If you have been following some of the news in Ordinary Hero over the past two months you know that we are on somewhat of a bittersweet journey in Ethiopia and Cape Town over the next 10 days.
Pictured above is our friend, Michael Venable. It was not even a year ago, last December, that he and his wife, Beth were standing in this very country of Ethiopia, as they arrived to pick up their new adopted son, Scarborough. Scar is their first adopted son and fourth child in the family.
You now see Michael pictured above, on the ground in Ethiopia, without his sweet wife, Beth. On August 24, 2012, Beth went to be with the Lord after battling a hard recovery from a sudden brain surgery. After a simple suggestion for friends and loved ones to donate to Ordinary Hero in lieu of flowers because of Beth's love for orphans, Michael saw God's great work at hand. Beth's memorial and life legacy miraculously brought in over $50,000 thanks to friends, loved ones, and even strangers who were moved by Beth's story. To this day it continues to grow. Beth's life will live on in the many lives that will be saved thanks to all who have given in honor of Beth.
So here we are on our first day on the ground in Ethiopia. We thought what better way to decide what to do with the money than to bring Michael, myself, my husband Shane, our videographer Ryan, and hit the ground to see what God has in store. So here we are on our journey to CHANGE THE WORLD FOR ONE (+ many) in Ethiopia first and then on to Cape Town, South Africa over the next 10 days.
We know that God has big plans for the money and we are here to see what that is.
Each day opens our eyes to more of the needy and we are relying on that small whisper to tell us which direction to go. So where is a good place to start?
THE TRASH DUMP!
We have often brought teams into the Korah trash dump area to serve the destitute and needy. There are a few amazing organizations that offer support in this area that we have partnered alongside to find sponsors for children, etc.
What if I told you there is ANOTHER side of Korah that has not been touched by any outside help? No outside help, but yet strong men of God from the community struggling to make a difference on their own the best they can.
These strong men were raised up and taught about God by our one and only Bissy!
Bisrat is our Ordinary Hero Ethiopian Representative and we couldn't do half of what we do without him guiding us. Take a stroll with us as Michael is led into the OTHER side of Korah for the first time by Bissy, to show us a whole new world of need.
We believe that God is wanting to raise up this next generation, give them a hope, and a future and a destiny.
We were also led through the community by one of the Pastors on this side of Korah as he showed us the many plastic houses that his people live in and struggle to survive. He has an AMAZING story of his own. He had a horrible mouth infection that was overtaking his face when an American stumbled upon him and sent him for surgery. That same person sponsored him for school and then on to the University. He has now come back to serve as a Pastor and tell others what God has done for him. His life was miraculously changed because someone cared enough to sponsor him as a young boy with nothing, living in the dump, with sores and infection all over him.
You truly can CHANGE THE WORLD FOR ONE!
Here, Ryan is capturing some of Bissy's personal testimony on camera. The thing that makes us helping this community so powerful is to see someone like Bissy, who lived in the dump for 11 years, guide us in with such determination to help those that are left behind to suffer. God has risen him from his life in the dump to now serve those left behind and teach them that through God they can have a future too.
Bissy was explaining how he would bury his body in all this plastic to stay warm at night only 5 short years ago.
Bissy ran into this family living in a plastic house by the dump. He said he knew this young boy when he was a child. He is now 19 and never made it past grade 4 because his mother can't afford school. We have seen the power of sponsorship and will find one for this boy with the beautiful smile and a bright future once given the chance.
Everywhere you look there are homes made of plastic, mud, and sticks....that's it!
BUT amazingly we have seen time and time again, the poor in Ethiopia have something that many rich Americans don't have...and that is faith in God. Not small faith, but faith that gives them hope to get through each day. Posted to the mud wall, on top of cardboard covering a hole, there reads a simple sign on the wall...
"The Fear Of God Is The Beginning Of Wisdom"
We stepped into a home that housed this young girl that had just given birth to a baby she can barely feed. What does a young mom do who has produced not enough milk to feed her baby, without a cent to her name, in a third world country?
She prays for a miracle and we listen to that small whisper to tell us where to go.
We stepped through her door. God heard her prayer and we can help.
These little faces are what brings us back year after year.
These mother's prayers are what guide our steps to reach them.
Leprosy is rampant in this community. This sweet, woman has been bedridden for many, many years.
Her hands are eaten away with leprosy yet she greeted us with a warm smile and invited us in her home.
Why are we here? Only God knows. We have two men who have been pulled from the mud and mire of the dump leading the way and those of us ready to help and stand with them to CHANGE THE WORLD for those left behind.
Less than a year ago, Michael was arriving in Ethiopia to pick up his son with his beautiful wife, Beth. He never could have imagined he would be back, not even a year later, saying goodbye to one chapter of his life, to quickly turn the page to a brand new one. As God takes him by the hand and leads him from house to house and person to person, He is showing him, that even after such tragedy, he still does have a future and hope. Not only will he see his own future and hope through this trip, but he will see the blessing of so many more that will now have a future and a hope because of Beth's life legacy that will live on in the children her life will bless for generations to come.
To read more about Beth and her family, visit the Beth Venable Memorial Page. Your donations are why we are here. Beth's life has touched many and now we are here to carry out her heart's desire for the orphan. Thank you for your continued support of Beth's Life Legacy and your continued prayers for Michael and his mission to spread Beth's love to the needy.
To see more pictures of our journey, visit the OH facebook page.
To see more pictures of our journey, visit the OH facebook page.
Thank you for following us on this journey. We can't wait to see where we end up.
Day 2 coming up next!
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.