How Did The Foringe Cross The Road?

Very Carefully! Traffic here is a nightmare. It is like one big game of chicken. Assertiveness is a must. To go anywhere you just go and force others out of the way. Getting anywhere in the city is exhausting. After fighting for a seat on a taxi bus my heart pounds as the driver swerves around the other cars. It doesn’t surprise me too much anymore when they drive into oncoming traffic. Walking is not much better. Sidewalks leave much to be desired here. Much of the time we have to walk down the middle of the road as we dodge traffic.
This week has gone pretty well. Over the last few days we have been visiting other ministries here in Addis. The three that we visited are RETRAK Ethiopia, AHOPE Ethiopia, and Youth Impact.
At RETRAK I played ping-pong with the boys while Joe, Nega, and Mike met with the director. I’m sure that you will all be glad to know that I went undefeated. I even beat one of the staff. It was good to be able to practice counting in Amharic to keep score. RETRAK ministers to young boys who are living on the streets. They have a drop in center where the boys come to play, eat, and learn. They try to get the boys reunited with their families. It turns out that many of the boys came to the streets from the countryside and are now trapped here. They want to go home, but don’t know how. RETRAK is a wonderful ministry and is very close to the vision of CHE.
On Thursday we visited AHOPE Ethiopia. AHOPE takes in orphans who are infected with HIV. They have two compounds. One is for young kids up to 7 years old. The other is for kids between 7 and 14. They take these kids in and provide for all of their needs including medical care. They work with another organization to try to get the kids adopted. We met a lady from Maryland who had adopted one of the little girls and was there to pick her up. They said that the only countries where it is legal to adopt a child infected with HIV internationally are the US and Spain. It is so sad that these kids are held back from having a loving family just because of silly, outdated stigmas over HIV. The kids were happy and affectionate. They sang us a few songs and played with us a little before we left.
This morning we visited youth Impact. Emaus was the director. I don’t believe that I have ever met someone who demonstrated Christ’s love like him. He grew up in one of the poorest areas of Addis, which is about a half mile from where we are staying. His mother raised three boys and a girl under impossible conditions. He was on the streets, fighting and stealing. Then fifteen years ago he found the love of Jesus and turned his life over to God. Since then, he has been sharing this love with others on the street. Now he takes groups of young men, between 16 and 25, and helps them to be able to escape the streets. He has given his life to the people of the streets.
Before he started sharing about his ministry he told us something that pierced my heart. He said “If money is all that you’re bringing here, go back home. Money can’t solve these problems only love can. So if you don’t come in love then don’t come at all, but if you bring love then you will accomplish more than you could ever dream.” As rich Americans, how often we try to solve everything with money. Just think of all the hurting people we could help if we would open our hearts before we open our wallets.

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2 comments

  1. Hi Jonathan,
    Your entries int his journal are very powerful! We all need to hear your word picture stories. Thank you for sharing these experiences with us daily. We have no idea, but you are doing a great job of describing the people and situations so we can attempt to grasp the despair.
    Our prayer is for your heart and spirit to be held in our Lord’s hand, you covered by His wings of protection no just physical but most of all emotionally. You aren’t able to fix it but God is exceedingly able to do all things through Christ Jesus. And the exciting part is He wants you to join Him in His work. always our Love and Prayers,
    Dad and Mom

  2. Your journal entries are so amazing and powerful – thank you so much for sharing with us! I got to see Karyn and Jessica yesterday – YEAH! They are doing well and we are all excited for you about what all you and Joe are getting to experience and learn. I can’t even really imagine what it would be like to see firsthand. I’m almost afraid that I would always be crying in the streets seeing such overwhelming sad situations, but I really like what was said at the end of this journal about love being what will help. Thank God that He loves us enough to save us! I’ll certainly keep you all in my prayers and please tell Joe hi for me too. Tina Matthews

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