Posts in 117 Trip Chronicles
From Checklist to Changed: [117 Trip Chronicles]

As someone who loves and has been on many mission trips, one of my lifelong goals has been to serve God on every continent (except for Antarctica I guess…since they don’t have a ton of people there). Sounds like an awesome life goal, right? I planned for this trip to be checking off another box, the Africa box, toward that goal. However, while I was in Ethiopia on the 117 Trip, my mind and heart were shifted completely by the things I noticed and experienced.

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The Weight of Words [117 Trip Chronicles]

Her words. They were so mundane. They were spoken with the kind of matter of factness you would expect from a doctor after a clean check up. Maybe that’s why I missed them.

Standing on the front steps of Kidane Mihret orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, her words would have been easy to miss.  There, your senses are overwhelmed.  Your mind can easily be pulled elsewhere.  Maybe to the run down courtyard where the kids with no parents joyfully play soccer or climb on the decrepit jungle gym.  Or maybe your mind follows your eyes to the couple of soul-tired nuns, sitting along the crumbling wall, solemnly watching the children with no parents in their happy games.

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I'll Remember [117 Trip Chronicles]

We walked into the baby room on the second floor of the orphanage. Instantly, I was overwhelmed. The room was lined with cribs; there were so many cribs, and they were all occupied by a baby.

Some babies were sleeping.

Some babies were crying.

Some were laughing.

Some were feeding themselves.

Some were crawling across the floor.

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A Million Jagged Pieces [117 Trip Chronicles]

Take a moment to sit with me and relive the ugliest moment of my mission trip. This moment occurred one afternoon at Kidane Mihret Orphanage, a place I had been very excited to visit and serve. Our team walked into the orphanage together, and we had free run of the place; we could snuggle the babies, play outside with the teenagers, or watch movies with the kids. I went into this like I do every event in life – with a plan. I was going to go change diapers, snuggle babies, and encourage the women who did the exhausting job of caring for them day in and day out.

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The Odor of the Most Destitute Places on Earth [117 Trip Chronicles]

The smells never leave you. Perhaps more than any other sense, the sense of smell is the most memorable to me. Since I was a child, I have associated smells with so much of my experience…the warm tobacco pipe smoke of my grandfather wafting through the air in his woodshop. The sterile smell of the hospital delivery room where I met my first son. The smell of the woods behind my childhood home, wrought with the musty fragrance of leaves, earth, and the damp bark of the trees.

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