This little one is only eight years old. Today she is safe.
I want to tell you about No Ordinary Love Ministries in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. NOLM has become a haven and a beacon of hope for many at risk woman and children and my recent visit was confirmation that I should be doing more to help others understand their great works.
NOLM was started by Jimmy and Rachel Gross who moved to Ethiopia with their children nearly four years ago with open hearts and hands.
After spending time listening and learning it was clear that there calling was working with local authorities to serve, protect and reunify at risk or displaced children. NOLM was born and the Emmanuel House is now a refuge for destitute, vulnerable, displaced and or trafficked children and/or young women.
In Ethiopia poverty leads to children migrating from the very rural regions into the capital city of Addis Ababa in order to find jobs or make a better life with the hope of sending funds home to assist family members. Often children are lured by others into jobs that are nothing more than a front. These children become servants, are often abused physically and emotionally and cannot exit this life without escape. While this may be challenging for us to understand, the intense poverty of some families leads to desperate measures and most families are unaware of the dangers of trafficking or slavery. Poverty dictates lack of education and protection and that is why places such as NOLM are so vital within Ethiopia and specifically Addis Ababa. The Emmanuel Community House is located within a neighborhood where up to 20 children can be housed until reunification can take place. The Gross family and the NOLM staff literally spend days searching for the families after the displaced children go through the counseling and support needed to reunite with their families. In addition Emmanuel House exists to support neighborhood women and children in need. Again poverty often generates abuse and or neglect and many need assistance to remove themselves from such pain.
I could go on and on about the importance of NOLM but I would rather you see for yourself by visiting their website to learn about the other ways they continue to minister to those in Ethiopia. There reunification success rate is astounding but the need for sponsorship is great.
It is very apparent during our visits to NOLM that the Gross family seeks to have every woman or child to have an encounter with God. They are such tender and kind people, able to see God in all things great and small and it is obvious they are being used to spread honor, dignity and protection over the Ethiopian people. On Saturdays the Community Center is open for worship and fun for those in the surrounding community. Our team was able to participate in the fun last week. What a difference the bible stories, face paint, games and feast make in building trust between the women and children and NOLM.
I also want to share another way we have recently become involved with NOLM.
This is little Kalkidan. She is so sweet and her eyes sparkle much like my daughter’s eyes. She is a real person with unimaginable hardship. Here is her story…
Kalkidan is just 8 and recently joined the Emmanuel House family. Although she is from a neighborhood nearby it is doubtful her reunification will be easy. At such a young age, her mother has kicked her out of the house several times. Kalkidan has also been given her up for employment in order to support the family. Kalkidan was discovered by the police and brought to NOLM for support and guidance. Kalkidan does not understand why her mother is not caring for her and it appears she has been through a great deal in the last year. Her parents are no longer together and her older siblings are living with grandparents in the rural countryside. More details about her story are just now surfacing and we wanted to help NOLM make a difference in the life of this little girl. We were able to provide a donation that will help NOLM in counseling and caring for Kalkidan in the weeks and maybe even months ahead with the hope of reuniting her with family if it is in her best interest. Meeting Kalkidan and sharing a few smiles and hugs was amazing! We look forward to following Kalkidan’s progress and we rest knowing that Emmanuel House is the best place for her to feel safe and to gain back her confidence and ability to function as the little child she is.
Kalkidan is one child but her story and her future matter and there are many other little children like her. In Ethiopia there are many in need of support but we know that God calls us to stop for the one, to love and serve the one. It begins with one… one idea, one prayer, one step and then God takes it from there. Do yourself a favor and learn more about NOLM. Maybe God will use you to help one with a similar need to little Kalkidan.