How do you feel about change? What if it affects something you’re very familiar with and love?
Our team recently traveled to Tullo-Yehiwot CarePoint in Ethiopia. One of the highlights of numerous past trips had been making “home visits.” This is when the team goes to where several of the children at Tullo live and spend some time in their home (in this area they are usually mud huts) with their family and whatever livestock they have.
Prior to this trip we were told we’d be doing “something different.” We wouldn’t be making “Home Visits” but instead, we’d have something called “Community Time” with parents and guardians of the children at Tullo CarePoint. This was something new and totally foreign to us. To say we were disappointed is an understatement. Reasons had been explained, however, and we were all somewhat willing to “try something new.”
On the second afternoon of our visit, our team met with the parents and guardians of the children at Tullo. We had no idea how many would show up — the only communication in this area is word of mouth. We thought maybe 20 or 30 may join us. We were pleasantly surprised with the turn out!
This Community Time together began with a time of worship, and Ethiopians know how to worship! Each of our team members then took turns sharing our hearts with the parents and guardians.
Then, to our surprise, several parents/guardians stepped forward and shared their hearts with us. The most common comment was how very appreciative they are of anyone who “sponsors” their child through Children’s HopeChest. Below are some specific comments they shared:
“Although we gave birth to our children, you are caring for them through your sponsorship.”
“They receive education and materials for school, medical assistance, discipleship, and food for our family through your sponsorship.”
“Your sponsorship allows our children to go to school close by to our home. If not for this, they wouldn’t be able to go to school every day.”
“We have been, and will continue to pray for you and your families’ happiness, safety, prosperity and that God is with you and your family always.”
I have to tell you, their comments brought us to tears. Looking back to our familiar and loved home visits, the number of children we visited was minimal considering there are 152 children at Tullo CarePoint. As well as, the time spent with them was limited and not truly conducive to building a deep relationship.
This Community Time was one of the most powerful moments in all the years that I’ve traveled to Tullo. I’m definitely a believer in changing from home visits to Community Time and so look forward to our next Community Time in 2020!
One definition I found for Community Time that’s very fitting is this: A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. Our team, the children’s sponsors, as well as their parents and guardians definitely share common attitudes, interests and goals for the children at Tullo.
We had no idea what the parents and guardians of Tullo’s children thought about us and I’m sure they had no idea what we thought about them. But, in this beautiful time together, we found strength and peace as we began to build a loving relationship.
The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace.