Tuesday August 18, 2009
Today’s day started at 8:30 AM and finished at 5:30 PM, almost a normal day, well I did say almost normal. As my beautiful wife warned me, “You should be careful how much you schedule in one day”, she is a very wise women. Although Bryan and I met all of our appointments, we keep showing up late for lunch and dinner. Tonight I thought we could sneak in a little shopping but Bryan warned me that we would be late for dinner. That wouldn’t be so bad except we, I mean “I” messed up lunch. Our Guest House was expecting us, we show up a half hour late, and then realize that we were supposed to have lunch with Pastor Abdissa. So with many apologies we skip the lunch at the Guest House and travel 45 minutes to meet with Pastor Abdissa. Now get this, not knowing anything about this Pastor, we arrive at this place called Children’s House International. The Pastor met us at the car warmly welcoming these two “LATE” Americans. (Only 15 minutes, but still late) He then ushered us inside and up the stairs to a room filled with small children and 5 American Families that were there getting their children. They were all eating a wonderful lunch which we got to join in on. But here’s the killer… two of the families are staying in the other guest house, one of the families is staying with us, and another family was a man and his son who we met at the airport flying into Addis. What a surprise! It turns out that Pastor Abdissa pastors a church of his own, is Vice President of a the Denominational Church here in Ethiopia that has a half a million members, and in his spare time is the Director of Children’s House International Adoption Agency. (And I thought I had a lot to do) He let us visit the Foster home which was loaded with the beautiful little girls and boys you’d ever want to see. (If only we had big suitcases; and it were that easy.) The girl children outnumbered the boys by probably 2:1. Most of them were sleeping as it was the after lunch nap time, and that made them all the more precious.
Our morning visit was with Les who has been retired from SIM (Serving in Missions) for 6 years now. He and his wife Maxine now have their own ministries with 4 girl homes with almost 10 girls in each one. One of them showed up at his door yesterday, 15 years old and 9 months pregnant. All of their girls are orphaned street kids. They are giving them the Gospel and have several receive Christ as Savior. Besides these girls they are sponsoring 185 kids in schools. They do bible studies, feed others that come to them for food and even have paid rent for a few that come to them as they are being thrown out on the street. They have some strict rules for the girls in their homes such as; no one leaves without permission, they must go to church and attend all church programs appropriate for their age, and one that Bryan and I liked was NO BOYFRIENDS. They do not believe that it is the Christian way of doing things, and it will only get them into more trouble. If and when they are ready to settle down, they will pray seeking Gods will for their mate and Les and his wife will even help them find Mr. Right if they would like. Which some have done.
They also provide medical help, and our driver delivered the 15 year old pregnant girl to the clinic while we were there. It seem as though they are working on the whole picture of poverty. Food, water, health care, medicine, HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, relationships, Teaching the Gospel and even helping the girl’s children find homes though adoption if and when they are ready. Unbelievable! The one girl has not chosen to put her little boy up for adoption yet, and as you can see in the pictures he came to me and then after I gave him back, he wouldn’t let go.
Our last stop before we rushed back (if you can do that in Addis) to the Guest House for Dinner was with SIM. We spoke with Donek and Brian and they shared all that they are doing and have been for many, many years. A lot of great information from them, and another cool thing was they ask me if I had ever heard of John Ortberg because he has brought people here. Isn’t it funny that he is the author of the book “If You Want to Walk on Water, You Have to Get Out of the Boat?” The book that I am currently teaching a Sunday school class on.
Before I finish up today we had a visitor tonight after dinner from Ephram. He was a street orphan whose life has been transformed by the love of Christ, and is now working with 100 street kids ranging in age from 6-14 with a soccer ministry besides keeping a job. He is using soccer to build the relationship and try to get the children into schools with sponsorships of around $100/ kid. He is trying to rescue so many as he knows where they are at, as he has been there himself.
To finish up, I must tell you that our driver and interpreter today was Joseph. Another one of Ethiopia’s success stories as he also was a street orphan, and now has a wife, son, job, and home and gives all the credit to Jesus Christ who has transformed his life forever! Amen and Amen