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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How do you know if you are really making a difference??

Working with Children's Hopechest on behalf of 152 orphaned children in Ethiopia, I am often asked, "How do you know if the money is really getting to the children?  How do you know if it really makes a difference?"

Here's how I know ...

I have met these kids face to face and I have watched them slouch in their desk chairs, completely lethargic from hunger.  I have watched as their faces light up when food arrives and despite their hunger, they offer to share it with strangers.  I have watched them shyly watching me, weighing my intentions, wondering if I will push them away or welcome them with a hug.  I have felt their little kisses on my wrists and hands, and I have felt these children sink into my arms for a hug like they never want it to end.  And I have gotten regular updates from the care-point as each one of these children were matched with a sponsor family ...

... and suddenly nutritious meals became the norm ... every day.  Food and clean water and clothing and school!  Learning about God and Jesus, and interacting with care-givers at the care-points that love them, value them and protect them.  Letters that arrive from America, with encouraging words like "I love you" and "I'm praying for you" and "We are so proud of you for working hard in school".

In 5 weeks, I will be returning to Ethiopia to spend time with the kids at Kind Hearts and Trees of Glory care-points.  We will be working on several construction projects at the care-points and we need to raise funds so that all the construction materials can be purchased before we arrive.  If you can support these projects, please go to , click on "GIVE", complete the online form and specify ET101101T-PROJECTS in the notes area.  THANK YOU for making a difference for these kids!!

Here's another way that I know the difference the sponsor families are making for these kids ...

About a week ago, a travel team from Children's Hopechest visited the care-point ... here's the story as told by one of the team members ...

When the HopeChest Mission Team arrived at the Kind Hearts school, the kids were excited to get started on all the activities we had planned for the day. All except one boy, Yibeltal, who sat in the back of the room covering his face and head with a shawl.

When one of our travelers got face-to-face with Yibeltal, she understood immediately. The right side of his mouth was swollen and painful. The little boy looked as though he was hiding a golf ball in his cheek. It was an abscess, a big, painful, infected abscess.

After talking with our staff and the staff at Kind Hearts, our team provided funding for Yibeltal's treatment. All that was needed was a few hundred birr (about $60), to pay for his father to take him into Addis Ababa for treatment by a dentist.

"I wanted to get help, but we just did not have the money to take him," Yibeltal's father told us.

That day, he was able to take Yibeltal in for immediate treatment. 

Our Children's Hopechest Ethiopia director, Tesfa, had this to share: "Thank you for your compassion you did for Yibeltal at KindHearts, now he is very fine and become normal. The dental doctor took off one of Yibeltal's teeth and since he is very young his teeth will grow. Please forward the info so that the the group will let know the update. We have still some money left, we are discussing to buy some stuff for the family."

That smile on Yibeltal's face tells the whole story. Thank you to the mission trip team for your help, and to all the supporters of "Kind Hearts" and Children's HopeChest.

This situation has shown us the need to establish an emergency medical fund for both of the care-points and to train the staff to watch for these types of illnesses and emergencies - and get medical treatment for the kids immediately.  In the next few days - once we establish the fund, I'll post again with instructions on how to give.


Kristen said...

Wow, it is all I can say. I am covered in goosebumps. What amazing work your doing.

Apryl said...

I'm overwhelmed with emotions after reading this. Something so simple, so difficult for this family to deal with--praise God for willingness of these volunteers and teachers at the care point. Wonderful idea to set up an emergency fund, I can only imagine how often it may be used.

Angela said...

Just awesome!