Back on American Soil!

Hello all!

I have officially retuned home safely and have been adjusting back to American life for the past week. 
The last three week of my internship were spent in Ethiopia and my team and learned so much during our time there!

The first full week in Ethiopia was spent in the capital city, Addis Ababa. The population of the city is over 3 million people.
We spent a lot of time learning about the work and projects that LIA Ethiopia has been involved in. We did some home visits, were able to observe some completed projects, like washrooms and latrines that not only promote healthy living, but also provide jobs for the community. 

For the second week in Ethiopia, we traveled to Adama, which is not too far outside of Addis Ababa. Here, we visited a church that LIA has had a strong partnership with. We had a briefing with the church pastors on their work in the community. This church focuses on the credit union in association with LIA. The credit union is a place where people from the community can come and collect savings, eventually take out loans, and keep each other financially accountable. It was incredible to see the impact that these credit unions have on the community. Many small and large businesses have been started through these credit unions, which help people provide financially for their families. This encompasses all the Life In Abundance seeks to do in ministry. They are not just focused on helping people spiritually, but they care about the whole person, including their financial well being. 
Later in this second week, we took a ten hour bus ride to a remote, but large city, Jimma. Jimma is the largest city in Western Ethiopia, and about 2% of the people in the city are evangelical Christians. A majority of people are Muslim or traditionally Orthodox. My team’s heart broke when we learned these statistics and our time here was spent encouraging the pastors, interacting with children from different churches, and doing a few more home/business visits. 

The last week, we spent a few days in a community a few hours outside of Addis Ababa, Debre-Berhan. We spent time learning about the success of the credit union in this area, doing home visits, and encouraging more local pastors. My team really dove into everything in front of us so that we could fully take in our last few days in country. 
The last week of my internship was unique for me. Each week on the trip, one person from the team was designated the team leader. Week 6 was my designated week! I learned a lot about how to lead a team and just what it takes to care for others in a new way, in a different country! This week really affirmed my calling to continue pursuing missions. God expanded my passion for missions and leading/equipping others on the field through this leadership opportunity. 

Now that I am back home, I am still processing and trying to understand my internship as much as I can. The adjustment back to the States has been going well, but I will admit, there have been easy days and hard moments. I am beginning to understand that this trip has given me lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. My relationship with God was strengthened tremendously through this experience. I learned just how near, yet how powerful he is. Again, my calling to be a missionary was affirmed nearly daily on this trip, and I am beyond grateful for that. 

From learning how to do laundry by hand, to trying to pick up a few phrases in two different languages, this internship gave me so many new experiences that I will forever cherish. Thank you for the role that you have played in this. On days when I was weak, I remembered the supporters I had back home. Your financial giving and prayers have not gone unnoticed. 

I am excited to see what God has for me next and I intend to bring one of the greatest lessons I learned from this summer with me everywhere I go - to care for a person holistically, seeing them for more than a spiritual struggle I can help fix, but seeing them as God’s creation, caring for them spiritually, physically, socially, financially, and educationally.  

I return to Johnson University in just a few weeks to begin my junior year and continue studying Intercultural Studies - Missions. I am so excited to see what God has in store for this next year and how I can apply what I have learned this summer.

Enjoy my pictures! Thank you so much!

Morgan Kast

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