The Privilege of Relationship: My Internship in Ethiopia

By Alex Carver, Oct 18, 2013
My time in Ethiopia has come to an end. We had gone to love and serve some of the poorest children in the world. But what I realized was that over the course of two months we had become far more than just teachers serving the needs of these kids; we had become their friends.

The last two weeks of the tutoring program went really well—we saw noticeable academic improvements in a number of the kids. But even more rewarding were the relationships we formed with them and the way they blessed our lives. I don’t think I fully understood the bond we had until it came time to say goodbye. There were many hugs and tears all around. Many of the kids kept asking when we were coming back and when they would see us again—it was so hard to answer with, “Lelah gizay, munalibot,” which means, “Another time, maybe.” Saying goodbye to friends for what might be the last time on this earth is never an easy thing to do.

On our last day, one of the boys in my 5th and 6th grade class, who was normally a tough, rowdy, rambunctious fellow, hugged me tightly and told me through tears that he loved me and would miss me. I was struck by his uncharacteristic display of emotion, but I later realized that many of these kids have very few mentors in their lives who make a consistent, dedicated, daily effort to serve their needs while building a genuine friendship with them and loving them for who they are. As a result, it makes it all the harder for them to watch people leave who have shown up every day for two months, tried their best to love them with Christ’s love, and worked to make a significant investment in their lives. Such consistency is hard to come by in their lives. The reaction of our kids when we left gives me hope that the way we loved them gave credibility to the words we spoke during our Bible lessons and testimonies. My hope is that our actions and our words both testified to the love and grace of Christ.

As I witnessed how God is at work in Ethiopia restoring broken lives, families, and communities, my eyes have been opened to the vastness of God’s mission to restore His fallen creation and to redeem people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. This trip has fueled a desire in me to support the work of Christ’s Church across the globe in places of great need by praying, giving, sending, and going. I can’t wait to see how God continues to use this experience to shape and challenge me going forward.

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Give thanks and pray for the Suki church plant in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


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