“I want to go to Ethiopia, but I can’t afford it.” I’m a normal, everyday middle class woman. I have three busy (and expensive) kids, my own business, and a husband who just started over in a new career. We’re on a tight budget and the monthly surprises (the car breaks down, the dishwasher starts leaking, one of the kids breaks a leg, etc.) leave us little wiggle room in the savings department.
So HOW in the world did I decide to go to Ethiopia with Habesha Momma? How did I make that $3500 commitment when we simply couldn’t afford it? One word. FAITH.
I simply choose to walk out in faith. I have been praying about going to back to Ethiopia since 2008 when I visited to bring home my son, Messay. That trip was really a trip to complete our family and bond with my son. While we got a chance to see a little bit of Ethiopia, for the most part, it was all about Messay.
Going back has been something I have talked about for years. The reason: to REALLY get to know the country that gave me my son and to see if I can make a difference there.
My first reaction when I heard about the trip was “Awesome, I’m going.” Then I had to come home and talk to my husband who was very supportive but did breach the subject of our budget and the costs involved. We agreed to pray about it and both came away with the same resolve: If God wanted me to go to Ethiopia, He would provide the means for me to get there.
So, I told Andrea (President of Habesha Momma) that I was going. We did pay the initial $250 deposit out of our own account, but only because the date to get it in was upon us, and I wanted to make that commitment of faith that I WAS going. It was tough that month. We ate a little less fancy, but we made that first deposit and we were committed!
Then I got to fundraising. I started a Gofundme page; I sent out letters to family and friends asking for support; I got my kids involved with a lemonade stand; we did some fundraisers at my church; and I ASKED for help. I always say that not everyone is called to go on mission/humanitarian trips, but we are ALL called to support them. There is simply too much evil, sickness, poverty and sadness in the world for us to just ignore it and not get involved. There are so many people that will stand behind and support those of us that are called to go. We just need to ask.
So I asked, and asked, and asked again. I posted on social media and talked about my trip as often as I was given the chance. Then tragedy struck and my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I traveled back and forth to Ohio multiple times to be with him in his fight which, after six months, took his life. It was a TOUGH time in my life and honestly, sometimes my trip to Ethiopia was an afterthought to the difficulties I was facing in my personal life. But God knew the desires of my heart and honored the commitment I had made. By the time the last deposit was due, I had raised all but $200. In the end, I paid that last $200. Not because I couldn’t raise it, but because I was grieving. We’ve all been there…when grief overwhelms you. I just needed time to say goodbye.
In the end, my trip to Ethiopia cost our family only $450. We took a leap of faith and we let God show off. My friends are not rich. No one came forward and gave us a check for $2000. Instead, we raised it in $5, $10, and $50 donations. We had a few larger donations, but in whole, there were just a whole lot of ordinary people joining together to accomplish something extraordinary.
Don’t let money stop you from following your dreams. Take a leap of faith. Join us in Ethiopia in 2016 or 2017. Come join us ordinary people as we are blessed to experience the beautiful culture and people in Ethiopia!
Written by Devon Shanor Board of Directors Business Development