Overcomers — by Rebecca Kunkel

Rebecca with RedietI love to run!  But I really don’t like running directly into the wind.  And, I certainly don’t like running uphill into the wind.  That’s tough.  It takes endurance and strength.  It takes commitment of will.  Sometimes when I’m running in these conditions, I want to give up.

When I visited Zeway, Ethiopia last month, I saw people who face great adversity… each and every day they are running uphill, into the wind.  I could spend a long time explaining the enormous challenges these Ethiopians face on a daily basis.  But instead I want to tell you about the great strength, endurance, and commitment of will they possess.

I saw a people who are overcomers — strong despite adversity.

Rediet with BezaI talked to children who are grateful.  American kids often grumble about going to school.  But these children in Zeway are grateful to have access to an education at all.  Many of the children asked for prayers that they would do well in school, because they know that academic success is a stepping stone to a good future.  These children are eager to learn.  Their faces are constantly wearing a smile.


IGenet Roba cropped talked to families who are hopeful.  Despite illness — even HIV/AIDS — and lack of material goods, these families have hope.  They believe God can improve their lives.  They see proof of it in the things they now receive through our program: a roof over their heads, a goat to provide some income, clothing, daily nutrition, and the attention of a local social worker and church volunteers who love them.  They see past their history and their current circumstances and dream of a better future.  Their eyes are full of hope.


I witnessed a community that supports one another.  When we visited homes, often the family didn’t owServing coffeen enough chairs for us.  But I saw neighbors appear with stools and benches from their homes in order to make us comfortable.  While we were visiting one widow, suddenly coffee appeared that had been prepared by a neighbor at this mom’s request, so that she could honor us with a traditional sign of hospitality.  Their hands are busy doing things for others.

Tilahun with Hajiis I witnessed children who are alone, but not always lonely.  Many of the children I met have no parent in their home.  They are double orphans, living alone or with a sibling for so many years that they can’t remember their parents at all.  Being alone is a harsh reality they did nothing to deserve.  Yet, they haven’t given up.  They endure.  They have commitment of will.  Many of these kids describe having a new “family”:  their Hope in Ethiopia social worker, other orphans in the program, and most importantly God.  They have faith in a loving Father and they keep moving forward.

I was deeply inspired and forever changed by what I saw in Zeway, Ethiopia.  I saw widows and orphans running uphill, into the wind.

They face extremely difficult circumstances.  They experience painful memories and emotions.  But, they also have endurance and a deep commitment of will that I have seldom seen.  Because they are grateful, hopeful, and faithful, they are people to be admired, not pitied.  But they need a little help to overcome, and we want to continue to provide that.  Will you join us in meeting the material needs of these orphans and widows in Zeway?  To see how you can keep the hope in their eyes, follow us at www.hopeinethiopia.org or https://www.facebook.com/hopeinethiopia.org, and attend our event at 12:30 on May 18th at Grace Covenant Church in Austin http://grace360.org/th_gallery/ethiopia/.Getu praying


  1. Kebede Lule says:

    A lovely piece of article. Thank you Rebecca!

  2. Sandy Burton says:

    Keep the hope in their eyes! What a beautiful sentence! Love this article, Rebecca! Thank you!

  3. Karen west says:

    How beautifully you expressed the need, the hope and the will to move ahead, Rebecca. I love your written piece and can sense the compassion shared by you and others to help the struggling community. You inspire us to join the cause!

  4. Mom & Dad Kunkel says:

    Reading about the experience brings tears to our eyes. “Running uphill, into the wind,” -What a beautiful metaphor which seems to aptly describe the struggle the people you met – face constantly. You went with the intent to help these people, the people of Zeway, yet you returned having been blessed immeasurably by the people you met and shared the love of Jesus with! May God continue to bless the people of Zeway and those who reach out to help!

  5. Reading this blog brings tears to our eyes. Running uphill and into the wind – what a beautiful metaphor for the struggle the people of Zeway face every day. You left the comforts and security of your home, traveled halfway around the world to share the Love of Christ with the people of Zeway, and returned home much more blessed that when you departed. May God continue to bless the people of Zeway and those who choose to help these people in their daily struggle!

  6. Bezawork Lakew says:

    This is wonderful. God bless you Rebecca.

  7. Abdulfetah Hussein says:

    What an exciting expression, Rebecca may God bless you. Your feeling for the situation you observe is real, I also feel it like you. God can change pray and support until something happen to these community.

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