These past few weeks we have been working on meeting with all of the families that we sponsor, as you likely know Bring Love In has two sides to the ministry here. First there are the forever families, those are the ones made up of widows and orphans, then on the other side we have the Keep One Home families, those are the biological families who are in our community who we sponsor because we have seen so many families torn apart because of poverty who would otherwise have been able to stay together as a loving family. We feel that unless something is majorly wrong (like abuse or neglect) than the best place for any child is with his own parents.
Anyhow, back to what I was saying, (I feel like a radio announcer who keeps jumping back to catch up the new listeners “In case you are just joining us…” ) Where was I… Oh yes. These past weeks we have been focusing on meeting up with each of the 157 families in our Keep One Home sponsorship program and getting an update from them on how their lives have changed, and where things are at for them, as you can imagine these are incredibly hard stories that they are telling, stories of mothers who have died from a simple preventable disease, leaving the father to care for the children while trying to work a job that only pays 2 dollars a day, stories of mothers who were raped when they were only 14 years old and are now being raised along side their child by her mother who refuses to let go no matter what life throws at her. Its a hard, complicated, and downright frustrating life for someone with no education and hardly any work to be had. Yet still, in the middle of it all, there are smiles, these are some of the strongest, most determined people you have ever met, and the stories they tell when they sit down with us are not of someone giving up, but rather of determination, resolve, and thankfulness for the support that they receive from their sponsors around the world who they have never met. For nearly all of the families in our program here, the $39 per month that they get from the sponsorship by way of medical care, food support, counseling, and cash is worth the same and sometimes more than their entire months earnings. I don’t know about you, but I am more than willing to give up whatever I have to to make this kind of difference in someone’s life. No it’s not fair that we all get to live the way we do, and there are billions on this planet who can’t even afford medicine when they are sick.
After five years of living here in Ethiopia and facing this every day, I feel I have less answers as to why this is than I did the day I arrived, but I do know one thing, This difference that we see in the lives of these families, and the fact that out of 156 families in our program not one of them has had to give up their child to an orphanage because they could not care for their needs, that means something. It is what gets us up each morning, and keeps us moving forward here.
These are not just stories, these are real lives, real people, and not one of them did anything do deserve the poverty they were born into. Not one.
I am not trying to make you feel guilty, I don’t think that helps anything, I am not even trying to ask for money, we are blessed to have all of the Keep One Home sponsorship families taken care of today, I just want to remind us (me included) that this is happening, and that if our hearts are not broken for the poor, the weary and the struggling on this earth than we are not worth more than the air that we suck up each day. Harsh? Yes, so is watching your son die of a curable disease because you have no money to take him to the hospital, and you grew up in such poverty that you can see no way in your mind to change the life you are living.
Pray for the poor with us. Help whenever you can. Give up your comfort to give life to another, and never forget that we were put on this earth to make a difference.