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75 bucks

Chad Dykstra - 2011-03-25
3 comment(s) - View or write a comment

Prior to our two trips to Ethiopia, we decided to sponsor a girl named Rediet through the Yezelalem Minch ministry in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (she is below on the left). YM is a ministry that serves vulnerable orphans and widows in their community with the goal of providing food, schooling, and medical supplies to allow families to stay together instead of being torn apart by poverty.  Rediet lives with her mother and her father has passed away.

During both of our trips to Ethiopia, we were able to visit with Rediet and her mom, (and in one case her little sister) and provide them with clothes, school supplies, shoes, etc. that we brought with us as a gift from home.  They were obviously very grateful and it was neat on the second trip to see how their comfort level around us had increased and how happy they were to see us.

A few years ago we started the tradition of giving an additional financial donation each Christmas to each of our sponsored children and their families.  This has been really special.  It takes a few months, but we always get a letter in the mail with photos of what was purchased and how the family was blessed. During our second trip to Ethiopia in December, we gave Birtukan (the founder of YM) a $75 donation for Rediet, as well as a $75 donation for Abenezer on behalf of some friends of ours who also sponsor a child at YM.  For most people $75 isn't much to spend on a gift, especially at Christmas time, but it's very neat to see just how it can be used in a situation like this.  It took a little longer than usual to get word back from them because they had an incorrect email address for us, but yesterday we received an email from YM.  I thought many of you may appreciate this, so I decided to share.  Here is the word we received back from Rediet's family:

We called Rediet's mother to the YM office and told that you gave $75 for her.  When we give your gifts of $75, she said  "I am now young and strong so I don't want to buy anything.  But instead of working in other person's house for daily bread, I can make my business to sustain my life." At that time we were happy and encouraged her to work hard at whatever she likes. Now as you see in attached picture she is making enjera (local bread) and getting some income and helping her children.
 
When we see her situation we thank you and praise God.

For just $75, Rediet's mother was able to stop being a day laborer (working odd jobs as you can find work) and start her own business!  Talk about learning to fish!

I have one more story I'd like to share.  We also received word back from Abenezer's family on how that $75 was used.

Abenezer's mother is HIV positive and she gets sick some times. At the time you gave $75, she was very sick and had no help. But because of your gifts she got well and her health condition is good now.

When our friends sponsored Abenezer, they were impacted how his father had already passed away and his mother was sick with AIDS.  They had commented to us how the odds were stacked against him considering his family situation.  Little did they realize that their simple gift may have saved his mother's life and kept the family together!

I was reading in the book of Luke last night, in chapter 16 (CEV).  It tied this all together for me.

10 Anyone who can be trusted in little matters can also be trusted in important matters. But anyone who is dishonest in little matters will be dishonest in important matters. 11 If you cannot be trusted with this wicked (NIV: worldly) wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? 12 And if you cannot be trusted with what belongs to someone else, who will give you something that will be your own? 13 You cannot be the slave of two masters. You will like one more than the other or be more loyal to one than to the other. You cannot serve God and money.

14  The Pharisees really loved money. So when they heard what Jesus said, they made fun of him (NIV: sneered).

15 But Jesus told them:
You are always making yourselves look good, but God sees what is in your heart. The things that most people think are important are worthless (NIV: detestable) as far as God is concerned.

Pharisees aren't the only ones who love money and chase after worthless (detestable) things.  I do it all the time.  Chances are you probably do too.  We're Americans, after all...and having whatever we want is supposed to be the "American Way".  Yesterday was a great reminder for me that God has bigger plans than I do and it doesn't kill me to skip a dinner out and open the checkbook for something that really matters!

Yezelalem Minch is an incredible ministry.  There are still over 100 children that the program hasn't been able to find sponsors for yet.  If you are interested in finding out more information on the YM ministry or would like to investigate child sponsorship for $30/month through YM, you can visit http://www.yezelalemminch.org, find them on Facebook, or let me know and I'll be happy to give you more information or put you in touch with someone who can help you sponsor a child.


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Comments


Posted by jody Bosman on 2011-03-25

That is so incredible!!  We also sponsor a little girl through Yezelalem Minch! Some friends of ours were down there last month and were able to deliver a care package we had put together for her ~ so exciting!

Posted by Dad and Mom on 2011-03-25

So well said Chad and Lora.  Thanks for saying it like it is, and for challenging the rest of us to develop hearts that are eager to reach out and be more giving, to share our abundance with others who have so little, to be more Christ-like which is what being a Christian is truly all about.  And what an example of how God will multiply what we are willing to give to meet much greater needs than what our gift can do.  A life was probably saved, a person freed from poverty, each with a gift of $75.00.  Where we live that won't even cover a simple doctor visit. We are proud of you and love you.
Mom and Dad

Posted by Belinda Geertsma on 2011-03-29

Yes, thank you for challenging us, Chad and Lora. Both of these stories are very inspiring. Lord, may I always be mindful of how I am spending "my" money. Help me to be willing to sacrifice just a little in order to make a lasting difference in other's lives.

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