God started weaving Shimsiya and I’s story together in August of 2011. My husband and I had been traveling to Ethiopia for 2 years at this point and had made relationships with several people. Shimsiya was from a village called Shashamene. She was about 17 or 18 years old, blind and begging on the streets. Her mother and father had died and she was left in the care of an aunt. They were struggling to provide for their own children and because of Shimsiya’s disability she was not able to attend regular school. Shane and I were called to sponsor Shimsiya to go to a boarding school that was willing to work with her, and I got to meet Shimsiya in April of 2012.
I quickly realized how smart she was, as she fired question after question at me, through an interpreter. I learned that she could see up until she developed an eye infection at the age of 6 or 7 that was not treated and lead to her blindness. She was a fighter though and didn’t let that stop her. She would ask anyone to read to her, explain things to her and educate her at every opportunity.
Fast forward 2 years, she was doing amazing at her classes at boarding school. Scoring close to or at the top of her class. She loved to sing in the church on campus.
She had made lots of friends who were eager to help her because she genuinely cares about others and has an amazing inner strength. She finished high school and passed her exams to go to University. This meant she would have to move to Addis, which she did. Since moving to Addis, she has finished her regular college courses and has started her Masters.
We are so proud of all her hard work. It is amazing to see what God has done with her life. She gives all the glory to Him.
Today, she is in her last year of her masters degree and plans to work in the Ethiopian government to help strengthen their culture. She is a beautiful, inspiring, young woman and has overcome so much. This past July I had the privilege of traveling with Ordinary Hero, where I was able to spend multiple days serving and just being with Shimshiya. At one point she said to me, “Thank you for loving me with a mother’s love.” I am so blessed to be Shimshiya’s “sponsor mom”.
If you are interested in sponsorship, email JEvans@ordinaryhero.org or visit our Sponsorship Page.