On my website (mindclover.com), some of you have watched my video’s and read my write up about my two trips to Ethiopia. But for those who have not, I wanted to share a little bit with you here.
In April 2009 and again in June 2011, I had the opportunity to go to Ethiopia. They were both life changing experiences.
It all came about from a friendship that grew between Pastor Asfaw Bekele (El Bethel Church, Phoenix) and Pastor Nathan Byrd (at that time, Historic First Presbyterian Church, Phoenix). Pastor Asfaw invited Pastor Nathan and a group of people to fly 26 hours across the globe to see just what El Bethel in Phoenix was helping to accomplish in their native Ethiopia. My assignment—documentation of the trips.
In 2009 there were four of us that made the trip. And, in 2011 the group expanded to nine. Amidst our visit to Ethiopia, we grew to understand and embrace the untiring efforts of the regions leader - Pastor Tezara and his many pastors on the ground in the countryside.
On each trip, we visited just a few of the 42 churches that El Bethel had planted in the rural areas of Ethiopia primarily working with the Borana people. They were helping to build central meeting places, helping to raise funds for children’s education, and providing guidance and support to many rural communities—many that had no facilities or paved roads. It was amazing to see the incredible impact that a small congregation in America was having on thousands of people in the southern region of Ethiopia!
We all found ourselves deeply changed by the experience.
It was a sobering thought to find that the $100 that we didn’t bat an eye at to pay for a celebratory dinner in America would pay for an entire year of education for a child in Ethiopia. Kind of put things into perspective. The trip to Ethiopia was a reminder to be more grateful for the blessings we enjoyed at home.
It is easy to look out over a sea of faces and see just one mass group of people. But, when you begin to interact with individuals one on one by touching their hands and exchanging smiles, you suddenly realize that it’s not simply a mass group of people, but several individual people. Individuals knit together with unique likes and dislikes, a personality and a passion. When you take the time to look them in the eye, you no longer look across the masses, but suddenly long for a way to make a difference for that human being.
Here is a link to a video I shot and edited together from our 2011 trip. The focus that year was to document the experiences of those on the visiting team. Every couple of days, I filmed each person talking about their thoughts from what they had recently witnessed. The comments of these individuals made up the narration to the video.
Thanks for watching: http://vimeo.com/46554566
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