Friday, July 22, 2011

Ethiopia 2011: The home visits

As we moved toward the third day of our time in Ethiopia, we were preparing for the opportunity to visit the homes of some of the children in the community. As I mentioned in my last post, in a very short amount of time a program has been developed to send over 200 children to a boarding school where they have a chance to break the cycle of desperation. Our team was ready to split into teams and go to the homes of some of these children.

The visits were going to be particularly special for me, because I was going to the homes of two children that God had placed in my life through the sponsorship program. I got to meet up with them the day before the first visit, and it only raised my anticipation. I cannot begin to describe what it was like to see their excitement and anticipation, knowing that they were going to host a few of us in their homes. They could not wait, and neither could I!

What was it like when the time came? The atmosphere was the same in both homes. While the conditions were not anything we could imagine without going ourselves, there was joy and thankfulness for the fact that God had found a way for the child to go to school. In one case, the boy had spent five years of his life the same way: he would get up early in the morning and try to beat other children to the city dump (only a few hundred from his home). The mission? To get food for the family - food that had been discarded by more wealthy people throughout the city. Needless to say, every member of that household was grateful for what God was doing in his life.

I have so many moments to remember from the time with these kids. Trying to communicate through the language difference. Hagersaw teaching me to count in Arhamic. And teaching me other phrases like "thank you" and I love you". Spending the whole last day there with Brouk, talking, and them playing soccer with him for almost an hour. Finding out that both of them had an amazing year in school last year. And then, unfortunately, how difficult it was to say goodbye.

I gotta tell ya: the home visits and the time I spent with these two children were worth the trip. If we had done nothing else, I would have been glad that I made the trip. While I am praying for the entire community (and indeed the country), there are now two children who have a special hold on my heart. Oh how I pray that God would work in their lives and give them the chance to glorify him. May the Lord take care of the physical needs of them and their families, and lead them to a place where they can proclaim his love.

This happened all over the place. I watched as so many young people from America got close to children from the dumps of Ethiopia. In the evenings, hearing about the love that was developing between our team members and the children was the kind of thing that gives you chill bumps.

When it came time to leave the last day, many tears were shed. How difficult it is to leave people you have come to love. God willing, I hope to go back as soon as I can. But more about that in a future post.

Next post: Our awesome team

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