While in Ethiopia, we took the opportunity to fully know and hear each of our boy’s stories.  They were excited to share them and we made sure they knew we wanted to protect their privacy and story, and that most of these interviews would be solely for them to have someday. 

Each boy was eager to have their turn to tell their story.  Some wanted more time as they felt they had more to share. I’m sure they do.  We set up two chairs facing each other in a private room and smiled at them while they opened up.

Menge sat casually across from them and asked them about their lives.  How did you end up on the streets?  Where are you from?  How long did you live on the streets and what was it like?  At the end, he would ask the boys to compare their life on the street versus their life now with the care of Hope Overflowing.  Their responses were pretty much all the same as they couldn’t even compare the two.  Night and day.   They would laugh and say to Menge, “How can you even ask me that?!”

 All shared deep hurts. Rejection. Loss. All of our boys have spent time in prison, been beaten by police, and have overcome addictions.

The last question Menge asked brought us all to tears with the answers. 

“What would you like to be when you grow up?”

Along with a few dreams of being a star soccer player, doctor or mechanic, all of the boys said,

“I want to do for someone else what you guys are doing for me.” 

I want to be like you. Giving back. 

There is an understanding and gratitude these boys possess for their situation and newfound opportunity at life.  Reminds me of, “Those that hunger and thirst for righteousness, shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6) They hunger and thirst for Jesus and His goodness in their lives.  A few said, “I want to change.  I want to be different.  New.”  They don’t want to be who they once were.  The outside is clean, their stomachs are full and fed, and now their hearts and minds hunger for more.

This felt holy and sacred.  An honor to hear their lives and hearts poured out.  To share their pain and be trusted to hold it. 

Thank you, Temesgen, Nati, Naga, Yonas, Jirata, Mezemu, Naol, Ashanafi, Shumet, Dani, Fekadu, and Biruk.