"I feel new life in this home," one of our boys said as he walked into our house in Ethiopia for the first time after living on the streets. And so the boys have named their house. New Life Home. At most recent count, 13 teenage boys are living in our home and learning to accept the love of others and Jesus. This Christmas was a special time to celebrate all that God has done for us this year and look forward to what He has in 2018 (2010 - Ethiopia time).
The house was full of decorations made by the boys since before our western Christmas to their Ethiopian Christmas, just this past Sunday, January 6. Along with our Hope Overflowing staff and caring volunteers, 6 more boys, still living on the streets, were invited to join us on Christmas Day. Gifts were given to all and special focus was given to why, as the birth and gift of Jesus to all of us was explained. His great love. As a group, the Jesus movie was watched and Nati, one of the boys living in the house, read the Christmas story from the book of Luke. Personal testimonies were shared of how God has saved and transformed lives.
Traditionally, sheep are roasted over a fire for an Ethiopian Christmas, something these children have not experienced in quite some time, if ever. A great campfire was built and 3 chickens and 2 sheep were cooked for the feast. Christmas was full of laughter, joy and great happiness!
This wasn't the only celebration! Hope Overflowing was able to provide sheep for four AHOPE group homes! And soccer jerseys for 37 kids! (AHOPE is an orphanage for children living with HIV and has a home for younger children as well as several for older kids living in a group home setting.) Hope Overflowing continues to volunteer and build mentor relationships in these homes.
As we begin this year, our boys are coming to understand what unconditional love really looks like. To experience it. To know the love of Jesus and to experience joy and peace in Him. In fact, the boys have shared with Menge that they want to do the same for others what has been done for them. Beautiful. Everyday more street boys ask to be a part of New Life Home. Menge says there is plenty of room. And we are just trying to keep up with where God is leading in this, His business of saving and transforming lives by His great love.