For the next several months, Joel emailed the American Embassy in Ethiopia. The outlook wasn't good; so few kids had come to our school right from Ethiopia.
Not content to deal just with the Embassy, Joel also made some phone calls to writers of Runner's World and a particularly memorable one to Barbara Bowerman: the wife of the founder of Nike shoes...
One night, I was helping a dorm girl with math. Joel had to go to his office for a minute and said, "I put in a call to Barbara Bowerman today." Just after he left, the phone rang. "Oh, well now, that's probably Barbara," I said. And it was. Speechless, I frantically motioned the now catatonic dorm girl from her irrelevant math problems to "run like the wind" to get Joel. Having been sarcastic one minute and humbled the next, I was too busy fighting the barrage of sanctification to have any sort of meaningful conversation. I would have settled for idle chit-chat even. Nothing. So, my conversation with the Founder of Nike's Wife went like this: "Oh....HI!! Um, could you hold on for just a minute? I'm going to, uh, run and, uh, get my husband who called you." And while I'm at it, I'll just take my favorite pair of NIKES... I didn't actually say that. Joel had the conversation.
In August came the news. The family was coming. We flew into a frantic, disorganized readiness plan. We had to raise money for their airfare; a family familiar with Ethiopia offered to fly there and bring them to Iowa. Within a few months, the money had been raised, the tickets purchased and in October of 2004, there were 3 Ethiopians standing on my front lawn.