on ethiopia

I have vivid childhood memories of being captivated by the glimpses of Ethiopia I saw on TV.

I remember the long, emotional commercials with the graphic images of starving children. I recall feeling a deep sense of tension in my inability to reconcile the fact that I was watching these emaciated, dying people while sitting on my carpeted floor, eating cereal in my pajamas in front of the TV.

I knew something was wrong with that picture, but I didn’t understand it.

I still don’t.

Even though I’ve experienced it the world over.

I had that same sense of unreconcilable tension when I flew to Nicaragua at 14 for my first mission trip. I felt it in Amsterdam when I spoke with people at coffee houses, hearing their stories of love and loss. I couldn’t shake it in the rural villages of Botswana. And it lived with me in South Africa, ever present, ever pressing.

And still, I have no answers. I don’t understand the disparity in the world. The extremes of affluence and poverty found practically on each other’s doorsteps.

That deep place in my heart, affected so strongly by Ethiopia as just a young girl, is about to get wrecked by Ethiopia once again. I’m traveling there next month with Food for the Hungry.

FH is an amazing organization, engaging in community development through child sponsorships all around the globe. I’ve had the incredible opportunity to work with them for the past six months, helping them set up their first-ever Blogger Mission Trip. It has been such a joy to work with my friend Daniel on the planning and preparation for this inaugural trip. And I feel even more blessed that I get to travel with them as part of the team.

There are 6 of us bloggers going, along with a photographer and several FH staff members. I am blown away by my teammates, and am really looking forward to getting to know them more on the trip. I know I have a lot to learn from each one of them. Meet the whole team on the FH Bloggers website.

I know I’ll experience the same no-answers, only-questions unreconcilable contradictions in Ethiopia. I know. And I want to embrace them. To wrestle in that space—with myself, with my heart, with culture, with my questions, with Him…

Some things will just never make sense, but that doesn’t mean they are to be avoided. Ignored. Disregarded.

No, they are meant to be run headlong into. Embracing the tension to find the Only One Who Makes Sense in the midst of everything that doesn’t.

Will you go there with me? Travel with me by following my journey here, on Twitter, and with the rest of my team… And wrestle with me through the stuff that just doesn’t make sense?

Let’s look for Him together…


29 Responses to “on ethiopia”
  1. Man, oh, man. I am so excited for you. I know it will be good / hard / difficult and I know you are in the right place.

  2. Yes, I and my family will travel with you and your team. We are anxious to follow this journey you will be taking. I have much to learn from you. Thank you for your willingness to teach along the way. You are correct in saying some things will never make sense. You are also correct in the fact that this does not give us permission to do nothing. I believe it is all the more reason to feel the weight of it.

  3. Jane Frankl says:

    I love you Alece and am very proud of you. Gitzengirl would be spreading the word with you. Will support you with prayers and donation. Jane

  4. Looking forward to seeing Ethiopia through your eyes, Alece. Safe travels my friend.

  5. Oh Alece I am so excited to follow along and read about this experience. One day God willing I will visit Africa. Can’t wait to hear more about Food for the Hungry. Many many blessings to you as you prepare.

  6. Much love and respect, as always.


  7. Jenny says:

    love to see your heart going home… differently… and beautifully… and so redemptively. So uniquely you :)

  8. Alysa says:

    I am so thankful for this journey we are about to begin, and so looking forward to knowing you :)

  9. Tessa says:

    I am so excited for you! I went to Peru with FH last fall and fell in love with the people in the communities and the organization. I’ve heard fantastic things about their work in Ethiopia and will look forward to hearing about it through your stories.

    Sending prayers your way as you get ready, travel, get to know your teammates, and the people FH serves in Ethiopia.


  10. Bernadine says:

    This sounds so wonderful! Looking forward to journeying with you (wish I could actually go!). Prayers and much love.

  11. Count me in my friend :-)

    Great words! I can’t wait to hear the stories and see those that are impacted from this trip.

  12. MaryRose says:

    went to Ethiopia this past January– I find what you say “no-answers, only-questions”… I ran into a few of those contradictions, and it really was quite a journey. I look forward to reading how things go for you


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