Up Close and Personal
by Cindy Wallitner
One year ago my life was turned upside down, although a more accurate description would probably be, my life was put right side up.
I am a typical American woman (married, with three children, attending a good church, living an upper middle class lifestyle) who one day thought it would be great fun to go to Ethiopia. My church was organizing a group with YWAM and it sounded like quite the adventure.
I have not been the same since.
It was my second day in Ethiopia and we were preparing food to be distributed to families with the then fledgling program called Adoption Ministry 1:27. A young Ethiopian girl hovered around the periphery of our group and caught my attention. Her too small clothes were filthy and she seemed very lonely and sad. My heart was drawn to her and as the day progressed I knew I needed to connect with her.
I found out her name was Kalkidan and she was 18-years-old. Her source of food was from the nearby garbage dump where she went daily to scavenge for anything edible as well as for plastic things that she could sell. As the realities of her existence were revealed, my life came into sharp focus. I have never been hungry. I have always had clean water to drink. I have a closet full of clothes. I have unlimited opportunities. I have a loving family who cares for me. Kalkidan had none of these things and my heart shattered.
My two weeks in Ethiopia flew by and I met many memorable people and assimilated the sights and smells of a country that God used to draw me to Him, but Kalkidan’s face never left me. When I got back to Washington, I “adopted” Kalkidan through the Adoption Ministry 1:27 program, and the life and future of this young girl changed drastically.
A few months later the ministry Director was in Ethiopia and visited with Kalkidan who shyly admitted that she had always wanted to be a hairdresser. A donor had given Joy some discretionary funds and that money was used to arrange for Kalkidan to enroll in a cosmetology school.
In August 2012, I went back to Ethiopia and I saw a very different woman from the one I left a year ago. Kalkidan looked AMAZING! She was confident and happy and so proud of all she had accomplished. She showed me the small room where she lives with two other women and two children, very thankful for enough to eat and a safe place to sleep. I have such a close connection with Kalkidan and I am especially grateful that she is active in her church and her faith is growing. When she finishes school, she will be well on her way to becoming self-sustaining.
I am proud to be a part of Adoption Ministry 1:27 as a sponsor. I have seen first hand the dedication and attention that the case managers give to the families in this program, and I will always be involved in helping the poor this way. I am eternally grateful for the day-in and day-out care that is given to Kalkidan and to so many others through AM 1:27. $40 a month has changed not only the life of someone in a far-away land, but more than that, it has educated and changed me, my children and my family. Meeting and caring for Kalkidan has made poverty in this world up close and personal and I will never be the same.
For $40 per month, you can also transform the life of a single mother or struggling family in Ethiopia. Please visit our Adoption Ministry 1:27 website, where you’ll see photos and short descriptions of the many families we hope to serve.