I’m Going To Ethiopia

by jenna on May 15, 2013

Yep, the title of this post pretty much says it all!

This August, I’ll be traveling to Ethiopia with my lovely friends over at FashionABLE to meet the inspiring women behind the gorgeous scarves. I have talked about FashionABLE many times on this space in the past, but if you’re new, they are a nonprofit that provides sustainable business to exploited and vulnerable women in Africa, all who have been former prostitutes or caught up in sex slavery.

Please hear me, I’m not going to Ethiopia with any mindset that I’m going to help them.

Rather, I think they are going to help me. My heart can be sort of icky. I take pride in “stuff” all too often, love being comfortable and am all together just too into myself. Truthfully, I need to shift my vision and to do that, I first need to open up my eyes to a different culture that’s not my own little bubble. The women who work at FashionABLE are broken just like I am broken. In the Lord’s eyes, we are exactly the same. I can’t offer much but a platform to share. These women all have amazing stories that need to be told…stories that encourage and inspire me to be a better person. To give more of myself daily. To love other people way more than myself.

And that’s why I am going to Ethiopia. I’m going there to share stories and love on people.

While I’m there, I’ll be sharing these stories with you guys! We’ll be staying in the capital city of Addis Ababa for the majority of the trip, but also traveling to Nazareth, which is outside of the city.

So that’s all I have for now! I just wanted to share my heart + excitement about the trip! I am so excited to share this adventure with you guys!

 

 

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{ 107 comments… read them below or add one }

greta May 15, 2013 at 3:56 am

I have to say, Jenna, I really enjoy the way you are being honest about stretching yourself and leaning into discomfort. I admire bloggers who are candid about themselves, so its great to see you share your personal growth!

That being said… talking about the women you are visiting as “broken” makes me cringe. Being a victim and survivor doesn’t diminish a woman…

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Ali May 15, 2013 at 5:12 am

I cringed as well at the broken reference. This is not meant to be mean spirited at all, but just because you perceive these women to be broken, doesn’t mean they are. It’s really hard to judge/truly understand another culture because of the differences in overall norms.

I think it’s wonderful that you want to help share their stories, but please just reconsider the notion of them being “broken.” No matter what continent one lives on, we all face tremendous hardships in our lives. Some more than others, absolutely. However, the resiliency and overcoming of the greatest obstacles makes us more, not less. It makes us stronger, not weaker.

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jenna May 15, 2013 at 7:56 am

Ali,

If you notice that right after I called the women “broken”, I also called myself broken. I believe that all of us, no matter what our circumstances are, are broken people. None of us are more broken than the other though.

It’s my personal belief and its the belief that influences all of my writing.

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greta May 15, 2013 at 8:12 am

You didn’t specifically mention this in your post, but will you be ministering in Ethiopia?

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jenna May 15, 2013 at 8:15 am

Nope! The only ministering we will be doing is just loving on people….which is a power ministry in itself. But no, it’s not a christian affiliated trip or “mission trip”.

Stefanie May 15, 2013 at 9:09 am

Ugh this made me cringe as well. Anyone can see you have good intentions, so I hope you can be receptive to this feedback. For your own learning/growing process..
Let’s challenge the word broken, who uses it, and what assumptions shape the context of the word. You cannot put your experiences as a “broken” person in the same, equal category as what you consider to be “broken” about these women. Not the same, won’t ever be. Why? Because you are a white woman from the USA, one of the most powerful countries in the world, coming from a place of privilege into a marginalized, war-torn country. The color of your skin, your place of birth, your college education, your health insurance, heck even that you have enough food to play with and create recipes with all day, inherently put you on a different level. To claim that you are the same is straight up insulting and oppressive.
I hope you don’t delete this comment. I’m not trying to make you feel bad, but maybe more conscious of the implications of your words. As an indigenous Mexican woman, I grew up seeing many well meaning white folks from the USA come down to help, learn about us, or “share” knowledge and stories. Their presence was both welcomed and resented. In the end they went back to their comfortable lives, some impacted by their experiences, and it definitively was more transformative for the visitors than for the ones living in that reality every day.

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Christin May 16, 2013 at 5:54 am

I totally see what you mean, and I’m not being defensive and jumping to Jenna’s defense, but I think you are both making some of the same points.

“Please hear me, I’m not going to Ethiopia with any mindset that I’m going to help them… I take pride in “stuff” all too often, love being comfortable and am all together just too into myself. Truthfully, I need to shift my vision and to do that, I first need to open up my eyes to a different culture that’s not my own little bubble.”

And I don’t want to put words in Jenna’s mouth, but I interpreted her use of the word “broken” to refer to the brokenness of our hearts and our need for God. I know not everyone believes that, but I think that was more Jenna’s point – we’re all needy emotionally and spiritually in some way, even though we come from vastly different backgrounds. Does that make sense?

Sometimes I think we’re all on the same page more than we realize, and if we take time to read into the heart of what people write, rather than seeing one word and just reacting, we will all understand each other a bit better. :)

Please know that I’m not trying to argue, just trying to promote mutual understanding.

Jessica May 15, 2013 at 9:15 am

Hi Ali and Greta –
“Broken” is often used in evangelical circles to mean “imperfect” or “in need of a Savior/Jesus.” I’m not evangelical, but grew up with family members who were…I didn’t realize that “broken” might not be understood that way until I used it to describe myself when talking to my Catholic boyfriend, who had the same reaction you did. It’s just a vocabulary thing – like Jenna said below, she called herself broken too.

Jenna, I remember a couple months ago when you first started describing Noonday jewelry you said one piece was made by a girl who had been a servant in her step-sister’s house “just like Cinderella!!” I didn’t comment but that made me feel uncomfortable…but in this latest post I can really see your sensitivity and tact about the situation, so I wanted to commend you for your growth! Sometimes it takes awhile to realize our own privilege and how it impacts our perspectives of others.

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Jodi May 15, 2013 at 10:51 am

I am in no way religious or affliated with a church. in fact, there was an aversion to that kind of thing in my household b/c my Mother had some extremely negative experiences with her church growing up. having said that, i WAS raised with a sense of compassion for people of all walks of life. I find the general nitpicking about words that Jenna uses to describe her feelings about HELPING people and being a part of the world instead of just talking about it, snarky and generally just deplorable. Maybe if people spent less time harping on vocabulary and more time sending kindness and inspiration and being of sevice (including sending kindness to the people who are brave enough in this internet culture to write the blogs YOU ALL read) then the world would be a much better place.

Jenna, i think what you’re doing is really wonderful. I hope it busts your heart open and the hearts of all the women whose lives you will touch just by being there. May you learn from them and may they learn from you.

well done!

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Ella May 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm

I agree! People need to chilllllll out about Jenna’s word choice.

Christena May 15, 2013 at 5:20 pm

I think of the word in the context that Jessica means. More closely similar to the way it is used when you say “broken heart” or “broken spirit” than like something that is worthless/doesn’t function anymore.

Jenna, I’m proud of you. Your sincerity is obvious. I have enjoyed/been inspired as I have watched you grow spiritually.

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Live Love Yum May 16, 2013 at 3:07 am

Me too….I feel broken…and think I may always feel that way….it’s nice to think that maybe I am not alone.

Sarah (Shh...Fit Happens) May 16, 2013 at 10:07 am

Thank you for those great responses Jessica and Christin! So glad you responded to all these comments. I think Jenna has made it clear in her blog that she is a Christian, and unfortunately, a lot of people in the world just don’t really understand what that means (not that it is their fault)…. but if they did they would know we are ALL broken, we are ALL imperfect, our hearts are impure, we are nothing and God is everything.

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greta May 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Thanks for clarifying – I am not a practicing Christian, so the word “broken” in your context was unfamiliar.

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Ali May 16, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Definitely agree with Greta— thanks for the clarification!! I’m Catholic and I’ve never heard of “broken” in those terms either. I learned something new!!

Christin May 18, 2013 at 11:00 am

I appreciate you guys. It’s so great when people listen to each other and learn from different viewpoints – not grudgingly but gratefully. :) Often our own vernacular is so familiar to us that we don’t realize how it might be interpreted by others. It’s wonderful to see people who are really seeking mutual understanding, even when (especially when!) we have different beliefs/backgrounds!

Mish @ MishMarieG May 15, 2013 at 4:08 am

When I went to East Timor, I have to admitt that I went into it thinking “oh these poor people, living without running water, etc.”

Then I realised how happy they were.

I ended up feeling a lot more broken, in the sense of the word, and learned more about life and living from them…they they’d ever garner from me. We complicate the world way too much, and being open to just being a human being and realsing our very basic needs is inspirational and life-changing.

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Jane May 15, 2013 at 4:31 am

Sounds like an amazing opportunity and adventure!

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat May 15, 2013 at 5:04 am

Wow, what an adventure! I’m looking forward to hearing how it goes. Safe travels Jenna! :)

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Molly @ RDexposed May 15, 2013 at 5:07 am

What a hard hitting title, Ethopia-wow! Can’t wait to tag along the adventure.
Keep evolving as a woman!

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kayleigh May 15, 2013 at 5:22 am

Jenna, I am so excited for you! That is such an awesome opportunity and I’m sure you’ll take it all in the fullest.

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Averie @ Averie Cooks May 15, 2013 at 5:29 am

What a life-changing trip this will be and thanks for sharing your travel plans with us all! Good for you for going on this trip and can’t wait to hear more!

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Katie @ Talk Less, Say More May 15, 2013 at 5:30 am

What a cool opportunity!!! I can’t wait to hear about how it goes.

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Yesenia May 15, 2013 at 5:31 am

I am absolutely inspired by you with every post you make. From your food to your charity work, you do so much amazing work. Africa is actually on my lists of go to places for volunteering. I hope you enjoy your trip! Such a great opportunity!

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Tieghan May 15, 2013 at 5:32 am

Wow! That is a life changing trip! I can not wait to hear all about it!

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Laura May 15, 2013 at 5:46 am

that sounds like it will be such an amazing experience for you Jenna. I’m happy you are deciding to share it and blog about it because who knows who you will inspire by sharing your own experiences.

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Urban Wife May 15, 2013 at 5:46 am

What an amazing opportunity, Jenna! I am so excited you will let us follow along. Thanks for continuing to be so open and non apologetic about what you believe in…you are an inspiration!

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Ashley May 15, 2013 at 6:15 am

That’s awesome. My mom went to Rwanda to help build libraries there, and she said the same thing. She felt like the people there helped her more than she helped them.

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Tiffany May 15, 2013 at 6:21 am

Do you have accommodations already? I visited Ethiopia in Summer 2011 and while in Addis I stayed at the Soramba Hotel (http://www.sorambahoteladdis.com/). I highly recommend it, the rooms were very nice, they had breakfast every morning and there was a great coffee shop across the street (great for your morning cup of joe, but they also roast beans there & sell by the kilo).

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Alyssa May 15, 2013 at 6:24 am

Good for you!!! This trip will definitely change you for the better. I hope to go on a similar trip in the nearish future.

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Dana May 15, 2013 at 6:30 am

I think that’s awesome that you’re doing this and I do always appreciate your honesty about who you are and just life in general. With that being said, I feel I should intervene just a little bit. I don’t think you’re selfish for ever liking or wanting new things/nice things. We all can get carried away sometimes in life and get confused with needing and wanting. It happens. But I think at somepoint in our lives, we all stop and smell the coffee and realize the actual difference between wanting and needing and then finally look at the bigger picture and notice what’s really important.

I’ll be honest and say I really don’t get involved with causes or charities, or philanthropy, and you guessed right, I don’t ever give my hard earned money to homeless people. I think it’s just my personality-it’s who I am. I’d rather not do that. And I don’t find that to be selfish. And I don’t feel selfish at all. It also depends on the situation. I will go above and beyond for someone that’s very important to me in my life; donating clothes/food/money. Making/baking/cooking/ treats is my fav. thing to do for people; special occasion or not. Or just show support for the ones I love. I attend walks and runs; but they have to play an important role in my life. I’m also a firm believer that you can’t do everything or be everywhere in life all the time. We are human. It’s impossible. We all have certain obligations. I consider myself to be a very nice person, but I’m also realistic and honest.

I know people in my life who just breakdown because they try to do so much for others; all the time. Sometimes, it even sickens me. You have to take care of yourself first and foremost. I would never go crazy for anyone in my life 24-7 if I ended up having a mental breakdown or got sick. We can’t do it all. It’s all about moderation and again, depends on the situation. A line has to be drawn somewhere. This is just me, by the way, giving you a glimpse on my opinions about this stuff. I’m not at all comparing you to me or me to you. :)

I think that will still be a fabulous trip. Just always, first and foremost, be honest with who you are. Do what makes you feel good and right. I know this trip does that for you. Just saying in general and future stuff.

Happy almost wedding!!!

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Sarah (Shh...Fit Happens) May 15, 2013 at 6:30 am

That is such an AMAZING opportunity. You are so humble. I look forward to hearing more about your experience, the culture, and the trip. I love your blog!

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Michelle @ Sojourn of Grace May 15, 2013 at 6:33 am

Wow, that is fantastic, Jenna! I have been to Ethiopia before, on a mission trip while I was in college. We arrived in Addis Ababa but traveled 6-7 hours into the montains, going to the Bale Mountains Natl Park (Dodola, Goba). It was an amazing experience and the Ethiopian people are beautiful and kind.

Also, my husband just got me a scarf from fashionABLE! I have one made by Saba. It is simply beautiful and I am glad that women in Ethiopia are able to have this organization to help them in all sorts of ways.

Have a wonderful trip and HAPPY WEDDING!

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Sarah (Shh...Fit Happens) May 15, 2013 at 6:35 am

Oh and I just checked out the scarves, totally buying one :)

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joelle (on a pink typewriter) May 15, 2013 at 6:36 am

I really appreciate your ability to use this space to talk about heavier topics on your mind or heart, and not just sugar and cupcakes and shoes (not that there’s anything wrong with those things – I love those things and talk about them on my own blog haha). It can be hard to share certain pieces of ourselves out loud, so kudos to you, and kudos to being able to admit you find yourself too ___ (fill in the blank), or whatever flaws you may feel in your heart. We’re all different and have different pieces of our character and personality.. not that you implied this, but there’s nothing wrong with being comfortable in your life (at least for some), and I nevertheless admire your interest in making change. I’m rambling, but I hope that makes sense. :)

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Pippa@popovertopippas May 15, 2013 at 6:40 am

What a fantastic experience, I can’t wait to hear about it!

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Jennifer O May 15, 2013 at 6:49 am

Awesome! So excited for you and the things The Lord will do in your heart?

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Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health May 15, 2013 at 6:51 am

That’s great, Jenna! This will be a life changing trip for you. What an exciting year you have ahead of you!

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Lauren @ The Highlands Life May 15, 2013 at 7:14 am

Jenna, so exciting. And you are right with your mindset. All we can do is love on them but knowing our lives will be changed by them is what is really the awesome thing. I’ve been to Africa twice, once for 9 days and once for 6 weeks. Life changing.

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Leah May 15, 2013 at 7:23 am

Jenna,
You are so inspiring as a blogger and as a Christian woman to share your beliefs boldly. I am so thankful for all of these posts to see what God is doing through the different ministries that you are a part of! I have followed your blog for several year and have enjoyed every post since then.

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Heather Kneisler May 15, 2013 at 7:28 am

Exciting news and I love your perspective on this trip. Excited for all that God is doing in your life this year, Jenna. Thanks for sharing!

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RJ May 15, 2013 at 8:05 am

Just bought a scarf! Can’t wait to travel along vicariously with you to Ethiopia through your writing! I’ve been to several parts of Africa but never Ethiopia (except for an airport layover).

I’m reading 7 on your recommendation- it’s completely rocking my word. So challenging without being preachy. Thanks for the recommendation!

Have a wonderful wedding and honeymoon! Enjoy the break!

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Caroline L. May 15, 2013 at 8:15 am

Well-said, Jenna! I think you described very accurately the premises on which people go to Ethiopia and other parts around the world… it’s much less about saving other people than it is about saving yourself, and discovering other people while you’re at it and being able to connect with them. I hope you have the most amazing time – and also, I have a feeling that you may be one of the most good-hearted people I “know” b/c you are willing to admit your shortcomings and find ways to overcome them – love that about you!

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ShannonLC May 15, 2013 at 8:24 am

Please keep these post going, and the photos on instagram. You open my eyes with your posts. I bought a shirt on sevenly after you posted a picture of you wearing a shirt. That particular week it was promoting surgeries for children in Uganda with hydrocephalus. My older sister had died of the same condition. I never knew about fair trade products until I started reading blogs. These scarves are just another a way to help out people in other countries in such simple ways that make a huge difference in your life. I don’t know how you discover the sights and causes, but have you ever considered promoting a new cause each a month for people like me who love to help, but need the resources to know how. Congrats to you Jenna on embarking on such an amazing journey in your life!

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Laurie {SimplyScratch} May 15, 2013 at 8:25 am

This is so amazing Jenna! What an experience!

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Lillian @ Seize the Latte May 15, 2013 at 8:28 am

What an incredible trip! It’s great that you’re doing this, and it sounds absolutely amazing. Your candor about why you’re going and what you hope to achieve is truly impressive, too. Not many people can be that open about their hopes and motivations, and I applaud you for doing this. I can’t wait to hear more about this adventure!

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Joyce May 15, 2013 at 8:38 am

Jenna: I started reading your blog after I read about you in Radar magazine. CANNOT believe how far you have come. You took a BIG risk in going to California and cannot believe how it has turned out. I am not a risk taker so have been living though you. Did you ever think in your wildest dreams you would be doing these things when you started your blog? How exciting for you and your parents!

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Heather May 15, 2013 at 8:44 am

What an amazing opportunity to go and just love others! I’ll be covering you and the women you’ll be meeting in prayer sweetheart :)

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Cait @ Dare to Move May 15, 2013 at 9:08 am

Beautifully stated – I love how you said that you are not going to help them, but to love them and to embrace the things that they have to teach you. I know that I often forget how much I can learn from people when I lay my “agenda” and pride aside, and this post is a wonderful reminder of that truth. I will undoubtedly be covering the trip in prayer – I know that God has a beautiful exchange of stories and love in store for you and the individuals whom you encounter!

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Becky May 15, 2013 at 9:24 am

I have to admit that I am super envious of your upcoming trip to Ethiopia. I went there three years ago for a missions trip and my life hasn’t been the same since. In fact I left a huge chunk of my heart there and I literally think about the amazing people I met every single day.

I went with a team of women to put on the first ever women’s conference and was excited to change the lives of the Ethiopian women when in fact, it was my life that changed. You will never meet a group of more loving, selfless, amazing women in your life. As much as I am envious of you, I am also very excited for you. Get ready to feel the Holy Spirit move in ways you’ve never imagined!

Oh, and enjoy the coffee! They have the best coffee in Ethiopia. I hope you are able to experience a coffee ceremony!

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Michelle @ Sojourn of Grace May 15, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Yes, a coffee ceremony is a must! And eating injera and wat :)

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Becky May 15, 2013 at 8:41 pm

I wasn’t going to mention the injerra and wat. My best friend and I caught a parasite when we ate it. Although it could have just been the restaurant we went to.

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Alison May 16, 2013 at 12:46 am

As you said, I think it might have been the restaurant… I was there in February and at injera and wat at nearly every meal in 5 different spots in the country, and I never got sick. I’m sorry you had a bad experience with the food! :(

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janet May 17, 2013 at 4:59 pm

I got food poisoning in England at Heathrow airport the day before my trip to Greece and spent the week there on the no-paper toilet where you had to put the “used paper” in a basket.
You can get sick anywhere!!

Brittany May 15, 2013 at 9:54 am

So excited to hear about this, Jenna. I’ve spent lots of time at Women At Risk (both in Addis and Nazret) during my few trips to Ethiopia, and will be back again this October. They are an incredible organization, and their leadership and staff are exceptional. I can only anticipate you’ll leave Ethiopia even more passionate about their work and the future they’re helping these women to create for themselves and their families!

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Kate May 15, 2013 at 9:58 am

Hi Jenna!

I’ve been a “lurker” for awhile (your crockpot chicken tikka masala is heaven!) but this post has given me inspiration to finally write a comment! I went to Ethiopia last November and it truly changed the way I think. I’ve traveled all around the world but Ethiopia holds a very special place in my heart. I hope you find what you’re looking for there, and also I hope you find both peace and inspiration. Addis is an amazing city but the real magic of Ethiopia is in the rural areas and the deeply generous and kind people. I’m so thrilled for you that you get to visit such a special place! And enjoy the food — sooooooo delicious!

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Megan @ Megan's Miles May 15, 2013 at 10:02 am

What a wonderful opportunity, Jenna! I can’t wait to read along and see your pictures.

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Malkire May 15, 2013 at 10:09 am

Have a wonderful trip. One of my students is from Ethiopia and she is currently writing her large Junior Year History Research Paper about her country. I have learned so much from her and so inspired by her. I hope your trip is fantastic!

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Makenzie Ann May 15, 2013 at 10:24 am

Jenna,
I loved reading your humble, refreshing perspective. Once my pastor told us, “Never assume you are more blessed than anyone else.” You remind us of this hard to remember persepective here!! Good luck and I can’t wait to hear about it.
Makenzie

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Suzanne de Cornelia May 15, 2013 at 10:33 am

Exciting, life-altering trip, congrats!

We live in a consumption/materialistic culture, the opposite of spiritual. When my son was 7 (and now through graduate school and living in Europe) we’d sit together writing letters to the heads of Japan protesting whaling, we grew our own vegetable garden, we rarely (I mean hardly ever at all ) watched TV. I like simplicity and creating rather than buying. And consciousness in not shopping in places like Walmart….pure evil organization. Also being a veggie (like Jesus) or at least cutting way back on meat consumption. Very unhealthy and ruinous to the planet, as are GMO products.

If people want to save the world, not shopping at Walmart, not ever purchasing a thing with GMO in it, and being veggie are three of the most powerful things to do. I wrote these 10 facts of being veggie a couple years ago and share when have a chance, because they are quite surprising: http://preview.tinyurl.com/3zcyqz8

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Karen May 15, 2013 at 11:24 am

Wow…what an exciting opportunity, Jenna! I hope it is a powerful, inspiring and growing experience for you and the people you visit benefit from your outreach. Can’t wait to follow along…

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Christa @ Edible Balance May 15, 2013 at 11:53 am

What an incredible opportunity Jenna, I’m happy to hear we’ll be sharing in this journey with you as most of us will never be able to do anything like this. Sending prayers your way as you prepare and serve in Ethiopia <3

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Kt May 15, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Hi Jenna! I’m glad you are taking positive steps to effect change in the world, way to go. I have a question and I hope you know that I am genuinely curious here… what does “broken” in the way you are using it mean? I can tell you mean something other than how it is normally used. I see there are some comments above about the word but its meaning is still unclear to me. I tried to Google it but found the results confusing; probably because I am not religious at all nor is my family so I don’t understand some of the biblical references made. Thanks a lot for your time, I know it isn’t your job to explain things to perfect strangers!

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Rebecca May 15, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Kt,
I hope you will forgive me for hijacking the answer you wanted from Jenna. I am in no way trying to speak for her, but you had a genuine question that deserves and genuine answer and I have a feeling that Jenna might be very busy.
If you think of broken as the opposite of “whole” or”complete” or even “perfect, ” it may help you understand it’s meaning. The term has nothing to do with what culture or financial circumstances to which we are born. All of us.. Every one of us is imperfect in many ways. The realization that Christ died for All of us…. Every one of us to cover our “sins” because he loves All of us is a powerful and emotional realization (that results in you wanting to share it with everyone.) Anyone, no matter what”bad things” they have done ( There is not one sinful act , when confessed ,that was not covered by him dying on the cross) is free to confess that they are sinners and ask Jesus to be their Savior. It is free to ANYONE who asks with a genuine heart. It is life changing and a gift to All who ask for it.

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Michelle May 15, 2013 at 12:48 pm

So awesome!!! I am so excited for your heart and how it will be transformed. I have always wanted to spend time in Ethiopia. I have a big heart for that place. I might be a bit jealous, so ill live through you! Excited to follow your journey <3

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Elisabeth May 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Wow! Congratulations on an awesome opportunity!

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erin @hooleywithaz May 15, 2013 at 1:44 pm

this is a wonderful opportunity, thank you for sharing it with all of us (even though you undoubtedly knew it was going to bring the morality/wordsmith police out of the woodwork). anytime we are able to get out of our normal life bubble, and experience life with others, whether that is in a different city, state or country, it enriches our lives and helps us grow.

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Becca Flores May 15, 2013 at 2:23 pm

The short time I spent in Tanzania allowed my heart to grow outside myself. I too went just months after being a newlywed and that was hard on me, but my marriage only flourished. Congratulations on being courageous and maintaining and openness to the truth of all of our brothers and sisters worldwide. Enjoy all of your experiences to come; this is a beautiful time!

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Becky May 15, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Bravo for your willingness to step out of your comfort zone and take up this new opportunity. I lived in/travelled around eastern and southern Africa for about 2 1/2 years and it has undoubtedly been one of the greatest influences on the person I’ve become. I feel I have received far more from those travels than I could ever give back.

I have never been to Ethiopia, however, so I look forward to reading your dispatches from the trip!

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Amy May 15, 2013 at 2:32 pm

A few people are asking what ‘broken’ means- I think it can be interpreted as human and imperfect. We are all broken by design. No one is perfect- this world isn’t perfect. Everything on this earth deteriorates and eventually passes away. I hope no one on here is attempting to argue that anyone on this earth isn’t broken. How people handle their brokenness is up to them. From a Christian perspective, I understand that due to my ‘brokenness’, I am in need of a savior (a means for rectifying my short comings and to be made right in God’s eyes). I believe through my salvation, I will have eternal life after death- where finally things will no longer be ‘broken’ (in heaven). It’s my right to believe this.
I realize there are plenty of people out there that, while broken, do not subscribe to any particular beliefs and are perfectly content to enjoy life here and now- regarding death as the end (or thereafer, the unknown). That too is their right.
I respect what you’re doing Jenna and feel for you that you can barely say anything without people blasting your intentions, beliefs, wording, and so forth. It’s your blog- write away!!!!

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Stacey May 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm

This was a beautiful response.

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Sarah May 15, 2013 at 3:30 pm

I’m going to avoid the “broken” conversation, and just say that one of my best girlfriends is from Ethiopia originally. She said you MUST go see the stone churches of Lalibela – phenomenal wonder of the world. Simien mountains as well. I think you’ll have a wonderful time, just one note – if you’re using an outhouse, LOOK BEHIND YOU! My friend once got butted in the bum by a wild goat while peeing. TMI I know ;-)

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Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope May 15, 2013 at 4:05 pm

What an incredible opportunity! I think we often take how privileged we are in this country for granted and what a humbling experience this adventure will be! I think you and all of those you meet will take something special away from this :)

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Jen Gray May 15, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Jenna, have a wonderful wedding and honeymoon! Is there any way to still get the scarf you are wearing in the picture?

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Megan May 15, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Amazing. Praying for you, Jenna! :)

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rachel May 15, 2013 at 4:18 pm

you are such a encouragement and inspiration! :) thanks for sharing your heart, and don’t let other people’s negativity bring you down!

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Angela May 15, 2013 at 4:19 pm

What an amazing opportunity!! I love FasionABLE and bought multiple scarves as Christmas gifts. I cannot wait to hear all about your trip!

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Sarah Robb May 15, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Hi Jenna,

I just wanted to say that I loved your post, and I’m proud of you for stepping out of your comfort zone to explore a part of Africa. I understand you’re a busy lady, but if you have time before you go you should consider watching or reading Half the Sky, a movie/book about women who have experienced oppression, abuse, and cultural norms that are illegal in most countries including genital mutilation, prostitution, and forced slavery. It was showcased on PBS in the fall, but Sheryl Wu Dunn and her husband, Kris Kristoff, produced the movie. The duo are women’s rights activists who aim to show the world how different our lives really are, especially those comparing powerful countries with the not so powerful.

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Mackenzie May 15, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Jenna, I have traveled to Haiti a bunch for work and to volunteer. I would love to swamp stories after you get back :)

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Alison May 16, 2013 at 12:40 am

Amazing!! I’m so glad that you get this opportunity. I was in Ethiopia in February (I live in Kuwait, so it’s a short flight for me!), and I absolutely loved it. I’m sure you’ll discover that the people are so incredibly friendly and kind. And make sure to stop in at a grocery store to get some berbere spice!!! It’s amazing to cook with.

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Amy Walters, A DESIGN DOCK May 16, 2013 at 5:20 am

That’s so exciting, Jenna! What an adventure that will be.
I bought a FashionABLE scarf earlier this spring and love it. Cheers!

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Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats May 16, 2013 at 6:54 am

Jenna, what a wonderful cause to give your heart to – I am so proud of you and know you will make an incredible impact on anyone you meet in Ethiopia. Best of luck – I can’t wait to hear the stories from your trip!

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Samantha @ Sweetly Striving May 16, 2013 at 1:58 pm

This will be such an amazing experience for you! You are incredibly lucky to have this opportunity. You will most definitely have to do a recap of your own personal journey when you get back. Once again, congratulations!

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dixya@food, pleasure, and health May 16, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I am so happy for you Jenna – please keep sharing your stories. I read a lot of comments from other readers and everyone has their say but do whatever makes you happy and find peace because its all that matter :)

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Naja Vergara May 16, 2013 at 5:17 pm

That is so thoughtful of you! You have a big heart to help others and I truly admire you. Going to a far away land just for that purpose isn’t that easy for it requires, time, money and effort but you’re willing to do all that just to share your love with other people. That organization is pretty good by the way, it provides hope and a brighter future to women in Ethiopia who’ve been sexually exploited in the past. I’m sure they will be grateful and happy for all your efforts! Keep spreading the love and have a safe trip!

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Chris May 16, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Can’t wait to hear all about it. What a wonderful opportunity! Thank YOU for introducing me to FashionABLE and Noonday! :)

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Rachel - A Southern Fairytale May 16, 2013 at 7:15 pm

I am so thrilled for you, friend! <3 What an amazing experience. I absolutely love ONE moms and the FashionABLE scarves. I cannot wait to follow along and live it through you <3

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Kelly May 16, 2013 at 8:00 pm

It is so wonderful that you are going to go there to meet the wonderful women behind the jewelry. I’m sure you will gain a much richer understanding of the people and their culture. I’m sure you’ve read about this already, but there is a whole new terrible wave of child trafficking and trade going on in response to the U.S’s demand for children through international adoption. So sad.

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Megan May 17, 2013 at 5:37 am

Congratulations on your upcoming trip, but will you please clarify what you mean by traveling to Ethiopia to “love on people?”

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APRIL May 17, 2013 at 6:17 am

Jenna – good for you!!! If anyone reads your blog they would understand your meaning…

Your HEART is in the right place and I think that is all that matter!!!

Can’t wait to hear about all your adventures.

PEACE

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Cara May 17, 2013 at 8:53 am

Broken? Ick! Have you heard of the Stop the Pity movement? It’s pretty great and I think definitely worth looking at and viewing some of the videos before your trip.
http://www.mamahope.org/unlock-potential/
http://stopthepity.org/

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janet May 17, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Enjoy your time as a bride … It’s over so fast … And don’t feel guilty about being “me-centric” … If there’s any day it’s all about YOU IN A GOOD WAY it’s your wesdding day.

Broken? Maybe a little cracked. Enjoy your trip !

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Ashley May 18, 2013 at 9:45 am

Wow!! Good for you! I went to Thailand several times and although my purpose was different, I stay with family friends in their village and it really has changed me. This particular family doesn’t have much, but they gave a wealth of community and support networks, something American society doesn’t often hold in high esteem. It was challenging to get used to the lack of material things… Like a flush toilet, hot water or running water, but every time we go, I feel so humbled and very spoiled in the life I lead at home has changed in a positive way. I am excited for you to experience a culture outside of your own :)

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jamie@ green beans & grapefruit May 19, 2013 at 10:39 am

Jenna, what an incredible opportunity! FashionABLE is such an amazing company doing so much good.

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Kristen May 19, 2013 at 7:49 pm

I’ve thought a lot about whether I wanted to say anything at all about the comments on this post, but I after reading the most recent comments, I just can’t help it. I support and believe in individuals’ right to freedom of religion as well as freedom FROM religion. Many Christians say they agree with this too, but then try to provide the right book or website or passage to help others see things from their point of view. To me, this comes off as both condescending and judgmental. I fully believe in God, but the idea that we are all broken and in need of a Savior will never be part of my belief system. The fact that many Christians’ beliefs are *not* based on good works in our daily lives is also foreign to me. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but please do not try to convince me that your sare the “right” ones and that I need to be enlightened. I will do the same for you.

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Megan May 20, 2013 at 11:45 am

So awesome! I cannot wait to hear about the trip.

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Carina May 22, 2013 at 5:37 am

Helping others feel great and beautiful about themselves is I think much greater than helping them financially. Yes, money can help when it comes to financial needs but money can’t heal the wounds brought by the past. Making others feel good about themselves is such a noble thing to do. You live not only for yourself but for others as well.

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Krista May 22, 2013 at 7:35 am

I am currently living in Rwanda and I have a couple of questions about your upcoming trip. Is this some sort of organized group trip or is it a personal journey? If it’s a group/organization thing I wonder if there are other visits planned? I would love to hop on a plane north for a few days and join one of these awesome trips.

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Tanni Theye June 6, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Hey Jenna~
I have been so swamped with end of school activities that I haven’t had time to check out your site between all the concerts, open houses, academic awards, sports awards, baseball games….the list goes on! However, just taking a second because I remembered your wedding was at the end of May( I think ) and I thought I would check to get some updates….anyway, this post caught my eye because my daughter and I are traveling to Ethiopia in two weeks to meet the child we sponsor and her grandmother! We are so excited and just got our final shot yesterday….yellow fever!!! My daughter has actually been begging for shots for the first time in her life! LOL
We are going over for some of the same reasons….to get out of our bubble and comfort zone, love on some kids, and build our relationship with our girl :)
We will be visiting several orphanage care points, ALERT Hospital and will also be meeting the women at fashhionABLE!! We don’t have any way to comprehend the conditions that we will be encountering but hopefully we will be a blessing to those we come in contact as I know we will ourselves be richly blessed by each and every person we meet! Looking forward to hearing about your adventures in August….and Congratulations on your wedding! When I got married 20 years ago my grandfather said something I will never forget….he said… ” This is where your life really begins….this is where things get really exciting and it is one helluva a journey!!” He emphasized every single word with a pause in between and I have never forgotten…he has been absolutely right! I married an incredible man and we are having a blast raising our 4 kids….enjoy the ride!!

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Leah June 7, 2013 at 10:49 am

How exciting! I went to Ethiopia what feels like ages ago. When you get to Addis you will be shocked by how tiny and bustling it is. When you come back after being elsewhere in the country, it will feel like the biggest city you have ever seen! I LOVE Ethiopia and hope you have a wonderful and blessed trip!

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Kiki July 26, 2013 at 4:44 am

Hey dear, i really love wat u are doing. God be with u. I am ethiopian and live in the capital addis, if u need anything u got me. Here is the first thing, pls pack ur jackets and scarfs as this is the rainy season. Hip me up anyrime u want me; kikifekadu@gmail.com
love and respect

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Alysa (InspiredRD) July 31, 2013 at 10:14 am

I can’t believe I missed this! I went to Ethiopia last July with Food for the Hungry. The country, the people are now embedded deep in my heart. I can’t wait to follow your journey.

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jenna May 16, 2013 at 7:19 am

I apologize about it taking me so long to jump in here and I appreciate those who contributed to the conversation. I am referring to the brokenness of our hearts and need for God. I believe that we are all broken people in need of a savior and it has nothing to do with money or circumstance.

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Lori May 16, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Did you just wake up one day and discover God and Jesus. I wish I believed in something, but I just don’t. I envy your faith.

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Laura May 16, 2013 at 10:21 pm

I’m a longtime reader who has always had such adoration for you. But this really didn’t sit well with me. I know you meant it in your own way based on your faith, but I still think describing yourself (and every other human) as “broken” is very sad and disempowering. We are all human beings with imperfections, yes. But, I can honestly say that I do not feel broken in any sense of the word. I hope you are open to keeping comments with beliefs that differ from yours, but my beliefs are such that God doesn’t see us as that way either. And, I’m just having a hard time believing that these women – whose amazing work you are selling – would want to be described so publicly as “broken.”

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Amy May 17, 2013 at 6:23 pm

EXACTLY!!!!!!!! I agreed completely in my reply above! :)

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Robyn @thereallife_RD May 16, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Hi Lori,

I would encourage you to read Life of the Beloved by Nouwen– he wrote the book in an effort to explain the Gospel to his non-believing friend and it is so well written! Also this YouTube video is all of one minute and totally worth it :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xt9VA3Cxdfo

xoxo

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