Thank you all for your prayers and support. After a whirlwind trip, we're home from Ethiopia. We are still catching-up on our sleep after a 16 hour flight and the 7 hour time difference. With payroll on Monday, a massive stack of moves and auction pickups on my desk ready to schedule, and an auction on Friday, there hasn’t been any time to write.
There is so much to share. I’ll just give you an idea of what we saw and what is coming.
We take it for granted, but it can be the difference between life and death in Ethiopia. It is very humbling to visit a dirt floor hut, 20-25 feet wide, split into thirds. One third for the goats and cow and two thirds for two families to sleep on the ground and cook. It’s even more humbling when you understand that they wouldn’t dream of running water in their hut; no, their greatest desire is simply a clean water supply within in walking distance. Of course, that means a ¼-½ mile walk carrying 5 gallon jugs.
We visited several potential water sites and talked with the village people about their needs. Each site presented its own challenges. Steep hillsides, slick muddy pathways, and long walks became the norm. We never walked alone, though. Village folks came out in droves, some just curious (we did stand out a little), but others to offer their walking sticks and their arm as they helped us navigate over the treacherous terrain. I’m excited to report that Hawassa Hope already has funding in-hand for one water site and our family decided that we had to step out on faith and commit to funding one. However, that still leaves one….. I’ll write more about that project and how you can help later.
That seems to be the buzz word for organizations trying to help kids in developing nations. But what is it really? With Hawassa Hope, it’s more like family sponsorship, and the goal is for them to reach self-sufficiency and graduate from the program as soon as possible. I’ll share more about this later, but we saw first-hand how this is working. We also had the opportunity to meet 15 kids who have been accepted into the program but are yet to be sponsored. I had the honor of working with these folks as they completed the intake forms. Simply put, we gather information about their conditions and hear their story. It was an extremely humbling experience as I met the families behind the sponsorship photos. We invite you to share in these families’ lives and will let you know more soon.
This is where Hawassa Hope was born. These folks are the hands and feet of Jesus—not only running an orphanage, but also overseeing all of the other projects in the surrounding areas. By personally visiting 275 sponsored kids every month, they know names, they know families, and they are sharing the love of Jesus every day. Over the next couple of months I’ll introduce to the founders of Ajuuja as well as the coordinator.
We traveled with Greg Knight, who along with his wife Charisa founded Hawassa Hope. Greg has to be the most authentic, humble person I know. He doesn’t come with a script or a formula to “share Christ”; he just shares his love for people and his love for Jesus. In every gathering, whether in front of government officials or talking with the cleaning lady at Ajuuja, he shares the Gospel (the Good News) of Jesus. He never sounds “preachy” or condemning. He simply shares the love and promises of Jesus. His genuine love and concern for the people (often obvious by his tears), earns him an audience with both believer and non-believer, as well as Protestant and Muslim.
We met 25 beautiful ladies from different villages who share one big thing in common: they are all expecting a child. Unfortunately, in these areas a pregnancy is high-risk; however, these women have been identified as having extreme risk. The Elsabet Program is very important, and we were so blessed in sharing time with this group. The smiles and laughter came quickly and naturally. The customary hugs of greetings and goodbyes were authentic and meaningful. I will share more about this program as well as photos of these wonderful soon-to-be moms in the upcoming weeks.
Being a business owner, this program really gets me excited. The people of Ethiopia are very entrepreneurial. They want to provide for themselves and take great pride in caring for their families. This initiative steps alongside vulnerable ladies and helps them work toward their own goal of self-sufficiency. So much great stuff to share—keep watching for updates.
We will be sharing more over the next couple months. Just a reminder, EVERYONE is invited to our cookout on September 30, 2018 from 4-8PM! Come on over and enjoy delicious food and live music by Mountain High Rise, hear stories, and meet the people behind Hawassa Hope.