Sunday, September 15, 2013

Help them to see.....

I am really unsure of how to start this blog so here goes........Honestly, I am surprised at the questions that have come our way in our community about Megan's time in Ethiopia. The questions are the same each time but often worded differently. These questions aren't coming from people who know us well or people who tend to read this blog. The question is something like this, "So did Megan really chose to go to Ethiopia for this school year or are you guys making your children serve in another country for a year when they get older?"

The first time someone questioned me on this I was somewhat taken off guard. I was very offended and I almost couldn't respond to their questioning. Thankfully God gave me the graceful words to answer the question. Little did I know that this would be the first of many conversations where others would question David or I on why our daughter is in Ethiopia serving.

As I have thought about this questioning and as we have talked about it I think I have come to some understanding of why these questions come. I think that people in our society can't imagine that a teenage girl would genuinely give up her life of luxury to go and serve the poor. They can't wrap their minds around the fact that someone like Megan would chose to leave from her family and care for children who are hurting, hungry, and alone half way around the world.  They don't expect someone at her age to truly be following Christ. The more I have thought about this the more I realize that people can't justify that someone much younger than they are would do this. Maybe on some level it makes them feel guilty? If someone is forced to go and serve then that is one thing but if she has chosen to follow God and serve Him that is hard for them to wrap their head around.

Just to be very clear Megan came to us last spring and shared that she felt that God wanted her to give Him this next year of her life to serve in Ethiopia. If you have been a reader of this blog you know that my heart look a long time to get on board with my 17 year old daughter being half way around the world. It was not what I would have chosen for her yet if God was calling her I would not stand in the way. Megan has chosen to give this year to serve Him in Ethiopia and as her mom I couldn't be more excited for her (I knew I would get just took a few sleepless nights in the spring).

I know that Megan is exactly where she should be. It is a joy to talk with her and hear about the neat ways that God has already used her in these first 10 days. She has shared a few stories with our family about some of the home visits that she has gone on and I can tell she is right where she should be. She has been able to help meet some of the physical needs of children that she has visited and as a family it has been exciting to hear.

A few nights ago at bedtime our family was talking about some of the needs that Megan has already been able to meet. We then had devotions and our normal prayer time. As Garrett started to pray I started to weep. My sons and daughter have been the children that Megan is caring for. They know the pain of hunger that I have never felt. They remember how dark nights were when their family couldn't afford oil for their lamp. They know that when sickness comes that death follows because there is no medical care. When they pray for Megan as she is caring for the least of these in Ethiopia it is different than when I pray for her. It is real to them on a level that it will never be real to me.

Garrett prayed, "God, Help Megan to love all of the children there. Help her to give them food and clean water. Help her to have fun with them..........." and he continued ending with, "God, help them to not see Megan but help them to see You."

Our sweet Megan is not in Ethiopia because we have sent her. She is not there because she was required by us to go. She is there to be the hands and feet of our Jesus-To love on the ones that are so forgotten by our busy world. I pray that as people hear the stories of Megan that they will be challenged to be more like Jesus. As they question why any 17 year old girl would go that they would question their own heart.

My hope is that Megan would not only change the lives of those half way around the world but that she would change the hearts of those right here in our community. That as she chases after God in a way that others see they would be drawn closer to Him. That they would trust His plans for them.  I am praying that we all will step out of our comfort to follow Him and be willing to journey where ever He is calling us.

I am so thankful that you are chasing after Him. I am so thankful that I am being changed in the process. I feel so blessed and humbled to be your mom. I pray that God would use you to do things more amazing than you could begin to imagine as you serve Him. I love that you are willing to trust Him even if that means hand washing your clothes.... :)  Praying that tomorrow as school starts there that you have an amazing day loving on those He has called you to love. I hope that just like Garrett prayed that they would see Jesus. I love you and miss you more than you know-  I would rather you be there in God's will rather than here with me out of His will. Hugs, kisses and lots of LOVE, Mom

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Nicco to the rescue (AGAIN)........

The day is finally here. As I type this Megan is boarding a plane in DC and her next stop will be Ethiopia! Our family all woke up before 4am this morning and we were all out of the house by 4:30am. I think we deserve something big for getting all nine of us up and out at such a crazy hour but we will do anything for our Megan.
We arrived at the airport around 5am and were greeted by several of our friends. Megan and I quickly headed to the counter to get her tickets and check her luggage. She was very proud that each bag weighed right at 50 pounds as the porter placed them on the scale. Tell a 17 year old girl that she has 100 pounds for three months and I promise she will use up every ounce of it!
As if the emotions of the morning were not running high enough we had a major issue at check-in. The US Air clerk at the counter explained that Megan's ticket and her Passport names did not match and he could not issue her the ticket. At first we thought no big deal because Megan realized this a few weeks ago and had called Ethiopia airlines to have it changed. The gentleman then explained that he could not change the ticket that someone at Ethiopian Airlines would have to make the change in the reservation. He explained that we would need to contact them to have it changed. I started to dial right away only to get a recording that said to call back at a later time.
About the time I ended the first call the man realized the look of panic on our faces when David arrived from parking the car. The US air representative then went to get his supervisor to help with the situation. Long story short after numerous phone calls (and being hung up on by an Ethiopian  airline representative) we found out that the Ethiopian Airlines office in America opens at 9:00am for business. Megan's flight was scheduled for 7:30am and the agent told us that we needed to have something figured out by 6:30am in order for her to make the flight. He then offered for us to purchase a new ticket to Ethiopia with the correct spelling of her name....I am not kidding! Sure we have a few more thousand dollars to purchase another ticket because Henderson was spelled without the first N.
The supervisor returned and he explained that there was nothing that could be done. He said that he could talk to homeland security to see if they would allow her to fly to DC with a misspelled name and then hope that once in DC the matter could be resolved. At least at that point we knew the Ethiopian airline office would be open and we would have a better chance of being helped. Within a few minutes someone from security came over and agreed to let her fly to DC yet they were unsure of what would happen at that point. Megan was more stressed out than I was at this point. The thought of being in the DC airport with the wrong name on an international ticket did not sound good to her.
I then thought about our dear friend, Nicco. In Ethiopia it was afternoon and maybe he could get a hold of someone at the Ethiopian airlines office in Addis for us by phone. I called and he answered on the first ring which doesn't always happen. I quickly explained that Megan was having issues with her ticket and questioned if he could help us contact the airline there in Addis. He responded that he was three minutes away from the Hilton hotel where an Ethiopia airline office is located. Within five minutes Nicco was speaking with an agent (who happens to be his cousin) face to face in the Ethiopia airline office and was having the issue resolved.
I think the US Air clerk thought I was crazy when I said the issue would be resolved in five minutes. He waited a few minutes and refreshed his screen to see some activity. The activity was that Megan's ticket was completely canceled and he said, "Oh no. If they don't get it back up in a few minutes she will have no ticket to get to DC." At this point I knew we had only a few minutes and I continued to pray. He then said, "Unbelievable! It is here and ready." Within thirty seconds he handed the tickets to us. We had just a few precious moments to spare.
Megan was then able to quickly say goodbye to everyone and she headed to security at 6:28am...God is so good and we are so thankful for good friends like Nicco!

A quick update: As many of you know Megan hates to fly. She loves to travel the world but the flights stress her out. I have been praying that someone kind would be sitting beside her on the LONG flight to Addis. She just texted to let us know that an older lady who is traveling to Uganda for 2 months is sitting beside her. She said that she is a very kind lady who has been a missionary most of her life. God really has gone before her and I love to watch Him work! Excited for my girl as she is on her way to serve the least of these.

How Beautiful are the feet of those that bring good news! -Romans 10:15

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Deep Pain.....

I just left our newest son in his bed with his oldest sister. As I was tucking him in tonight tears started to  flow down his face right after prayer time. I quietly questioned why he was sad and he started to sob. He then muttered, "I am going to miss Megan." He was then weeping loudly.
The deep pain and loss that he has endured in his young life is more than I can imagine. He realizes that another loss is coming and he doesn't want to say goodbye again.
I quickly called for Megan and she crawled into his bed and started to rub his head and cry with him- She is still there. Please pray for our family- We are thrilled that Megan is going where God is leading her but it certainly is painful on so many levels. He catches every tear and we are so thankful that this goodbye is not forever.........Trusting Him with our aching hearts tonight.