Monday, June 09, 2008

New opportunity

There's a fantastic non-profit we've been involved in for the last few years called AHOPE for Children. AHOPE is an orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that cares for HIV+ kids who have lost their parents. Can you imagine having a condition like HIV, then watching your mom and dad die, leaving you an orphan??? I can't, except that I've spent time with these many of their sweet faces permanently etched in my mind.

One of the most pivotal moments in my journey over the last few years came while watching the AAI waiting child video back in 2005. One of the first sibling sets on there was an adorable little girl and her older brother. They stood side by side, the boy with his arm protectively around his sister, smiling eagerly at the camera. The narrator informed us that this little girl was HIV+, her brother was not, but that he insisted on her being adopted with him. He didn't want to leave her, or be split up. My heart about broke into a million pieces. I've thought about those kids often over the last three years. Surely they must have found a family by now. Yes she had HIV but it's a totally treatable disease. People are becoming educated, and these kids are being adopted. And what an amazing young man he must be if he's wanting to stay with her.

Well, that little girl died a few weeks ago. In Ethiopia. Those two kids were still waiting for a family. I can picture their sweet faces, and I feel so sad because had she been in the US with access to all the medicine and medical care in the world, she would most likely be alive today. With her brother who loves her so much, and who's sacrificed a family to stay with his sister and make sure she was not left behind. Maybe now the boy will be adopted, now that he doesn't have an HIV+ sister. Ugh.

My heart cries out at the injustices found within this story, but mostly I find myself struggling through my own conviction. Why don't I pray like I should? Advocate like I should? Give like I should? I knew when we visited AHOPE that day back in 2006 that God wanted me to remember these children, in an obscure part of His world that most people never see. And ever since I have prayed and wondered about this. How might God use me to help and to serve these little ones?

Well last week I was asked by AHOPE to head up an exciting new sponsorship project. I'm pretty nervous as I've never done anything like this before (I so don't want to mess up!), but I'm really excited to see where it goes. I have a couple of things in the works that I'll share more about later. For now, I'm thrilled to be working with a great organization that is doing such vital, beautiful, difficult things.

"He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6.8 NRSV)


Jeannett Gibson said...

Cannot wait to hear more about this project! Please let me know if there is anything I can do...even from lowly Santa Maria!

Brianna Heldt said...

HA lowly santa maria! i will keep you posted!

Kristen Borland said...

looking forward to hearing more about your new opportunity to serve. sounds exciting!

and may God be with that beautiful boy in Ethiopia!!

Shana said...

I can't wait to hear more about what you are doing. We have also spent time at AHOPE, and have a love for those children.

Anonymous said...

I just signed up to sponsor one of the kids at AHOPE (though I haven't received a picture).

I am eager to hear what you are doing.

Secretly, I have thought about adopting a sibling set from Ethiopia. Specifically kids that would have a hard time being adopted because one has HIV. Still praying over that one!


Brianna Heldt said...

Oh Monica, so excited you're sponsoring a child! We sponsor two sisters there.

For a long time we've also (semi-secretly) hoped to adopt a sibling set from Ethiopia where at least one child is HIV+. I know that right now is not the time, but I'm trusting God to tell us when it is. If you ever want more info about any of it feel free to email me!! (So fun reconnecting a little bit with you. Hi to Keith and the kids!)

Cat & Mark said...

Glad to have you on the "AHOPE Team". I've only been the Supply Coordinator for a few months, but it is very rewarding to be able to help those kids (and their amazing caretakers!) even a small amount.

I'm sure you'll do great!

Lindsey said...

Brianna this post was hard for me to read. In two weeks it will mark one year since I was in Kenya. When I was at Imani Children's Home I was assigned to take care of the 5 youngest babies in the orphanage. That means they all should be celebrating their first birthday this week and next. Because of my foot I cannot return this year to see them. I know that it is very possible that one or more of my sweet babies did not make it to this birthday and that KILLS me. There isn't a day that goes by that I do not pray for little Rose, Esther, Abel, Effron, and my precious precious Yosef.

I remember a few of my team members telling me about two sweet twin girls named Emma and Esther that they had met the year before I went. They were both HIV positive. I only got to meet Emma. Esther had passed away sometime that year.

I pray that one day I can bring children home from Ethiopia and Kenya. I pray that the children I fell in love with on the streets of githurai and kibera will have food in their bellies tonight. That they will have access to the medicine their little bodies need, and that even just tonight they will feel safe, loved, and well fed.

Thank you for this post. Sorry if this seemed jumbled. I think I might have to write a post about this topic!!

joy said...

how heartbreaking and you're right that that little boy is going to be some man. i can't even imagine. i'm very excited to learn more about your project--you'll do great. you definitely have the passion for this issue. i love the verse you quoted--i am constantly reminding myself of that verse asking the Lord if I'm doing the right things. thanks for the reminder.

Thankfulmom said...


I am so happy to be working with you on this project. I know that you are going to do a fantastic job and we'll figure it out together! I appreciate your energy and desire to help the children. We need people like you on our development team!

Lisa Qualls

Lara said...

What a great opportunity! They definitely picked the right person! Thanks for sharing the story about the boy and his sister. I'm still praying the Lord will make adoption a possibility at some point for us.

By the way, Micah 6:8 is my favorite verse at the moment. I need that reminder daily.


Blog Template by