There have been many powerful moments on this trip, but one of the most amazing has been with home visits. We have had the opportunity to go to the homes of the children who are a part of these projects, be welcomed there, and hear about life among these people.
First of all, when I say “home,” you have to change your perspective. My bathroom and walk-in closet (and I don’t have a big one) would be a large home here. Our first home visit was with Genet Abebe, a mom in the Child Survival Program at the Sodamo Guenet Church. We walked to her house after we visited the chicken farm. She is not able to work at the chicken farm because she came into the program after it started. She rents her house for 6 Birr a month. To give you an indication, $20 is about 370 Birr. So, her rent is about 30 cents a month. Her husband works at the local flower farm and is also a subsistence farmer for the family. She lives in a little hut that is about 5x15 with her husband, 4 children, and her mother. It’s one room, but divided by a curtain. In every place we’ve been, I honestly can’t figure out how they all sleep in the small room behind the curtain… or even in the whole house for that matter. Maybe they take shifts? Should have asked that question. Abebe has her own trade. She buys large sacks of flour, hot pepper (like cayenne), matches, charcoal, and onions and then divides them up to sell to her neighbors for a small profit. To get clean water, she carries a 26 liter container of water from across the village from the well to have clean water.
Second, we spent some time listening to Abebe’s life. It’s a difficult life, but she feels blessed. We asked her if she was a believer, and she said that she wants to be, and asked if we would help her. When we asked for prayer concerns she had, she asked that her mother and husband would also become believers. In on of the most significant moments we experienced, Kurt – a pastor from North Dakota who was with us (there were 5 of us in the house), was able to lead her in a prayer of salvation (see the video below. Note… Abebe’s mother prays along part of the prayer, but stops at the point of receiving Jesus. We’ll continue to pray for her to come to know Jesus.)
Lastly, I have to say that the power of a person receiving Jesus here is amazing. It truly changes their lives. Most Christian (non-orthodox) people I have met here have been able to articulate when and how they received Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior (their language). They share how dramatically life is different since then, and their understanding of their relationship with him, sustenance by him, love for him, and need for him are so powerful. In comparison, too many of us who are Christians in America take our faith so for granted, or don’t ever move beyond a cultural religious sensibility into a personal relationship with Jesus. In a culture where evangelical Christianity is not the norm, and were poverty and need is so rampant, the sweet salvation, provision, and peace that Jesus brings is life changing.
(By the way… I’m still on Day One of our trip in these blogs. So many experiences… and honestly, as I read what I write, it just doesn’t come close to conveying our experience.)
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