Before you complain, read this……….
I have a very dear friend, that I met at the Savannah workshop last year. We have drawn closer over the months since first meeting. He is dealing with a knee that is requiring surgery. He may miss the October Reunion because of this issue. I’m concerned for him, as a good brother should be. I wrote him and email the other day asking how he was doing. This was his response. If it impacts you half as powerfully as it did me, you better sit down.
I have nothing to complain about and sooooooo many things to be thankful for.
My new granddaughters have changed my perspective more in the last five weeks than I think it’s moved in the last twenty years.
It goes something like this:
About a year and a half ago a pair of two and five year old sisters were living in a mud shack with a broken grass roof in a neighborhood of a city in Ethiopia that is so poor and destitute we can’t even imagine it. No clean water, no sewer, no anything. They ate only when they could find something in a dumpster, someone dropped food and they got to it before the dogs did, or the rare occasions when someone would share something with them. But even when they found food, it did them no good. The were so full of parasites that the chronic diarrhea kept them horribly malnourished, extremely dehydrated, and the anemia slowed their brains down to a crawl. The pain from the cavities and the broken roots of their teeth made eating anything that required chewing almost impossible. They barely had the strength to cry.
They at least had a shack to call “home”. Thousands of children in that ciy and hundreds of thousands in Addis Ababa live on the streets. The UN says that in Addis 250,000 orphaned children under the age of 12 live like that with less than a 40% chance of seeing their 18th birthday. 500 of them die in those streets each day. They literally send trucks out each day to pick up the little bodies that just didn’t have the ability to keep breathing anymore. How long these two would have survived had they remained there would have been measured in weeks, maybe months, but seeing their next birthday was not a probability.
They had a birth mother that loved them, but since their father died of malaria three years ago, she had no way to support any of them. She was physically as bad or worse than they were, as anything decent she had for food she gave to them. She approached an orphanage to see if they could take the girls. The orphanages are always full to overflowing and can seldom take another two. Whether she tried several times or only once, we don’t know, but because American couples had adopted two of the children, they could take in two more. That at least got them a bed and two meals a day and some basic medical attention to clean out most of the parasites Whether their birth mother is still alive we don’t know, nor probably ever will.
And because my daughter responded to the call that God put in her heart to adopt these two little girls, now three and six, every morning they now wake up in comfortable beds in a house that is warm in the winter and cool in the summer and the rain doesn’t come in. They have several choices of clean clothes to put on. They sit at a breakfast table with cold milk and orange juice from a refrigerator and cereal and toast waiting for them, and the hardest choice they’ll have to make that day is when to play outside and when to come in and play with their dolls. When they cry or the night overwhelms them, they are held and comforted. Their teeth still sometimes hurt a little, but one more trip to the dentist will finish that. They get to have temper tantrums, argue over the red crayon, tattle on each other, want ice cream when they haven’t finished their dinner, and swing on the swing set that “Papa” built until the sun is long gone below the horizon.
They have a hope and a future.
But it will be years until sleep comes easily and the nightmares subside. It will be as long before they stop wondering when they have their picture taken if it means they will be moving somewhere else, maybe soon, that is if they’re cute enough and someone wants them. Who knows how long it will take before they have any hope in their hearts that when someone says good bye that they will ever see them again.
Our prayer is they will come to know Jesus early on, and the probability is they will come to Christ easily because they have seen His model for salvation played out in their everyday life. They already know someone who gave up her life to save and love them even when she had never met them. She is their Mommy, and they don’t now know but one day it will dawn on them just what she did.
And she didn’t just save two, she saved four. Because the day those two left the orphanage, it left open beds so two more children can have a chance to see their next birthday.
That “Mommy” calls me “Dad” is an honor and a privilege.
So, nope, a bum knee isn’t worth complaining about. 🙂
The church my daughter is part of, Harvest Church, in Billings MT is doing wonderful things to address this whole issue in Ethiopia:
1. They’re working on adopting 100 kids into the church family so there will be a community of people that look like them and understand what they’re going through. Also makes for a great support group for the adopting parents; they need it.
2. They’re supporting orphanages there to increase capacity to provide both beds and day care/meals/and basic healthcare to more children.
3. They’re doing micro economic development work to create the ability for widows to earn an income to support their families and for extended families to take in children when both parents have died. When all it takes is a dollar or two a day to survive, a sewing machine given to three women can support three families.
All this is part of why I think Scott’s work with Springs of Hope in Kenya is so awesome. The orphan problem is unimaginable all over that continent; we’re in danger of losing a whole generation.
This went a lot longer than I intended, but just seemed to need to be written to someone. Hope you don’t mind.
Love you, man
I’ve decided to postpone any complaining for quite a while. Thank you Lord for this act of supreme love, that has been given to these two children.
*Photo note: This image was shot in Alcatraz. Many are in prison around the world and right next door, Jesus has the only key to unlock the cells, His love and sacrifice.
This entry was posted on Monday, June 14th, 2010 at 9:18 pm
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