#ChangePartner Story: H4H Girls Retreat

Written by Lauren Putty

Hope for the Hopeless is one of our partner ministries that provides a safe place to live for at-risk youth. Many of the children have come from the streets, abusive families, extreme poverty, or have been orphaned.

A few months ago I had the privilege of accompanying 20 of the teenage girls from these centers on a 3-day girl’s retreat. This was a time intended for growth, vision, restoration, and FUN. Although most of them have been through more than most of us can imagine, we believe God has amazing plans for their lives and the goal of this retreat was for them to leave believing that too.

We took them to a city called Hawassa, about 5 hours from Addis Ababa, where there are lakes and many things to do. Many of the girls said that they did not sleep the night before in anticipation, and others said they had never even seen a lake before.

Many prayers were lifted up in the months and weeks leading up to the trip, and on an early morning in February, we were off! I rolled into the orphanage at 6AM in our giant bus, and all 20 of the girls came piling out in their most stylish outfits with smiles across their faces.

Among the things we did during our time in Hawassa were boating on the lake, listening to the stories and testimonies of influential Ethiopian leaders, swimming at a resort, and of course, eating lots of amazing food. Most of these foods they would only eat on holidays.

We were also able to serve at another partner ministry of ours in Yirgalem, Ethiopia. Here, they were able to pray with the poor and play with children from the village. For many of them, this was their favorite part of the trip.

Saturday night was the capstone. We were able to have a lakeside feast at a beautiful resort, and since many of the girls have family members in the city of Hawassa, they were able to invite them to dinner and get some special time with their families. After saying our goodbyes to their family members and heading back to the hotel, we all crammed into a small hotel room at around 10PM for a time of prayer, worship, and encouragement. The room filled with praise as the girls began lifting the secrets of their heart to the Lord. Three of the leaders of our trip spoke powerfully on vision and hope, and we closed the night after midnight with one last prayer. As we drifted off to sleep that night one of the girls said, “Tonight was like heaven.” It truly was a taste of heaven on Earth in that small hotel room in Hawassa, Ethiopia.

 

We believe in investing in the lives of those we serve. Sure, we could probably get larger numbers with a different strategy, but we believe that if we intentionally invest our time, resources, and love into the children in our programs, they will realize their full God-given potential and go on to do great things for others. Below are some words from the girls after the trip:

“I learned many things: First, trust in God. Second, even if you have small things you can make people happy. Third, in any situation there is hope.” 

“Within three days, everything inside of me changed.” 

“The Yirgalem trip made me the most happy. Before this time, the people were visiting me, but now God gave me the chance to visit others.” 

“Only God knows how much my joy was.” 

“The trip was very good and it is the reason my thoughts have changed. I learned we can visit people not only with money, clothes, and food, but there is more than this: the love of Christ. He gives us His love and we can give it to other people.” 

“Some people, including me, say, “Lord, why did this happen?” and we ask Him every time why why why. But God created us full of health and I learned that we have to thank God. This trip taught me that I have to praise Him in any situation. I praise the Lord for making this program for us.” 

Thank you Change Partners, for making this trip a reality. It would not have been possible without your partnership.

Become A Change Partner

From Founder, Kelly Putty:

I believe all of us want to see change in the world. Change in the lives of the hurting and the forgotten, the hungry and the orphaned. Some of us may even have names and faces that come to mind. But in order to see real change, the change has to start with us. We at Ordinary Hero believe in the importance and power of one life, and I personally want to invite you on a journey with us to continue changing the world for one life at a time.

If you have followed along with Ordinary Hero the past year, you have seen some amazing miracles taking place in the lives that we are blessed to be a part of and serve in Ethiopia. The number of families sponsored across our communities has more than doubled in the past year, impacting thousands of lives on a monthly basis.

We have reached a huge plateau of need that surrounds us and those we serve. But with the need comes lots of opportunity, and with opportunity comes a chance for all of us to link arms in partnership.

So what is the solution for this need? Monthly Change Partners (and free gifts)

We have re-named our monthly donors to ‘Change Partners’ and the reason is simple: monthly donors are the reason we get to see change through Ordinary Hero. Every month, our Change Partners receive an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at the stories unfolding in Ethiopia that they are making possible.

As we mentioned, every single person that signs up as a Change Partner this month receives an exclusive link to our brand new documentary, Ordinary. This documentary captures our family’s summer in Ethiopia, and all that we experienced in an effort to serve those in need in Ethiopia. It also captures the emotional reunion of our adopted son, Nathan, and his mother. This film is the very heartbeat of what we do, and we would love to share it with you.

https://vimeo.com/126296090

So what is the change we’re aiming to create?

We want to see hope for the hopeless, love for the unloved, food for the hungry, friends for the lonely, Christ for the lost, and a future for the orphan.

We will continue to strive to make this a reality in the communities we serve in Ethiopia!

#ChangePartner Story: Enanee

Enanee has lived her last couple of years in quiet suffering in the village of Korah. A mysterious skin condition on her right foot had slowly begun to decay the skin on her feet and eventually caused her to lose some of her toes.

One day last month her 13 year old daughter, Netsanet, came to beg Pastor Tesfaye, our Korah community leader, for help. He agreed to visit and we went to her home together. The sight of her foot was hard to bear, however, Tesfaye jumped immediately into action sending her to a nearby hospital.

The doctor diagnosed her foot as a case of cancer, and said that the bottom half of her leg would have to be amputated to stop the spread from continuing up her leg and into her torso, which she would likely die from.

Thanks to money we had on hand from both our medical fund and our Change Partners, OH was immediately able to send the funds needed and she had her operation within 2 days of her diagnosis. Though amputation is never the most desirable option, after her operation she was filled with words of thanks.

When I asked what she would like to say to you all, she said, “Thank you so much. May God give you a long and healthy life. May God bless you again and again and again and again. You have freed me from my sickness. As you have made me free, I pray that God makes you free from anything unpleasant around you. Thanks to you I can sleep without pain now. Thank you. I am so happy.” Her daughter, Netsanet, thanks you as well.

Your donations do bring change to individuals. Thank you for your support of Ordinary Hero and people like Enanee.

#ChangePartner Story: Tegegn

The first time I met Tegin was in his home in Yiragalem, 7 hours south of Addis. As we walked in he was laying on his bed along with his 4 year old daughter passed out beside him. We quickly realized the situation was severe. As we began talking to him he revealed to us that he was HIV positive and at the time very ill. His family’s food supply had run out days ago.
 
We took down his information, gave him 100 birr ($5) which he could make last 5-7 days if he rationed it, promised to help find a sponsor, and prayed for hope over this seemingly hopeless situation.
After we reported his case back to Kelly Blevins, a sponsor was quickly found and our prayers for him had been answered. Beginning the next month he began receiving a steady supply of food.
The next time we visited, about two moths later, they were a different family. Joy was spread across his face and his daughter was up and running around the house.
During that visit our friend and guest house owner Bizzy shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with him and explained that this is why we had come so far to help him. After hearing, he and Abenezar (the ministry leader in Yirgalem) prayed with him and he received Jesus as his savior.

Now Tegin is out of his bed and walking around for the first time in months. He is filled with a new joy and is full of hope for a bright future. He hopes to soon open a shop in front of his house and begin the road to self sustainability.
Without the support of donors like yourself we would have never made it into the home of Tegin. Thank you for your support.