So much for blogging throughout our trip. We could not access the blog except for one time during our entire trip. So I have some catching up to do.
For the most part, we saw the Glory of God appear through an uneventful process. With the exception of a couple of last minute scrambles to collect paperwork that we didn't bring because we didn't think we needed it, and the Lord's creative supply of other needs for some of other families who were with us, the trip ran very smoothly. God was glorified in both the smoothness and the moments of turmoil. Even in the way He resolved the potential meeting with the birth mother, which ultimately involved Delisa spending about 30 minutes with her and one of the orphanages in Addis giving her a job to support herself, God was making himself clearly visible to us.
We also saw the Glory of God at work in the church and in missionary/medical ministries in Addis. One church plant by SIM, which started slow about 80 yrs ago is now a denomination of 6 million believers, in part thanks to the fact that the missionaries had to leave a couple of times during the fascist Italian occupation and the communist regime in the 80's. Another church is reaching members of the leadership of the African Union, which sits in Addis Ababa. The "Fistula Hospital" for women is a charity hospital that serves thousands of women a year who are otherwise ostracized because of unpleasant consequences of complications during rural child birth. Delisa was particularly moved with compassion over the role this hospital was playing to meet the needs of these poor African women and girls.
Our daughter, Bemnet, is a bit temperamental and is willing to scream when told "no". This has presented us a few challenges. Delisa's back isn't used to constantly carrying a 2 yr old, and when her back and Bemnet's desires weren't in sync, we got screams, looks, and an elevating "frustratometer". It was really hard in Ethiopia where every experience was in full view of the public, and because we were obviously not "from there" the stares were intense as people wanted to see how we would handle it. She doesn't like me much yet - probably because I told her "no" more in a week than she has heard in her lifetime so far. But even in this, God's Glory was revealed in her willingness, at times, to go to Luke. There is a reason this 12 yr old is so big and strong - he was made for such a time as this, and served with gladness, to carry Bemnet when needed.
The trip home was long (almost 30 hours of travel). We purchased a "kids' potty" because Bemnet is potty trained (Glory to God), but she will only go in a kids potty - she will not use an adult toilet. We were successful in getting this on as "carry on" on the plane (a first for all three sets of flight attendants), and apart from one tense moment with a senior flight attendant who questioned whether it was sanitary and threatened to fire all her staff for letting us use it instead of having Bemnet urinate all over her regular seat which is what she would have done if we hadn't been able to take it on, the Glory of God was revealed in the way he allowed this to unfold. He also kept us on time (delays on a 30 hour itinerary seem like 40 yrs in the wildnerness) and he kept our bags with us the entire time.
So, now we're home. Everyone is doing well. Sammy doesn't like any of the food we prepare for dinner, so for now, every family meal ends with a reminder that he'll get for breakfast what he doesn't try for supper. So far, he is getting the message and beginning to at least try his main entree'. Bemnet is throwing fewer temper tantrums and is more wiling to go to other members of the family when needed. She even gave me a kiss yesterday morning when no one else was up. Yofta (short for Yoftahe) seems to be doing well, although we anticipate that the language barrier will soon prove to be a source of escalating frustration for him in particular as the newness of his surroundings wears off.
And if they are feeling overwhelmed, they are not alone. Every challenging disciplinary issue, every time we sit at our table for six with ten people or more crammed around, every time we walk through the house and see the remnant of not five, but eight kids' toys and litter, and every sick or hurting child, regardless of whether a doctor's visit is actually required, is causing us to fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day with thoughts of desperation for God. When Israel grumbled about their hunger and longed to go back to slavery so their stomachs could be filled, God gave Moses the promise of Manna and Quail. These were provisions of "daily" need. They couldn't be stored up for a day when God didn't show up. They were God's provision and He had to be trusted every day for that provision to show up. Moses put it this way to the Israelites, "At evening you will know that the LORD has brought you out of the land of Egypt; and in the morning you will see the Glory of the LORD" (Ex 16:6-7). So this morning, I am writing this at 5 am (because that's when Sammy came to tell me that he was "hungly" and wanted "blekflast"), and I'm tired. But the sun will come up soon and with it, I have the promise, that "in the morning you will see the Glory of the LORD".