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Chad Dykstra - 2014-06-03

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Chad Dykstra - 2012-10-03

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Aint Nothin' Like the Real Thing Baby

Chad Dykstra - 2010-10-19
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Well this is it!  We are on the verge of leaving for our first trip to Ethiopia.  Our bags are (mostly) packed, we have everything (mostly) together for our departure.  This is all thanks to Lora, of course, I’m not sure any of this could happen if I was in charge of it.

We are so excited to finally meet “the boys”.  We love these two boys more than words can express, and yet we’ve never even met them.  We’ve stared at pictures for months and read their progress reports over and over.  We’ve imagined them as a part of our family.  In our home.  In our community.  In our church.  As the old-school song says, though, “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing Baby”!  Until this weekend, none of it is really real.  I am not prepared for what I’ll face while on this trip.  We’re going to get hit with a whole lot of “real things” in just a few short days.

There are some “real things” that will be great!  I will get to walk through the doors of Help for the Needy Orphanage and finally lay eyes on my beautiful children.  I will (hopefully) get to hold them, play with them, read them stories, and tell them how much everyone back home loves them and can’t wait to meet them.  I will get to experience their country, their food, and their rich culture.

Out of our blessings, we also will get to bless others.  Lora has been collecting shoes and other clothing items at garage sales and buying cheap children’s medication and vitamins over the past several months.  We have a full suitcase of items to be donated to the orphanage and gifts for the nannies.  Just yesterday we received a donation from Perrigo of 24 large bottles of children’s multi-vitamins.  That is over 1,400 vitamins.  Thank you Perrigo, and Cousin Denise for the connection.  Lora’s dentist also donated a bunch of dental supplies for both children and adults.

In addition to all of this, we will get to travel outside of the city and visit 3 World Vision projects.  We will get to see firsthand how lives are changed when clean water, schools, and irrigation are brought into communities.  We will get to see this change with our own eyes, and through conversations with real people whose lives have been changed.  As supporters of World Vision for many years and through our involvement with Team World Vision running specifically to bring clean water to Ethiopia and Kenya, I can’t even begin to imagine how cool this is going to be.

There are some “real things” that will be pretty eye-opening as well.   As Americans, we like to consider ourselves “average”.  Truth be told, Lora and I are anything but average.  We are wealthier than over 99% of the world’s population.  (We aren’t alone in this…if you make even $40,000 per year you’re richer than 96.5% of the world).  As we travel around Ethiopia, we are far more than “average”.  We are rich, spoiled Americans.  It’s easy to forget this, or ignore it, as we are living our life in comfortable, quiet Hamilton, MI.  It’s not going to be so easy anymore.  How will I react to witnessing people living in such extreme poverty?  How will they react to me?

Experiencing the culture and food will be a great thing, but it also does not come without challenges.  As a small town folks, how will we react to the congestion, smells, and experiences of a major third world city?  Will our stomachs be able to take the radical difference in cuisine, or will we get sick every day?

Most importantly, how do we explain to a 3 and a 5 year old that have already been through more loss than any child should bear that we love them, but we have to leave without them?  It is easy to say “we’ll be back”, but does the mind of a young child understand this?  Will they cry as we leave?  Or won’t they even get it?

Well…it seems like we have a lot to think about!  There’s also probably a lot that we haven’t even thought about.  But that’s OK!  We are so blessed to be on this journey and we so look forward to every minute.  We thank everyone for their thoughts, well wishes, and prayers as we leave tomorrow morning to meet the beautiful boys that God has planned for us even before this process started.

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