Monday, July 15, 2013

Hope For The Hopeless Ministry To Street Children in Ethiopia

Until last summer I had only heard about the 150,000 STREET CHILDREN that live in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and surrounding areas. I had never met one for more than the time it would take for them to shine my shoes or sell me some gum, which is what they do for income. They are often a sea of children that get lost in the crowd of the more than 4 million people that live in Ethiopia alone. 

My eyes were opened last summer.
My eyes were opened, BIG TIME!

Our OH team took a trip out to the countryside for a daytrip. We stopped in the middle of no where for a potty break at a hotel that basically had a hole in the ground we could use that most people opted out of when they saw it. When I walked back outside, I noticed that our driver Gecho, and my husband, Shane, were talking to a young boy. Somehow Gecho struck up a conversation with him and discovered that he had been living alone on the streets for quite a long time. He looked sad and shy, yet was willing to tell us his story as several other boys stood around and watched us talk to this young boy. 

 My heart went out to him as I could see a look of desperation in his eyes. We offered for him to hang with us for the day just to give him some encouragement and food for lunch. Our young, Jr, OH friend with us took this young boy under his wing and encouraged him that everything would be ok. He was his friend for the day. It was awesome to see our young Jr Ordinary Hero befriend this young boy, as he himself, was someone we took under our wing just a year or so before this as a sponsored child. Now he is learning to give back, himself, as he befriended this young, lost, boy. 
 This young boy was thin, and dirty and looked as if he had lived a rough life for quite some time. His jacket had holes in it, and it appeared that all he had, was the clothes on his back. 
 Several on our team just showed our new friend love and offered him encouragement. 
 We fed him lunch and offered him some new clothes from a blessing bag that someone had. 
 As our day came to a close we drove him back to the spot where we had found him. The team was giving him what food they had and also handing him money. He had acquired quite a bit of money to get him by for a while, but he stopped and handed the money back to us. He told us that the other boys would beat him if they suspected he had money and take everything he had. As he handed it back to us, he simply said, "Maybe if you ever come back by this way again and see me then you could just give me 100 birr at a time." which is basically $5. Our hearts broke for this boy. What help could we offer him if he couldn't even accept money to buy food with? 

I suddenly thought of the ministry Hope For The Hopeless!! They take in street children off the streets to give them a better life and offer them help. We had just met them for the first time a couple of days before this. They had explained in detail how full they were and how there were no more beds available for any more children. They had explained how they were struggling financially to take care of the children that they had and couldn't take any more. 


I stood on the side of the road with this scared, lonely, young boy and frantically called Fekadu, the director of Hope For The Hopeless. I explained the situation with this boy and asked if they could possibly take one more street child. 
I held my breathe....

 He said, "Well, we did just happen to move one child to the countryside orphanage today,  so there is ONE bed available." He gladly said they would take the boy into their drop in center to evaluate his situation!! 


THE WHOLE TEAM JUMPED FOR JOY as we were SO glad we did not have to leave him on the side of the road in the middle of the countryside, alone to fend for himself anymore. 
He bonded on the way to Addis to one of our team members, named Ashley, who was on the team with her two sons. She quickly started comforting him and telling him everything would be ok. He was very nervous and scared, but said he wanted to go to the shelter, all at the same time. 
His little face was that of one scared little boy when we left him there. Our hearts just broke for him, as we could only imagine what it was like for him to be in this strange, new environment. We prayed for him and told him we would come see him tomorrow. 

The next day we couldn't wait to get back over there to check on him. 
We were worried because he was sad when we had left him. 
But now.....
 he was ALL SMILES! 
The scared little boy was now smiling and showing us his new bed and loved the stuffed animal that Ashley had given him. It was like overnight that he had transformed. 

He was so proud to show us his new bed. 

The director said he was doing really well there with them. 

 In an instant, Ashley and this young boy created a bond, as she simply showed him the love of a mother when he didn't have one. His smile was precious and so full of hope now. 
 Our team bonded with this young boy and rallied around him to show him love and encouragement.
 This team witnessed the rescue of this young boy off of the streets and were now watching hope come back in his heart each and every day. 

His smile said it all, as we watched him go from scared and lonely, barely able to look us in the eye,... 
to a smile that would light up the room, simply because he had people who believed in him, and a ministry that said "YES" to helping him! 
I personally have returned several times to Ethiopia and gone to visit him at the shelter over the past year. He would run up to me and have only one word to say to me....
I kept telling him all year that she would return in the summer time.


You see, he now knew that for the first time in his life someone thought he was special and believed in him. He had hope, and he found that through God showing up in Ashley, because she simply showed him love in his greatest time of need. 

I just think how much God loves this little boy, and must have heard his prayers as he was alone in the middle of the far countryside of Ethiopia, feeling like he had no one in the whole wide world. 
In all reality, he would seem unreachable.....
and then there we came out of no where 
by stopping for a potty break. 
Our steps were guided, and his life was changed forever. 

 Now fast forward one year later to our team this June, and you see Ashley and this precious young boy reunite! Yes, his life was changed.....BUT SO WAS HERS! She could not wait to return this summer to see this precious young boy who has become so special to her! She could not get out of the van fast enough to run and give him a big hug!  
 All he could do was just hug her and cry. Ashley brought her daughter back this summer to meet this special boy whom she had talked about for the past year. It was a special time for all of them to see each other once again. 

 The hardest part about coming to Ethiopia is having to say goodbye to the kids that are so special to us!
On the teams last day in Addis these two had some tear filled goodbyes that broke everyone's heart as we watched. But Ashley's love for this boy has given him hope that will carry him through another year. He now knows that there is someone who cares about him and who thinks about him. 
He is no longer alone, hungry, and cold, living on the streets, desperate to find food, and shelter.

He is no longer desperate to find love.

Yes, those children do exist! 
We met one, first hand!
They have dreams and goals in life. They have talents and skills. 
They have all the dreams that any other young boys would have 
but they need a chance to live them out.  

Hope For The Hopeless is giving this young boy that chance!
They are giving him a chance along with the others that they have taken into their drop in center. 
Sometimes these boys and girls live in the center for up to three years as they work with them to restore their lives and pull ALL of the street out of them and fill them with the love of God. 

At that time, if they cannot find any family to reunite them with then they send them to live in their orphanage in the countryside. 

This ministry has changed the lives of children
 in unbelievable ways! 
We are not sure how they do it, but we have never seen such love pour out of children like we do at H4H.  

We are so thankful to have found this ministry right when we did. It was the Lord's hand as he guided us to this small life that was living on the streets in the middle of the countryside of Ethiopia. 
What are the chances? Only the Lord could orchestrate that.

Now we see a life transformed...NO, actually, we see two lives transformed!

Thanks to donors who saw the great need for a new drop in center, Ordinary Hero was able to surprise the kids and move them to a new home to live in this summer! This created much better living conditions, and much needed space to be able to take in more children, which we are so excited about!

BUT, with that, comes more expense. 

This ministry is doing such unbelievable things to transform these children's lives, 
but they need your help! 
We saw their needs first hand this summer. 
They need partners to stand with them in order to make sure the basic needs of these kids are met. They are paying for everything from food for up to 80 children in the drop in center and orphanage, school, living expense, staff salaries, as well as managing a sponsorship program for the children in the surrounding community. There are times that the staff goes without pay in order to make sure the children's needs are met first. 

They are all very devoted and have been trusting God 
up to this point to meet their needs each month. 

LET'S BLESS THEM for the work that they do! 

We are starting a $20 giving challenge to bless this ministry!
We would love to see everyone who reads this post, to give $20 toward this ministry if it is pressed on your heart to do so.
If you can give more, give more. 
If you can give less, give less. 
Every dollar is being used to care for these precious kids.
Our teams have met them all, and seriously can't get them out of our heads and our hearts. 


Enjoy this video which shows Ordinary Hero surprising the children with their new drop-in center! 
Their hearts are so thankful and pure as gold. 
Thank you for your consideration in partnering with this awesome ministry! 

(Click the title of the video in the box to go to youtube to watch if the video won't play.) 


  1. I stepped up to the challenge! As a board member, I too have seen the impact Hope has on these children and the community as a whole! The love of the Lord is evident in all Hope does and we cannot thank you enough for your support!

  2. Very inspiring acts of kindness and reaching out to the needy.
    There's no other greater joy than to make someone feel that he/she is accepted, loved, and valued.

    Homeless Brisbane