Friday, September 17, 2010

I Could See a Flicker of Hope in their Eyes

I'll be looking into their eyes and holding their little hands again in less than 2 months.  These are just a few of the sweet kids I met last year in Ethiopia, and who I will be spending time with again in November. 


Most of these kids are orphans, they have nothing ... no mom or dad to love them, provide for them, or protect them. They have been through much more sadness and grief and loneliness and fear than I can fathom.

They do have a sponsor family here in the U.S. that for the past many months has been providing for their basic needs. Making sure they have nutritious meals every day, clean water, clothing, medical care, education and Christian discipleship.

Their sponsor families have been writing letters to them. Words on a page filled with hope and encouragement ... "we love you" ... "you are special to us" ... "we are praying for you" ... "work hard in school" ... "God loves you" ...



I looked into these sweet, beautiful faces last year in Ethiopia through my camera lens.  Despite everything these kids have been through, when I look into their eyes, I can still glimpse hope.  In some, it shines brightly, and in others it barely flickers ... but it is there and I can see it.



Some of the kids were tentative at first.  Watching us from a distance, or shyly extending a hand to meet mine in a greeting.  Others were exhuberant and almost pushy, desperate for a touch and a hug. 



Those that stood at a distance were the ones that slid into your lap later, like it was an accident. "Oh look ... how did I end up here?" Hoping you wouldn't notice they were there and wouldn't push them away. And pretty soon, their little bodies would relax and they would press themselves against my body and savor the feeling of a mommy's arms around them once again.

My eyes fill with tears at the remembering.





I am especially concerned for the young girls, poised on the edge of adulthood.  I have 12 & 13 year old daughters that have their entire future to look forward to, full of opportunities and adventure. 

The 12 & 13 year old orphaned girls in Ethiopia are fighting for their very survival against starvation, disease and human predators.  Many of these girls will be raped or will prostitute themselves for food.  Some will be married soon and having children if it wasn't for the intervention of the care-point and their sponsor family.



One of the most important provisions made at the care-points is EDUCATION.  Without an education, these kids would be destined to repeat the vicious cycle of poverty.  In Ethiopia, an education costs money. 

No parents = No money = No education.

At Trees of Glory care-point, 84 orphaned children will have the privilege of attending school this fall.  For many of them, it will be their first time in a classroom!



I will be travelling to Ethiopia on Nov 13, leading a team of 16 people from across the United States. Many of our team members are sponsors, and they will be meeting their sponsor child for the first time. I can't wait to be there - to witness that first meeting and to take pictures.

For those sponsor families that can't be there, I will be delivering a care-package for each and every child. All 68 kids at Kind Hearts and all 84 kids at Trees of Glory care-points will receive a small package of supplies and gifts that were thoughtfully and lovingly picked just for them from their sponsor family, along with photos and a letter.  A steady stream of packages has been arriving at my front door this week in preparation for our trip in November!




There are 4 members of our travel team that will be spending their time in Ethiopia working on construction projects at the care-points.  Everything from painting classrooms, building classroom benches, repairing roofs and windows, creating an irrigation dam for a vegetable garden, replacing locks on doors, etc.  For the kids at Trees of Glory, our construction crew will be helping to turn a raw cement-block building into a bright and cheerful classroom!!

We need to raise $3,500+ in order to purchase constuction supplies and materials for these projects.  Our construction crew will travel with the entire team out to the care-point and will then "rough it" for 3-4 days, living at the care-point with no running water and no electricity, so they can work on these construction projects.  The rest of the travel team will return to Addis Ababa each night.

Your financial help is critical for these projects. We need to purchase the construction materials before we arrive so that our construction team can spend the entire 3-4 days working!  If you have been interested in helping the kids at Kind Hearts and Trees of Glory care-points, please make a donation to this project - and help us spread the word to your friends, family, co-workers and church family. 

Email me at kjwistrom@yahoo.com if you make a donation so I can track our progress. 


click on GIVE,

specify your donation amount,

and clearly specify ET101101T-PROJECTS


Be sure to specify the account code so that the funds get allocated to the November Ethiopia Trip Construction Projects.

THANK YOU on behalf of the kids at Kind Heart and Trees of Glory!!  I will be blogging and photographing our experiences in Ethiopia so that you can see first-hand the life-changing impact you are having for these kids. 

1 comment:

The Raudenbush Family said...

If you want to write up something for We Are Grafted In--basically this post but maybe giving some background or introducing yourself and your ministry more--I'd be glad to post it there for you.
Kelly
from www.wearegraftedin.com
Kelly@wearegraftedin.com