Today marked our second day in Dessie with the children. This morning seemed to start earlier as both our team and the children were eager with anticipation. The morning started even earlier for a few members of our team, who found the whole time-change thing difficult when they forgot to change their clocks.

We enjoyed another amazing breakfast of porridge and Ethiopian coffee prepared by our wonderful cook. As we enjoyed our breakfast, the children began streaming in. As they awaited their breakfast, it was heartbreaking to watch the pouring rain, soaking the children as they waited outside. Soon, however, many members of our team were outside, getting soaked and protecting as many children as possible with their coats and with several umbrellas. Finally, since everyone was so wet, we began to run and play with the children, ignoring the rain and experiencing the joy of the children who love to be with us, regardless of the weather. Because of the rain, the children did not line up on the blacktop like they did yesterday, but they still enjoyed running around and playing. Some of the children’s favorite games are simply racing around, dancing in circles, and chanting and singing in both Amharic and English.

After morning play, the kindergarten through 4th grade again went into the large assembly room for the Bible story. Today’s Bible story was the story of David and his growing up as a shepherd boy, learning that God was with him even though he was small. The children loved singing and watching the Bible story, and the puppets were one of the favorites yet again today. After the Bible story, the children went down to the classrooms where they made today’s craft, paper plate tambourines filled with beads to use to make music like David did in the Bible story. Our craft time was much more organized today, and the children loved decorating and shaking their tambourines.

One of the boys that I met today during craft time was named Talageta, which means God with us. I was amazed at how God was speaking to me, reminding me that, as he was with David, God is always with us, with both the children and our team, through the rain and the sun, and through the sadness and the joy.

After craft time, it was again time for more playing football (soccer), running and singing. Most of the girls on our team ended up with creative braided hairdos, courtesy of many young girls who are amazed by both our hair and our skin. As we spend more time with the children, they begin teaching us more and more Amharic, and they expect us to teach them English in return. They definitely know more English than we know Amharic, although we are getting much better at the numbers and many names of children.

One major way in which we have seen God working is through the joy that we see on the children’s faces. It has been both an amazing testament to God’s love and greatness, as well as a heartbreaking experience to know the conditions in which the children are living. As we struggle with the tension between feeling a sense of hopelessness and trusting God’s plan, we are experiencing a mixture of both sadness and joy. We are grateful for the love that we have been shown by God and by the children, as well as the community in which we are experiencing this incredible adventure. Read More About Day 5