#BetterTogether- Becky Highsmith, Sponsorship Coordinator for Addis Jemari
Addis Jemari is sharing with all of you a unique series about the heart and soul behind AJ…all of YOU and how we are better together. Here is a word from our sponsorship coordinator, Becky Highsmith, and why she agrees we are #BetterTogether.
I asked her how she became a Christian as we rode down the bumpy, busy streets of the capital city of Ethiopia one Sunday morning last October. She shared with me that she was an 8 year-old little girl growing up in a large family that could barely provide the basic needs for her and her siblings. They grew up with little hope and without Jesus. This all changed when she enrolled in a sponsor program and someone chose to sponsor her. Because someone on the other side of the world said yes, she was given education, support, and hope. She learned about the love of Jesus through the program and she told me that it “changed the trajectory of her life.” Those words struck me and I constantly think about them.
Trajectory: def. the path followed by an object (girl) moving under the action of given forces.
I like to imagine an arrow (girl) being shot toward a target (the cycle of poverty) and then something (child sponsorship) directed that girl into a different direction. She was given hope, education, opportunity for a brighter future because someone said yes and sponsored her. One woman’s story, a real life situation, changed by a small sacrifice given by a stranger that said yes.
I heard this story on my very first day that I was in Ethiopia. It was my first trip overseas and let me tell you, I was experiencing a bit of culture shock and “comfort shock.” It’s interesting how helpless and small you feel when all that you know and all that you love is on the other side of the world. When comfort is stripped away, God becomes more real than ever before because you are wholly dependent and relying on Him.
God has always been real to me and a part of my life since I was very young. Sadly, I’ve probably taken Him for granted most of my life, like an old distant grandfather patiently waiting and always loving. It wasn’t until a tough season hit a few years ago, that I began to realize who God really was and…who He wasn’t. So, my God learning journey began and led me to say YES to a mission trip to China, which actually turned out to be Ethiopia. And that’s the really neat part of being on a God-journey. You learn that He’s in control of your life and He makes all the calls on this path He has directed for you. And because He is God and you are certain of His overwhelming goodness and unfailing love for you, you allow Him to lead you on this journey. You open up your hands to the life He has planned for you because He knows best. Which is how I found myself in Ethiopia listening to this woman tell me about her God-journey, while in her country helping the poor and visiting the orphans.
At the end of my week in Ethiopia, I was able to meet my own sponsor child. I was so grateful for the opportunity to spend a week in his country and experience their beautiful culture. Like most first-visited countries, Ethiopia had stolen a piece of my heart. When we chose to sponsor six years ago, I never imagined that I would actually getting to meet the sweet 12 year old boy whose growing pictures had been on our refrigerator all that time and whose name had been in our family’s daily prayers. My heart felt like it could burst the moment that I saw him in the restaurant where we met. The encounter was an experience that I will never ever forget and I’m told that he won’t forget it either. I pray that the money that we send monthly and the prayers we pray daily is helping to change the trajectory of his life. I pray that he will have his own God journey to tell others and I’m so humbled and grateful to be a small part of it.
Sponsorship is a gift. It’s a life direction changer for a real someone in need of help and hope. Be the one to help start their God-journey while adding to your own. Say yes to this gift.
Psalm 41:1a~Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
~Becky Highsmith, Sponsorship Coordinator for Addis Jemari