Of Thankfulness… and a toilet.

Somewhere, in Ethiopia, is a new toilet.  I don’t know what it looks like, or where exactly it is, but I know it’s there…and I’m grateful beyond words for it’s existence. Some of you may be feeling a bit awkward right now…wondering if I’m being serious, and what in the world I could possibly be talking about.  So I’ll back up a bit.

As most of you know, Mary-Hall and I are both incredibly passionate about the work of Compassion International, a Christian charity that “releases children from poverty in Jesus’ name” by providing cognitive and spiritual education, health care, and other essentials such as food, clothing and school fees and supplies (as evaluated by region and individual need).  Mary-Hall and her husband sponsor a little girl named Alba (you can read more about that here…and get a fun craft idea!) and Keith and I sponsor several kids, Rukia and Tony in Kenya, and Wondosen in Ethiopia.

Wondosen, our sponsor child, with food and candles celebrates a church holiday.

Wondosen, our sponsor child,  celebrates a church holiday with food and candles.

Wondosen and his family!  The back of this photo reads "My grandmother.  My friend.  All are my relatives."

Wondosen and his family! The back of this photo reads “My grandmother. My friend. All are my relatives.”

Wondosen is our newest sponsor child, and the only one that we’ve never met.  We’ve had so much fun getting to know this little guy through our letters back and forth for the past two years and we love that his birthday happens to fall on the same day as our wedding anniversary!  Wondosen lives with his grandmother who is raising several other grandchildren.  His parents are both alive, but not together, and do not live near Wondosen and his grandmother.  While sponsorship only costs $38.00 a month, Keith and I like to give a “family gift” of some extra money when we can.  Although sponsors can designate a specific item they want their gift money to purchase, we usually just designate it for “greatest need.”  (For example, we would hate to buy our child a soccer ball if their family really needed food that month.) When a sponsor sends a family gift, the project worker handles the money and sits down with the family to discuss their needs and how the money can be best spent.  Which brings me to the toilet.

A few months ago, we sent a family gift to Wondosen and his family.  In the past, we’ve had families use family gift money to purchase:

a) supplies for the family business (beads for a hairstyling salon, laundry soap for a laundry business)

b) a cooking stove for the family home

c) school tuition for our sponsor child and their siblings

d) clothing for the entire family

e) food for the entire family

However, we’ve never bought a toilet…..until now. We received a letter in the mail from Wondosen this past Monday thanking us for the gift we sent and letting us know how it was spent. (he’s a little young to write long letters so his project worker sits down with him and helps write the letter…and a translator at the Compassion Headquarters in Ethiopia translates to English).  I’ve posted photos below of the letter in it’s original text, and then the translation for you to read for yourself.

The original text, written by Wondosen's project worker.

The original text, written by Wondosen’s project worker.

The translated text, from a Compassion Ethiopia staff member.

The translated text, from a Compassion Ethiopia staff member.

Just in case you find even the translation unclear…it says,

“Dearly beloved and missed sponsors, How’re you?  Wondosen is well, Praise God!  Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!  He’s recieved your recent letter and your gift with which his grandma built a small toilet that she rents and deposits the income in the bank account opened in Wondosen’s name and the bank book is in his name too.  She saves every month.  His grandma thanks you very much!”

This thrills me more than anything.  Obviously being able to help a family in any way is exciting.  But to help a family who then takes your gift and makes it something sustainable that will continue to support their family…that is truly rewarding.  I am so grateful that Wondosen’s grandmother is a businesss-savvy lady!  That she is investing in the future of her grandson.  I pray her business will flourish and that Wondosen will learn from her example and be able to be wise as he grows into a man of the Lord.  We are so thankful for this sweet family and pray blessings on them.

***I know that at Christmas especially there are so many opportunities to give back to those who are materially less fortunate than we are.  My husband and I decided that this year, instead of gifts for each other, we would buy gifts for a family through a local organization that supports those in our own community who are in need.  I know many of you support other worthy causes during the holiday season and year round.  However, if you are looking for a way to give back, I would encourage you to do so by sponsoring a child (or even making a one-time contribution) through Compassion International.  You can sponsor a child by clicking on the banner on our website, or by following the link HERE.  And as always, if you choose to sponsor a child through our blog, please let us know!  We love hearing YOUR stories.***

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About bethanybordeaux

I fiddle around a bit.

2 responses to “Of Thankfulness… and a toilet.”

  1. Momma Daniel says :

    I believe this Ethiopian grandmother could teach our Congress a thing or two about wise investment of money.

  2. Pat Browder says :

    What a wonderful blog of your ministry with Compassion. I am so proud you and Keith celebrate the Christmas season with a heart of giving to those in need. It is difficult not to get caught up in the commercial push to focus only on ourselves. I know your gifts to your Compassion children and others will be a wonderful blessing to you both.

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