A while back a dear friend of mine guest posted about their upcoming adoption (and I posted (2 years ago) some family photos that she took for us). In the process they have also felt called to get involved somehow, someway in Ethiopia. Not sure what that meant they took a trip there and God opened their eyes to ways they could help. Here is one of the ways! I’m so excited to have her tell you about it! Read on to find out and check out her blog for some AWESOME photos and to read more about her awesome family!
Picture a place with formula and blankets and nannies where the door is open. It’s a place where the authorities can send the babies that are so sick or emaciated that even the local foster families can’t take them in. Imagine the nannies loving on those babies, many of whom were found in the spot where someone had left them to be eaten by hyenas. Picture the closest hospital being 4 hours away. And think of long rides over bumpy roads, rushing the sickest tiny ones to a doctor. Imagine burying one of them and wondering how many more you may lose.
This isn’t a figment. This is a real place.
Let me rewind…
It’s been nearly three years since God took my comfortable, planned-out future and picked it apart. And it’s been a ride, let me tell you. Like cycling on a tandem bicycle, my husband and I have together found ourselves on this incredible journey as God redirected our focus and our future. We felt God calling us to more. What it was, we weren’t sure. But we knew it was something. Conversation about that something pervaded our late nights and our date nights.
Through completely random and yet totally Providential circumstances He led us on a little trip to Africa, caused us to fall head over heels in love with the country of Ethiopia, and started breaking our hearts for the things that broke His. He connected us with One Child Campaign and used them to teach us how to help in ethical, holistic, and humble ways.
We went to Ethiopia with questions, not with answers. While we still have many questions, one of the big answers to our prayers came in the form of a remote little village 8 hours outside the capital where we encountered the most startling physical poverty we have ever seen. The place is called Shone. My husband and I both felt God tugging on our hearts.
We saw a local church trying to get a sponsorship and orphanage up and running. Ethiopians helping Ethiopians. And it was beautiful. But one clear thing we saw missing was advocates.
This place. These faces. This was the nameless, faceless burden we had been carrying around.
Now the orphanage is up and running. Remember that place I described at the beginning? That is the Shone orphanage. Motivated by the love that Christ showed the hurting, their doors have been flung open to the needy babies in the region. But it’s been a rough start- drowning in financial needs, trying to nurse sick little ones back to health, and even burying one tiny girl.
We’re headed back to Shone in July. While I’m aching to be there now, there is something we can do here. I can’t change diapers or help with nighttime feedings, but I can work to see that the financial burdens are lifted. We have talked with our friend Caleb over at One Child Campaign who has looked through the ministry’s books and talked through a budget with the orphanage director. This orphanage needs a little over $1,800 monthly to cover it’s current expenses. It’s an unlavished amount that would cover everything including medical needs.
Let’s be honest. We’re not some big organization with a big, shiny “donate” button and a monthly newsletter. We’re a couple who is working with a small American ministry supporting an even smaller Ethiopian ministry.
But we’ve been there. And we’ll be going back. We know that we aren’t the heroes of Shone. Jesus is the only hero. And He’s shining His light of love through those nannies and that sweet orphanage director. We here in America are simply getting the chance to think a little bit outside ourselves and hopefully help reflect a tiny bit of that love, too.
A few weeks back, as I thought of baby girl that was buried and the help that was needed for Shone, I found myself in the shower, head against the tile, water running down my face, wondering:
“If I could go back, back to the comfortable place I was living in before, unburdened about was happening half-a-world away, would I?”
I’m no super saint. I was really and truly wrestling with this. Was it worth it have my eyes and my heart open? I struggled with this for a few minutes.
But I’ve found something about Jesus. He makes us like a well. As He deepens our heart and our love, our lives are filled fuller and fuller. More room for joy, more room for adventure, more room for peace, more room for love.
Isaiah 58:6-11 speaks to this:
“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
And the LORD will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.”
And no. A resounding no. I would never want to go back.
We need you to join us in supporting Shone and spreading the word. The Shone Orphanage is in desperate need of consistent financial support. If you would be able to help in any way, please contact us at:
We, along with One Child Campaign, firmly believe in ethical, sustainable partnerships that give a voice to the voiceless. Covenant Orphanages Ethiopia is one of those partnerships that has been born out of trust and accountability. We welcome any and all questions about their practices.