Meet my friends, Sisay and Yemamu, whose spirits drew me in and whose hearts captured my heart from the moment we met.
|Sisay far left. Yemamu far right.|
Sisay and Yemamu were born into the community of Korah. Yemam and Sisay may not be “brothers” by formal definition, but their bond goes much deeper than genetic connection. With parents infected by leprosy and snared by poverty, there was little hope these boys would escape the stigma associated with the station of their families. Imagine a community, not one common to you and me. Instead, imagine this.
|Kitchen in Korah|
|Gathering Food at Korah.|
Imagine the smells, the sounds, the necessity associated with just existing. Imagine living unnoticed, unwanted, and with no value, and you’ve just merely peeked behind the curtains of Korah. As so many, Yemam and Sisay began laboring day in and day out as shoe shiners at a ripe, young school age. Schooling was an illusive dream desired but not attainable. School would mean hope and change and possibility. It would also mean one less meager income, one less contributor, one less person scavenging for food left in the garbage. One day while the boys shined shoes on the roadside, a Young Life leader sauntered into their lives. Through friendship evangelism, Sisay and Yemamu chose to leave the grasps of Islam and hunker into the arms of a Loving Savior King. As young believer, they continued to see the goodness of God’s provisions as Young Lifers sponsored them through primary and secondary schools and college. Psalms 40:1-3 virtually took life for Sisay and Yemam as they read, “I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth…” Sisay and Yemam’s lives sing of God’s glorious love. They have returned to Korah, to their humble and painful beginnings, to those they love in order to share an eternal hope. By feeding, educating, business building, and respectful employment through an NGO these young run, they continue the cycle of friendship evangelism to a place full of hurt and pain.
Yesterday at school, my son retold the story of
Yemamu and Goliath. I mean Sisay and Goliath. SO SORRY, David and Goliath. God took the most unlikely and used him to conquer the unconquerable. Today, I see the modern day Davids facing off with the contemporary Goliath armed with the ever-present, never-changing power of God. I imagine Yemam and Sisay armed with a their metaphorical sling and stone constructed of the hope of Jesus delivered with the FULL gospel by the least likely of candidates, who were disregarded by the world, firing against the giant of despair. Encouraged by their tenacity and humbled by God’s faithfulness, I rejoice to be a part of Hands for the Needy Ethiopia at Korah and cannot wait to be reunited.