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Visit Awassa, Ethiopia with a team from Project HOPEFUL!

Come serve along side of us on a Mission Trip to Awassa, Ethiopia.  We would love to have you with us to meet your FIG child, serve at Ajuuja orphanage, and build relationships with the people in the communities we serve.  Please be aware that we are a different type of “mission”  trip that can be better described as a “vision”  trip.  Our trips are not as much as about “doing” as they are about learning and building relationships.  Our focus is to love and equip our families, support our staff in Ethiopia,  and build relationships.   Our teams include a maximum of eight people, which means we often have a waiting list of interested participants.  Our teams are selected after a careful review of the application and consideration of the balance of team members.  For more information please contact charisa@projecthopeful.org.

Our next trip is October 10-19, 2014.  Please fill out an application as soon as possible to be considered!

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A $200 deposit is due upon acceptance and all remaining funds are due 30 days prior to your departure date.

A Personal Testimony

“A Project Hopeful Awassa trip is a journey with strangers who immediately feel like family. It’s about getting in a van and trusting your life to a crazy driver who turns out to be an angel who walks among us. It’s about not understanding in your mind a single word of what is being said to you, but understanding completely in your heart. It’s about smiling until the back of your head hurts. It’s about small gestures made with big love. It’s about holding the hands of tiny, grimy children at the fish market and hearing statistics from Zewdu that make your head spin and heart hurt. It’s about trying new food, honoring different customs, and appreciating a culture much older and richer than our own. It’s about noticing the presence of joy in the absence of material things. It’s about being okay with loose plans, and changing plans. It’s about sleeping on beds that might impale you with rusty springs or fold you in half with the lack thereof. It’s about being emotionally and physically tired, not sleeping well,  and pushing through anyway, not because you have to, but because nothing is going to stop you from loving on your FIG child and his family. It’s about dancing in church more than you’ve danced at the last five weddings you’ve attended.

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You will likely feed monkeys and see hippos (or not). Maybe you will pass out care packages, paint walls, build a playground, shop for baby formula, teach someone how to make jewelry, or simply hold a hand. You will be graciously invited into people’s homes and you will start to put them into categories of poor, poorer, and poorest and you will feel like a jerk for doing so. Some homes you might have to give yourself a pep talk or bite your lip to stop yourself from breaking down in tears, in another home you’ll be amazed at the seamless competence of the hostess as the power goes off and flashlights appear in the middle of dinner and the food and drink still continues to appear. Oh, yeah. The power WILL go off. A lot. You will maybe have internet, you will maybe have hot water, or scalding water, or no water.

Your life back home will feel light years away and you will feel guilty for all you take for granted. You will hug, and hug, and hug, and people will sing and sing and sing. And you’ll wish you knew the words so you could sing along too. You will see feats of human strength, spirit, and endurance that will inspire and astound you and simultaneously break your heart. You will be treated like a rock star and you will feel completely undeserving. You will feel deep connection and love to everyone and everything. You will see things that will inspire you, sadden you, disgust you, and change you.

And when you return back to your home, people will ask what you did. The answer will be difficult because maybe you painted a room, preached a sermon, gave a lecture, held babies, took photos, or handed out care packages. How do you put into words the connection you created with the nannies as you decorate the baby rooms together in an effort to simply bring more joy and beauty to the sweet babies. How do you describe the honor of being invited into your FIG child’s home to witness their few possessions and YOU walk away feeling blessed and inspired by their joy and tenacious spirits? How do you describe being challenged to a dance off by an elderly woman with a gold tooth? Or being handed a mystery milky liquid in a dirty gourd with instructions to “drink this for the sake of the photo.” Maybe you will offer to teach a skill, and find they can do the skill much better, faster, and more efficiently than you. Like making jewelry and tying knots. Maybe you’ll be required to call on skills you haven’t used in a while. Like massage therapy when you learn the woman you are visiting isn’t just having problems with the scar tissue in her legs, but migraines and back pain too. Maybe the women in the house will look at you like you are crazy when you climb in the woman’s bed because she can’t get up and there’s no other way to massage her aching neck. But then those same women hug you with tears streaming down their cheeks because you helped their sister, friend and neighbor.

So what do you DO on a Project Hopeful trip? You show up with humility, flexibility, openness, some humor and courage, and a willingness to serve. You will tote bags to Ethiopia bursting at the seams with precious items that are urgently needed. Those bags will return empty, yet you will feel there was an exchange. But this time the precious cargo you shlep home is a heart bursting at the seams…and it will change everything.”

Allison M. Waddell

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