A Birthday Wish { for 17 kids}

Everything about her is changing.  Like the newly emerging flowers and budding trees ready to burst this spring,  she is beginning to blossom into a little lady. We can see it as she searches for independence and boldly professes her ideas and opinions. It’s a miracle to watch happen right before our eyes.

Today she turns seven and marks for us all a new season, a fresh start if you will. I think it’s what I love about birthdays. It’s a day to reset,  reflect, to explore and dream of what is next.  Tonight we will celebrate the gift that this child is not only to our family but to all who know her.  We’ll celebrate her birthplace and pray for the woman who gave her life in spite of harsh circumstances.  We will embrace all the changes we see on her horizon and discuss the ways we see God working in and through her little life.

With spring sports and two of our kids in lead roles in a musical (Footloose) opening next week we have been a tad busy and frankly planning a bday bash fell off the radar.  When we finally dug in she insisted all the girls she knows be invited.  She is a wee bit social so you can imagine the list.    We love hosting birthday parties but all those gifts?  We have grown to wish birthdays could be less of a lavish affair.     “Ava for your birthday what if we shared the story of the Chapa children who need sponsors in order to grow up strong and educated just like you?”  I said,  thinking aloud.  ” We could ask friends to consider sponsoring a child from Chapa or making a donation toward new uniforms or shoes instead of gifting something to you.”    Ava did not hesitate.

So this weekend when we host our two hour basement dance party birthday bash we have asked that kids (parents… thank you)  do not bring a gift.  Instead we are spreading the word about these 17 children of Chapa, Ethiopia who long to be part of our sponsorship program.

Click here to see their profiles:

The children of Chapa long to have someone walk alongside them.  To bless them with letters, prayers and loving support.   We are asking you consider giving to them in honor of Ava. Give to them in honor of your own child and the growth you see as you are watching them bloom this spring season.

Peace on the journey,





One thought on “A Birthday Wish { for 17 kids}”

  1. Hi Melanie,

    Not sure if you remember me from East Church. I so admire your compassion and dedication so from time to time I check your blog to read about your trips to Ethiopia and see how that is filling your life. I think about your trips to Ethiopia and wonder, what if?

    I just had to comment on Ava’s birthday bash, no presents, donate instead. So impressive that she whole-heartedly supported this mission with you. It reminded me of an opposite type conversation I had, maybe 10 years ago, with a store manager in GR. I had stopped in a kid toy store looking for items for my “school store.” I forget the name of the store but it is/was in the shopping plaza on the corner of 28th and E. Paris, where the shoe store is. Anyhow, I noticed that there was a registry for presents so I asked about it. I could not believe my ears – a registry for birthday presents? I tried to be polite but my incredulity flashed on my face and words slipped out of my mouth. I was so taken aback that I told her, as much as I liked her store, I couldn’t shop at a store that promoted and supported birthday gift registries for children. I applaud you and Ava for rising up and giving life to such an important human value.

    Ana Dunn

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