Thursday, July 4, 2013
Yabselah - One Child Among Hundreds ----- Guest Post by Clement Wee
Imagine playing with four hundred kids in one small playground. We only had twelve leaders; that’s about thirty-five kids each! I didn't have to imagine - this was reality in Korah...
April 19, 2013. This was the day I met Yabselah. Everyone on our team had been on a mission’s trip before, so we were all familiar with having lots of kids holding on to us at one time. You may know what I mean if you have been on a trip like this before, but every once in a while there will be that one child that really sticks out. Yabselah was that child in Korah.
There were a few things I noticed about her right away. She had an unforgettable smile that is hard to describe, almost a combination of innocence and humility. She was also especially skinny. Most kids will cling on to you and then run off to someone else for attention if you are pre-occupied or too busy. Yet, this one remained faithful. She would hang
around and wait for her turn to be lifted up or swung about.
She was so generous. There were times during the day when I would sneak her some of my lunch because she just looked so hungry. When I gave her a small piece of pizza, she would immediately break off a piece and give it to her brother. Another time I saw her pouring some of her Sprite that we had given her into her friend’s bottle. I could not understand why she wanted to so quickly give away what she was receiving.
Over the next two days as I spent a lot of time with Yabselah, I realized our connection was distinctly special. The language barrier killed me. At times when I would get tired and sit down to rest she would choose to just sit with me even though the other leaders were doing much more fun things. We would sit in silence, yet there was not a hint of awkwardness to it. I tried to communicate to her every once in a while, mustering all of my skills as a Charades champion, and I soon learned that she had a twin brother named Dawit and two older siblings.
She kept probing me to visit her family, saying “mother?” and pointing towards the street. At first I resisted, but she kept asking and I eventually spoke with our leader Berhanu who willingly brought me to her home. Both Yabselah and Dawit were so excited for my visit and when I walked into their house, the first thing I noticed was that it was smaller than my own personal bedroom. Their parents had coffee prepared and popcorn ready for us when we got there. It just blew my mind how hospitable they were in giving what they should be keeping for themselves. We spent some time asking them questions and did an impromptu ‘home assessment’ as they were not part of any sponsorship program in Korah. Lemma, the father, gladly told me his ‘love story’ as to how he met his wife. I won’t go too deep into details, but I’ll tell you that as I was listening to this story, the first thing that came into my mind was “this would be an unreal chick flick.” Basic Premise: Guy and girl start dating. Guy goes off to war; loses both his legs in battle. Writes a letter to girl to tell her to leave him and go be with someone else. They break up. A year later she comes back and tells him that she only wants to be with him (I am guessing this scene is in the rain). They get married and are very happy together….
As we proceeded to learn more about this family, we were told that they are lucky if they eat once a day. Lemma shared that he only cares about his kids’ futures. He would willingly starve for a month, as long as they could eat and have an education. Once again, this is something I just cannot say I understand yet. This noble father was so distinctly different from stories I had heard of many Korah men who so often abandon their families. Up until this day, I had only met widows and children in Korah. Hearing Lemma’s heart and his sincere desire for his children to have a better future than himself really impacted me and I could not shake it off.
I’ll never forget that day nor will I ever forget that family. I did not realize then that the story was not over and later, after much discussion with Eve and Berhanu, it was decided that the entire Lemma family would be added to the Hope for Korah Family sponsorship and Berta Breakfast programs. And you will never guess who their lucky sponsor is! Yes, how blessed I am - Praise the Lord! Every time I think of this family, I am always brought back to a place of joy.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT
HOW GOD IS WORKING IN KORAH
Watch this VIDEO
of Clement and his team serving
with Hope for Korah