Monday, August 27, 2012

Why Ethiopia?

One of the many questions my husband and I are often is "Why Ethiopia? Why not here in America?"
Fair question, simple answer. Because that is where God has called us...for now. God calls all of us to be disciples and go into the world. He never said anything about the world coming to us. 
In places like Ethiopia there are no programs like Social Security, Welfare, food stamps, Medicare or Medicaid. They don't have shelters to protect women and children or the homeless. Religion is not always an option. 

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from my friend who runs the school that we partner with. This is where we have our sponsorship program. My husband and I sponsor two little girls and a little boy. In the email she told me that our little boy died. He had been sick for a couple of days, was taken to the clinic and told he was fine and died a day later. As I read this I felt my heart break in a million pieces. He wasn't just a sponsor child he was my Ethiopian son. When I first met him he was so dirty and a little frightened of this white woman! My friend that runs the school had been so anxious for me to meet him. His mother had died and relatives had taken his little brother but didn't want him. He lived with his father but he drank and took off for long periods at a time. But his little guy got up every morning and came to the school. He knew my friend would let him in to attend class and feed him. He never missed a day. He needed a sponsor. I told my friend that we would sponsor him. Later that day my friend Kay ( long time missionary in Ethiopia) took me to buy my new son clothes. I had sized him up in my mind so I prayed everything would fit! The next day there he was in the same old clothes. When my friend explained to him that I had new clothes he was so happy! I noticed when he took off his shirt he was wearing a small wooden cross around his neck.When he changed his clothes and put on his firs ever  new pair of shoes the change in his demeanor was amazing! He went from frightened little boy in rags to.....
This amazing, happy, loving confident young man! Oh my it was like watching a flower bloom right before your eyes. This was the beginning of a beautiful relationship!
The day I left he still had on his new clothes and was smiling from ear to ear! He was chosen to give me a going  away gift and he was so proud! I will never forget his face! After I left we would write each other and his letters always began with "I love you momma Laney!" and he promised me he would do well in school and go to Saturday Sunday School so he could be the change he wanted to see in his community. He kept that promise. He was doing very well in school and had such a desire to learn about Jesus. He never missed Saturday Sunday School and my friend said the staff and his friends would remember him because he loved Jesus was committed to learn about Him!
I never thought that last October would be the last time I saw my Ethiopian son. He was so happy and had lots of friends and I told him how proud I was of him. He made such a huge impact in my life and because of this small boy with the big heart my heart grew bigger.
I have cried more than I thought possible over the loss of this precious life. I know that one day I will see him again because he chose to accept and believe in Jesus. That is why Ethiopia. Because nobody should leave this world feeling like no one cared about them or that they were not loved. No one should leave this world without hearing about a God who loves them unconditionally and wants everyone to live with Him forever. No one. And that is why Ethiopia or where ever God calls us. 


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