The Really Really Great Side…Tigist

Last week I wrote about when things don’t work out the way we had hoped here on the ground.   It is the complexity of poverty – there are always  unseen and unknown forces that our enemy puts in place to perpetuate an ongoing destructive cycle.

This week I am writing about the opposite.  This week I share with you one story (out of many) where we see progress being made and the shackles coming off.

Before I share this story with you, I think it is important for us to remember that this is what real life looks like for us in a real world.  As Jesus’ followers we experience both  the darkness and despair of Good Friday and the joy and victory of Easter Sunday…sometimes only seconds apart from each other.   We are living in that place of knowing that the pain and suffering around us is real, but at the same time there is more to the story.     Daily in action we are proclaiming the truth of Ephesians 1 –

               “ That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his                          right hand in the heavenly realms,  far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is                                     invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.“

while we also experience the effects of a broken humanity and creation that continues to groan as in the pains of childbirth (Romans 8).  There is pain…and there is Hope.

Now, to this story of hope…

Meet my friend, Tigist.  Tigist is 4 years old and she came to the project about 9 months ago.  To say that she was scared to death would be an understatement.     In coming to the project, She had been spending her days begging along the road with her mom.  Along with the begging, came “the look.”  “The look” was the inability for Tigist to look someone in the eyes without turning on a sad, puppy dog look.  It was an involuntary reaction she had learned somewhere along the way when she was begging.  Let’s face it, the more desperate you look, then the more likely someone is to throw some spare change your way.   Underneath, it was more than “the look,” but rather it was a little girl and her mom losing their dignity…one day at a time.

Tigist’s mom trusted our staff a lot.  She really had no reason to…she just did.   She was going to have to leave the life she knew behind.  She was going to be leaving her daughter, whom she had never been separate from, with total strangers – and some of them were foreigners at that.  It had the potential for trauma for both mom and child.

To look at my friend Tigist today, you’d have no idea that this was her story.  She is fairly confident.  She’s not afraid to look you in the eye.  And, she is leading her class.  She stands in front of the Preschool class on most days and leads them in reciting their English Alphabet.   She knows it by heart…she is sharp and she is growing.

Bottom lining it, my belief is that God is doing a work in Tigist’s life from the inside out.  He is working in her heart and bringing changes inside of her that have outward expressions.   Every time I look at her, or she gives me five, it makes me smile to think of all that God is doing in her.

What has made the difference for Tigist and her mom?   I think there have been many events that God has been using sovereignly to bring it  together for this little girl.  May God be praised.  Here are some:

  1. Tigist is no longer spending her days unknowingly having her dignity robbed as she sat and begged.
  2. Tigist is now surrounded by loving care givers who give her attention and call her out as a human being – not viewing her as disposable.
  3. Tigist is now getting nutrition.  While she is still small for her age, at least now she is eating and her body is getting what it needs.  Her whole person is becoming more and more healthy.
  4. Tigist’s mom is no longer begging, either.  She is now working and is contributing her part to society – something that we were created to do as people made in God’s image.  There is a healing in that.
  5. Tigist’s mom now has supports around her.  There are other moms around her now as well as some physical help from the project which make life a bit more doable than what it used to be.
  6. Tigist is surrounded by other children who help her to develop both as a leader and as a follower.  We are made to be social beings…and she is experiencing it.
  7. Tigist and her mom have sponsors as well as a staff of people who pray for them – pray for God’s intervention in their lives daily.  And, they are surrounded by a staff of people who try their best to demonstrate in deed as well as share in word about Jesus, the Ruler, the King, the Lover, the Savior and Healer of all.For Tigist and her mom, The King and His Kingdom are breaking into the here and now.  I’m not sure that’s how they would express it yet, but from the outside looking in it is easy to see.   God has His fingerprints all over their lives.  And, God has used His people in this process.As I look to the future, I dream about all the potential that this little girl and her mom have in them.   God has protected and preserved them on so many fronts….and He continues to do great work in them.

    I also dream about the others in the project – especially those who recently registered in the project.   I wonder what God has in store for them as He starts to call them into His Kingdom.  I wonder what He has in store for us as we get the privilege of partnering with Him in this journey of seeing moms and kiddos loved in Jesus’ name.

    If you, or someone you know, would be willing to play a part and partner with one or more of these new families –  Yared & Aster, Hanna & Yetayesh, Bereket & Tigist, Selam & Melash, Adonyes & Kasanesh, Wassihun & Birtukan, Betanya & Yerusalem, Yurdanos & Serikalem, Blane & Alemnesh, Semira & Merama, Nejat & Merama, Yeob & Etenesh, Yetbaruk & Silenat, Yurdanos & Yeshi, Betlehem & Etenesh, Abiguya & Gudaye – please let us know by dropping us an email at info@EmbracingHopeEthiopia.com .  You can view their profiles at www.EmbracingHopeEthiopia.com .