Friday, August 29, 2008

Email, Poverty and a Fragile Heart

Crazy huh? .... the stark contrast of our current technology and the poverty crisis that so many face today around the world. You see, I struggle sometimes with what to share. Opening your heart to feel the needs of orphans is gonna hurt. Allowing your eyes to see their reality ... well, it's gonna sometimes be hard to even look. Keeping your ears open to hear their reality .... it will make you cringe.

As you know by now, if you've been following our journey ... someone claimed a part of my heart in Ethiopia. All during our preparation time I had this growing burden for the boys at Kolfe. If you've never seen it, you'll want to see this video. I thought maybe it was perhaps because I had three boys of my own and so seeing other boys in such circumstances just tore at my heart. But now I know that God was preparing me to meet one special boy in particular. Perhaps you heard about him also here where my dear friend Angie got a very surprise package! And so after being home, we've been writing to each other and I just never know when I'll grab my morning cup of coffee and sit down to check my mail and see a letter via email from our far-away-son.

At first he called me Shelly, then Mom Shelly, then My Dear Mom ... and now I'm sometimes Ma. We write about various things ...

  • the current economic crisis facing his people
  • how he tested to pass the national exams (so he can stay studying in his program)
  • about his parents that died
  • how his grandmother is a good woman
  • the need for a jacket in this rainy weather
  • his belief that God is real and His Word is true (smart boy!)
  • his questions of when God will come and help his people
  • what his shoe size is
  • his sister and the tragic way in which she died
  • how he wants me to visit him again in Ethiopia
As a mom, we want to "fix" our kids' lives ... at least as much as we're able. Right? When they outgrow their shoes, we get them another pair. When they face hard times, we walk beside them helping them back up again. When they are cold, we get out the winter blankets. When it's supper time and everyone is hungry, we sit around the table together. When they are grieving ... we wipe their tears.

At times I feel so limited by what I can do for Getahun. It took me about 3 months to get him to tell me he needs a jacket and a pair of shoes. What JOY for not only him to finally feel close enough to tell me, but for him to also begin to realize this is part of what love is!!! ... to help meet needs ... not just physical, but also emotional and spiritual. How I look forward to seeing my handsome boy is his warm jacket.

You may be wondering how he emails me. Well, this clever young man has gotten himself a job and earned favor with his boss. For part of his "pay" he is able to use some time to email. Yeah!!! ... happy American family are we!!! And his boss helps him to be able to purchase some shirts he needed. Those will be a great help when he goes to school again and works hard to make it in a system that forces so many odds against him.

Today he wrote me more about the situation with his living distant relatives. He also shared about how he is tutoring some other young boys. I was so pleased to learn that one of those boys is Solomon, which you may have read about here.

Will you have ears to hear?, eyes to see?, and a heart to feel their needs? My dear Getahun is only one boy.

This is the kitchen in which
their food is cooked.

This is an area that needs torn
down and replaced with working
restrooms. Don't you agree?

This room needs chairs and tables.

You see ... I can't just come home and forget what I saw. These are real people with real needs. Most have lost their parents, they get cold and wet .... they desire an education. Many are bright and eager to learn. They long to have family. For Getahun, he is to old to be considered "adoptable" by current laws. But Lord willing ... he will never question again if he has a family. Even if we never share the same name or dinner table. What absolute JOY fills my heart when I see my dear son Getahun's message in the "inbox" on my computer screen. I'll admit ... my heart is fragile ... it sometimes hurts deeply to be open to feeling these needs. The poverty can be overwhelming and cause a person to just grow numb or feel inadequate to even make a difference. But how I thank the Lord for email!! .... crazy or not .... it is a link to our son that we treasure.

Thanks to the Baggett Family!!! .... there is a package going to him very soon. I am SO excited! :)

Perhaps some of you families preparing to travel will have someone claim residence in part of your heart, just as what happened to us .... a few short months ago.


The Albertsons said...

wow. powerful post. I too miss those boys. I'm constantly asking people for updates... and do they have specifics lined up for us to get involved with yet? It's a slow process, but hopefully we'll all be able to do more soon...
thanks for sharing your story sweet Shelly!

Lori S said...

We'll be traveling sometime this year (hopefully!!). If there's anything we can do for you or Getahun, let us know. We haven't been there, but have been touched by the situation. We already have the desire to do more to help these boys.
My husband(a college professor) and I are trying to find out what it would take to bring the unadoptable here to get them an education so that they can return home with hope and, perhaps, be able to help others. This is not an easy task, but we are not easily discouraged!!

coffeemom said...

ah, I get it. I so get it. You know, he writes to me too, now and then. Not so much as you. But, I get it. I'll email in a few minutes, on the private side. God does so much work through your big, sweet heart. It's all good. And your Maleah, I wanted to post in the last one but the comments wouldn't work, all wonky for me, but how gorgeous is she!?!?! WOw. Jsut a sweet beautiful face. Awesome. Love M

Anonymous said...

How awesome God linked you to this young man! What an incredible story!

Shawnda said...

OH PRECIOUS! Yes, YOU get it!!!! I love what you are doing - keep sharing it, and stirring all of us - the church!!!