Friday, April 2, 2010

Hope for the Hopeless Orphanage and Drop-in Center

Newsletter March 2010

About the Orphanage and Drop-in Center

Hope for the Hopeless Orphanage was founded in the year 1993 by an Ethiopian philanthropist, PastorSurafel Gebretsadik. It started its activity by providing food, shelter and clothing to 39 street girls insmall rented property. By expanding its outreach and acquiring 13,000 square meters of land in the northern part of Addis Ababa, Hope for the Hopeless orphanage is currently supporting orphaned and destitute children living on the street with no means to support themselves. The services the children receive at the orphanage are physical, educational, social and spiritual service. The children get enough food, have shelter, feel safe and confident, are clean and healthy and most importantly, they have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal savior.

Hope for the Hopeless drop-in center serves as a rehabilitation center for the children when they first come from the street. At the center they receive counseling services and learn how to live in harmony with other children. We give special attention to these children as they are new to such a life and assign an evangelist to follow up on them and pray for them. They usually stay from 3 – 6 months at the center and if we believe they are rehabilitated and have brought the required behavioral change, we transfer them to the orphanage.

Currently there are 27 staff members that work both at the orphanage and drop-in center.

School News

All children took the first semester final examination at the last week of January 2010. After two weeks of break, school began on mid of February. The result of the children was the best we have seen in a long time. There were 18 children who stood in top ten of their respective classes, and 7 ranked from, 1st – 3rd. From the drop-in center, four children also stood in the top ten of their classes. We are very pleased with the accomplishment of all our children and the orphanage will award them at the end of the academic year.

The children are studying very hard currently to get ready for the second semester mid term examination. The older children help the younger ones study everyday after school and on weekends. There are eight children (2 boys & 6 girls) who will take the grade 8 national examination at this
academic year. The children also participate in extra curricular activities at school such as in the soccer team and Red Cross club.

Meal Provision

The children at both the orphanage and drop-in center eat four times a day (breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner). Bread with tea and at times with egg is served for breakfast and snack, and Injera with different types of sauce and vegetables is served for lunch and dinner. We also serve pasta and spaghetti per our weekly schedule. The meal provision has positively impacted the heath, physical growth, mental maturity and emotional wellbeing of the children. They are happy and grateful for the nutritious meal they receive every day.

Celebrating Ethiopian Christmas

We celebrated Ethiopian Christmas, 2002 on Thursday, January 7, 2010. The celebration began early in the morning with all children at the orphanage going to a near by church which the orphanage rented for anyone to worship in especially the children and staff. After the opening prayer, a sermon about the birth of Jesus Christ was shared and one of the boys, Ephraim Tameru, read a beautiful poem he wrote about Christmas and what it should mean to all of us in today’s world. Then some of the children staged a theater about the birth of Jesus Christ which received a round of applause from the congregation.

Afterwards the children enjoyed soft drinks and homemade bread brought to them by one of the worshipers. They also received sweets sent to them from a friend in the USA.

At the orphanage a festive meal was served in the dining hall which was decorated with balloons and verses from the Bible. After lunch the children spent the rest of the day playing different games and having a good time with the guests that came to celebrate Christmas with them. Two of the guests were from Children’s HopeChest national staff.

Christmas at the drop-in center was also celebrated with the children presenting songs and a short play they prepared for the holiday. Afterwards they enjoyed a festive meal and soft drinks prepared for this special occasion. They were very happy that they were able to have a wonderful Christmas after a long time. It was a beautiful Christmas for all of us especially the children. We want to thank Children’s HopeChest for supporting as financially to create a holiday spirit that the children needed. God Bless you all.

Spiritual Activities at Hope for the Hopeless

Every day at mornings and evenings we hold a devotion session with all the kids both at the orphanage and drop-in center. We pray for God to give the children the knowledge and wisdom they need as they go to school every day. We also pray for the staff and seek guidance from the Lord to get us through each day. The children at the orphanage go to the orphanage’s church every Sunday and some of them also serve as the church’s choir. Those at the drop-in center attend Mennonites Church every Sunday.

From the Disciplers

The spiritual maturity of most of the children at Hope for the Hopeless orphanage and drop-in center took us by surprise. It was beyond our expectation and they were beyond their years in understanding the word of God. Spending time with them was really a blessing to us. We started discussing from the book of Genesis and talked about how sin was brought to this world because of the sin Adam and Eve committed in the Garden of Eden and that we were all sinners in the eyes of God. We then talked about how Noah trusted God and obediently undertook a century-long ship building project even though that seemed totally unnecessary and the last thing Noah and his family needed at the time. Later we saw how God remained faithful to Noah and saved him and his family when he destroyed the rest of the world and everything in it with a flood, for the world was wicked. We stressed on the point that we should always obey God regardless of what our thoughts are about what he wants us to do for God is almighty and only wants what’s best for us. We also talked about Abraham, one of the faith fathers who completely trusted his creator, his amazing obedience and how God kept the covenant He made with him. We tried to show them that “God may not guarantee a comfortable journey but He does guarantee a safe landing”. The children were following each lesson attentively and participated by asking and answering questions.

After we finish teaching the word of God to the children, we distribute letters that came from sponsors. We have seen how eagerly the children wait for each week to see if their sponsors wrote for them and how happy it makes them to know that they did. They loved reading the letters, seeing pictures of their new families and going through the different fun stuffs their sponsors sent for them, with big smiles on their faces. The children also wrote reply letters to their sponsors. We always remind the rest of the
children that their sponsors are praying for them  everyday and that they love them very much. We want to thank you for taking the time to write the children and encourage you and the rest of the sponsors who haven’t written so far to begin writing as it means a lot to the children.

Field Trip

On their school brake, we took the children on a field trip to Meta Abo Recreational Center. The children enjoyed their time at the center and swam in the center’s swimming pool. It was interesting to see the children compete at swimming. The children enjoyed lunch which the orphanage had specially made for them and had fun singing different songs and playing games on their way back to the orphanage. It was a very enjoyable and relaxing day for the children.

Visitors and Donation

A team led by Tom Davis, CEO at Children’s HopeChest, came to Hope for the Hopeless Drop-in Center on Friday December 4, 2009 and met by the orphanage director, Mr. Fekadu Shenkute. The director briefed the team on the activities the orphanage and drop-in center and showed them the
different facilities. Afterwards the team played games and sang songs with the kids at the center and gave a bag containing different supplies to all the kids, much to the delight of the later. The team also bought food and contributed funds to the orphanage

According to Fekadu, “This is an answer to our prayer as we have no money in our account to buy food for the children. This is the hands of God working”.  On Tuesday December 8, 2009, two members of
the same team came to Hope for the Hopeless orphanage and discussed with the orphanage director about the activities of the orphaning. They also visited the dormitories, dining hall, office and construction projects at the orphanage. They brought the children a new soccer ball, medical supplies and clothing. We want to thank the team for coming to see our ministry and be a blessing to us. In February 2010, we distributed a bag consisting of tooth brush, tooth paste, soap, underwear and a note and Bible verse from Numbers 6: 24-26, for all the children which were donated to us by Children’s HopeChest. The children were very happy and thankful to receive the gifts. Thank you for your loving thoughts!

Hope for the Hopeless Staff Dinner Party

On Friday, January 1, 2010, all of our staff members along with their spouses attended a dinner party at one of the big hotels in Addis, which was organized by Children’s HopeChest. The staff had a great time catching up with one another while they enjoyed the special treat. The evening also gave us the opportunity to give thanks to God for what He has done for the children and our ministry. It was a nice get away and just what our staff needed! We want to thank Eliot Baptist Church for giving us this special evening.
New Projects at the Orphanage

At the orphanage, we have construction projects for all purpose hall, office, and school, which we began before two years but failed to complete due to financial restraint and the ever increasing cost of construction materials. The finishing work of the dormitories is also half done. We are praying for God to send us His provision so that we can complete these projects. We kindly ask you to support us in prayer as the word of God in Jeremiah 29:12 say, “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.”

About the Current Orphanage Director

Pastor Fekadu Shenkute is married to his wife of 12 years, Ms. Berhane Gurmesa and together they have a son, Amanuel who is 12 years old and a daughter, Feven who is 10 years old. Pastor Fekadu has earned a BS in Mathematics from Addis Ababa University and BA in Management. He also has a diploma in Soft Ware Engineering. He has worked as a teacher, a cashier for two years, Project Director in Compassion Project, and for the past 10 years as an orphanage director. When asked about his passion for the ministry Pastor Fekadu said, “I heard words from God to serve these kids. When I see God change their lives, my commitment and love grows to serve them even more.” Pastor Fekadu also serves as a chairman for church elders at Ethiopian Evangelical Church, Mekane Yesus Kolfe Congregation. Regarding the support the orphanage has received from Children’s HopeChest, Pastor
Fekadu said, “Abundant blessings are flowing through HopeChest to our children and staff. Most of our needs and prayers are getting answer through HopeChest. The get together of the Christmas celebration
with HopeChest Ethiopian staff brought hand in hand attachments with our staff. The Christmas celebration gift to our children deems and creates joy to all of them. We want to say thank you for the Christmas gift, the bunk beds and the beddings. We also want to thank you for your commitment to
sponsor all kids at the orphanage and drop-in center. God bless you.”

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