Ethiopia or Bust

My battery has been recharged. I’ve been running on low power lately, not allowing myself the time to recharge fully. There has been so much planning and preparation as we get ready to go to Ethiopia with World Vision Micro. I got caught up a bit in the trimmings and trappings of our trip - not that they are unimportant - but they tend to get in the way a bit.

The Hot Sauce 4 Good team (Laurie, Luke and I) are honored to be traveling to Ethiopia to meet some of the wonderful, hard working entrepreneurs that have received loans from World Vision Micro. These small business men and women are not only putting the money they receive to good use - they are also paying it back and paying it forward since their loans get repurposed for other entrepreneurs in their community. They are the reason that we are making this trip - to meet them, learn from them and to tell their stories.

What have I been caught up in you ask? (You did ask, right?) There has been so much planning, shopping and packing. We spent time at the doctor’s getting physicals and shots and spent time getting our ‘last will and testament’ completed. With meeting so many entrepreneurs and their families, one of the things we have got caught up in is the shopping for the kids we will meet. With so many families and a very wide range of kids we have been shopping for dolls, stuffed animals, stickers, journals, yo-yos and soccer balls.  Don’t get me wrong - there is nothing wrong with any of this - it has been a wonderful experience already - but it has been wearing me down.

One of the best things we have done as we prepare is to ask the kids of Auten Road Intermediate School and a bunch of our family and friends kids to make Rainbow Loom bracelets for us to give out while we are there. The response was phenomenal - over 300 bracelets have been made for us to give out while we are there. Incredible.

Tonight we got together with our friends and family - both physically and virtually. It was a much needed chance to stop, take a breath and relax. We ate, drank, talked and ate some more. And we prayed. Our dear friend Tom McKenna prayed over us as we prepare to take this trip. He blessed us, and blessed the bracelets that we will be bringing with us and challenged us to pass the blessings we have been given on to those we meet. I am exhausted tonight as I write this, but I am energized and recharged.

Over the course of our trip I will do my best to post to the blog and share with you some of the stories and our experiences.

Thank you for all of your prayers - we will be taking you all with us - both in our hearts and in the hundreds of bracelets we are bringing with us.

Bits & Pieces

1. We got verbal confirmation that our schedule process has been approved. Hoping to get the written confirmation before we leave at the end of the week. 2. So excited to have downloaded the new Casting Crowns album Thrive. That will certainly make the 30 hours on planes bearable. 3. We are preparing to make our largest batch of hot sauce in March at the Rutgers Food Innovation Center in Bridgeton, NJ. If you are interested in helping out, don’t hesitate to reach out! We will be looking for a lot of volunteers over the next couple of months! 4. I bought 5 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies from my niece Riley. She's a great salesgirl!

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalms 34:8

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7: 7-12