The good news was I packed as many clothes as I could into my carry on. The bad news was my toothbrush and both of our hairbrushes were in my lost suitcase for some strange reason.
But God took care of everything!
*Since we had a long flight from Washington DC to Africa, we were given a toiletry goodie bag on the airplane. And wouldn't you know it, Faith kept her airplane issued toothbrush! So now, I had a toothbrush! Yay God!
*There was another mother (Tanya) on our team with her daughter (Taylor) and they let us use their hairbrush everyday! Each morning on the way to breakfast, Taylor would drop it off at our room for us to use. How sweet was that! Definitely God's provision.
*I mentioned that I had stuffed as many clothes as I could into my carry on (which was actually my backpack.) I had 1 pair of pants & 1 skirt along with 3 shirts. People were graciously offering to let me borrow anything I needed. Then, Kelly actually knocked on my door with clothes in her hand for me to keep!
The instant I saw the skirt, God reminded me of something. While getting my clothes together for my 40 day adventure in Africa, I was on the hunt for skirts. I must have made at least 5 trips to Goodwill in search of them. But I couldn't find what I was looking for. I then started shopping every Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshall's and consignment shop around, but to no avail. I finally ended up at Cato's where I found the style I liked but had to venture to 3 different stores to find my size.
Anyway, during this entire process, I had been asking God how many new skirts I would need. ( I sensed) He told me 3. However, I only bought 2. So when Kelly showed up with a skirt and shirt to match, I knew it was from the Lord!!! He provided my 3rd skirt through my new friend! HE IS SO FAITHFUL!
*God also gave Faith insight into the way He works. The night before we left Rwanda, Faith said, "Mom, have you ever thought that the reason the 9 suitcases (mainly filled with supplies & donations) didn't make it to Rwanda was because all the stuff in them was meant for Ethiopia and not Rwanda??!!!" WOW! I know this was God speaking to my daughter! How exciting!!!
I was reunited with my suitcase just briefly before boarding the plane for Ethiopia (thanks to Jane, our guide in Rwanda, whose husband went to the airport to get it while we were several hours away at Noel.) During our reunion, I was able to refill my carry on with clean clothes, my toothbrush and hairbrush, and another pair of shoes - just in case my suitcase went MIA again.
And speaking of relationships, let me share two more stories before I move on to Ethiopia.
*After our 2nd day at Noel (the orphanage), our team went to a restaurant on the lake.
We ate at several small tables outside. Faith and I joined the other mother/daughter
Also during this time, God gave me an unexpected opportunity to talk with the girls about dating. Because I made so many dating mistakes when I was younger & still see the consequences of them in my life today, God often has me share this part of my testimony with teenagers. Even though they may not heed my warning, I feel a responsibility to share my experience and God's truth with them. Oh how I wish someone would have warned me about dating when I was a teenager!
*Everyone on our team was given a Bible (in the native language) to give away. We prayed for God to show us who to give them to. One morning, my heart was burdened for our bus driver. I strongly sensed he needed a Bible but I really wanted my friend Mary from Noel to have one too. After breakfast, I asked Faith who she was going to give her Bible to and she said OUR BUS DRIVER!!! With tears in my eyes, I just had to smile :) Only God! He was speaking to my daughter again, and she was listening!!! And you should have seen the change in our bus driver's demeanor after he received his Bible! He became quite joyous and sociable.
Here's a picture of everyone on our bus (aka The Party Bus) along with some local children.
I will never forget riding through the mountainous countryside of Rwanda with these incredible people "getting jiggy wit it!!!"
What a tremendous blessing it was to serve with all of you!
Loving HIM with all my heart,