How I Started My Day Today

I woke up today as a 30 year old.  I woke up to the warm hugs and kisses from my family with handwritten cards that would make Hallmark jealous.  After breakfast I headed into work at Ellilta Products and as I was greeting all the women I noticed this young girl watching over one of the women. I know all the women’s children but didn’t recognize this girl so I asked about her. When I asked, I received a very odd response that concluded as she is the daughter of someones friends.  So I started talking to the girl, what is your name, “Kalkidan”, how old are you, “13”, why are you not in school today, “I don’t have school” and the list of friendly questions went on.  Kalkidan has this incredible smile and actually spoke great english.  She also told me she plans to be an engineer after going to college.  I left her to walk into our monday meeting in a separate room with a smile after just meeting this incredible young woman.  I felt optimistic about her future and was excited about meeting her, but then the real story came… Kalkidan had been found on the streets over the weekend by a few of the women that work with us. They took her in and cared for her (that’s a complete other story of how amazing our women are) and then brought her to the some of the councilors we work with.  Her mother, who was a former graduate of ours from Woman at Risk, had left to work in an Arab country leaving Kalkidan with her father.  This left Kalkidan very vulnerable and she was then raped by her father and it was after this that she fled to the streets. We are not sure, but we think she might be pregnant with her fathers child.  Just 15 minutes prior to hearing this I had just spoke to Kalkidan thinking what an amazing young women with a huge future, now I just wanted to go back to her and give her a huge hug and then put together a team of men to hunt the father down.  This is the beginning of a long journey for Kalkidan, we don’t know what will happen but we are asking you to join us in prayer. Pray for her heart, for her needs to be met, for comfort in knowing that nothing can separate her from Gods love, and lastly for justice.  Kalkidan’s story unfortunately isn’t uncommon, I asked some of the team around me how we were supposed to go back to talking business and we couldn’t.  I’m so thankful to have a team of people around me here in Ethiopia that care for the lives of these women, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Isaiah 1:17 says, “Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans.” We need to keep shining light on situations like Kalkidan’s, and we need to be the Church that defends ones that are left defenseless.

So while it’s not how I would imagine my 30th birthday, I wouldn’t trade it in for anything. My family is close and we will stand with God is the battle He has placed us in. Thank you for praying and supporting us!

In His Love,

-Ian

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