During their trip to Ethiopia, the team visited Kind Hearts CarePoint and Lauren wrote this about their visit ...
My name is Lauren Hunt and I just got back from a Vision Trip to Ethiopia. Our team was excited about seeking a partnership with an Ethiopian community. On day one, we traveled with Children's HopeChest to see an example of an established CarePoint that has had enormous success and impact in the surrounding community.
Previously, I had heard so much about Karen Wistrom and the two CarePoints she works with in Ethiopia, so I was excited to learn we would be visiting the Kind Hearts CarePoint that day. Now that I have seen it with my own eyes, I can say that it is so much more than anyone can explain through words!
The moment we arrived all the children were lined up in rows and waiting to greet us with big bright smiles. As we stood before them, they proudly entertained us by singing many songs-- in English! That surprised me! My sister and I happily joined in and sang and clapped with them. They were all so cute!
I think it was in that moment that I truly realized I was in Ethiopia. I'd always thought I'd go one day, but I never expected to be there so soon in my life. And what I didn't expect at all was the over abundance of love I received once the singing finished.
Running with open arms, I must have received at least 20 hugs and kisses in less than a minute or two! Still to this day, I think this is my most memorable moment of the trip. It was funny to see Wil, our team leader, trying to get us to follow him for a tour of Kind Hearts. No one would listen-- he would just have to wait!
Although I loved every moment with the kids, I'm also glad we had the opportunity to tour the Kind Hearts premises. We toured the entire property and saw the many projects Kind Hearts has accomplished in just a few short years. The children even had their own playground which was very cool to see. While the children were told to stay behind as we toured, one stealthy stowaway caught my mom's hand and came along with us!
The land there is beautiful! Tall, beautiful acacia trees surround the school grounds, and large fields freshly tilled are awaiting to be sown. I loved seeing a developed water system with a large tank where they store their water. It was nice to hear their plans to expand the water system to irrigate fields of future crops, too. Walking across the fields, we came across a river at the edge of the property which used to be the community's source of water.
It is a toxic water stream filled with trash and waste. Seeing this immediately made us realize the real difference that clean water makes. Without the clean water source at Kind Hearts, those loving children and the surrounding community would have to walk long distances to an alternative water supply. Instead, the children and surrounding community of 20,000 people now benefit from the safe water system at Kind Hearts! Amazing!
I visited many open CarePoints on this Vision Trip who were hoping to gain the same kind of partnership that Kind Hearts is blessed with. One thing I can honestly say is that there is a noticeable difference between these children who are sponsored at Kind Hearts and the children in other communities who do not have that special relationship. Looking around, you can see why.
For one, they have good social skills, even knowing how to interact with adults without overrunning them with excitement-- something that I became very familiar with at several of the open CarePoints! But mostly, these children are home, and they feel that way. These children are provided for, looked after, taught, and, most of all, surrounded by God's love. They are treated equally and are growing up to be leaders-- each made in the image of God. They are filled with hope.
I enjoyed my time at Kind Hearts immensely. You can feel God's love pouring out of their hearts-- more than they could probably feel it coming from mine. I am so thankful for my time there. Not only did they touch my heart personally, but Kind Hearts has inspired our “4others” team as a whole. It is a place that one day we hope to replicate at our own CarePoint. A place where God's love is overflowing in blessings to the children and the community. A place where two hundred little kids can call home.