Hope in Ethiopia is in its 4th year and it is always amazing to see the progress of the partnership. A team goes to Zeway at least once a year, and we are excited that this team is forming now.
The trips are usually about 10 days long. About 4 of those days are spent on an airplane and an additional day is spent driving to Zeway and back. So that leaves a team about 5 days to visit orphans and widows and build relationships with the local church and Food for the Hungry as they serve the children directly.
Five days is not enough time to transform a community especially considering that language and culture is a barrier to communication. But it is enough time to transform individuals and that is often what happens to trip team members. Trip team members see poverty in a whole new way– and not just physical poverty. Certainly, the small huts, little food, and the meager belongings bring a person to great conviction of their own riches and a deep sense of gratefulness. But people who go to Zeway also see their own spiritual poverty and that brings transformation to the individuals.
You see, in Zeway the widows and orphans share their lives with visitors. They grieve, and they rejoice with visitors. They are open about their needs and their spiritual lives. For instance, Amaloek, a dying widow with three children, shared with a team, “The word of God is my food. It is what sustains me to the next day.” The people who heard those words knew that Amaloek had ONLY the word of God. She really was sustained by the Bible alone. How often do we see the Bible as truly our way of survival? A necessity like food, water and air. Amaloek knew God’s word as her source of life and the people who witnessed this and even the people who hear this story are often moved by Amaloek’s great faith and need for God’s word.
Teams that go to Ethiopia are so important to the work that goes on in Zeway. They bring encouragement and a perspective of our sovereign God to the people there. They return with good news, and feedback on how we can work together better. But equally important, teams that go to Zeway return with stories of spiritual and physical poverty and hope that can continue to transform lives for a lot longer than their 10 day adventure to Ethiopia.