For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I want to tell you of a young girl that I have watched flourish over the past four years. I found a true jewel in a remote village in Ethiopia in 2010 without even knowing it.
Let me first take you back to 2010.
It was Ordinary Hero's first year to take a team to Ethiopia. In the middle of our team trip, we all loaded up in the big bus and went on a mad search for my son's birthmother that I had never met before. I had my husband, my daughter and one of my son's with me, along with a 22 member team in tow, and our brand new guides named Bissy and Maste. :-)
I had one picture and that was it! Bissy, took the picture and would run off into the different villages, showing them the picture, asking if anyone knew this mother or daughter. Sure enough, we found someone who said they knew the daughter and what village she lived in. This person got in the bus with all of us and showed us where to find her.
This was the first time I met Hiwot, my son's biological sister.
She came walking down a dirt road and just broke down when we told her who we were.
Before they put our son in the orphanage, she was one of the little girls in Ethiopia that you would see with a baby strapped to her back. She would care for him while their mother worked, which meant that she couldn't go to school. She sat out for two years caring for him while their mother would do the best she could to try to bring in some income.
She had not seen her brother in close to three years.
She missed him terribly. I think her tears were for him.
She took us to their home. Her mother was not home. She was out working, washing clothes.
When we walked into their traditional, mud home, to my surprise, there were pictures of my son in this small, rural home in the middle of Africa. Seeing those pictures truly reminded me of where my son is from and what a gift he is to our family.
Our next stop was at the mother's workplace. Hiwot stepped out of sight into a building and the next thing I know a little woman comes sprinting out of the building and straight to me to give me the biggest hug ever!
My son's birthmother.
I never would have imagined the importance of meeting them that day.
Now fast forward 4 years!!
Hiwot has been joining our teams and helping us serve over the past few years. More than that, what I realize now, is that she was taking notes. This spirit of serving others got into her soul and I am so proud to say that she, completely, on her own, planned out an entire project for our Ordinary Hero team to work alongside her senior high school class and help children that attend a very poor school across the street from hers.
She said that when she approached the school to tell them her idea, they didn't believe her because no student had ever wanted to help like that. She went and brought her teacher back with her to confirm and thus the project began! :-)
Our team arrived at the school and they sent our vans over to gather the kids and bring them to us. Hiwot had arranged for an awesome injera meal to be ready when they got there. Our team really enjoyed getting to feed these beautiful kids.
We lined up the back of the building with clothing and shoe donations.
When the children finished eating we would bring them back and line them up to receive a new clothing item and shoes.
This project was such a joy! The smiles on these kids faces was priceless. They were SO excited to eat this meal and receive these gifts from our team.
Of course, every grand meal must be topped off with a soda! :-)
What a beautiful site getting to see Hiwot and her fellow classmates with their Ordinary Hero shirts on, serving alongside our team to make a difference in their own community!
These senior students did an excellent job serving the children. After the children ate their meal and received their clothing and shoes they received new school supplies.
What a joy it was to watch these kids in action and watch their hearts just soar for the children they were serving.
When we were finished and all the children left one or our teammates videoed Hiwot telling why she wanted to start this project to help children in need.
As she was explaining, she broke down and cried.....
Because she used to be one of them.
GOD IS GOOD!!
‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’
NEVER GIVE UP, NO MATTER WHAT YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES. GOD HEARS YOUR PRAYERS.
You never know who will cross your path to get you where you need to go.
What a treasure we found!!
Sidenote: Hiwot is graduating as the valedictorian of her class and wants to be a Doctor.
When I met her she could speak no English and now this summer she assisted and translated for our medical teams!
She was a rockstar!!