Monday, February 6, 2012

Children's HopeChest

We realized when we adopted Benjamin that it was only a first step of a new journey that we were going to be on - a journey of serving and advocating for orphans. Throughout the adoption process all of our passion and energy was consumed by the adoption itself. God had moved us and convicted us and we sought to be obedient by adopting one of his children. However, after seeing and experiencing all that we did during our trip to Ethiopia, it was clear that our adoption was just the beginning. The adoption was a compass that directed us toward a path of loving and helping orphans.

The last year and a half since the adoption has been about getting our feet under us. It has been a hard transition for everybody. Benjamin has had a lot of healing to do. I have had a more difficult time than I anticipated managing the chaos of a larger household. Madeline struggled being knocked off the Only Child Throne by an extremely needy little brother. But we are all doing better now. More than better -- Better Than Ever. The Lord has grown us, healed us, sanctified us. Now it is time to take the next step on our journey.

I’m beyond excited to announce that we are Sponsorship Coordinators for Children’s Hopechest, and we are seeking to find sponsors for 150 children.

We are working with a care point in Addis Ababa that we have a personal history with. While we were in Ethiopia to get Benjamin, our driver took us to visit his mission-focused protestant church in a desperately poor slum area of Addis. We met his pastor, and he was eager to tell us about the small but ambitious sponsorship program that the church had begun. The members were ministering to the orphaned and needy children who lived nearby by paying for their school tuition, uniforms, and supplies. They wanted to expand the program to pay for one meal per day for these kids, but the additional pennies that this would cost was beyond what these church members were able to do. He humbly asked if we could help. After seeing the area and hearing his stories, we were deeply moved and eager to do all that we could.

Us with our driver, Dawit, who took us to his church

We have been sponsoring six children ever since then, and we have stayed in contact with Pastor Getahun (we call him Pastor G). His love for the kids and his courage to dream big constantly encourages and challenges us. Ever since our trip, we have really wanted to help get more kids sponsored by asking our American friends and family to help out, but we needed accountability and the help of an established organization to pull this off.

The street right outside the church

For many months now, we have been working with Children’s HopeChest toward making this happen. It is a dream come true to be able to share that the sponsorship program details have been finalized and all of the child packets are ready to go. What remains is to connect the sponsors that God has called with the children he has called them to invest in.

Inside the church

So here’s the scoop:

  • 150 children have been profiled and are waiting for sponsors. (Yikes! Yes, Pastor G dreams big!) We are personally responsible for 75 of them.
  • Sponsorship costs $34/month.
  • Sponsorship pays for the children’s education fees, school supplies, books, and uniforms, meals, and regular checkups
  • The kids will be receiving regular mentoring and spiritual training through the local Protestant church
  • They will also receive the help and intervention of a trained social worker.

Children’s HopeChest invests in and seeks to transform entire communities, not just individual children. The goal is to break the cycle. If these kids receive an education only to graduate into a reality where there is no employment, opportunity, or even healthcare, the long-term prospects for their lives are just not good.

Over the next several years plans are already being made to:

  • Dig a well and build proper latrines for this community.
  • Develop new job opportunities for adult residents to help break the cycle of poverty.
  • Provide education about HIV/AIDS prevention and santitation.

One of many super cool things about Children’s HopeChest is that they want American sponsors to be personally involved in the lives of the kids that they sponsor and to personally invest in the communities they live in. They not only encourage you to write letters to your kids, they orchestrate opportunities for you to go visit them. Lord willing, we will be helping to lead multiple mission trips over the next several years to get to know our children and to work to help their communities.

Within a couple more weeks, there will be a CHC website ready for our care point where sponsorship signups will begin. For now, can I ask ever person reading this to please pray?

  • Pray God’s blessing and protection for Pastor G.
  • Pray for the 150 kids in this program.
  • Pray that God will lead us to the families that he is calling to sponsor these kids.
  • Pray for an event we will be holding at our church on March 4th to spread the word. (More about that later.)

I will share lots more details about sponsorship and the kick off event on March 4th later. We are so excited about this, and we ask for your prayers.

No comments: