In the fall of 2009, the Lord began to truly open my eyes and break my heart to the reality that many children in this world are without the most pivotal of needs: LOVE.
God solidified this ache within me to "do something" for the least of these in June, 2010. He allowed me the opportunity and provided for my husband and me to go on a short-term mission trip with our church. We went to Ethiopia to support and serve the ministry of our homegrown missionaries, Joe & Karyn Bridges. The ministry was The Forsaken Children, and the Ethiopian partner ministry we worked with was Onesimus. My life has never been the same since that journey, and I have not been able to ignore the numerous mentions in God’s word regarding our responsibility as believers to love and care for the least of these.
I have not returned to Ethiopia since my two trips in 2010. Although I've yearned to go back, the circumstances of life, and, ultimately, the reality that it's not the Lord's timing have kept me home. By staying, however, I've learned the importance of "sending" others and "advocating" for the ministry. The Lord has taught me much about what He desires of me at home. I still have a responsibility to care for the least of these at home and abroad. At home my husband I have gotten more involved with ministries serving our city. For Ethiopia the Lord has asked me to do two things:
TO SEND. My husband and I have the privilege of sending and supporting the Bridges in their work with The Forsaken Children. The director, Joe Bridges, and the sustainability coordinator, Jonathan Bridges, as well as their families, are fully supported by personal donors and work full time for TFC. My husband and I are blessed to be a part of the ministry team supporting these families in prayer and financial giving! God is working in and through them both here in the US and in Ethiopia.
TO ADVOCATE. I have the opportunity here at home to advocate for the children of Ethiopia as well as their families and community! Not only do I personally have the pleasure of supporting this ministry in prayer and monthly financial giving, I also have the privilege of SPREADING THE WORD! I get to share with friends, family, and even strangers about the work The Forsaken Children is doing in Ethiopia as they partner with Onesimus. I get to share about the more than 2,000 Ethiopian men, women, and children that were touched in 2011 and exposed to the lasting hope of Jesus Christ through this ministry. I get to tell about the numerous children that are attending and excelling in school due to the SAFE Project and the street children that are being introduced to a life off the streets. I have the opportunity to share about the children experiencing unconditional love and family - some for the first time - within the halfway homes and the many who accept Jesus as their Savior and begin sharing the word with others! And best of all, I get to INVITE people to join.
I’m not without purpose because I haven’t hit the ground of Ethiopia in more than two years. I have a call to send, to give, to pray, to advocate, and to invite others into the work the Lord is doing in and through this ministry. A privilege indeed!