Three years! Wow. I have lived in Ethiopia for three years now. It is a numbing thought, but fun to look back at what has happened.
I landed in Addis Ababa, without the language, any street children experience, any idea how I would sustain support, any idea how to work In the non profit/NGO sector, and the list keeps going. That first year was a whirlwind and I experienced some major frustrations, shocks to the system, and loneliness.
Three years later I can say I lived with some amazing boys who for big chunks of their lives lived on the streets, under bridges, in sewers, and anywhere safe enough they could find. To much to write so general thoughts in bullet form
– The first few months with our 22 boys were so rough, but some
of our fondest memories come from that time
– We are leaving an amazing house and very sad to lose it because of cost. It was actually the longest I have stayed in one place since moving out of my parents’ house for college. Wow.
– The team around me has been more then I prayed for. I hate to see things change.
– Our 8 working boys are doing really well, but entering real life at their income level is very hard. They need so much prayer.
– The amount of growth I have witnessed in 3 years is beyond remarkable. What awesome job, assignment, passion, or whatever it should be called. I am very honored to be able to be a part of it.
– The supporters.. My gosh. I am learning how truly awful I am at “thank you”. I am glad God is in charge of that, but the amount of support through prayer, time, money(lots), and kind words I have gotten over the last three years is incomprehensible. The most humbling, overwhelming thing I have ever experienced.
– Going from 22 boys, to 12 boys, and losing Lilly. It was expected, but harder to cope with then I thought. I pray that we can handle the next group of boys much better, though 50% seems to be the going rate of rehabilitation in this line of work.
I leave for America this weekend. I am going home to marry Sunshine(The best). It feels like I am starting all over again, needing to stand on my faith with so much unchartered territory in front of me. We will come back in December and our team will be recruiting out next group of boys. Adding a wife and gearing up to pour out into a new group of boys is a major change.. Luckily I gave up worry a couple years ago. Can’t wait for my next “season” of life!
I am deeply grateful and indebted to all of you who have kept me going through these three years. It has been quite simply the best thing ever!