I have one more night here in Ethiopia before I fly home. We said our goodbyes today to the Compassion Development Center in Debre Zeit where these children live. My heart is full and the stories will forever stay with me. This was my second time to this place. Seeing the kids this year was so much fun and it was awesome to see how they have grown. They were all the more eager to share their lives with us and it was such a privilege to be here again.
Behind these smiles, these children live in difficult conditions. “Please take my child with you,” a mother said to one of our team members; a mother desperate for her child to have a better life.
I sat with a mom the other day as she cried while expressing the difficulty of finding work that sufficiently meets the needs of herself and her child. It’s hard to imagine living on $11 a month. I would say it is impossible, and as I visited the homes of several families this week, I learned that this was the average income. Living with this kind of poverty brings so many problems too. Mothers leave their children alone to find work. Sometimes they move away or get offered jobs illegally in foreign lands only to be brought into slavery.
20% of the children in this Compassion center are either orphaned or live in a child led home with an older sibling. The conditions are not good.
As I said goodbye to the children, they gave me their kisses again and again, and in their broken English they would say, “I love you. I love you,” then kiss my cheek. It’s hard to leave them behind knowing that even tonight they sleep on dirt floors and in homes that are not always safe. It’s hard to get to know these children and let them go and I am tempted to guard my heart from feeling too much as I think about the fact that many of these children don’t have the kisses of a mama or daddy. It’s rough my friends and I have to remind myself that God is their Shepherd and these are His precious lambs.
Their laughter is like a beautiful song to my ears. In their brokenness, they still find the tune of their heart to express a smile and giggle. I love it, and I see the gift of life in them and love of a Savior.
Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy
Life, Family, Faith and Travel...the life of a Jones
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