|Kelly trying to referee "Nega Says" at the Drop-In Center|
Watching the Drop-In Center children play “Nega Says” (think Simon Says, but use CHE’s Director’s name, Nega, instead of Simon) last week was hilarious. Every time Kelly, Central Church short-term team member, would give a command without saying, “Nega says” I would laugh as I watched the CHE staff and other Central team members wrangle kids out of the game. Even those who blatantly followed the command would kick and scream when called out.
He approached Asrat and my jaw must have hit the ground when I saw Tamrot reach out his hand to not punch, but rather congratulate the winner.
At the end of the last game of Nega Says for the week I saw something amazing. There were two boys left in the game, Asrat and Tamrot. Both of these boys were as desperate as all the disqualified children had been to win this last game. It came down to, “pat your head” and Tamrot did it. I braced myself for some unsportsmanlike behavior from this 14 year-old street boy. He approached Asrat and my jaw must have hit the ground when I saw Tamrot reach out his hand to not punch, but rather congratulate the winner.
You may be thinking, what’s the big deal, as I’m sure I would if I had not met these boys just 5 weeks prior to leading this short-term team from Central Church. This was one of several subtle actions I saw from this group of boys that screamed CHANGE! You see, character change is often a hard thing to measure and it’s the little, unnoticeable acts that provide the true measurement (that is if you notice them). For Tamrot to reach out his hand and congratulate Asrat was bigger than it seems. Think about it, a natural, usually unobserved and unrewarded behavior occurred when Tamrot shook Asrat’s hand. It was a pure exchange not one done to receive attention or accolades as is sometimes the case with these boys.
Pure glimpses of changing characters I witnessed at the Drop-In Center during my week with Central Church’s team encouraged me greatly.
This and the other pure glimpses of changing characters I witnessed at the Drop-In Center during my week with Central Church’s team encouraged me greatly. I was reminded of how amazingly equipped the Ethiopian ministers working with CHE are to impact the street children of their country. Such a reminder helps me to loosen my grip of control and allow the Ethiopian men and women do what they do best. They know the culture, know the language, and understand the children’s needs more than I ever will as a foreigner. They are the ones who impacted Tamrot over the last 5 weeks through their time, example, and care.
I thank God for Ethiopian men and women who care about their country’s children. The Forsaken Children is all about empowering them to reach their children for Christ.