Monday, December 3, 2007

OUR LAST DAY IN ETHIOPIA

We got up early, ordered breakfast via room service and packed up all of our suitcases. We then met with Ryan and Abby for our final lunch and coffee date. We had a great time of fellowship again. Ryan asked if we would be interested in going to the Kechene orphanage, the older girls orphanage before we left. We tentatively set up to meet because he said the Director of this one is a very difficult man. He may not allow us to visit and he doesn't allow photos, but he would call and ask. We agreed to go and when we got there the Director said we had to first report to his office for an interview. Ryan and Abby were very nervous and leery about whether or not we were going to get in.

We walked into his office where he motioned us to sit at a conference table that extended from the front of his desk. Everyone was very nervous and sat at the far end of the table. I chose to sit in the chair directly in front of his desk, the closest one to him. He was very serious and intimidating as he spoke in a firm and professional sounding voice saying, "Please have a seat, I would like to ask you some questions". I smiled at him and said sure! I leaned forward and looked right at him. He asked, "Why are you Americans suddenly coming to my country to adopt our children? For years you have been going to China and Russia why are you now coming here?" Everyone looked at each other and I said, "Can I answer that?" Everyone gladly gave me the floor.

For a few seconds my mind raced with the following thoughts. If I tell him what I really think, he may get angry and offended and throw us out of here....If I don't tell him, I will regret it and fear that God will be angry with me....God has told me to "TELL HIS STORY" ever since this journey began...What's the worst that could happen? I'm leaving in a few hours anyway... And then it was as if the HOLY SPIRIT just poured over me.

I leaned forward, looked him right in the eyes and with great confidence I began to speak. "Do you really want to know why? I am going to tell you what I believe with all of my heart. GOD IS SENDING HIS PEOPLE HERE TO RESCUE THE ORPHAN! You see, God created every single one of these children here. He knows exactly how many hairs are on each of their heads. He created each and every one of them and regardless of the tragedies that have brought them here and the difficulties your country is experiencing, God loves each of them, God loves you, He loves your country and HE IS AT WORK HERE!!! His eyes got big, his mouth opened and he looked like he couldn't believe what I was saying. I figured I better just say my piece and deal with the consequences later. So I then told him the story of how I prayed and asked God if we should pursue adoption and told him how I opened the Bible and God spoke to me through JOB 42. I told him the whole story, about the names that revealed Ethiopia and that he had performed many miracles to get us here. He had a strange look on his face as he looked at everyone else in the room like "Is she for real?" He seemed to be very puzzled and surprised. Then he asked a second question. "I have heard that your government gives you money to adopt children. Is this why you are coming, to benefit financially...to get money?" We all looked at each other in surprise and then several people tried to answer. I spoke up again and said, "Our government gives an $11K tax credit to encourage us to adopt children so that they are not a burden to the government or society. The government does not pay us. This tax credit reduces the tax we owe. Statistically it will cost us an excess of $100,000 to raise one child so $11K is not going to get us rich if we adopt. It's not about getting rich or making money. It is a very small gesture to help encourage people and help us. You see, there are many people in America that have room in their hearts, in their homes and GOD is calling us to care for the orphan. The Bible teaches us that pure religion is to care for the orphan. This is all GOD AT WORK and we are just walking in obedience to HIM. In fact, Ryan & Abby and Travis & Joanna are here working to help your children get adopted because GOD HIMSELF has told them to. He has called them out of their lives in America to come here and help these children find loving families that will take care of them, clothe, feed, love, educate and spend all of their hard earned money to raise them. No one is getting rich here. We are obeying GOD!!! In fact, you are in that chair because God has put you there to also take care of these children. He has given you a great responsibility to care for HIS Children and you will one day answer to HIM for each one of the children he has entrusted to you. He has given you a great responsibility and he will hold you accountable for how you treat them, what happens to them and how you run this place."

He sat there with a very surprised and puzzled look on his face. He kept looking around at every one to see their reactions. I never took my eyes off of him so I really don't know what everyone else was communicating to him. He then looked at me, smiled and said, "Thank you, I understand better now about this tax credit. I need to know the truth, I guess what I heard was a rumor. You know, I do know God. I don't know him the way you do though. I have a different way to know God. You have made me think, I think I could have more questions about your GOD. I must do some research and learn more of these things you are saying. You have said some interesting things" To which I responded. "O.K. I will be happy to answer more questions. What would you like to know?" I pulled my chair closer and looked him right in the eyes. He got shy, his face turned red and he looked at everyone saying,"Wow, this lady likes to talk about this, She likes questions doesn't she?" He then said, I think you must go now it is getting late, go take pictures and do what ever you want. It is getting late. Thank you for your time." He smiled and stood up, bowing his head and dismissing us. Jerry stood up and said, "Sir, if you ask us questions, you are going to get answers. She will stay here all day with you if necessary but we have a plane to catch. Come on lets go Eileen."

I stood up and again felt the HOLY SPIRIT guiding me. I walked around his desk, I put out my hand and he too extended his. I held his hand very tightly, looked in his eyes and said, "Mr. Lucas, you are standing here looking at me, looking into my eyes and touching my hand because GOD HIMSELF SENT ME HERE. HE wants me to tell you that HE loves you and HE wants you to know him..To know the truth ...HE is the truth.... I then literally put my hand on top of his bald head and said,"I am going to continue to pray for you when I am in America, I am going to pray that God will open your eyes, your ears and your heart. That you will come to know him as your Saviour. To know the truth...The truth that sets you free!" He literally bowed down, his shoulders slouched down like a bashful little boy. His whole countenance changed. HE said, "O.K. I will like to know more about your GOD." He smiled and it was a real genuine smile, and he shook my hand and said to go now it's getting late. We all left the room that was very different from when we entered.

We proceeded to go visit with the children, tour the facility and take pictures!! It was another amazing day. The children were delightful and it again broke my heart to see how they live. Broken windows, old run down facility and conditions. But, they seemed happy and well cared for. As we were leaving and heading back up to the parking lot, I saw Mr. Lucas leaving is office. He was obviously leaving for the day. I walked back over to him and wanted to see him one last time. I walked up to him and extended my hand. He shook and said "Thank you for coming today. It was a pleasure talking to you and you helped me to understand some things." I again got close to his face, looked into his eyes and said, "Remember, you are responsible for all of these precious children that really matter to God. HE is watching you...He knows everything and HE wants you to help them." He responded. "I love these children, I am their father, they love me." I said, "You are their caretaker here, but God is their father and HE has a plan for each one of them. Please help Ryan & Abby and the rest of the people that God will send here to rescue them. HE wants you to do all things for HIM. He then told me all about his academic achievements and that he really cared for these children. He even has a dream to open another private orphanage in his own name to better have control to help them. I said that was a great goal to have and to know that I will be praying for him. We smiled, I hugged him goodbye, thanked him for this visit and said goodbye.

I plan to keep in touch with him and send him a bible. Please join me in praying for this man LUCAS as he expressed himself that he does not know the Lord Jesus, but now has verbalized an interest in getting to know more about him. Also, please pray that he will continue to be open to Ryan & Abby coming to his facility to learn about the children and find forever families for them.

Praise be to God for this anointed meeting today and may we rejoice in the hope that He will come to know His Saviour!!

After our visit we rushed back to the hotel where Tafasse and his cousin Yasu packed up all of our luggage (8 suitcases & 4 carry ons)into two cars. They got us to the airport on time and when we got to the point of no entrance for them we had to say goodbye. Taffy hugged me so tight I literally lost my breath. Ellie said he was teary eyed and choked up. We really felt like he became a brother and we are so greatful to have had this wonderful man take care of us for these two weeks. He was absolutely wonderful. He was our translator, chauffer, tour guide, personal shopper, security guard, and most of all, he became our brother and dear friend. For those of you on your way to Ethiopia, if you are blessed to have Tafesse as your driver, please give him a hug and greeting from the MESTAS family.

4 comments:

Theresa said...

Oh Eileen, I can't believe it about Lucas! We will be praying for him. We'll pray that the Lord will water the seed that was planted and the Holy Spirit will work in his life. God had yet another appointment for you before you all left. Isn't that so like God!! Don't you just want to give HIM the biggest hug?? I do!!! To God Be The Glory!!!! Great Things He Has Done!! PRAISE THE LORD!!

Lisa W. said...

Dear Eileen,
What an extraordinary meeting you had with Lucas. Your description was fantastic and I could just envision the office and that meeting. You may have just opened up doors that would have otherwise been shut closed by him. You may have just pushed him into opening those other orphanages.
Just remarkable. Wow!

Lisa
www.my2ethiopiangirls.blogspot.com

the albertsons said...

You all are amazing!
Thank you for opening your hearts and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide every step you take. You are teaching us more every day. Your story is being used to glorify God all over the world. Keep writing about it- we love to read stories of the kingdom!!!
With love,
becca
(fellow gladney adoptive mom... awaiting our referral!)

Jen said...

What an awesome, awesome testimony and God bless you for being so bold and sharing with Lucas.

I will be praying for him and also I want to let you know that your story is such an encouragement to me with sharing God with others.

Thank you so much!

Love,

Jen