Sunday, April 11, 2010

Leper Colony ~ Continued

After lunch, we went back to the Church compound and separated more charcoal.  These last few bags were for families that actually live in the Church compound . . . they would not accept any until all of the neediest families had their share . . . now we can all learn from that!

Once we returned to the Catholic Guest House, it was time for Debriefing.  Mark opened the discussion to anyone who wanted to share their thoughts with us and the thoughts just started flowing.  Here is a short summary of some of the comments:  A woman chased after me after I visited her house in order to wash my hands.  (This is significant because there is no running water in the Colony, so the use of relatively fresh water is watched very closely . . . so this was an enormous gift/sacrifice for this woman . . . and a tremendous honor for us!)  The fact that the Pastor and Church would be praying for us!  (We came here to help them and pray for them.  It was very moving that they would be praying for us.)  When the Pastor said that we had "Linked arms, even across the ocean."  (That is a neat visual.)  When the Mayor of the Leper Colony (he isn't really the mayor, he just acts like it) said "Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus."  (That was in the letter I wrote asking for donations!  It was neat to hear him use that phrase.)  It was neat how once I got there, I was no longer afraid . . . the Colony was just another neighborhood we were able to help.  (The idea that God filled me with courage is pretty awesome when I think about it.)

Mark shared with us a heartbreaking story about an old man who has leprosy.  His father beat him and hid him away from the community for years when he was growing up.  Needless to say, the old gentleman had a rough life.  When Mark met him he said, referring to himself, "I am shame."  He did not mean that we was shameful, he truly believes that he is the personification of shame.  I cannot even begin to comprehend that!  Due to leprosy, this gentleman has lost his leg and the prosthetic leg he has does not fit him properly and it is causing sores on his leg which just aggravate the problems.  In order to get a new prosthetic leg, it would cost 500 Birr . . . which converts to approximately 35 US Dollars.  As you can imagine, the team jumped at the chance to help this gentleman!  We will let you know if we were able to make that happen. 

Someone asked about water in the Colony.  Families can buy water and transport it home in jugs if they have money.  If they are too poor for that, they get water out of the drainage ditch . . . and if you cannot imagine what a drainage ditch looks like in Addis Ababa, I'll tell you . . . stagnate water full of trash, dust, and animal and human feces.  What a life!

In Marks closing prayer Friday evening, he reminded us that Christian means "Little Christ."  He thanks us for being "Little Christ's" today.  He saw Christ as we walked into tiny houses.  He saw Christ as we shook hands and smiled at people.  He saw Christ as we passed out candy.  He saw Christ.  He saw Christ in us.


Life is too short and the planet is too big to stay in one place too long!

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