This is tough, but then there's hope.

I had a tough time writing more after that last update. Each of my last few days in Ethiopia seem more precious after my time at Make Your Mark. Actually, somehow life seems more precious. 

That's what God has been doing in my heart. Reminding me how much he values each of us, and how even in a broken world... He is here. 

He is here in this room, while I'm holding a lap-full of kiddos who are laughing and giggling while seeing themselves on the screen of my camera and He is there when I leave to go home. When my heart hurts for the things I've seen that are hard. My God is big enough to be there and here, and everywhere else too.

We also visited with No Ordinary Love Ministries, they rescue trafficked children and work to reunite them with their families. Incredible. Each child there was a picture of hope to me. Each child was a shining beacon, waiting to be helped, healed and restored. That's what our God does. He restores us to Himself...there is so much freedom and comfort here in the knowledge of that goodness. It's not made-up, or distorted, it is just the truth. The truth of a loving God.

One thing that has really impacted me on this trip is the way each ministry we have visited seeks to solve a different part of one equation.

Ebenezer Shepherding Ministries - Orphanage for Children, for any children who do not have a home, but also specifically ones who were abandoned or believed to be cursed by their community and children with special needs.

Begin With One - provides orphan care and works with the village of Chapa to meet their education needs

Embracing Hope - offers daycare and support to single parents so they can keep their children

Make Your Mark - provides support and rehabilitation for boys who are ready to leave their life on the street

No Ordinary Love Ministries - rescues trafficked children and restores them to their families

Ellilta -  provides jobs with dignity for women who have overcome prostitution

Each of these organizations is doing amazing work to reduce poverty in Ethiopia.

What's helpful? Most of these ministries need sponsorship, providing monthly support by sponsoring families, children, or women helps these organizations plan, knowing they'll have your donation coming in. I've also learned that its so important to support organizations that are searching for the best ways to help without hurting, who know that their involvement carries the weight of creating a potential culture of dependency and who look for ways to minimize that.