As my team and I prepared to go on our Night Light visits my soul began to creep into the reality of what these visits do to me. They shake me, they break me and the empower me to be a voice for the forgotten ones of the world. I had a friend once say “Carmen you guys are always asking for money.” After nights like the one I experienced last night, the ones before that and the ones to come, I will always ask for money to help them. After each day I know that some of our boys at the center are ready to be placed in our next step which is a transition home and we have to send them back to the streets because we have no place for them to go because of money I will always ask for them.
Covered as much as I could be besides covering my face I was clothed in disguise. My hooded sweatshirt hiding my locks and my hands in my pockets trying to make that I was a white girl not as obvious to those who would be looking wondering why we have stopped to talk to “those kids.” Every single time I stop and talk to a street kid it attracts attention even to the one who is looking from behind and can’t tell the color of my skin. There is something mysterious about these children to the locals yet something frightening as well that keeps them from being the ones to stop and getting to know their names, their stories and why they call the streets home.
It never fails we always get some drunk guy that just loves to shout and scream drawing more attention to us. Last night there was a group of 6 of us. The one guy just kept on and on. While I was squatting down talking to these two boys my team was radically engaging in conversation with this drunk man trying to occupy his mind while we were learning who these two precious kids were. As the conversations above me continued to get heated and louder I decided to remove myself from this group and let our son Belay take over in conversation with these boys.
I walked away with our daughter Amilly and it wasn’t long and a little about 7-8 year old boy came running saying “Carmen, Carmen.” I recognized him from the time I spend in the streets getting to know them, feeding them, praying with them and encouraging them. A lot of the kids have wondered where I have been because they have not seen me in a while. Once I got pregnant I was extremely sick and obviously couldn’t hide my hippopotamus belly so it has been a long while since I have been to see my friends, HIS children, THE ONES He loves and has so much purpose for.
It felt good to be back in the streets using my God given gifts to LOVE All-OUT. Please do not confuse the feeling of good as easy or accepted. It wouldn’t take long and the comments would be yelled from the windows “You white girl, why are you here?” “You can’t help these kids you are wasting your time.” My response to them is always the same I stand and boldly ask “Would you like to help us help them?” The answer is always the same “NO.”
These were just a couple of the comments that I could understand because they were in English. I can’t even imagine the things that were being yelled at me that were in Amharic. The very thing that God has called you to just because you love it does not mean that you will not hurt; it does not mean that it will not be painful and wreck you every single time. However what it does mean is that He will do a great work through you if you are willing. Thank you God for making me, well me for your purpose and plan for the street kids of the world specifically in this moment Addis Ababa Ethiopia, thank you for always being my strength in my very weakness that strengthens me stronger than ever before in moments where I want to just cave in and crumble to pieces.
I heard my daughter Amilly’s voice “Carmen do you see him, it is him, it is Abraham.” I turned around and here was our boy walking up the street I could not believe it. Even with my glasses on I still could not believe this was him. He had grown so much since our last encounter. He stood at least 5”5 now, that same BIG beautiful smile, no shoes, and a very over sized faded green sweatshirt that was stretched badly probably from a fight or a getaway of some sort. His clothes were filthy and you could hardly recognize that they once were a color. He had a long cape like material draped over himself that reminds me so much of the mentally ill street adults that walk around the streets helpless with no clue of anything that is going on around them. We ran towards each other and just held each other for what seemed like minutes in my heart. ( There is so much history here, To read about our journey with Abraham please read previous written blogs) Our boy has chosen to live a life on the streets and ran away from home for the last time almost a year ago. Although it hurts like crazy I love when God specifically crosses our paths. I know He is not yet done with Abraham. We are praying that when we are able to bring in our next cycle of street boys that he is ready to be one of them.
During the time in this specific area that probably makes hell look a little more warming I had to defend the street kids we were with. Each cop that would walk by would have their billy stick ready to hit and attack the kids. Not knowing who I was I would turn around and step in front of the kids. Pleading to the cops that there was no problem with them and thanking them for not hurting them. This happened at least three times had I not stepped in front the kids would have gotten beaten right there out in front of everyone. This is why we have to defend them. iDefend.
We continued to move on because you really can’t stay in one place for long or some very powerful forces from the dark side will join in and try to take over. They are really scary situations that by the power and protection of Jesus we seem to make it through safely each time. You feel the Holy Spirit nudge you when it is time to move. This is why we have follow up visits and begin building relationships. Our Night Light visits are simply to be a light in the darkness to his chosen ones. We had a follow up visit today from one of the boys we met last night. His name is Roba please begin to pray for him by name.
As we are walking we see this huge fire in the middle of the roundabout. It wouldn’t be long before we realized why it was there. The next group of street kids we stopped to talk to let us know that the police had just taken all their belongings and burnt them. Not that they had much but a dirty smelly bug infested blanket at night to keep you somewhat warm in the cold rainy night is worth gold to them. And now they had nothing it was gone all because of what?
We had two of our Make Your Mark street boys with us Abi and Santayo. It was beautiful to see Santayo talking to some of the street kids and explaining what it was that was different in his life. Even though these boys still live in the streets there is something different in them and it is visible to the others. Since coming to the day center one of them has given his life to Jesus and the other is not far from it. Change is taking place and we are in awe of our Father in heaven for who He is and what He is doing.
The absolute hardest part of this night was when it was time to leave. We were now at another location with about 20 boys huddled up together under the bus stop. We had to leave Abi and Santayo behind. When I met these boys 2-2/12 years ago they were just like the ones we had seen throughout the night, all of them. But not tonight, tonight they were different. They do not belong on the streets anymore. After being with us at the day center these boys are ready to be taken off the streets and yet I had to drive away holding back tears as I waved and blew them kisses goodbye.
The reason why they are still on the streets is because we are waiting for funding for our first transition home. This will be a home where the boys who we feel are ready for the next step and truly desire change in their lives will come off the streets and live with an Ethiopian husband and wife. This couple will be mom and dad to these boys. Each boy will have a special need that we will meet uniquely. Some boys will be going to school in the fall, some will learn a trait that they can begin working and save money to get their own place to live, some will be receiving counseling and being prepared to be reunified with their families. Ones that are truly orphans will be prepared to become part of a family learning through our transition home how a family functions then prayerfully will be adopted.
The monthly amount needed for our transition home is $772.00 This will include the rent of the home, food, water , electric, all school fees for kids and uniforms, medical care for the kids, salary for one of the parents while the other continues to go to their job, any outings, hygiene materials, counseling and training. This is for about 8 boys and house parents. There will also be a one-time set up cost to get the things needed for the home that will be around $3,158.62.
So here I am again you know the one who is always asking for money asking YES again. These boys have needs and deserve and have shown us and our staff that they are ready to come off the streets. Will it be perfect absolutely not but we know it will be good, His plan with these children to love them, teach them who He is to them and build them up for great purposes and use them to change their country and possibly the world if they are willing. As long as my Heavenly Father has me in a position to be an advocate for the orphaned and street kids of the world I will always ask. Please do not get tired of me asking but yet grateful to be a part of what DADDY is doing in and through your sacrificial giving.
Both Abi & Santayo are being sent to the streets every night until we can open our transition home.
Help us get these boys off the streets. They are ready.