My prayer each year for my team is to ask God to lead us to where the needs are. He knows. We don't. We are here to serve, so we ask that God lead us and show us who He has waiting for us.
I believe one little boy in a desperate situation had been praying!
‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’
We left Addis and headed North for our Day 5 in Bissyland!
We were all excited to explore and see the beautiful countryside.
We are a little over an hour out of the city when...pause...
A few of us have to "shinte mint" (use the bathroom).
So I tell Getcho and he pulls over at a hotel.
That whole bathroom experience was quite the scene.
As you even approach the bathroom, the smell hits you first and you have to cover your nose.
At the end of the stink trail there is a hole in the ground with a tin thing around it.
All the teens just decided to forego the experience and pop a squat.
Is that TMI? Just trying to give you all the visual. My daughter later said she would never complain about a gas station bathroom in America again. :-)
As we arose from the whole bathroom experience and all came out trying to breath in some fresh air, I noticed Shane and Getcho standing around a young boy.
I walked up and asked Getcho about him and he said that he told him that he had no family and lived on the streets alone. The young boy just looked down at the ground the whole time.
My heart just went out to this young boy. You could see the desperation and pain in his eyes.
There are so many children in need EVERYWHERE, but now we have one who is standing right in front of us and WHAT DO WE DO?
I had an idea!
I had Getcho ask him if he wanted to come to Bissyland with us for the day.
It would at least give him a fun day with the team and get him away from his reality for a day.
Did he want to go with us?
Bira, one of our sponsored kids from Korah, is SUCH a leader in the making. All I had to do was look at Bira and point to the child and he immediately went into action. He wrapped his arm around the young boy and led him to the bus. He is SO great at serving others already and God is preparing him for something great!
So off we go for the day with a new young friend named Todela.
God totally placed him in our path and we are trying to listen and figure out what our next steps are.
Off to have some fun we go!
We stopped for lunch and to listen to Bissy tell us his story. I look over and young Todela is enjoying his lunch with his new bud, Bira by his side.
We had an adventurous day climbing a mountain, seeing monkeys, playing in a waterfall, and meeting some monks living in caves. ( I will blog about that next)
On the way home the folks in the bus started looking for some new clothes for Todela.
All there was was a bag of girl clothes in the bus. Ashley started looking hard and found a pair of gray sweatpants. She then found a navy shirt and socks. She really wanted to find him a jacket and looked and looked and couldn't find one. At the last minute she tried one more time and reached her hand down in the bag and pulled out a bag that said "jacket only". It was his perfect size!!
Cris was sitting in a seat by herself and Todela sat down in her seat while getting dressed and stayed there for the rest of the ride. She showed him he was loved and that everything would be ok and they became friends.
We approached the city where we found him and pulled over to the side of the road. Everyone pitched in to give him money to take with him. It was over 1000 birr and when we handed it to him we saw fear on his face. He said that he couldn't leave with that much money or he would be beaten and robbed. He told us if we ever pass his way and see him we can just give him 100 birr at a time. It was very sad. So we all felt this desperation for this boy like we had to do something more to help him. We couldn't just leave him on the street. We asked him his family situation and he told us his mother died two years ago. He said he was with an uncle but then the uncle left him and he hasn't seen him in a very long time. We asked him over and over and he consistently told us that he had NO ONE.
The only thing I knew to do was call Hope for the Hopeless. I knew they were full but we had to try to get him into a shelter. Bissy called the director and explained the situation. He said they were completely full but if we felt this was an emergency then the boy could share a bed if he had to and they would make it work.
SO OFF WE WENT, CLAPPING AND PRAISING TO TAKE THIS BOY TO HIS NEW HOME!
He was not forgetten any longer!!
Even though he told us he wanted to go it was still scary for him. He had never in his life been out of the countryside. He had never even been to Addis.
The staff and kids welcomed him that night when we arrived. It was dark outside and several of our team walked him in and got him settled in his new home.
We all gave him big hugs and told him it would all be ok. All our hearts went out to him because we knew this was a new scary experience for him being in a new place with people he did not know.
We were so glad he had a bed to sleep in and they had a warm meal waiting on him for dinner.
God is so GOOD!
We all went back to Hope 4 The Hopeless yesterday for our scheduled visit. It was the day after we had stopped and put him in the shelter. We were all so excited to check on him and see how he was doing. We knew he was really scared when we left him.
Well....look at his BIG SMILE now!!!
The boys in the shelter are so awesome! They just welcomed him in and made him feel like a brother!
The directors have poured Jesus into these boys and now it is spilling over to Todela as they welcome him.
There is such a transformation in this young boy already in 1 day!
It is amazing!!!
Ashley bonded with him on the bus and told him that she was going to be his new sponsor!
She, and he, couldn't be more happy!!
She took him in, showed him how to brush his teeth, and got him all tucked in. She definitely became a momma to him.
He has some new brothers!
He was so excited to show us his new bed!
It is the little things we all take for granted, but to this young boy a bed means everything in the whole world. And he has a new pillow pet to go with it! :-)
Blowing bubbles and being a kid! Such a beautiful sight!
What does it mean to CHANGE THE WORLD FOR ONE?
YOU ARE LOOKING AT IT!!!
Thank you Lord, for directing our paths!!!
On a side note.....
The day before we found Todela, we had gone to the post office district to play soccer with some kids.
Once we got there it was very congested and started to so Bissy told us it was best not to play. The boys stood around the bus tapping on the windows wanting us to play with or help them.
Chris, one of our teammates, said it REALLY bothered her. She said she just had to take it to the Lord and ask him "WHY are there so many in need and I am not?"
"Why am I on the inside of the bus and they are not?"
"What is the solution for those on the outside of the bus?"
It's one of those things that all of us experience in Ethiopia when we are surrounded by so much need outside while we sit warm and dry watching them, wondering how in the world we can possibly help so many.
The next morning, Chris was in the word with this "Why" question on her heart, and felt God took her to Philippians 4: 10-19
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. 14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
The very next day was when we met Todela. He was one of those children on the outside of the bus.
By the end of the day he was one of us on the inside of the bus!!
He was the one who sat in the empty seat beside her. She had been riding in the van all week and for some reason that morning decided to ride in the bus in the empty seat.
Right beside her sits Todela for two hours while God was working on her heart.
God showed Chris the solution and the answer to her question.
"Lord, what is the solution for those on the outside of the bus?"
The scripture above that she was taken to that morning explained that it is the church that shares with those in times of troubles. WE ARE HIS HANDS AND HIS FEET. HIS SOLUTION!
He meets the needs of others through us on the inside of the bus.
As we step out of our world into theirs, God will use us if we are open and listen.
Yet again, we are reminded of the importance of the word GO!
WE ASKED, WE WENT, WE FOUND, AND WE ARE SO GLAD WE DID!
SO CAN YOU!!!
‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’
Thank you, Chris, for sharing your revelation with us all in our team meeting.
It was so powerful!
THANK YOU HILLCREST BAPTIST, HOPKINSVILLE, KY, CHILDREN'S DEPT!
These girls from Hillcrest came on this trip looking for a need to meet with the money that was collected from the children's dept for this trip.
You donated toward the initial needs of Todella to get him settled and comfortable in his new home!
What a wonderful, life changing day for not only Todela, but our whole team!!
THANK YOU HOPE 4 HOPELESS FOR SAYING "YES" TO THIS YOUNG BOY!!
We are looking at helping them expand this life changing ministry. We can't wait!