His Scars-Our Home
Vestine and her family of nine escaped the war torn Congo and made their way through the jungle of Rwanda and into Ethiopia. They survived-alone in the crowded streets of Addis Ababa, unsure of where to call their permanent “home”. Days turned to months, and months into four years. To many, they were a number, 9 foreign faces of a near MILLION REFUGEES. Then March 2014 came.
“But are You willing to go?!” God’s voice echoed in my head as I prayed one March evening for willing missionaries from our church to go to Ethiopia to advocate for the foreigners. Stories of isolation and fear among immigrants in Ethiopia trickled down to our ears, stirring our hearts to willingness and action. Then we met Vestine and her family.
Vestine and her family eventually were one of the few picked by a Lottery system to come to the United States. The same Month God told us to “go”, God brought Vestine into our lives—the very people he was asking for us to ADVOCATE for. Within a week, Light of the Nations’ colorful arms joyfully embraced them as friends…our friends.
We signed them up for school, helped broken arms mend, soccer was played, Bible stories shared and lots of food consumed. In short—we did what we knew we could do. But God brought them into our lives not so much for us to help them, but for them to remind us of what God was calling us to.
Vestine and her family's story is like thousands of families STILL in ETHIOPIA, trying to survive, trying to understand, and trying to figure out where “home” is.
We are going, so that Ethiopia can be a HOME for refugees like them. We are going so that African refugee children can belong, and receive the education and community they so long for. We go so that they can stay. That as the church community embraces the foreigners—that is where they can belong. And we go to ever proclaim that in Jesus’ scars is where we find our true and ultimate home.
We are sad to leave our new friends. When we told them we are going to Ethiopia there were many tears. Haley sat down with Vestine last week and told them what part of Addis Ababa we plan on living in. Turns out not only is there a large Refugee community there, but several of Vestine’s closest friends live in the same area! As we go, we are now armed with phone numbers of the first Refugee families to visit in the very neighborhood we will be living in. “Coincidence” or God’s plan?
Now, after many years of limbo, Vestine and her family have a place to call their “home.” For us, she is more than a number…and more than a face in a crowded street. For us, she represents and reminds our hearts of all the people who will turn from a number to a name, and change Ethiopia from a place of wayfaring to a place called “home.”
Join us in ADVOCATING for the “Vestines” in Ethiopia.