Today is our last full day here. We got up early and had breakfast by room service.
Then we went to the Gladney office to meet with Tigist again. She greeted us with a great big smile, a traditional Ethiopian greeting and kiss, and she seemed to be very much at peace. She gave us the only photo she has of their birth father. They scanned it for us in the office so we could give it right back to her. He was a very handsome man. We spent about half an hour talking and I asked if she had any questions for me. She told the translator that she is so happy, more than she ever dreamed. She thanked us again for the meeting the other day and showed me she was carrying the purse we gave her. She was at such peace and she never even shed a tear. She kissed me & Ellie and the girls and told us to kiss & hug Josiah for her. We opted not to bring him today because it was very hard on him every time he said goodbye to her over the last several months. She understood and was in agreement. She wished us a very safe travel and we exchanged addresses and made arrangements to keep in touch with each other. This was an amazing day. To be able to look each other in the eyes, hug and kiss and be forever bonded in love, in the unity of loving these beautiful children. She walked out of the courtyard with a smile on her face and peace in her heart. It doesn't get much better!
We went to exchange some money and then headed off to a blanket factory. We want to buy 100 blankets for the Kolfe Boys. While there, it was suggested that it may be better to have Gladney purchase them to get the tax exempt discount which means we could get a few more blankets. So, we have to finalize that tomorrow before we leave. With the discount the blankets will be 8.33 each. We also went and bought 10 soccer balls and a pump and then headed back for another visit with the boys. They were very surprised to see us again and we had another great time of fellowship. We took lots of video this time and I asked the boys what they would like "MY FRIENDS" who are coming from America to bring them. This is what they told me: BOOKS, Lots of books. Especially Dictionary - English as a second language college level was suggested by Ryan. At least 4-5 of them. Pencils, pens, notebooks, DVD movies, comedies. They like Jim Carrey movies. Basketballs, and table tennis are also their desire. I suggested socks, shirts, etc. and they said that would be great but they don't think it is possible. They get distributions of socks only once a year so they can't even imagine getting these things. They need them though.
If anyone would like to help with these boys, you can send a tax deductible donation to Gladney and just write in the memo to direct this to the Kolfe Boys Orphanage. Mr. Scott Brown (Ryan's Dad) will see to it that all the money goes directly to them. They currently have several projects on their list, a new kitchen and supplies, new soccer goal posts and a sponsor program to help these young men go to college. They are just beginning their work so they really need our support. After speaking with Ryan today it was so encouraging to see and hear about his passion for these boys as well. They really need us to come alongside them to help accomplish many projects for these forgotten boys. I would also like to replace every single pad on their beds. The blanket factory today had nice mattress pads for about $10.50 each. There are currently 185 young men there. We will post pictures of their beds when we get home and you can see for yourselves the need is great. Please pray about helping with this as well. Just take a moment tonight, when you lay in your nice comfortable bed to remember these boys sleeping on a flat pad with chunks of foam missing, that sits on a cold piece of metal. How can we not be compelled to help them?
As I was composing this list with the boys today, they kept insisting that it was extremely difficult for them to get anything and they were trying to let me know that I should not get my hopes up for them. They said they are given one pen per man and one writing book as a reward system. So, for them to think of getting anything on their wish list is really impossible. I explained to them that GOD is very powerful and that there are other families coming from America that will visit them soon. If the Lord wills and if they will listen to my requests, they will bring some of these items for them. They got wide-eyed and looked very surprised. They said, "OK if God will allow we would very much like this!" So, if you are scheduled to go to Addis in the near future, would you please contact me so I can send you some things to take to them for me as well? If we all work together, we can truly bless these young men. Remember, if we do it for the least of these we do it for Jesus Christ.
We confirmed our flights, got the children's visas from the embassy and we are ready to go home now. I had Tafesse explain to Josiah that he is going on the plane to America. We took him to the airline office where he saw a model plane and we hope he understood. I want him to understand everything so that this will be a positive experience for him. We will be packing up tomorrow and saying goodbye to the wonderful staff here at Gladney. This truly has been an unforgettable and life changing journey for all of us. Please pray for a safe journey home and especially for our sweet Ellie who has a really bad sore throat right now. She can't even talk. We will probably post again after we get home so thank you to those who have prayed for us and followed along on our journey. May you each be blessed beyond measure and may God get all the Glory for all that has happened here. In His Timing & Care.....