Sunday, December 30, 2007

Our Ethiopian Church

Ethiopian Evangelical Church of Denver

Today I took my 12 year old to visit our nearest Ethiopian Church while David stayed home with our sick 10 year old. It was indeed a different experience. Two weeks ago I was dropping off mail at the Post Office and noticed the guy who served me had an accent that I knew was from Africa. I asked him where he was from and he joked for a while and said he was from here. He finally told me that he was from Ethiopia and my mouth dropped. Never have I met anyone from Ethiopia before. Never! And now I meet one in my home town. He was so kind to me. He said I should visit his church where his brother was the pastor and it was the same church that I've been looking at on line for a few weeks now. I had decided that the girls need an Ethiopian Church Home as well as our regular church. What a sweetheart he was and I was surprised at how grateful he was when I told him we were adopting 2 girls from his homeland.

So we pull up and my son asks if we will be the only white people there. I say maybe, but there may be some other "Caucasians" there too. We were the only white-folk there so that was a change for us. I told Brandon to imagine what the minority feels when they are in a crowd with a bunch of white people. Regardless of the numbers, I felt totally comfortable and happy to be there. Cause we're all praising the same God. And although the entire service was in Amharic, I knew what they were saying. They also had a translator through my headphones, so that helped. As we sat down, the Senior Pastor came directly to us without skipping a beat and introduced himself. He asked what brought us to his church and before I finished the sentence, he shook my hand and told us what a blessing we are to those 2 girls. What I am learning is to not be afraid of what I think the Ethiopian people are going to think about us adopting one of their own. I've been a little nervous about what they would think, but I am so grateful about how they really feel. I have been ignorant about the culture and thinking it was going to be similar to African American is so NOT. They share the same skin color and Africa, but the 2 cultures are extremely different. They are probably reading this right now and thinking, you've got to be kidding me. I'm just being very honest here and not acting like I knew everything about all this. But you just don't ever think of these things until they are up front and center in your life. I mean, there were about 500 people at this service and me being the only white gal there, and I was wondering where they all came from if I'd never met an Ethiopian before 2 weeks ago. Sometimes we just need to open our eyes a little more.

Pastor sat me where his brother, Mesfin, sits and said with a sparkle in his eye, that it was his brother who brought him to the Lord. We both laughed and agreed that God is funny that way. When Mesfin arrived, he seemed happy that we were there and helped me to understand what was going on. We sent Brandon to his Youth Service that was in English. Most things about the service were different for me, the music, the language, the beauty of the people, the warmth I just don't find that in other churches. It is their culture.

New people in the service were asked to stand and introduce themselves if they'd like. They say their name and what brought them here today. So when I introduced myself and said I am here because my new friend invited me when he heard I was adopting 2 Ethiopian girls, I wish you could have seen their faces as they all turned to look at me as I said it. The smiles and the look they gave was full of warmth and acceptance. You had to have been there, but it was just another example of how much they truly are happy about us adopting one of their own. I felt humbled and unworthy at the same time. The Pastor said, "Well, as you look around, you can see how your girls will grow up to be beautiful people who love God". I felt the love in that room. It was just really a wonderful experience to add to this unbelievable journey we are on.

Brandon's time with the Youth Group was to my surprise really great. He made several friends and even exchanged phone numbers. That didn't even happen at our church. Brandon had such a good time that he said he wanted to go back.

After the service we met a few people and they said they would introduce us to injera. Said it was a must. Of course this is their daily staple of flat bread that looks like a very thin pancake.

Thank you Pastor Endeshaw and Mesfin...what blessings you are to the church and us.


Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa, what a great experience. That is amazing that there is such a large Ethiopian church in your area. It sounds like you are going to be making a lot of new friends. Have you eaten Ethiopian food? It is the MOST delicious!There's a wonderful Ethiopian restaurant in L.A. that I love to eat at. No knives or forks, just use your hands. Yummy! Hope you have an Ethiopian restaurant in your area.
Let me know how your kids like it.
Happy New Year!!

Lisa W. said...

I too believe we will be making some very special friends going here. No I have not eaten Ethiopian food yet. Never. And there are at least 3 restaurants that I know of on the way to the city here. So that'll be interesting to check out. When I come to L.A., we must go to your restaurant together, maybe Deb could meet us there.
Happy New Year to you too!

Kellie said...

Hi Lisa, I just ran across your blog recently. We are also in Denver and adopting from Ethiopia, so it's great to know that there is such a large and warm community here. Good luck in your journey!


Lisa W. said...

Hi Kellie,
Glad you found my site. Yes it is good to have a large community here. Perhaps we'll bump into eachother somewhere.

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