Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | April 25, 2014

We Are Not There Yet

En route to Shire, Ethiopia

Traveling to the ends of the earth is rarely convenient, even today. So far, our team has traveled as far as Addis Ababa on two flights. Located in Ethiopia’s central highlands, Addis Ababa is the world’s third-highest capital city. Home to three-million people, the city enjoys pleasant temperate weather most of the year. Not unlike other major cities I have visited in this part of the world, Addis also has its fair share of beggars waiting outside of the airport, hoping for a sympathetic handout from visitors.

As we were loading our luggage for the quick trip to our hotel, a woman with grotesquely deformed arms approached me. She didn’t have to say anything. When I looked at her I was immediately reminded of Mother Teresa’s counsel to always look for Jesus in the distressing disguise of the poor. I could not look the other way. Her life will always be hard no matter what. I slipped a few dollars into the only two fingers she had on a twisted arm and told her it was a gift from the Lord. I don’t always feel led to give to every beggar, but I certainly sensed the Lord prompting me to help her.

We will depart for the airport at 5:30 AM for our flight to Aksum in northern Ethiopia. Aksum is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in Africa. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church claims that the Biblical Ark of the Covenant is in their possession in Aksum, allegedly kept under guard somewhere near the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion. Ethiopian traditions also suggest that it was from Aksum that the Queen of Sheba embarked on her journey to visit King Solomon in Jerusalem.

Ethiopia Map
From Aksum we will travel by land to the city of Shire (pronounced she-ray) where we will stay for the duration of our trip. The Endabaguna Transition Center that houses Eritrean refugees is located just a short drive from Shire. Our team will serve the needs of unaccompanied Eritrean refugee kids at this center. These are kids who do not know the whereabouts or welfare of their parents or other family members.

Our understanding is that the transition center is already saturated with minors and may stop receiving these children who are among the most vulnerable of the refugees fleeing Eritrea. We will meet with some United Nations workers on Saturday to learn more about the current condition and needs of these children. Over the coming days our team of volunteers with Innovative Humanitarian Solutions will address the needs of these children. We will also get the wheels rolling on the construction of a safe dormitory for the boys and girls who have nothing to do except to overcome and to survive one more day.

So, we are not there yet but we are definitely making progress in the direction of kids in need. Getting to where these Eritrean children live is not easy. That’s ok. As A.W. Tozer once said, “The truth is that every advance that we make for God and for His cause must be made at our inconvenience. If it does not inconvenience us at all, there is no cross in it!” That’s why we must travel to these lesser accessible places and peoples to be the hands and feet of Jesus and to bring glory to God. Thanks for following our adventure and praying for our team.


  1. God bless you and your team, Omar! Nikki

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