The kids were buzzing with excitement when they arrived at the care-point on this day because Fikre (one of the Hopechest staffers in Ethiopia) was there with his team and he was standing in the front of the classroom with a stack of blue papers to hand out.
The kids have learned that when Fikre arrives each week, there is something special in store for them ... it may be some time to talk with him and ask questions about difficult or sad situations they are dealing with, or maybe even sharing some exciting news with him. He always makes time to talk with each child and let them know how special they are and how much God loves them - and he not only tells them - he shows them.
Whenever Fikre visits the care-point, he often brings letters from the sponsor families and he always sits the kids down for a Bible story or lesson from the Bible. But on this day - in his quiet voice that makes the kids get really quiet and still so they can hear every word ... he is handing out the blue papers and helping the kids write letters to their sponsor families. He surveys the room and with a little disappointment, he notices that there are a few kids absent from school (perhaps they are home sick?). With over 100 children now attending the care-point, it's hard to schedule activities and make sure every child is there.
The kids aren't writing letters to just anyone ... they are writing letters to the people they call "mom and dad, sister and brother" from the other side of the world! They are writing to the sponsor family that is providing for them so they can go to school and have nutritious food and clean water every day. These are the sponsor families that have been writing to them regularly - who they have come to know through letters and pictures - and who sent them a care-package when I visited them in November.
Some of the kids had lots to say ... and they poured their thoughts and their hopes into their letter, wondering how long it would take before their sponsor family held it in their hands ...
About 3 weeks later ... the letters arrived in America!
Phil and Amber Wing sponsor a little boy named, Abel, who attend Trees of Glory.
Amber wrote to me ... "I, of course, shed tears over our sweet letter! Our first one from him and it made my day. The line that completely took us out was this: "Pray for me to be a smart student. I would like to be professor." We just feel blessed BEYOND words to be a part of helping to make that dream come true! So thankful he will have the opportunity to do this because of the way God is using Trees of Glory and the people there in his life!"
Robin Wyatt and her family sponsor Tesfaye at Kind Hearts (shown below when he received his care-package from the Wyatt family in November).
Robin wrote ... "We did receive a letter from Tesfaye yesterday. I was so excited when I saw it..I was hoping we would get one as I saw some other people commenting on your facebook that they had received one. We opened it late last night after we got home from church ... I can tell you that the letter really impacted my kids. Especially my son Noah, who as you know was adopted from Ethiopia. There was a part where Tesfaye had written "I love you very much!" and Noah yelled out "I love you very much too Tesfaye!".
Tesfaye asked if we could come to Ethiopia and that part really got to me. I really want to go and wanted to go on the trip this year, but we found out we are expecting a baby at the end of July, so it is gonna be out of the question for this year, but I said in my heart - one day we will go to Ethiopia to see you Tesfaye, one day!
The other thing that really touched my heart was that he wrote prayer requests. That is important to me because so often I pray for him and now I know more specifically what to pray for and about! I am so glad we got the letter - we look forward to lots more!"
Teri Keeler (her blog is HERE) sponsors Mita and Derebe at Trees of Glory (brother and sister).
Teri wrote ... "Earlier this week an overstuffed letter arrived in the mail from Children's Hopechest. Little did I know - it was NOT any regular piece of mail... THIS envelope contained two hand written letters from my kids at Trees of Glory - one from Mita (who is 5) and one from her brother Derebe (7)!! I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the letters! I mean I don't have any doubt that my money is specifically going to help these children - but to actually receive a LETTER from MY KIDS!? SO EXCITING!!
Mita said, "How are you doing? Happy New Year! I am only a little child, thus I couldn't write much. I wish you success." How cute is that!? :) Then she said, "I need your encouragement" and her prayer request was, "Pray for me to be a good child and to fear God."
Derebe's letter said, "How are you doing whom I love? I wish you a Happy New Year and Merry Christmas. I wish to live with my mom but I couldn't. I live in others house with problems. Nothing is impossible to God." I had written him a letter earlier last year and told him to work hard in school because an education was very important. In this letter he said, "I need your advice to be a smart student" and his prayer request was, "Pray for my school and for me to be a good child."
It just warms my heart to know that I am a part of these two beautiful children - half a world away - getting the opportunity to go to school and learn with a full belly of food. Maybe they even colored these pictures with the crayons I sent them!?"
Our sponsor child, Mulunesh, attends Kind Hearts. I met her for the first time over a year ago and then got to visit her again in November - and she got to meet my oldest daughter, Emmelyn.
Mulunesh wrote to us ... "I love you - my mom, my dad, my sisters and brothers. Reading your letters makes me happy!"