Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 240 (part 2) - Uncle Ethiopia...

I am BLOWN away...seriously, blown away. More about that in a minute.

I have a story I want to share with you.

About two years ago, a family welcomed the birth of their eighth child. She had a beautiful, shining face that could light up the night sky. Unfortunately, the family's happiness was short lived. When the precious baby girl was only two months old, her father passed away from a very preventable, curable illness. Because he lived in rural Ethiopia, preventive care was not available to him. Two short months later, the baby's mom also passed away. The mom's brother (who has many children of his own) welcomed that sweet baby girl and her siblings into his home with loving arms. He did his very best to care for that baby for two months. He named her. He held her. He loved her. He prayed for her. He did is his very best to feed her. However, when he took in that baby girl and her siblings, the amount of food in his home did not change. But he took the small amount of food he had and he fed his newly, extended family. He is a good man. He was happy to do this for his sister that had passed away.

As a very small baby, her only source of food ended when her mother passed away. For two months, this uncle did everything in his power to care for that tiny baby. Unfortunately, he was unable to run to Wal-Mart and purchase a can of formula for her and she could not eat the same food he and his family ate. When the baby was six months old, he realized that the baby would not live much longer unless he turned her over to a government orphanage in his area. This made him very sad, but his love for her was pure and unselfish. She stayed one night in that local orphanage. The day after the uncle dropped her off at the local orphanage, the orphanage director rushed her to the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, where she was immediately admitted into the hospital. The precious, tiny baby girl was in and out of the hospital many times over the next two months as she learned how to eat and to recover from her severe malnourishment. To God's glory, she did learn to eat. To God's glory, she also began to gain strength.

And by the grace of God, we received a call on March 6, 2009 telling us that our family had been matched with that perfect, tiny baby girl!

This story, the story of my daughter, breaks.my.heart. It is so sad. It is tragic. It is unfair.

But you know what? It isn't that uncommon. It happens all of the time in Africa. Children are orphaned every single day because their parents pass away from preventable diseases. Did you know that "unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Children are especially vulnerable, as their bodies aren't strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery and other illnesses (source - Charity:Water)."

When I met Julianne's uncle (whom we affectingly refer to as "Uncle Ethiopia"), he poured out his heart to me. He told me about the area where he lives. He told me that it is poor...very, very poor. He told me that the living conditions in his village are miserable. He told me that food is scarce.

You know what else he told me? He told me that he was so thankful that Julianne was being adopted by a Christian family. He told me that he had prayed that Julianne would be raised in a Christian home. He told me that he loves Jesus.

I think Uncle Ethiopia is one of the most incredible people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I am honored to have him as a part of my family.

Uncle Ethiopia has an inner joy that can only come from Jesus. He loves Jesus even though he was born into a part of the world where food is scarce, disease is rampant and clean water is a luxury.

That is beautiful. That is pure. That is amazing.

He inspires me to be a better person. He inspires me to step outside of my comfort zone to ask people to donate money to build a well. Most importantly, he inspires me to strive to be a better Christian.

I want to build a well so people living in circumstances similar to Uncle Ethiopia will see that their sisters and brothers in Christ care about them.

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Will you join me? Friends of Fanose.

With tears of joy in my eyes, I am thrilled to tell you that the Friends of Fanose well fund is up to $3005!!!!! $600 of which came in while I was writing this post! I am blown away by your generosity. Because of all of you, 150 people will have access to clean, safe, healthy water! No matter what...150 people WILL get clean water! I don't know about you, but that makes my heart soooooo very happy :o)

We are over half way there! We need to raise another $1995 to be able to dedicate the well in honor of that precious, sweet baby girl, Julianne Fanose and in memory of her birth parents. I pray that we are able to raise the remaining funds needed, but even if we don't I am thrilled (THRILLED) that 150 will have access to clean water :o)

4 comments:

Melanie said...

That post is BEAUTIFUL! you just got me all teary eyed! It's inspiring to see how this people is suffering but they're strong and they smile.

Heather said...

Wonderful News! Hey...on your charity water web site it says you have 31 days left...no? If so, you just may make it! :) So awesome.

Heather M.

Marianne said...

Is there 31 days left? I want to give but can't get it in quite this quickly.

Neil, Amy and The Girls said...

Yes, we have been given 30 more days to raise the remaining funds needed to build the well!!! Yeah!!!

I am thankful to say, there is plenty of time to get your donations in!

Thank you guys!!!