It was a time of celebration for us here in Ethiopia, the night before we fed about 700 street kids and adults. The youth from our ministry had been busy for a few days preparing the meal that would show the love of Jesus Christ. It was beautiful watching our girls and boys finish up all the last details of the food preparation. We were singing; while taking turns stirring a huge pot of wat (a common sauce here in Ethiopia). Then the enemy attacked trying to steal all the JOY from us during this precious time.
I was actually engaged in a conversation with Sinke (Kiki’s biological mom) about her taking the Tofel test that would open the door for her to come to America and go to college studying social work to prepare her to come back to her country and open an orphanage. Trent entered the room with this look at his face that frightened me. He said Carmen we need to talk something bad has happened. My heart sank and I began to get very nervous. He told me that our friend had tried to kill himself. Immediately my heart ached for him and his family. Knowing this person and his family I knew it had to be a spiritual attack from the enemy. My concern was had anyone gotten to him and prayed over him? Someone needs to do this; it is all the enemy.
It just so happens that this person is also the one who handled all of our finances for Ethiopia. We can’t go home I remember screaming. The thought of having to leave all of what HE had created us for made me sick to my stomach. Fears begin to creep in about leaving the youth that we have been sacrificing everything for. “But GOD, I said, this is not what we want to do, please do anything to change this”. Trent and I began to talk and decided that just he would go back to the states to figure everything out while the kids and I would stay here with our 5 older kids and continue on life as normal. As normal……what a crazy thought to be here without my partner. But we could not possibly leave our 5 children that GOD has brought into our family unexpected like this. What would this do to them? We had committed to being here loving them, helping them, teaching them and supporting them. Now what were we supposed to do, we could not abandon them like everyone else in their lives had.
As the story continued to unfold we were completely shocked to say the least. We heard that possibly all of the funds that we had raised had been mishandled. WHAT….ARE YOU SERIOUS; were our thoughts for the first couple of days. Then we received bank records since Trent was a signer on the account, so that we would have a check card to access the account when in the states while living off support. It was true…..all of it was true. As we began to read the statements we felt like vomiting heavy, gross, disgusting vomit all over Ethiopia. How could this be???
How could this be??? This was our friend! We had known him for 8 years; he had served in many ways at church, he was well known in the community and even looked up to as a coach. How could we have not seen this, what about his family….his wife, his children? So many questions were going through our minds. Our hearts were burdened for this family. As more began to unfold our emotions turned to confusion and uncertainty. Through it all we just kept asking GOD to allow us to stay here in Addis even though things were falling apart on the America side of things.
We kept pursuing our FATHER through loving on the kids here in our ministry in Ethiopia. We knew we had not come this far to go back home. We were not backing down and we had to prove this to the enemy. He tried to derail our thoughts and minds. He tried to run us off of our emotions so that we could not stay focused. Satan tried to scare us through lying to us about how our supporters would respond.
Our minds were filled with doubt but only for a second. We are HIS children HE knew all of this would happen before a day had passed. We are talking about our Almighty Heavenly Father here. We began to focus on HIS TRUTH, HIS WORD, HIS PROMISES and saying them out LOUD!! We claimed victory over all that had happened and all that would be ahead. WE WILL NOT RETREAT! HE gave us HIS peace.
The blessings began to pour in immediately through the support of our home church UCITY. The lead team was all over this. They poured countless hours into making sure that HIS work here in Ethiopia through us would not be disturbed. We had emergency funds sent to us. One of supporters sent us enough money to cover 2 month of living expenses while our monthly support begins to be built back up. Some of our supporters lifted their number of monthly support to help us regain what was lost. We had our round trip airline tickets paid for so we can still visit the states this summer for 2 months. Another supporter sent us money so that we would still be able to intact Christmas in Ethiopia where we would buy all 150 of our youth shoes, lotions etc.
We have a long ways to go to recover all that was lost but there is no doubt in our minds that DADDY has us covered. We also believe that HE will do so in a way that will have people in awe of who HE is. So that HE can get all the glory, honor and praise that HE deserves. We are so grateful for all of you who love on us the way you do. Thank you for your support, love and prayers that allow us to be HIS hands and HIS feet even in the middle of the storm.
I have always wondered how I would handle myself in certain situations; if I could really do it differently now that I had JESUS in my heart. I give GOD the glory and the praise for how HIS HOLY SPIRIT radically revealed his power in my life. I know that the old Carmen would have been angry and wanted revenge tenfold on what was done to us and more importantly to GODS Kingdom. But my DADDY can handle this and I guess I can proudly say I can too. We were able to speak to this person just briefly on speaker phone as he was meeting with one of the board members closing accounts etc… We were able to speak bold truth to him about his FATHERS love and the enemy’s attacks. Trent and I were able to freely and earnestly forgive him for what he had done. NOW THAT IS THE POWER OF THE LORD. AMEN
JOY in the midst of a trial is not happiness in the moment of the difficult time; but rather the EXCITEMENT in the anticipation of what our HEAVENLY FATHER will do with it afterwards.