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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sensing the sacred nature of this moment, someone asked to pray ...

Just before we left for Ethiopia, I designed an Ethiopia t-shirt as a fund-raiser for the CarePoints.

This is our Ethiopia Children's HopeChest team, loving their new t-shirts!

Several people have asked what the funds were used for and I am excited to say that the t-shirt sale raised enough funds to purchase and provide a children's bible for EVERY child at Kind Hearts and Trees of Glory CarePoints!  That's 300 bibles - plus we provided 10 extra bibles for the libraries at both CarePoints.  All of the kids at Kind Hearts received a children's bible in Amharic, while the children at Trees of Glory received a children's bible in Amharic or Oromifa, depending on their native language.

Knowing that having a book is a precious thing for these kids - and knowing that a BIBLE would be even more precious, we wanted to put The Word in the hands of each child.  Their very own bible.  We knew the children would treasure them - but we didn't quite expect the impact that it had.

On the very last day at each CarePoint, as the sun was starting to set, and the last several days of intense activity were drawing to a close, we gathered the kids together to take a group photo and to say our teary good-byes (until next year!).

This is a group photo of the 150 kids at Kind Hearts CarePoint. 
Most of the kids are wearing the new shirt they received the day
before from their sponsor family's care-package.

It was starting to get chilly, and we could see care-givers and siblings (sent to walk their little brother or sister home from school) beginning to gather near the gates as they waited for the children.  For the last several days, the children had literally been climbing all over us - there was never a moment we didn't have the hands of several children grasping ours or several children sitting on our laps, with arms wrapped around our necks.

But as we explained to the kids what we were giving them, a hush fell over the group.  150 kids went silent as they watched attentively as the bibles were handed out.  I was expecting the kids to put them in their bags, give us hugs and kisses, and start to head home after a long day.  Their caregivers had already been patiently waiting by the gates for nearly an hour.

But the silence continued ... and several of the kids started to thumb through the pages.  Several hugged the bibles to their chests, and then they all sat down in the dirt and started looking through their bible - gently touching the pages and looking at the pictures. 

For the last 2 years, these kids have been attending bible studies and being mentored in the Gospel by the Children's HopeChest team, and now they had their very own bible in their hands.  Reverantly turning the pages, in hushed tones they were pointing out stories and pictures to their friends.  Sensing the sacred nature of this moment, someone asked to pray.  The kids bowed their heads, put their hands over their faces and prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for this special gift.

I knew this would be a treasured gift for the kids - I just didn't realize how very treasured and sacred this gift would be and it was one of the many truly touching moments of our time in Ethiopia this year. 

I will do another t-shirt fund-raiser in a few months, for another special CarePoint project!  If you purchased a t-shirt - THANK YOU!!  Your purchase provided a bible for all 300 kids at our CarePoints in Ethiopia!!

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