Josh traveled to Ethiopia in January to work with the TLC project. While there, he met Leul and is now his sponsor.
Early this year I had the opportunity to travel as a volunteer photographer with a small team to Addis Ababa. While there, our goal was to get to know families whose children are sponsored by TrueLight Childcare, listen to their struggles and their joys, witness first-hand the hope that TLC shares, and come back to the States with a trove of stories to tell about the good work TLC is doing so that support might continue and grow.
As I was preparing for our trip, I tried to familiarize myself with TLC, with Ethiopian culture and customs, and to prepare myself spiritually for the work we would be doing. Despite this, the month or so preceding the trip was a time of spiritual darkness and what felt like God’s absence. It was in this state that I found myself traveling across the world with a team of believers in the name of something that I had suddenly felt extremely unsure of.
I do not claim to now know the reason for this darkness that I’ve felt before and imagine that I will feel again, but I find myself wondering if we are sometimes allowed to feel separation from God so that we are able to fully recognize Him when He presents Himself to us. And I believe He presented Himself on our trip. A friend once told me that in times of doubt, when it’s difficult to believe in the resurrection, to focus on the resurrection story playing out in the lives of the believers around us. While in Addis, I saw this story in Ayele who leads this work at personal cost, who puts the last before him and puts himself last. I saw Christ in Anna whose heart is so clearly dedicated to finding support for these families. I saw light in men and women who faced severe persecution for their faith, who continued to lean into the Lord when they had nothing and their lives had been threatened. I saw Christ alive in the families who went out to buy us bread when they were lucky to eat once a day.
As believers, we are united in the body of Christ. We are Christ alive on this earth, and we are called to be a living witness to the resurrection, to be examples of Christ in a world that is utterly broken, to be examples of Christ in places where, on the surface, He may seem to be absent. I believe that if we do this, we too shall find Christ staring back at us. That somewhere in sharing our abundance with others, Christ is revealed.
On our last day with the children at TLC, I met a young boy named Leul (which translates to Prince). He is in kindergarten, likes playing soccer, and is interested in becoming a doctor. And I now have the privilege of being his sponsor. I know that he will be able to go to school, that his family will receive nutritional support, that he will receive basic healthcare that he would otherwise go without, and that he will hear the Good News of hope through TLC. And I trust that—together—we will see Christ in the work that TLC is doing.