Stop for a moment with me and smile – for the joy in this picture…
Ted* (far right) is totally preoccupied and won’t look at the camera. He’s two, which is so typical.
Ben* (middle) is squirmy and so full of life you feel like you’re constantly watching for the next thing he’ll try.
The other three are all kinds of spice and sweet – full of giggles and life and the ability to let it all out and dance.
These are beautiful, fun-loving, NORMAL kids.
This picture embodies so much of what we hope for when we talk about empowering families and reaching the most vulnerable because each one of these kids would have been considered the MOST VULNERABLE not so long ago. You wouldn’t know it by looking at these beautiful kids now, would you? But reality?
One is HIV+.
One was an orphan adopted by a friend of her biological mother’s.
One was nearly aborted.
All were born to single mothers who were working on the streets just to scrape together money for the day.
From their birth, each child faced insurmountable odds that they would never live past their fifth birthday. But when their moms received the life-giving help to get off the streets, things started changing. In the support they received and the message they heard about a Jesus, hope began to spring forth. Maybe their children wouldn’t die young. Maybe there could be more than simply surviving. And as their moms received the counseling, support and vocational training they needed to make a long-term change, each of these kids started facing a new future too.
When you get involved in combating exploitation in Ethiopia, you’re making pictures like this possible. You’re making redemptive stories of God’s love happen for desperate moms and their precious kids. And because of the new hope and the new life they are given, these kids can be kids. They don’t face starvation today. They are getting the medications they need. They are going to school. They are filled with life because their futures are secure. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a future to be excited about!