The following story was written by trip member, Dana Valentine:
I returned home from my first trip to Ethiopia a completely different person than when I had landed in Addis Ababa nine days earlier. I had been hurt so much before leaving for that first trip in 2017 and honestly, hated people. However, God used the people of Ethiopia to show me that I didn’t hate people, in fact I truly love and care about people and was simply afraid of getting hurt. The Lord broke down every wall I had spent an entire lifetime building up.
The day before we were headed back home, I remember listening to Abenezer and Atikelt, founders of an OH Partner called Talita Rise Up, share about two little girls they had been working with. The things they shared and the realities that they faced shook me to my core. I remember seeing my daughter’s face and the emotions and pain that came over me were something I could not handle alone. I ended up in the bathroom sobbing, trying to sort through all those emotions. I distinctly remember sitting there hearing the Lord tell me, “These are my people. The love you have for your daughter is the same love I have for them, times a thousand. This is the same love I have for you. Help me love my people.”
In that moment I fully understood what it meant to love like God, to have a heart like His. He taught me this by breaking my heart for the things that break His. I had never been able to grasp the love of God until then. Until I wanted nothing more than to wrap my arms around those girls I had never met and just hold them and love them and make them feel safe. And then it all came together for me. That is what Abenezer, Atikelt and Talita Rise Up are doing. That is what every ministry Ordinary Hero partners with in Ethiopia is doing! They are loving these people fiercely and showing them the love of God day in and day out. I want nothing more than to continue to be a part of that and hopefully help Ordinary Hero grow so they can continue to reach more and more people to love and change lives!