Archive for March 2011
Ok, so I couldn’t come up with a real meaningful name to this blog as my thoughts are scattered about what’s happening in our Ethiopian house with 19 at risk teenagers. But, I owe you an update! So forgive any lack of consistency.
The Wall- We lost another one of our stars to this “psychological wall” that the boys are starting to run into. It seems like after 6 months in the house, things have lost their shine and glitter and reality is setting in for our boys. The reality of soul wounds, severe defense mechanisms, needing control, desperate for love. One of our funniest, most improved boys honestly just went berserk. He came to us crying, wanting out of the house, blaming us for something that didn’t even make sense. Ugh, you could see the angst, pain, sorrow in each adults eyes, while we watched his uncontrollable emotions almost cost him a wonderful future!
DARN IT!!!!! SERIOUSLY DARN IT!!!!!! Add expletives and tears(Christian ones if you want). This is hard. There are boys we almost expect to lose it sometimes, but when one of our biggest hopes comes out of nowhere risking his future, it is a severe blow. Then we can’t react in emotion, but have to practice all the very difficult art forms of love. Showing compassion, patience, understanding, and trusting in God. As written previously, we have learned from Impact Youth about how we need to just let them make their own decisions, otherwise they wont learn. So what that means is that if one of our best boys wants to leave, we have to say “ ok” after some prodding to stay, even though we obviously see what leaving means to his life. It ESPECIALLY stings when we are only two months away from finishing a school year. This particular boy was actually ranked VERY high in his class, top five.
But praise the Lord, he is still with us, but as stubborn as they come. Pray for us.
GOD IS STILL….. CRAZY
I have blogged a couple times about Him being Crazy. Of course I use this word as “awesome, unfathomable, unimaginable, amazing, beyond my comprehension”. As I find myself struggling mightily with my own low, I still never lose sight of how ridiculously great He has been and is being to us and this ministry.
Lately we have made some of the best progress in terms of the legal, structural, administrative procedures. It’s becoming a much more official NGO. It makes me a little nervous, but hopeful at the same time. The more official we become the more effort it will take to stay unofficial. That means thinking outside the box, in “unofficial” ways. Divinely loving, divinely building up our boys, divinely encouraging more people to help, divinely spreading the good news about what God is doing here, divinely finding ways to sustain the long term goals, divinely rejuvenating our team, divinely building community, and much more.
We are close to having one officially hired program director/social worker, one lead mentor, and two other mentors. Then I am a volunteer. Add on a couple, maybe few tutors. Add on a busy but committed volunteer mentor. Add our cook, cleaner, and guard(especially one older gentlemen who is SO good with the boys). Add on more people starting to take interest in our boys, offering things like documentaries, diplomats bringing lunches, volunteer tutors. Amazing stuff that I completely take for granted while I focus on how to problem solve. Trying to work on that in myself, not easy.
Our night school boys will be cleaning the streets in our neighborhood each Friday as community service. We also will be visiting an orphanage(I pray) to help out on a weekly basis or so. We have about 5 or so boys helping and doing a great job with Sunday school( a major major need of Beza’s). They play soccer every Sunday, sometimes without adult supervision. We have “hired” our first boy to keep better track of our books that seem to have legs and self destructive behavior cause they get lost or ruined so much. Our family reconciliation has been amazing. I haven’t blogged about that enough, but we have had some major successes. Families seeing their sons after many years, many thinking them to be dead. One boy took a day trip to get home(10 hour drive) and saw his family for the first time since he was 8, so about 7 or 8 years ago.
So this is hard, always challenging, often defeating.. BUT our God is crazy! He is more then we understand, He is doing things we cant even plan, things we don’t have the ability or brain power for, using the least likely of people and circumstances so we don’t question who is responsible. Amen.
This is a quick update to let all our supporters know that Beza has a new website to donate through. You can all donate with credit cards! Yeah American plastic!
I owe you all a blog, so will get that done soon. Lots going on. I just thought you all might enjoy the chance to give via credit cards or bank cards. Please see the directions on how to give under ” Want to Help?” on the right hand side of my blog.
Thanks to all our supporters! I wish you all could experience first hand what God is doing over here. Its mind blowing! Its your generosity and support that has made it happen! Thank you so much and Tabaraku(God bless you)
The Special Forces of the American military are well beyond my comprehension. Though my father spent a small amount of time in the army, I am the opposite of an Army Brat. I know very little about what a “Special Operation” might be like, but I think my team in Ethiopia serving these boys has recently taken part in “Special Operations” for Gods kingdom and our boys lives.
Last week I really felt like we were partaking in a risky, difficult, hectic “Special Operation”. We set out to rescue one of our brightest and God reflecting boys. This boy had reached a point of despair and refused to come back to the house. He was in a slum we hadn’t even known of, with a VERY tough crowd. He said he gave up, was going to end up like his abusive, alcoholic dad anyway so why bother. He felt he wasn’t learning fast enough, he was still struggling with addictions, so nothing is working.
I held my emotions in check by the VERY grace of God. I could literally feel my heart tearing(would have preferred an enemy bullet) while I heard and saw him with tears flowing in broad daylight, in the middle of the sidewalk. We threw all the encouragement and love we could at him. After over an hour we convinced him to come with us. I broke down for a split second, but remembered that another boy was with us. Thank goodness for that boy too because he was able to find our lost one in the depths of the slum.
On the way home I was rejoicing quite a bit. I honestly felt like a war hero returning from battle. I thanked God that I have been blessed enough to fight in a much more relational life saving battle versus the ones wars create. I feel blessed to be fighting to save such worthy lives. It really is a battle though. The emotional strain, the stress, the feeling of being lost and incapable is close to overwhelming. But God is helping us. Let this add to the legend of how God is working in this boys life.
We can plan for many more “Special Ops”. We are hitting a VERY difficult stage. We were taught/reminded by our expert advisors(Youth Impact) that the first few months are not reality. The excitement of a big new house and so on had the kids behaving better then is to be expected. I think we all fell for it. Now as we get into a more normal routine and way of life their characters are coming out. The addictions are still heavy, the bad habits of street life are still prevalent. Besides the aforementioned boy, two other boys hit a wall of despair. In summery they wanted to give up because they haven’t seen any improvement in themselves, which is far from the truth.
This is going to be a HUGE challenge. A challenge in which our depths of love for these boys will be shaken. Mixing our love with discipline, teaching, acceptance, and so on will be an amazing test.
The amount of training the guys fighting in wars put in is staggering. IT takes such diligence, fortitude, bravery, and discipline. That is exactly what we are going through now. This is the training ground for all of us. Of course we are helping these awesome boys, but think about the future, about what God is doing in each of us to touch what I pray is an immeasurable amount of lives. So bring on these battles so we can be battle tested veterans fighting to show the love of Christ.