Flannery Brown was one of the members from Resurrection Brooklyn to participate in the 2015 Ethiopia Missions Trip to Addis Ababa. Below is a short excerpt from her about her experience there in February.
The very first day of being in Ethiopia was a day of visiting people in their homes. Our team of nine people split into groups of three. The first one we visited was in Suki, a neighborhood in Addis. We walked through the streets as we made our way there, receiving smiles and stares from many people as we went. Kids came up to us and shook our hands saying, “What is your name?” in broken English and then would run away giggling after attempting to repeat our answers.
When we reached the first family’s home and went inside I was pretty shocked by what I saw. The small house made of mud, grass, and a tin roof was about as big as my dining room table. It housed one bed, a few chairs, an extremely tiny TV with antennae, a small bench, and a family of five. I was suddenly very ashamed of how richly I live compared to them. It felt weird to go into their tiny little home in our American clothes, sunglasses, and shoes.
We sat in tiny chairs as we talked to the family through our translator; the kids were shy, but they explained (with their parents’ help) that they were doing very well in school and enjoyed learning. They were so cute! We learned that the father had lost his previous wife; the mother of two of the kids, and then after that a neighbor had moved in with her child. After getting to know a bit about them, we asked if they had any prayer requests. There were some pretty general ones like the kids’ health and success in school, but then the father’s own request was that he would live long enough to help his kids grow up. Seeing the grief and pain written on his face as he explained was extremely sad and it really shook me. So when we bent our heads to pray, I asked if we could all hold hands. I felt a little embarrassed asking, and I wasn’t sure what had come over me since it was a little uncalled for, but we held hands. And that was probably one of the best moments of my life. It’s hard to explain in writing, or even in words, what that feeling was like, but I had never felt so close to God. It was incredible that although there was a language difference, we all could come together in God’s presence and find his extraordinary love through prayer and holding one another’s hands.
As Christians, a common question we may have is “If God is really the loving, almighty, all-powerful, amazing God he claims to be, why is there so much suffering?” Going on the mission trip to Ethiopia helped me to realize that God is actually more present when there’s suffering. He unites people through hardship. The best thing about my trip was seeing all the hope the people of Addis have. Yes, there are very sad moments, but overall it was a truly joyful experience.