Archive for September 2010
Yesterday was my one year anniversary of moving to Ethiopia. Quite a mind numbing, challenging, blessed year. The amount of learning and blessings I have experienced is jaw dropping. Where we are now with our boys after a year is miraculous. I don’t spend much time on thinking about the last year because it’s hard to grasp how much my life has changed and will continue to do so. I also don’t take anything for granted.
I find myself whishing we could fast forward our boys lives. I get soooo excited when I picture their futures. We also go nuts so often because of the immaturity and difficulty of this. So I want it to get easier, fast! While I look for the fast forward button, I also know that time will fly and in a few years I will wonder how we flew past all those wonderful memories of our boys maturing and getting to know the love of Christ.
We just moved into our new house yesterday and had the first full day here today. WOW, what a difficult couple weeks after being kicked out of our old house faster then we planned. We spent our days at the Beza Church grounds. We went from a 13-15 room house to 3 rooms and a tent. We went from structured programs to piecing together anything we could to keep the boys busy and still learning. It was simply ridiculous, but the goal was survival and we did. We only sent two boys to the hospital for fights too, ha.
The boys started school during the “weeks of chaos”. This made it that much more chaotic and hard to manage. We have 11 boys in day school and 10 in night school. That means we have two completely different groups of boys with different schedules and needs. We also are sending them to four different schools. It’s making it really really hard to organize and manage. BUT, let me stop just talking about how hard it is, there is nothing better than watching our boys come home from school in their uniforms. There is nothing better than observing their eagerness to learn. We all find solace in the brief moments we get to clearly observe our influence in the lives of 22 boys. We all hold onto those certain smiles, certain observations of growth, and those certain times our boys “get it”. It is so easy to get caught up and frustrated with the present moment, but we all try our best to step back and thank God for how he is using us to change lives in the most major way I have ever observed. I don’t even think what we are doing can be called “helping”, ha, I laugh at that word now. We are doing sooooo much more.
If you are good at math you noticed we only have 21 boys in school. Though I am scared to divulge, I remain my transparent self. We had to remove a boy from our program. So in the middle of this chaos, impossible times we even had to do something much more difficult. We had to make a ridiculously tough decision about one of our boy’s lives. It simply and ineloquently sucked, was awful, and continues to be. Unfortunately it is the reality of what we do. We set certain rules and guidelines that we need to be followed or we risk losing all our boys. We firmly believe that discipline is the key to these boys’ futures. We also don’t pretend to have the control or power to change our boy’s lives. We depend solely on God. For us to hold on to any boy that clearly can’t or doesn’t want to change is only arrogant, egotistical, and faithless. We trust that God will continue to work in the boys life, though we were unable to succeed.
The Ethiopian New Year is Saturday. As many of you probably don’t know, the Ethiopian Calendar is very different from the Western World. On Saturday it will become 2003.We are also in the 13th month that consist of 5 days. This New Year will easily be one of the most challenging ones of my life.
Our hopes for an extension on moving out of the boys house have faded. We know have to leave in two days. We have found another home but it requires much work which means we really don’t have a place to live for about 5-10 days. The next few days will be a challenge. We are forced to move fast and there is an endless list of loose ends that need to be tied. Where will we stay, where will we eat, shower, have programs, how will we celebrate the important New Year, how will the boys starting school NEXT week happen successfully, how will we pack up everything safely, where will we store it, and how long will it take to move into the new house.
All these questions will be answered by the grace of God. We have a lot in front of us. We will be scrambling in a big way over the next week or so. We have plans to use the church facilities as temporary location for programs. Since the boys have other homes they just sleep in, they will continue with those. The adults will scrounge around for places to stay. The materials will be partly stored at the church and at the new home while it is being fixed.
Tonight we had to tell the boys about what was happening. They had an idea of some of it, but not all of it. Though it really is bad news their response was encouraging and truly amazing. We asked for their help, asked them to do their best in terms of behavior, patience, and respect for one another. We gave them the bad news about us not knowing if celebrating the New Year will be possible, or at least not easy. We gave them the plans we had, but those have big gaps in them. The boys responded consistently with noble answers. “we have been through harder things then this, we can do this and be well behaved”, “ we are working on trust here as a family so this is a big chance to earn trust”, “ we can behave properly and help you guys”.
So while we are exhausted and our brains ache for answers we were all encouraged by our boys tonight. We trust this will all work out, have great faith, and expect the challenges to teach us all and help us grow. It is very exciting to leave the less then amiable “spirit” of this house and its ownership. We have been VERY encouraged by the next owner who has expressed to us that his faith is helping him trust us and give us a “discount” in various ways.
So I am excited for the next New Year when we get a chance to look back on all this craziness and sit around as a more comfortable family. WAHOO!
Thanks again for all support and prayers, please keep them coming. HAPPY NEW YEAR 2003!!!!
Bezu in Amharic means a lot. We have bezu boys in our house. We have bezu issues needing solved. We have bezu growing hope for our boys. Bezu people responded to my last blog about help needed. We have bezu in every sense of the word.
I can easily recall my years of wanting bezu in my life and feeling like I never had enough. Never had enough fun, never had enough friends, never had enough success, never had enough direction, just never had the feeling of enough. NOW, I have too much or more then bezu. I guess this is fulfillment. I feel blessed to experience it at such an early age, though it really is just an attitude. I guess I needed bezu to make me realize I have always had bezu. I have always had an extremely blessed life.
We have bezu stories to tell and amazing experiences. Let me tell you a few. We had one boy meet his mother after 5 years of absence. The boy was presumed dead. It was a happy reunion. We had a time for confessions sort of that allowed about ten boys to admit mistakes and still feel loved by us. We have boys fighting much less and some even helping others be peaceful. We had an amazing speech from Ermias at Youth Impact that led to him and many boys crying. The main subject was the boys worth, that they used to receive “left overs” or stuff thrown away, but they are NOT LEFT OVERS. It was hardcore, Ermias is the best speaker I have ever witnessed and I have admired many in my time.
We also are potentially closing on a house that has bezu space. The reality is that the boys probably could never have moved into the house we are in. It doesn’t have enough space for all we want to do.(quick reminder to some, the boys are renting other houses nearby till legal approval comes to allow us living with the boys). The new house def increases our budget but it also increases what we can do with/for the boys. It will allow us to continue having school settings and have the boys live there. It has about 8 full bedrooms and about four smaller bedroom type rooms. It also includes two huge living room areas. This might seem like a lot, but it really has been the only choice even close to meeting our needs at a reasonable price and location. It is amazing how it is coming together, just simple unbelievable. Though the house owner started with an emphatic NO his Christian brother has now convinced him to say yes. There is a ton of work to be done so it will be fun to watch how this all gets worked out. The current owner has demanded our departure by the Ethiopian New Year, Sept 11. That may or may not happen, but we should be allotted a month in any case and know the government would back that idea. We bezu prayer for this.
We have some tough issues that we are working on. Family reconciliation is an immense and difficult issue. The priority should always be reintegration, but there are bezu factors that make it very difficult. We probably aren’t perfectly equipped to decide on it, but with God’s help we trust it will work out for the boys lives. We also have a couple boys that create extra concern. Obviously our boys are behind the normal progression in school, but a couple boys seem to need very special attention. They need bezu prayer.
Oddly enough, with all that is going on I have found myself very home sick. I know that it is Labor Day and each cool breeze that passes by on a hot day reminds me of the beach. I can almost see people playing in the water, barbequing and more. I miss my family, my friends, quiet, and relaxation.
We owe a bezu thanks to the few that have stretched themselves to support this ministry. It means a ton and remains one of the biggest encouragements.
Well hello everyone. I am taking a break from my normal updates to write an urgent request. I am writing you because I just began to live in a house that is designed to holistically help 22 former street boys in Addis Ababa. We have run into a problem though. Most of you already know this but I hope this message gets to more people.
I don’t want to write a very long email since the rest of my blog has a lot of details, but our problem is that the owner of the house is unfairly trying to get us out. The mother of the owner apparently rented the house without her permission. Now the daughter is back from Italy and using lies and deceit to get us out. We have a clear contract in place, but it is obvious we would be better off moving as soon as possible. The problem lies in that we have budgeted for this very cheap house. In looking at all the other houses in the area it is obvious our rent will go up quite a bit no matter what.
We have found a potential house candidate. Though it overwhelming to think about moving after only three weeks of the boys being in the house, we think the next house could be special. This house could provide more room and potential for the teaching, eating, living, playing, character development, spiritual development and more we do with the boys. We are negotiating with the next house owner now. We potentially will be paying 5000 Ethiopian Birr more in rent per month. That is a $370 USD increase (a total of $888 USD per month) USD increase, quite a large spike in a small budget.
We don’t have many choices and will do anything to protect the future of our awesome boys. So I ask you to consider a donation that would be tax deductible so that we can continue without much turbulence. If you are interested, please email at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible(now). You can also follow the directions below to send a check.
You can make checks payable to The Beza Fund with “ Change For Change” in the memo line and send to:
The Beza Fund
2801 Wade Hampton Blvd. #170
Taylors, SC 29687