Monday, April 4, 2011


Ok...first...let me say: I LOVE MY MOM, too! It's just that the email volley has been between me and my dad after I broke the news that our heart's desire is to move our family to Africa. My sweet mom is just trying to wrap her wonderful heart around it all. However, my mom actually STARTED this whole thing...she was THE FIRST person on BOTH sides of my family to realize that God loved her enough to send His son - his precious only child - to die on a cross for she might receive eternal life with her Abba Father. It's not easy to let your child go and do good things...hard things.

So....I guess you can connect the dots BACKWARDS and see that any of God's children in Africa (or elsewhere!) who are loved by me - or INTRODUCED TO CHRIST - can thank my mom! :)

Anyway...since so many people read our last post, I thought I should share how it has played out so far. In a nutshell, my rational father was....well, loving & rational! Some of my favorite things he wrote:

First --- you are right. Dad would understand. I truly do. Must admit, though, I am not the most popular guy with those sentiments. can I object that I have a daughter who wants to make the world a better place for those living in a world of despair. My “practical” side tells me no way! But my heart tells me that, although painful, if you believe it’s the right thing to do and feel that the Lord is leading the way, you will know by the doors that will open or close.

He went on to share stats with me about risks associated with living in Addis. Still...rational.

You’re probably going to get sick of me, real fast. However, as I circle the globe via Internet, I will share the good and the bad with you. Again, I expect you know these facts. Lori, I am not trying to be discouraging…just passing this info along…

I love my dad's heart! Here is my reply to him...

I will not get sick of hearing from you. Most of it makes me smile. I know you love me and my family. And I think you know I love you AND them, too....and, if I did not believe this was God's plan, I would not pursue it. We have been thinking about this for a long time now...probably about 3 years and slowly but surely God has removed our reasons "why not." At this point, we can weigh two options: 1. Go and serve God as He opens these doors, or 2. Stay and....continue to live for ourselves. We could stay here and serve at church and work with Safe Families and, heck, we could even work with youth at risk around here. All these things are good - but, that is not where our hearts are. I don't know if I can really explain it. Maybe we have just moved past a point in our lives and this is what is next. We are not finding anything biblical that would suggest we not go. On the contrary, what we are reading is compelling and encouraging and convicting. We just really want to live there among people we love and do what we can - through Christ - to meet their needs, make their lives a little better, offer them some hope and share the message of Jesus with them....because it is not this life in this broken world that is our eternal life!
I don't have all kinds of statistics on Addis, but I do know that Ethiopia is a third world country...and I know what that means. I have read a lot about it over the years. We are not fooling ourselves into thinking this will be like living in a midwest suburb. But...that brings me to the last part of this reply. Your concerns bring me to tears because the need is VERY great and there is much pain and suffering. Yet, there is joy in their faces - despite what we view as "so little." They are so rich in the things we have lost in our opulence. They value relationships and time with each other, they take pleasure in the little things, they value friendships and they seek hard after God. I am not saying every person is like this...of course, not.
I know this saddens you and mom because it is far and it seems scary. But, I want to spend my life on something that matters more than what I have found thus far. If my siblings and their families do not understand or if they are against it...I don't really need to know that. They cannot possibly know my heart - but - I know in my heart whose approval I truly seek...and this is what we are feeling strongly led to pursue. At this point in our lives, we just really desire to put feet to our faith and God has seen fit to allow us to fall in love with a place and - more so - a people. Right now, our hearts long to be back there in that place and with those people - but - I want to get my heart to a place that I truly yearn for heaven and CHRIST even more passionately.
If we go - God willing - and if you ever decide to visit us there...I think you will understand!

And - BLESS MY HEART! - here is his reply:

Okay, Lori:
That was the reply I expected and wanted…..Total Commitment!

And, even though I pointed out the bad spots, I still support your heart and what you want to accomplish. I always knew there was something more in your life and am not surprised in the least that this is what you chose to do. It’s hard to criticize someone who wants to do God’s work, even if it means in a far-off land in a place we “comfortable” people find extreme. That’s where Christian work is needed most.

You will not receive any more emails pointing out unpleasant subjects, rather encouragement.

And, yes, I would visit Africa once again!

I guess you and I are stuck with Winston’s wise words:

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give!”
I love you!
Did I tell you? I LOVE MY DAD! (And my mom, too!) Now...about that dream to go, as their undeservedly blessed child, to be Mom to some precious brown children.....


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