Archive for June 2011
What a classic song that was by The Fresh Prince. Its funny to recollect that song and what my summers used to consist of when it was at its peak. Well now the words mean totally different things and though it now means a cold and rainy few months in Ethiopia, I am so excited to be a part of what will take place this summer.
Our 16 boys have just about wrapped up their first year of school. Some having not been in school for 4 years, others never having finished a grade before this year! We have seen amazing progress in the 10 months of living in the house but we still are excited to see what the summer brings. I returned from my almost three week trip to Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa(awesome time) to some great news about upcoming summer plans. It takes a huge effort to plan for 16 boys, but God really shows His faithfulness to us and our boys over and over again.
This summer the boys will continue to get structured tutoring that will hopefully have them better prepared for school next year. Besides the basics of Amharic, Math, and English, we will be doing a lot more creative arts with days allotted for dance class, guitar lessons, art lessons and computer lessons. On top of this is the best news I have received in a while. We have found some amazingly good potential apprenticeships for our boys. If these come through they will provide extremely valuable work experience, a variety of training opportunities, and guidance from quality people. We of course pray these turn into more than just really good resume material, but also long term employment potential. It would be an answer to many prayers and some angst.
We have added a set, structured weekly meeting with the boys that is paying dividends also. Each Saturday we meet with the boys make them aware of three good behaviors we have observed, three behaviors needing improvement, and then let them comment on what they have observed in their behavior. The boys have appreciated the chance to voice their concerns and hear more from us about what we observe. It also gives us a chance as a time to really hear them better.
I read an article lately that just completely affirmed what we are doing. It isn’t the first time but “Turning the Tide of Risky Teen Behavior” , by Saleem Ghubr went a long way to show me the divineness in what we are doing here. In short it said that correct at risk youth outreach should be done a certain way. Well that “certain way” was uncannily identical to what our team has created for our boys. I read all the suggestions, all the ways we should reach out and build up at risk youth, and was amazed at how we are providing a huge part of it and dumbfounded how we got here. Somehow, some way, unfathomably our team and I can look back on ten months and see miraculous success. God has provided us with so much which has helped us build an amazingly holistic, loving project to build our boys into leaders.
It is just unreal to me to think about our teams lack of experience or expertise, and then see what genuine love taught to us by the life of Christ has done to transform lives. I can remember being so truly overwhelmed with all that goes into building up lives. I can remember praying for divine intervention in so many ways, to help us discipline, to help us encourage, to help us teach, to help us give selflessly, to help us work together, to help us laugh, to help us stay organized. But today and NOW I can look back and see fruits of it. My roommate Muleken and I marveled today how this has come together so well over the last ten months. We marveled how each one of our ideas becomes a building block for more ideas that have transformed us from a completely inexperienced team, to a team that is a part of something so lovingly holistic! Its come together in miraculous ways and it is truly a testimony of how God can use ANYBODY to build up others!
My anticipation never stops growing for our boys and many more boys to come. Planning for summer and making sure it is full of value for the futures of our boys is an immense challenge, but also a very fun challenge. With God’s help this will be the best summer ever!