A Covenant Mercies Story: Hanna

Orphans+Ethiopia+Sponsorship+Testimonies // February 15, 2022 //

The Providence of God in the Life of One Child
(sharing with permission)

Doug and Hanna meet for the first time in 2007.

Back in September of 2007, I was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to pave the way for our new Ethiopian program. While walking through one of our targeted neighborhoods with an Ethiopian friend, we stopped to talk to a few local residents about the program we were planning to launch. Upon hearing of our intentions, one of the adults introduced us to a little girl named Hanna, whose parents had died of AIDS and who was said to be HIV-positive herself. I was skeptical of the latter claim because she looked so healthy and beautiful, but we took note of her story as evidence of the need for our program, and we moved on.

On that day in 2007, we were merely fact-finding. When the time later came for launching our Addis program, Hanna did not come to our attention. If not for a few photos I had taken of Hanna on that day in September 2007, I would have forgotten about her altogether. But the Lord had not forgotten, and he was intending to make his love known to her in a personal way.

Ethiopian Program Coordinator Hilina Atlabachew (right) has been a constant source of support and encouragement for Hanna.

In February 2009, as I walked through the same densely populated neighborhood with our Sponsorship Program Coordinator in Addis, I passed a little girl on the street whose face seemed familiar to me. After a moment I realized it was Hanna.Our Program Coordinator didn’t know her, but with the help of some neighbors we were quickly able to confirm that this was indeed the same little girl I had met a year and a half earlier, before our program had been launched.

While I was hesitant to trust the claim about Hanna’s HIV status in 2007, it was not so difficult to believe in 2009. She appeared much less healthy than she had looked two years prior, and we quickly learned the reason why. We were informed that Hanna’s grandmother – her guardian – was on her deathbed. We immediately enrolled Hanna in our program and found an aunt who could take over as her primary caregiver. We also connected Hanna with the medical and nutritional care she needed to keep her illness from advancing. Thus began a transformation that continues to this day. It has been a marvelous thing to behold.

Hanna graduated from an Accounting program in 2021, and received an offer to work at the firm where she had interned during her studies. She is a fine Christian young woman who wants to be baptized and join her local church. She enjoys a healthy and happy life.

Asked to reflect on the impact of our program on her life, Hanna says, “There is nothing that I have lacked as a child. I always felt welcomed by Hilina and others on the Covenant Mercies staff. They were always by my side when I was sick, and they helped me in so many ways. I am grateful for all the love I have been shown – the hugs, the kisses – it all made me feel very special. And I am grateful to God for keeping me healthy all this time, and giving me the strength not to give up. All I have is because of him.”

Amen. How rewarding it is to hear our program graduates expressing their thanksgiving to God for the mercy he has poured out in their lives. As Hanna’s story poignantly illustrates, each one has been selected ultimately not by us, but by him. Our great Father to the fatherless loves to extend his mercy in the midst of hardship, and it is our joy to be the hands and feet of his providential care.