Published Sat, Sep 10, 22.
Written by Scott Chleborad.

Why do our friends and supporters travel to Ethiopia with us in the summer? The answers are as varied as the individuals that made up our Vacation Bible School travel team this past July. 

Even though the members of our travel team all came from the same church congregation, they were all very different people who went to Ethiopia for very different reasons.  Our youngest team member was in his mid teens and our oldest was in his early 70s. We had married people and single people on our travel team; some with lots of mission trip experience and some with none at all. Some on our travel team were outgoing and extroverted while others were more quiet and reserved. In addition, our summer travel team possessed many unique gifts and talents that they were able to put to good use during our week in Hosanna. 

For all their differences, our travel team did share a common love for the LORD and for other people, especially children. Our travel team from Life Church in Sioux Falls, SD was also united in their passion and desire to make Vacation Bible School (VBS) a meaningful and memorable experience for the children that live in Hosanna. Persistence was also a common trait as the team began making plans to travel to Ethiopia more than two years ago. They pushed through the pandemic and fundraising events and numerous planning meetings to make this summer trip an event that will not be forgotten anytime soon. 

July was the middle of the rainy season in Ethiopia. So there were a lot of wet clothes and mud. There were also hundreds of hugs shared and lots of drama . . . literally drama! The Life Church travel team broke out of their respective comfort zones and presented a progressive play each day of VBS that told the story of the Prodigal Son. There was also lots of music and dancing and crafts and quizzes and games. And, at the end of every day there was fellowship and meals where our visitors and our local staff formed friendships and learned about each other and our varied cultures. As the week came to a close, there were many tears and selfies and expressions of the words, "I love you", in various forms of broken English. Once again, our guests from the U.S. were able to travel home with a deep sense of having experienced something life-changing and eternal. 

A few weeks after they returned, the travel team gave a presentation to their church congregation, and we were privileged to be a part of that. Perhaps the best part of the day was when the team signaled their readiness to start planning for another trip in 2024! On behalf of the Adams Thermal Foundation team and the children we serve in the community of Hosanna, we'd like to express our deepest thanks and gratitude to Life Church for your many sacrificial contributions to our program. We value your friendship, your stewardship, and your witness for Christ. 

To our other followers . . . are you busy next July? Let us know if you and your group are ready for the experience of a lifetime.