The Adventure of Living in the Kingdom of God

Friday, August 21, 2015

How did the Boys do?

Garrett, Luke, Bryan, and Nolan have been absolutely fantastic (the vast majority of the time)!  Jenn and I have been preparing the boys about this trip to Ethiopia for almost two years. Our broken soundtrack to them has been 'we are moving to Minnesota, we will live there for a year before moving to Tennessee, take a trip to Ethiopia, and then return to Tennessee. They rehearsed this plan, informed many of you of this plan, and have known no other plan than this one for the past eighteen months. They were troopers despite going through three airports (Nashville, Washington Dulles, Addis Ababa) carrying bags, waiting in long lines, eating whatever whenever, and sleeping very little. The fact that the big plane ride over allowed them to watch movies didn't hurt either. [Garrett looked over at me about 7 hours into the 13 hour trans-Atlantic flight and states, "Jumbo planes are the bomb!" He had just finished his second movie and was starting his third. :) ]

Daddy-failure. Bought a dozen Dunkin Donuts at Dulles. Told the boys they could each have two and so they did. Right before getting on a 13 hour flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
Nolan was a trooper on the plane ride over.

Why? Why bring four little boys (including a baby) across the ocean on a 13 hour flight with 30 bags of luggage (mostly medical supplies) to spend a month on a continent known more for its volatility than its beauty or tourist destinations after just moving cross-country from Minnesota to Tennessee three weeks ago? Why would we put our four precious little boys at risk?

We processed these questions time and time again and came up with many answers...

  • We want our children catch the 'travel bug' too.
  • I wanted to see interesting orthopedic trauma cases and didn't want to be away from Jenn & the boys for a whole month. 
  • Ethiopia has awesome coffee! (More about that later)
  • We want our boys to know how blessed they are and know that those blessings are intended to be used to bless others, not to be selfishly hoarded. 
  • We want the boys to know the world is bigger than Elkhorn! 
  • We don't want the boys to know what the 'third world' is so that they know they live in the 'first world.' We want them to live in one world - God's world - and to love, serve, and seek justice for their friends, regardless of what continent they live on.  
  • Because we're crazy!  
  • We wanted the boys to see other people/children living in poverty and recognize that God does not show favoritism because we are white, wealthy, Americans. 
  • And the list could go on....
 Depending on when you ask, you may get one of these answers or perhaps a different answer. Above all else, I think Jenn and I simply want for our boys what we want for ourselves. We want transformation of our/their hearts, minds, attitudes, dreams, and passions in order to see the 'other' - both near and far - as a person of innate, imago dei intrinsic value despite whatever cultural, religious, economic, or political differences exist. We want them to love fiercely and care courageously for the world God created and for its people. We want them to dream big dreams (not settling for the American dream) and to seek justice for the oppressed and marginalized. We want them to be strong, generous, compassionate, and joy-filled men living out their calling in whatever vocation God calls them into for his glory, not theirs, ours, or anyone else. In short, we want them to see other people, love other people, and serve other people like Jesus. To the degree that this trip (and maybe others) facilitates that goal will be the truest answer to the question. We'll continue to revisit the question and in 20 years, we'll have a better idea as to the answer.

Pic of boys on Sunday

The boys love having a trampoline 50 feet from our front door. Our house is in the background.
Luke & Bryan with hospital compound and Mount Damota in background.
Bayleigh, Nolan, Luke, and Bryan


  1. I know we have said it a hundred times before but I will say it again...we love your kindred spirits so much. Blessings to all of you on your adventure!

  2. Prayers for your family. Hope you are able to help many unfortunate people, and your boys have these lessons to live by and be blessed. Jenn I believe you are one amazing woman.

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