21 September 2008

Entertaining an Angel

Almaz & Ray Ray in Ethiopia, August 2007

Have you ever met an angel?

And, I'm not talking about Earl.

Saving Grace's tobacco chewing, laid back, everyman angel is an interesting interpretation... except for the fact that he treats all religions and cults, isms and whatever else exactly the same, as if their gods are equal to and even the same as the Triune God of Holy Scripture. Yeah, just a tiny little hiccup. That's Heaven Hollywoodized.

I mean a real angel.

I have several experiences in my back pocket that I wonder about. Maybe in Heaven I'll recognize my kindergarten teacher, or the precious girl who heard me weeping in the Westmont chapel and came and prayed for me the day my mentor died. Maybe the nurse who was so kind to me when I was pregnant and very sick in the hospital afraid of losing my baby Margie was an angel in disguise. Maybe the Christian author who counselled Michael and I through a very tough season of loss of some important relationships was the real deal. That would make a lot of sense. That guy has got to be an angel! People like that make me consider the issue. The Bible says that we brush up against angels occasionally and may not even know it. So who are they?

I have some suspicions about a friend of ours.

Her name is Almaz. She was born in Ethiopia, and fled to Sudan with her brother as a pre-teen where she lived as a refugee for 5 years. She came to America, went to college and grad school and after 15 years here enjoying the blessings of being a full-fledged American, she heard the call of God to open an orphanage in Addis Ababa... which she did almost single-handedly.

She left her home, all the creature comforts, safety, and wealth of America to go back to her homeland and do what she could to help the masses of orphans there. Can you imagine doing that? It's beautiful!

She loves these tiny babies and older kids as if they were her own and works tirelessly to make sure they are nurtured, given plenty of clean water and food, clothed, educated if they're older, given medical attention, and she makes sure that they're hugged, and kissed, and loved... and she then matches these little ones with Forever Families.

Like us. Almaz held Ray Ray before we did. She held Grace, and Hope, and Caleb, and Daniel, and Miles, and Brenner, and Nina, and Ruby, and Silas, and Elijah, and Solomon, and Isaac, and Gracie, and Abraham, and so many others before their parents. She loved them before we did.

Her heart is huge. She's so passionate for Ethiopia's orphans.

This week we were enormously blessed with a visit from Almaz! Almaz, the Yateses (Almaz says "Yets"), the Paschalls ("Pssklls"), and our family (pronounced HOUSE-um with an "s" instead of a "z" she got right!) enjoyed an evening together at our home talking about Almaz's life, her work, what's going on in Ethiopia and at Hannah's Hope right now, what her vision is. It was absolutely awesome!

(Since I mentioned Almaz's beautiful Eetyopian accent I should mention that she very sweetly told me that I've been mispronouncing Ray Ray's birth name, Betelihem. Apparently, it's not Be-TELL-ee-hem, it's Bet-luh-HEEM. Nice mama, huh?)

Some of you know Almaz. Some of you have met her in Ethiopia when you were meeting your children for the first time. She tells me that she is not an angel, but I think when we get to Heaven we'll discover her secret.

"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing
some have unwittingly entertained angels."
Hebrews 13.2


Michael and Michelle said...

I AM SO JEALOUS!!!!!! I wish I had your number. I would've called your house and told Almaz "THANK YOU" for taking care of our baby!!!!! I can't wait for the day we get the honor of meeting this "angel"!!!! Just thinking of her brings tears to my eyes!
I agree, you were entertaining an angel!!!


(by the way, your 8 year old's snake story was scary.....yet my husband and I were laughing at the end. He seems like a REAL BOY!!)

Elizabeth Lyons said...

Wow - you've had an exciting weekend! I cannot even believe Jackie picked up that snake. ANY snake! And to see Almaz - that must have been an amazing treat. I miss her!


The Redman's said...

Beautifully said. Absolutely beautiful!! Brings me to tears as I see Jesus in Almaz. A pure Angel.


emily said...

I'm pretty sure that Eyob, director of KVI, is also an angel! Beautiful my friend.

Sam said...

What an amazing opportunity. she looks like an angel

cbpaschall said...

I agree with you. That night will go down as a memorable one for me. I am so grateful. Can I get these pics from you?

Kristi J said...

I can't wait to meet her...We're moving down the numbers...we'll be there before we know it, Kristi

Melissa said...

What a precious angel she is indeed! Love the pictures!

Lori said...

It's amazing how some people just walk the walk and make huge sacrifices without blinking...

She sounds beautiful inside and out, what a blessing that she has come into you life - and what a blessing for her to have met your family!

You're a wonderful writer Laurie... hmmmmm...

The Roberts Family said...

What a blessing for you all to get to see her again!! Beautiful memories and pictures! ~Shelly

Rebecca said...


What an incredible, beautiful woman. An angel without a doubt!

Nikki said...

Wow, wow, wow....what an inspiring woman.


darci said...

what a great blessing that must have been. thanks for sharing.

FHL said...

What an amazing women! If she hadn't heard, listened, and followed.

She's a walking example of true love.