Learning from saying Goodbye

Two Fridays ago we had no idea when two of the children in the Day Care left the project for the weekend, that we probably would not be seeing them again soon. This was true for Lemlem and Dirib, two little sisters who come from very desperate backgrounds, yet we were seeing amazing progress in within the first few weeks of the Day Care. The best that we can piece together is that their mom had decided that life may be a bit easier for them if they moved back to the north where she is originally from, so they picked up all of their earthly belongings and started their journey northward.

In one way, it’s not hard to blame their mom for wanting to find a different solution. They had been living in a very difficult atmosphere here in Kore, with no education and with her only job of recent history being begging along the roadside to try to provide enough for their $6US per month house rent and some food. To trust that life could be different by going to work would be a very difficult cognitive shift to make for her.

Their leaving reinforced a few things for me. The one is that our project will never be able to give quick fix solutions for vulnerable families. Actually I am convinced that there is no such thing as a quick fix solution to the issues they face. Any potential quick fix only will lead to more complex issues down the road. Don’t expect any “10 Quick and Easy Ways to Make Poverty History” books being written by us :). If we do, please run away because it won’t be worth the paper it’s printed on.

The second is that walking with our families is not for the faint of heart. There will be mis-starts and re-starts and failures and successes for the families we partner with. Truth is that these families are “in Process”, just as you and I are. The need for boundaries while at the same time grace and forgiveness will be a tenuous balance that we will always need to have in practice. There may be times where families choose to no longer have us partner with them…and that’s okay, because in reality each day that we have to walk alongside them is a gift from God to us.

The third is a reinforcement of the need for community. I feel terrible that I can’t even tell you for sure where Lemlem and Dirib and their Mom have gone off to. They were disconnected people. The glimmer of hope is that some of the moms are already caring for each other and loving on each other and building community. The regret is that it had not yet been provided for Lemlem’s family.

The fourth and final is that what we do will require extreme individual attention. While these families have much in common, there also are a number of ways that each of them are quite unique. Any attempts for us to apply some one-size-fits-all approach will give the illusion of success on the surface while leaving much unresolved underneath. This means that we’ll probably never be flashy or have numbers worth bragging about. Yet, we feel that God has provided us an opportunity and a privilege of walking alongside some totally beautiful ladies and their amazing children to embrace whatever kind of difference He would like to make in their lives.

We are honored that God has provided this privilege to say Yes to. And, we are honored that so many of you have said Yes, too.

1 Comments on “Learning from saying Goodbye

  1. Very well said. It is so sad, but true. I have worked with low-income families in the states for 15 years and I had to learn the very same lessons. God Bless you and your work! And, remember, if you are just helping one make process, you are helping many ( : Many are learning from you and your ministry. I pray the Holy Spirit will continue to guide you and gie you strength my friend.

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