Day 8 in Ethiopia – Addis Ababa 1/3/11
There was a feeling of melancholy lingering in the air this morning. How is it that a people, a nation and a culture can get under your skin in just over a week? As the team got ready and had devotions, there was a mixture of sadness, gratefulness and resolve in our hearts. It took us longer to get down to breakfast than usual. It was as if we thought that our moving slower would also slow time before the team had to leave the cradle of civilization.
To lighten the mood, one of our most creative team members (Briea) opted to inject some fun into breakfast. The manifestation of that creativity was in the form of a French toast One Child Campaign logo. I have to say it was quite impressive and made me wonder if we should have a contest to see who could come up with the most creative materials to recreate our logo…but French toast might be hard to beat – anyone up for the challenge?
Our morning destination was just about a block or two from the guest home, so we walked this neighborhood taking in the sights, sounds and smells that we have grown so accustomed to this past week.
For the past year, One Child has locked arms with Compassion Family International, a drop-in center for 50 of the most destitute children in the community of Lafto. The little girl that our family sponsors is here. As a sponsor, I cannot tell you how important it is for a sponsor to visit the child, family and drop-in center where they sponsor to see it firsthand. I’ve had the privilege to see Aden 4 times in the past year and to see her growth, maturity and health increase has been phenomenal. I’ve posted about sponsorship before, but I cannot reiterate enough of how much sponsoring through a trusted ministry can do.
Peter and Elza Abera oversee and run CFI and Peter, as a child, was sponsored. Through this, he was able to receive an education, his redemption and salvation. You can see the evidence of the fruit of sponsorship through his life – from an African country boy born into an Orthodox family to a leader of Christ multiplying love in his country. Their passion for not just these kids, but also their families is commendable. They go beyond just feeding, educating and discipling these children. They have gone and shared home visits with just about every one of these families. What they have found are people that want to be heard, loved and given a chance at a better future. CFI has given their kids that jump start, though some of the stories that they have shared with us are heartbreaking, but there is hope.
Our team met with Peter to discuss the history and challenges of their ministry. I was so pleased to find out that the local government has entrusted several more kids into their care and now they have about 61 kids that they serve and support. On week days, all kids are provided lunch and are taught general hygiene and they all brush their teeth before heading back to school.
It was somewhat of an unusual day because we weren’t quite as hands on as previous days, but I’ve come to learn that there are reasons that God has ordained different experiences. We got to see with our own eyes, how sponsorship and care for the kids should be. We felt almost like we were peeking into their typical day and seeing the smiling faces while they received with a few basic necessities was encouraging. There’s no pretense here, just a passion to serve their community in any way they can. We look forward to seeing all that God will continue to do through our partnership with them.
PICS OF THEY DAY:
Today reminded me of the power of one. The power that Love gives us when we step out in faith and do what God created us to do. What God created us to do shouldn’t be viewed as an option, but as a matter of stewardship. I encourage you to read the story of the three servants in Matthew 25. Obedience is not optional. If we say that we love God but do not obey Him, we don’t really love Him. Too often, we get caught up in our society, our culture, our comforts and what we think are our dreams and we completely forget that we should be living God’s dream for us. Our lives are not our own and should be lived as such. This is for me just as much as it is for those reading it. I have to be reminded of this and constantly ask God for my heart to remain broken for the things, people and situations that break His heart. I pray for an awakening for us all to know our calling and to walk it out – it’s our responsibility and we will be held accountable for it.
Your calling may not be full time ministry to orphans in Africa, but I do know that if and when you join us on a trip like this one – your spiritual ears will be keen to the voice of God. Some people have told me in the past that they don’t feel “called” to go and I do know some are not called to full time ministry like this, we need all parts of the body…however, I do believe that there is nothing more effective in igniting passion (whatever your role in the body may be), than at least going once. It is always God’s will for us to go into all the world. It is always His will for us to love and reach out to the destitute, the widow and orphan.
Isaiah 58: 6-12
So, I end our trip blog posts by issuing a challenge: will you be one person who will change the life of one child? If you will, please contact us and we will share many different ways that you can get involved in long term, sustainable, empowering solutions for hundreds in desperation. There is someone waiting on the other side of your obedience.
One Child Campaign is a ministry outreach of Faith Central Ministries. The vision of the Orphan Awareness and Vision trips is to create a united effort of ministries to give voice to the over 5.5 million orphans in Ethiopia and around the world. This will be accomplished through sponsorship, empowerment and discipleship that will meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the children. This trip will immerse you into the lives of orphans and street kids. It will create an experience that will raise awareness not only to the orphan, but also for the body of Christ to realize the impact it can have through advocacy and adoption. An important part of our ministry is to provide resources for adoptive families. This is a mission to raise up a generation with selfless faith. Together, we can breathe hope into the orphan crisis.