking wells and now the process is ongoing to raise enough money to provide for the medical clinic. In less than six months (not 3 years) all three wells will be drilled and working on the island. Thank you to all those who have given- not one penny will be overlooked. Not one dress down day at school, ice cream given up, toy sold, tea party held or water bill matched will be forgotten by this mom who is forever grateful. I can't wait to get to heaven someday and see the thank you exchanged between the Zay people and the people who gave them not only physical water but eternal life.......To God Be the Glory!