The local leaders, Children’s Hopechest national staff and our wonderful translators were ready to head out. Only half of our group decided to journey along while the other half of our team committed to finishing all the foot care for the children. Arrangements had been made to meet several of the sponsored children’s families and or caregivers and while we had little idea what we were getting ourselves into we were ready. It turned out to be a journey of a lifetime.
Cactus and false banana leaves line many of the homes in the Chapa village. While the huts are meager they are very well kept and it is obvious that each person does their part to keep the land and the home in the best shape possible. We began to climb and with the altitude it was not long before we were all breathing heavy and realizing we were heading into the stunning mountain range that surrounds Chapa. Many of the children ran alongside us so excited to share their village. Children giggled and held our heads, assisting us up rocky terrain. All I could do was focus on my breathing and further surrender to God who had delivered me to such a place of spectacular beauty. All I did was say yes a few years ago and from there all of the research, exploration and threads were woven to steer us in the direction of returning to Ethiopia and specifically the village of Chapa.
There are few words to describe the feeling of villagers running out of their huts to greet you shake your hand and smile. It was clear that they were so flattered that we would come such a great distance, returning for a third time, to further invest in their community. The hugs, the handshakes, the broken communication of mutual love, adoration and respect. It was extraordinary. A few of us were able to see the homes and meet the caregivers of the children we sponsor at Chapa. Tears flowed and the gratitude given to the one who needs no translation as parents and caregivers waved their hands in the air shouting “Jesus” over and over. We shared how honored we are to sponsor their children and how we look to the future where all the children in the village will be able to be educated and grow to become whatever it is they are called to be. We expressed the privilege we share to support them as a community and that we all serve an amazing God who would connect the threads of so many in the USA with their extraordinary village in rural Ethiopia.
They asked for nothing but instead thanked us for returning and advocating for them. They thanked us for believing in their children and loving them right where they are. In those moments there was no distance between us, no language barriers and no difference in purpose.
Experiencing the entire trip with my thirteen year old son will forever be a highlight in my life. For him the hike through the hills of Chapa is a highlight in his life and we often refer to it as the day we felt like we were in a National Geographic film in a community we have grown to love. Hayden’s generous heart was further opened and watching him die to himself and let go of barriers and fears was so special. A trip to Ethiopia is not easy. The conditions are difficult, the smells, the food, the language and cultural barriers and the overall poverty hits hard yet the exposure and the stretching is so needed. While living easy lives filled with opportunity and privilege is not wrong, it is my deep calling to help my children to know that not everyone has the same protection, education and support that they have been born into. I long for my children not to simple be happy but rather to seek out ways to surrender their lives to help those who struggle.
One visit to the Chapa community and anyone would be all in, wondering how to help to fulfill their dreams and ideas, protect and educate the women and children and more importantly how to go deeper into who they are as a community. I already long to return…
If you wish to sponsor a Chapa child please go to:
Peace and Grace,