It has been almost a month since this new life began for our 12 boys at the Hope Overflowing House in Addis Ababa. Dramatic changes, fun, laughter, serious talks, tough times, games, counseling, prayer - all happening at the same time! We are seeing so much good as well as many difficult challenges side by side. God is faithfully at work in this home and in these boy's lives.
One of the huge changes we have seen has come with the boy's learning to love one another well. On the streets there was a lot of fighting. Fighting with each other. Fighting with others. Fighting to survive. We are now seeing our boys learn to care for one another. Learn to love.
Even with this love, a safe home, food to eat, we are still seeing some of the boys make bad decisions. A few have chosen to return to the streets for a time, a night or two, and then come back to the Hope Overflowing House. Usually, they are drawn back to the streets by friend groups and the lure of drugs. This has happened a few times and has not been the best influence for the group of boys who are committed to positive change in their lives. We are providing an amazing opportunity for them, but sometimes it is hard to accept such goodness. It is hard to understand why they would give up something so good and go back to their former lives, but there is a real struggle and battle for these boys lives! The enemy does not want to see them living whole and fully for Him. He does not want peace and healing. Please pray for God's power to overcome. For the victory in their lives!
Hope Overflowing has been actively discussing with the local police and the government agency, MOWA(Ministry of Women's and Children's Affairs), on how best to help the boys, and all children, living on the streets. Recently, two local police officers who are familiar with our boys from the Stadium area where they lived, came to our home to visit them. They were very impressed by the changes they saw in the boys and took the time to encourage and remind them to take this opportunity for good.
All of our boys have a story, and as you can imagine, they are frequently filled with pain and heartache. Some have family that can be found and want to know their sons are safe. We were able to locate one of our boys, Nati's, mom. She and Nati's younger siblings were living in a small, one room home with their stepfather. Nati's mom was greatly reassured that her son is doing well and very thankful for the care he is getting. These situations are complicated and sometimes hard to understand, but we are thankful that we are able to give Nati's family the peace to know that her son is being taken care of and that God has great plans for him.
At Hope Overflowing House, our boys are given 3 meals a day plus a snack in the afternoon as well as ample activities are provided, such as playstation, table tennis, soccer, games, and movies (Menge says, "only the good ones.") :). Almost every day there is time for group counseling, as well as one on one counsel. We are currently pursuing a professional counselor to come regularly to the home. A couple of our volunteers are coming weekly to spend time with the boys and encourage and guide them. As time goes on, decisions will be made to help the boys pursue an education either through the local schools, or a skill-set they can build an independent future on.
As always, thank you for your faithful prayers and support for Hope Overflowing!