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"I Set Out to Change Lives -- But a Courageous Young Boy Changed Mine" Guest Post by Jake Boner

Over the course of the last three years, God has put a place in the center of my heart -- Korah, a neglected & poverty stricken community outside of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. For me, Korah is more than just an urban slum on the outskirts of Ethiopia’s capital city. Korah is the epicenter of my most meaningful relationships and the beginning of my spiritual journey.

I began my first short-term missions trip with mountains of ambition and the goal to improve the lives of the people of Korah, who suffer from extreme poverty and dangerous living conditions. As I reminisce and write this post years later, I can tell you that my ambition is still unbeatable and that I have had experiences that will affect my life forever. I have learned so much by

observing, interacting, and building relationships within the community of Korah. In the end, I myself have learned far more from the people of Korah than I ever could have taught them.
This September, I witnessed first-hand the painful reality of everyday life in Korah when I met a young boy named 'Alayu'. When I first encountered Alayu, he was hobbling through Korah on only one leg with both of his eyes covered in rags. As my eyes made contact with him, he tripped suddenly and was thrown to the ground. Unable to see where he was going and without anyone to help him, he had lost his balance and fell. He looked so defeated and helpless as he lay in the dirt. I had no idea who this boy was but I immediately rushed over and helped him to stand. As I began to inquire more about Alayu's story, I learned he had lost his leg in an accident while scavenging at the local garbage dump trying to earn enough money to eat. He was run over by a bulldozer. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he had recently lost his mother and discovered that he was HIV positive. I could not begin to comprehend how any child could bare such enormous challenges at such a young age. That entire day, Alayu and his story did not leave my mind. God had put him on my heart.
I met Alayu the next day and brought him to the local medical clinic. I carried him in to the nurse, and asked her if she could do anything for him. She cleaned his eyes and for some time we prayed over him. Having done all we could, we left Alayu in God’s hands.
In January, when I returned , I felt a small hand touch my back. As I turned around, I saw Alayu looking up at me with gleaming eyes, both as good as new. He took a few steps back and proudly showed me his new prosthetic leg. He was as proud as could be. He had a giant smile on his face and all I could do was embrace him. Alayu was now a part of Hope for Korah's Family Sponsorship program. For much of that morning he would not leave my side. He was a whole new person, beaming and full of life. It was truly a miracle. I have never experienced first hand, a story of redemption as mighty as this. God has a special purpose for Alayu's life. His trials and woes have been turned into smiles and praise. I look forward to watching Alayu grow up to be a strong leader and voice for Korah. He has forever changed my life and will always remain very close to my heart. I set off to change lives, but I never imagined how a courageous young boy named Alayu would forever change mine.
To read more about Alayu's Story, read previous post: