In an average week in Soddo I stay within a one mile radius.  Paul hardly leaves the hospital, that’s about a 200 yard radius.  What about you?  In an average week, how big is your circle?

Now, most days even though I only walk around Soddo town, the world in my head is much bigger.  I skype with family, call and text to the states, read blogs from around the world and can even shop online.  Many people here in Soddo have never been to Addis Ababa, let alone another country.  Maybe they have seen glimpses of other parts of the world on a TV or in a newspaper, or stories from friends or family that have traveled, but for the most part they don’t have much of a context to put the stories into.  I will always be an oddity to a lot of people here, I don’t belong or fit into their circle and maybe I never will. Sure, the people at the hospital and those that I know fit me into their circle, but not others.  And I will always be a farengi (foreigner) and never a habesha (Ethiopian).  Unless I can speak Amharic perfectly and find a habesha suit, (similar to Tyra Banks “fat suit”), I will never be thought of as habesha (Ohh, how I dream of a habesha suit!)  The other day while I was translating for Paul as someone spoke a mile a minute in slurred Amharic, Paul called me a farengesha…with hopes of one day speaking and knowing the culture enough to become a habeshange…but never will I be habesha.  But I am thankful for all of the habeshas within my circle.  I am thankful that they let me live in their country and thankful that they let me know their families, their houses and their traditions.

Maybe your world has a 50 mile radius, but is filled with people and events that are all pretty much the same. How do we expand our world? Get to know others that aren’t in our normal “cirlce”?  Help some that have less? Serve, instead of only taking? Try out new traditions? Experience other cultures?

A few weeks ago, Nathan and I were reading about creation in Genesis.  We talked about how in the beginning, the world was empty and dark and then God created the heavens and the earth.  Without telling him what to draw, he drew this…

He drew the world.  It had lots of water and little islands.  Then he drew dotted lines for the airplanes to come and go, so that he could travel to America and so that ZsoZso and Granpa could come here to Ethipoia.  I am amazed at how big his world is and yet, how normal it seems to him.  When we were in America, on the 4th of July, we were outside watching fire works and Nathan asked if Etagainu could see the fire works too.  I just love what their little minds think of!

After going back to the states this last time, I was reminded of how diverse America really is.  And yet, I am ashamed at how small my circle was when I lived there.  It took moving to a foreign place and feeling like a complete out-of-place foreigner, to open up my eyes to it.  I want to make the effort and be intentional about keeping my kids world big and God even bigger.  And may God be magnified as we find ourselves in the midst of the diversity within His whole creation.