Tuesday, March 30, 2010

When I went to Ethiopia to bring Havyn home, our 14 year old daughter Addisyn went with me. I have had a lot of people ask me how she did and what her feelings were on Africa so I thought I would share some of that here.

For about the last 5 years I have sat back and watch Addisyn's heart grow passionate about orphans. I find it so interesting how our children really are listening and watching even when we don't realize they are. In the past I have often seen Addisyn reading the blog posts I write. Yet if you ask her who her favorite blogger is and #1 hero in this world- it is Katie. If you have never read Katie's blog you don't know what you are missing. The girl is AMAZING. Katie is a 20 year old, beautiful girl living in Uganda and is raising a house full of precious kiddo's while serving the Lord there. Her story, her life, will just touch you at the core. I am so in awe of people like Katie, and so thankful for the example she is to young girls like my daughter.

Addisyn has been dreaming for the past couple of years of going to Africa. In 2007 Addisyn and I went on a mission trip to Guatemala with a group of awesome people- (we love you Jenny, Raegan, Debbie and Angel) and it was life changing. I have seen it over and over in Addisyn's thought process and her view of the world. Something there changed her. Changed her wants. Changed her needs. Changed her heart. Just like it did mine. And I knew, without a doubt, that Africa would do the same.

While obviously our biggest reason for going was to bring home Havyn, we were also blessed by being able to take supplies to a variety of different orphanages. PURE JOY. But even more than that, we had the privilege of taking a day trip to Ziway and spending the day with missionaries, Peggy and Gary Ifft. Peggy and Gary have worked along side Lifesong for orphans (who I adore!!) and they are beyond precious. We were blown away by all of the work they have done in Ethiopia and they made Addisyn's dream come true by letting us go with them to one of their feeding programs.

Once again- life changing.

Once home we were asked at church to share our experiences in Ethiopia. I thought I would let Addisyn in her own words share here. I am so proud of you my sweet daughter. I know God has big plans for you and I cannot wait to see them unfold. Keep being who you are- it's perfect. :0)

Ethiopia, 2010
By Addisyn Block
~age 14

There is a quote that reads : Preach the gospel always, and when necessary use words. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times this quote went through my head on our mission trip in Ethiopia. Because of the language barrier- I knew the best way I could ‘preach’ about Jesus was through my actions and through my love. I pray this lesson stays with me always.

We went to a preschool in Ziway, Ethiopia. The kids there were literally wearing rags, they walked miles to school in shoes that were falling apart, yet here in America, everyday at school I see kids in their hundred dollar jeans and new Nikes- but their joy for life doesn’t seem any deeper then these children in rags. I have found that people often try to fulfill their happiness with more, more clothes, more toys, more boyfriends or girlfriends- always searching for someone or something to make them feel like they are enough. It may work for a little bit, but then there’s something better that they want and they run off chasing after that ‘thing’. What I noticed was that the children in Ethiopia have nothing- and yet somehow I couldn’t help but notice they possessed a joy like I had never before seen.

For a long time I have felt God calling me to missions. I don’t know what the future holds, but I having the privilege of spending the day with missionaries in Ethiopia was like a dream come true for me. The work they had done ranged from building a school and feeding program, to constructing a bridge so that the people didn’t have to wade across a river to go to the trade market. What I loved about what these missionaries did was they would see a need, get the project started and then equip other individuals to see the project to completion. In an amazing way this ‘bridge’ became a symbol of connecting God’s people for His glory.

Another place the missionaries took us was to one of their medical clinics. My new baby sister had a rash on her neck and we were going to have it looked at. Trust me when I say it was nothing like the doctors offices here in America. There wasn’t even glass on the windows and their supplies were very limited. As we pulled up to this tiny little building I have to admit, I was wondering what we had gotten ourselves into. We walked in and saw a sweet Ethiopian man, with a huge smile on his face, ready to treat my sister. He looked over my sister and then gave my mom some medicine to treat the rash. Then, I was blown away by what happened next. He wouldn’t accept any payment. This sweet man with obviously nothing would not take payment. My mom pleaded with him and he shook his head no explaining that “we were in this together – we were brothers and sisters in Christ and this is what we did for each other”. As I watched my mother weep I learned something important that day, no matter how little you have- you always have something to give for God’s glory.

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Unknown said...

WOW! Addisyn - that was beautiful and powerful and inspiring! I praise God for girls like you and Lexi who are ready to set this world ablaze with the power of His love running through your every vein, thought and action!

Praying for all the ways God will use you as you continue to seek after His heart for your life!

Love and hugs,

Sophie said...

What an incredible experience for Addisyn and truly a life changing one. I'm excited to see the plans God has for her. Your baby is so adorable, I've been looking into another adoption for us and you've got me seriously considering Ethiopia, just waiting for my husband to jump on board, say a prayer for me!

Pamela Early Settoon said...

wow, you mentioned Katie and I was just reading about her today in Home Life Magazine. Her story is amazing and encouraging.

Lorraine, AKA Forever Blessed said...

Addisyn, your heart is amazing, and we're privileged to know you. Both you and your mom share a gift of writing, and I'm so thankful you took the time to write this out. You've shared something with the world that will forever touch many hearts around the globe. Not many 14-year-olds write on blogs, much less writing about missions and adoption. You are an amazing young woman, and I know your momma is so proud of you, as is our Heavenly Father. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you and Mattie (and your mom and me) could all go on a mission trip together someday soon?!? We would LOVE that!!! Hoping we can meet Ms. Havyn soon. You're a blessing to that baby girl, you know! I know that all of the children in Africa were blessed by your presence and they undoubtedly saw and felt the love of Christ in you. I have no doubt that you effectively preached the gospel with much love without speaking a single word. You are amazing, Addisyn!

Laurel said...

Sweet Addisyn,

You are not "going to be a missionary some day" ... you already are. Thank you for sharing with us!

I loved it when your mom and I took a picture of you with my daughter Carissa last fall ... two missionaries, chatting about what God has placed on your hearts. When Carissa was your age, she had so many of the same hopes and dreams. Now, 7 years later, she has been living in Argentina for 2 years. This week, she is in Chile, rebuilding houses after the earthquake.

I'm so excited to see where the Lord will lead you in the next 5-10 years.

Keep in touch, Addisyn. We will be your cheerleaders and supporters, as God takes you around the world, in service to Him. (And, I'll be here to remind your sweet Mama that it's okay for "her baby" to be all alone in a scary place ... because that will be wherever God has called you to be, and you will not be "alone".

Love you Addisyn,

Laurel & the gang :)

Angie said...

You truly have a kind and wise heart for a 14 year old girl! Obviously, your mom is so proud of you. But even more, God must be so geeked that you're ready to serve Him...and are serving Him even now!

trustandobey said...

Wonderful post! You are quite the writer! I homeschool my girls (13, 11, and 7) and we hve a devotional every morning. Today it will be reading your post:) and talking about God's heart for orphans. Thank you for sharing your heart. Hold on tight to the lessons that God taught you there and use them with all your might!

Chantelle said...

Can't wait until Addisyn has a blog of her own and is showing the world how deep a 14 year old can be even in this shallow world. BLESS YOUR HEART for seeing past the $100 jeans at school to the real meaning of life! ((((hug))) Beautifully written by a beautiful girl, both inside & out. (love the freckles) ;) God bless you!

acox26 said...

I am crying, thank you for your post Addisyn! I will be praying for where God leads you! You are a very special young woman and God does have great plans for you! Ann

Emma said...

I don't think I've commented on the blog before, so you won't know me. I loved this post, I love the heart for orphans that your family has. This blog really inspires me, makes me think about adoption in the future. I'm young still, but if God plans, I'm sure I will consider following your path.

Havyn is just beautiful, as are all your children. One question, how do you pronounce Havyn's name?

Thank you all for contributing to the blog world, and I thank God that He has led me here!

Dardi said...

Beautiful & awesome!!

Addie Talley, Photographer said...

This was so powerful... thank you for sharing

TheHappyNeills said...

Thanks for posting these words! I especially was touched by the doctor in the story.

Keep following Him wherever He may lead!

Holly said...

Totally crying...wow. What a powerful lesson! We all have SOMETHING to give God...regardless of our wordly wealth.
Where He leads...FOLLOW!!
Yippee Jesus!

Renee said...

What a beautiful daughter you have, inside & out!

Pedro and Felis Patlan said...

Addisyn, I think you need to start a blog yourself. :) You have a gift just like your mom and I would definitely have my girls and boy....:) read your blog, so that they have a great "young" role model (even if it is from far away)

Amy, you have done such an amazing job with your kids.

Blessings to you....

Pedro and Felis Patlan said...

Addisyn, I think you need to start a blog yourself. :) You have a gift just like your mom and I would definitely have my girls and boy....:) read your blog, so that they have a great "young" role model (even if it is from far away)

Amy, you have done such an amazing job with your kids.

Blessings to you....

MyLinda said...

That was so touching!

Deena said...

What an awesome post! I can't wait to have my 13 year old daughter read it! We just got our referral and are trying to decide if we should take our daughter with us to Ethiopia. You may have inspired us more than you know!
Thanks for sharing!

natali said...

What a wonderful post! Very touching Addisyn :))

Live to love and laugh said...

I am sitting here crying. Addisyn, your post is so touching. You are a 14 year old with a heart that grown women do not always have.
I am praying that God will stay the center of your life and your passion for orphans will never dim.

Debbie T said...

Addisyn, you're amazing! You will continue to do awesome things in this world because you listen to your heart and to where God is leading you! What a gift you are! Hugs!

Christi said...

Wow! What an incredible young woman she is... and is becoming.. all for the glory of God!

Well said Addisyn - God has BIG plans for your life!

-Christi @ Lifesong

"Are These Kids All Yours?" said...

AMAZINGLY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Unknown said...

Wonderful wise words from a beautiful young lady. The Lord is using you greatly already Addisyn.

Unknown said...

Oh Precious One....God has BIG plans for you.

free_to_dream said...

Addisyn, I quoted you on my blog:


Please check it out if you like. You are the most mature and amazing fourteen year old I have ever "met", and I'd love to get to know you better. (I am seventeen.)


Melinda said...

Such an inspiring post from a beautiful girl. Amy you should be so proud of the young lady Addisyn is turning out to be. Of course she has a great example to follow after in her mom. I loved hearing a part of your journey, can't wait to see what God does in your life Addisyn! Amy email me Gary and Peggy's info if you can. I met them when I picked up Asher 3 years ago and would love to see what they do when I travel.

Anonymous said...

Soul Sister, (yeah you know who I am!)
That was abselutely beautiful! I felt like you spoke the words off my lips! We litterally share the same heart, passion, and God. I have been begging my mom to let me go on some kind of mission trip, and on Thursday I left for my first mini mission trip! I flew to Miami to get our new addition: Kiefer Thomas Patterson. I love you and your mom so much and hope to get together soon!
Your soul sister,