You might be asking why we would come and spend time in such a place as this... the simple answer: Jesus did and commands us to do so. The Gospels are full of examples ranging from Christ touching/healing lepers (EXTREMELY unacceptable in those times and still considered by most highly undesirable today) to healing the sick/blind/lame/etc..
Our first trip through was to minister and assess needs and gather a first-hand perspective of how we and others can be Christ's hands and feet to these most needy of His children. Today we gathered thousands of kilos/pounds of supplies ranging from grains and oils to health/sanitation supplies to fuel and coffee (the national drink and a basic staple - essential to masking the stench from the unsanitary water supplies). These will be divided up and passed out by the Korah church leadership and our team to 40+ of the most needy families this weekend after the rest of our mission team arrives. During that time, we will also be helping members of the church and community dig and build a new latrine that will serve the church and gym areas as well as personally ministering to many through house visits, VBS, etc..
Though there has already been much more to relate, I will share just one more experience today. During that first visit to the community of Korah, we met a very young mother and her 3-day-old baby. They both lay feebly on a pile of filthy rags on the dirt floor of a hut smaller than my bathroom - at least one other mother and 3 children also called this hut home.
We were told that neither the mother nor the baby were eating - the mother because of a severely infected tooth and gums, as well as what we suspected was some post-childbirth internal infections, and the baby because the mother was producing no milk due to her own dehydration/starvation. To say that this scene, among countless others, broke my/our hearts is a gross understatement. Graciously, God provided the means for us to assist the mother to town to address her health issues and provide additional items, including infant formula, for the baby. More importantly, Cheri was able to share Christ's love and the message of salvation with her was we took her home today. I would ask for special and specific prayer for this mother and baby as neither of them are safe yet and that the spiritual seeds planted would be nurtured and grow.
I end on a positive and uplifting note: the people that we have met here (both those in situations like Korah as well as those who are living their faith in Christ out and allowing Him to live through them) as well as the things we have experienced have yet again challenged my framework of thought; encouraged my faith in new and powerful ways; helped me see God's grace in the smile and kind words of a hungry dirty child where the world would expect to find misery and despair; shown me hope and life where the world says there is none or at least it is undeserving; and have brought glory to our King! I leave you with Is 58:10 ~ "And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday."
Amidst the pain, poverty and suffering I still feel God shining brightly on these communities, individuals and teams who are living for Him!
Serving the King by loving His people!
My mind became a movie screen after reading Oriah's article above about the leper colony at the dump in Addis Ababa. I recalled all the scenes related to the children God assigned to YWAM's care over these past 2 1/2 years. The babies that are in our Widows and Orphans Homes who are smiling, clean and well fed came out of just such abject poverty as is described in this post.
Our Widows & Orphans Homes are the net that catches some of the children whose mothers die because they can't get medical care or a child who is found, underweight and almost dehydrated, laying on a pile of rags. Or a child left for the hyenas to kill because there isn't anything to feed the baby. Or little Shukare who was wrapped in a rag and fed sugar water for the first week of her life and was on the brink of death until she was rescued.
These children come into our care by God's grace and are fed that 'powdered gold' formula you've heard us talk about here on the blog. They begin a rapid transformation and almost before our eyes, their arms and legs fill out, their cheeks plump and they become the happy, healthy babies they were created to be! Then, they are chosen to be adopted by families here in the U.S. in one of the most miraculous turn-arounds you'll ever witness.
The mission team, led by Mark Wolbert, will be visiting our Widows & Orphans Home in Adama very soon and we hope to have more stories to share here. Won't you consider supporting our orphanage program with a monthly commitment of any amount? There is a tremendous need for supporters like you who will join us in being part of the answer to the great need in Ethiopia. To give, please go to our website here and click on the 'Donate' button on the left. Thank you!