I first traveled to Ethiopia in June 2012.
My first day in Korah was, how do I say this lightly, HEART- WRENCHING. I saw things there that I really wish I could unsee. I am not just saying that. Until that day, I thought those “save the children” commercials were only a ploy to get you to give money. Let me just say, they are not fake.
I didn’t prepare myself for the poverty that I was going to see but surprisingly, it didn’t sadden me. It inspired me to do more for the beautiful people in Korah. That first trip opened my eyes to a whole new world, outside of adoption, of what I could be doing to help people and children in need.
It was on that trip that I first traveled to Shashamene (6 hours from Addis Ababa) to the boarding school, and I got to meet several children that were in a sponsorship program. At the time I was naïve to what that meant but I just leaned in and tried to connect with the kids.
I so clearly remember one of the first kids I met told me his name was “God Saves“. He was one of the only kids that spoke perfect English. He told me his aspirations and dreams for his future, and I later found out that he was the #1 student in the ENTIRE boarding school, which at the time had around 400 students. He told me about how God had changed his life and I watched him kindly interact with all the other kids as we played games in the field with them that day.
When we pulled away from the boarding school that day, I knew I would never forget him.
Fast forward (18 months and a lot of boring details) to when we took over sponsorship of 400 kids from another failing Sponsorship program, and I found out that “God Saves” was one of the students we would be taking on!
He went on to finish high school at Shashamene TOP OF HIS CLASS and STILL #1 in the ENTIRE school. He got a scholarship to a prestigious university in Addis Ababa and recently graduated from the Out of the Ashes program with a law degree.
“God Saves” is the English meaning of his Ethiopian Name Getaendale, and his family could not have picked a more profound name for him. His most recent endeavor is just one of the many amazing things he will accomplish in his life. He had the vision to bring awareness to the hard obstacles people face in Korah, the village that he grew up in, and wanted to tell the story of redemption in his life. He goes on to tell how being invited into various programs like Out of the Ashes impacted his life dramatically.
Not only did he achieve writing the story down, but he went on to have the story turned into a book called “Pillars of Change” that is now published and available for purchase on Amazon (details below).
The people of Korah are beautiful, inside, and out and so very grateful for the very little they do have. For 10 years, I have been inspired by them to be better, less selfish, and more giving of myself.
When God sent me to Ethiopia I wanted to run the other way. It has not been an easy 10 years doing ministry there but every single obstacle we have endured and overcome has been worth it to watch kids that would otherwise have no future, soar beyond anyone’s expectations!
We are so proud of you Getaendale! We pray your story reaches worldwide.
“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the garbage dump; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.”
“For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s; on them he has set the world”.
(1 Samuel 2:8)
At Out of the Ashes, our goal is to ensure each child has what they need to permanently break the cycle of extreme poverty.
Here is Getaendale’s Story (in his own words):
“I was born on 1998GC. I came from a very poor family. There was no means of income even to survive. My big brother went to the trash dump to feed us. I grew up near the trash dump in Korah! Until grade 7 I was enrolled at Bright Hope public primary school.
When I grew up, I was the beneficiary of different projects because that was the only means of livelihood. Until the end of grade 7, I was the beneficiary of a little project called ’65 kids’. For sure I was an active student. The project helped us to attend a tutorial class. After I finished grade 7, at the start of the summer there came a big project which can help kids to be enrolled at Shashemene boarding school. My friend Temesgen and I were selected to go to Shashemene because we were good students. So, we were included with other +250 kids to go to Shashemene.
I went to Shashemene and the first year was so tough. But after that starting from grade 9, I became the cleverest student the school had. When I was in grade 12, I won a scholarship to learn at the boarding school for free. I joined Addis Ababa University to study law and governance.
I have been in the project for almost 10 years.
Now, I am working as a consultant at an NGO, and at the same time I am tutoring kids.
Sponsorship not only changed my life, but it shaped everything in my life. It helped me to eat three times a day. It helped me to grow up. It helped my family by taking them out from financial stress. Without it, I don’t think life would be like this.
My sponsors are my pillars. They drove me out of silly thinking, and they made the greatest effect on me to believe in God and His greatness. They were there through all my life’s ups and downs. They are like a real family and often more than that.
OA is like a savior because the previous project was collapsing, but OA has saved it and it is still helping kids today. In my free time, I like to read books- that is my favorite thing!”
Getaendale says his favorite Bible Verse is:
“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”
His favorite quote is:
“The only way out of ignorance is education.”
**This book was written and published independently of Out of the Ashes, Inc. Out of the Ashes, Inc. will not receive any portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book.