Tuesday, January 27, 2009 / Comments (2) / by elizabeth

i've been back in the States for 2 weeks and i feel like maybe i can start to put my time in Ethiopia into words. maybe.

The only other country (besides the US) i can compare ET to is China…and the similarities begin and end at the super long plane rides and the overpowering smell of pollution. Even the plane rides were different – the trip to China was quiet for the most part. People didn’t really talk to each other unless they were traveling together. On the way to ET, everyone walked the aisles, hung out with each other like they were family, and children were screaming (The. Whole. Way. There.) Imagine chaos and you’ve got the flight to and from Ethiopia. Yes, it annoyed me, and no I couldn’t sleep, but I couldn’t help but notice and appreciate the difference in cultures.

The first day we were in country we spent time at the House of Hope. The HOH is kind of like a halfway house for children who have been matched with a family. They leave their orphanages and stay there until their family (from another country) comes to pick them up. The anticipation, at least amongst the older kids, is palpable. They have been chosen! They are going to be adopted into a new family and get a new name and a new life and a new home!

While we were playing with these SUPER CUTE kids all i could think about was their impending adoptions and how like God it is to take a life that was headed in one direction and make it new. The Bible talks about adoption in several places but i’m not sure i understood it until that day in Africa. Not only was I chosen (Eph 1:11-12) but I was (and am) transformed! I got a new life and a new (eternal) home.

The part that struck me the most about adoption was that the children are given a new name. It’s such a spiritual concept. I LOVE this about God! In Isaiah 62, Isaiah prophesies that, although Jerusalem was spiritually corrupt, one day they would be restored to glory. The people of Jerusalem were familiar with feelings of desolation and abandonment, but God promised that the days of war and destruction would pass and they will know how much He delights in them. He even promised to change their name (vs. 2)to reflect their transformation.

All our lives we are labeled. As children we are called names on the playground and as we get older we start to believe the lies that we are told. We believe we are too much or not enough, that we are too fat, too skinny, too [fill in the blank], that we are annoying, that we’re ugly, that we just can’t live up to expectations. But we have to trust that God absolutely did not intend for us to live our lives as if these labels belong to us, to claim them as if they’re our own.

Instead, He has changed my name! I am no longer called insecure, anxious, fearful, ashamed, or worthless, but instead a crown of splendor, a royal diadem, delightful, worth rejoicing over!

The children at House of Hope eagerly wait for their adoptive parents. Because they were chosen, they believe that rescue is coming. They will be given a new name. And with this new name comes the faith that what once was ashes will become beautiful.


Jenelle @ January 28, 2009 at 12:37 PM

I like you a lot. Welcome back, child.

the brian king kenobi @ January 28, 2009 at 8:44 PM

this made me smile.