We decided last night that after the emotional day we had yesterday, we would start slow today. We had a late breakfast at 8:30, then headed to New Life Orphanage at 10:00. Or that was the plan. We, once again, drove around for quite a while (did I mention the horrible fumes and exhaust from the busses – ugh). When we finally found the orphanage, Kari jumped out to meet the director, and guess what. They weren’t expecting us either. Actually, there weren’t even any kids there because they were at school. SOOO frustrating!! That was the only orphanage on our agenda for the day so Kari and our drivers talked for a while about Plan B.
We stopped for a restroom break just outside the Ethiopia Museum and had our box lunch on the van. Bizrat (one of our Ethiopian guides) used to work for a street kid program and asked us if we wanted to go there. I think all of us were just asking God to show us where he wanted us to be today. We agreed to go, and were taken to Onesimus Child Development Association. This organization finds kids who are living on the streets with no family. They invite them into the program and give them clean clothes and food and teach them about Jesus. Some of their stories were amazing. We met Casey and Cameron who were American college students volunteering at the program this summer. We played games, sang, ate some popcorn and took lots of pictures. We actually had the chance to minister to kids – which is why we came to Africa in the first place!! God is good.
We left there around 3:30 and went back to Kaldi’s – Ethiopia’s Starbucks. We went back to the Guest house for an hour then left for our Italian dinner at 6:30.
We ate at Makush Italian restaurant and it was so good! I ordered a large pizza, which was only about $4.00. This was a very elegant restaurant with fine art hanging everywhere. Several of the team members purchased pieces to take home.
When we arrived back at the guest house, Sammy from Korah gave his testimony. His father had leprosy and at the time, if you have that disease, your family thinks you are cursed and will kill you. He found out that his father told his older brothers to kill him and he ran away and ended up at the leper colony/hospital at Korah. That is where Sammy’s parents met and had him. He was raised in the dump, searching for food every day and literally starving. At age 12 he tried to join the army, but they laughed at him and sent him back to the dump. He was broken in spirit from being rejected over and over again in his life. When he was a teenager, a group from Young Life ventured into the dump and told him about Jesus. They read verses about Jesus healing the lepers and loving them, and that changed his life.
Many of Sammy’s friends were sponsored and sent to boarding school but he was left behind, rejected again. He was so sad and asked God every night why he didn’t get to go. Less than a year ago, a girl named Sumer came to Ethiopia with Visiting Orphans (the same itinerary we are on) and God told her to come back and help these kids. Sammy and Sumer together have found sponsors for 150 kids in the past 5 months. They leave in one month!! God told Sammy, you did not get to go to school, so that hundreds of others will get the opportunity. He is so amazing and the kids just love him and Jesus! What a great testimony!!