As I reflect on the exciting developments in Covenant Mercies’ ministry over the past few months, like the launch of our new school project in Uganda and another class of Mapalo Scholarship awardees, I am filled with joy and thanksgiving to God. Yet in this 17th year of ministry, what excites me the most is the way the Lord continues to strengthen our indigenous partnerships, and the quality of our in-country leaders.
When we established this organization in 2002, our desire to work hand-in-hand with indigenous Christians was a motivating factor. This priority comes through clearly in our mission statement: Covenant Mercies exists to serve orphans in collaboration with indigenous local churches in the developing world. Even before we knew specifically who those partners would be, we recognized that our impact would be greatest if we sought not merely to care for orphans on a global scale, but to do so in meaningful partnership with brothers and sisters who come from the areas where we are serving. This way, our care is delivered to our children in ways that are culturally discerning, and received by our children not merely as humanitarian aid from foreign benefactors, but as a practical expression of God’s love through His people on the ground in their own communities.
In 2002 this was an aspirational goal; a core value from the outset, but one that would take time and effort to develop. In 2019, by God’s grace, it is reality. As I think about the present work of Covenant Mercies and our opportunities for growth in the future, I simply couldn’t be more excited about the competent, godly, and like-minded indigenous leaders who are running the day-to-day operations of our programs on the ground. These dear friends are God’s gift to us. Quite literally, we could not fulfill our mission without them.
One example of God’s kindness to us is Hilina Atlabachew, our Program Coordinator in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. When we hired Hilina in 2013 to oversee the development of our fledgling program there, we knew we were getting someone special. Little did we know that six years later, the U.S. State Department would validate our high opinion by making Hilina one of 35 Ethiopian recipients (selected from 25,000 applicants) of the Mandela Fellowship for Young African Leaders. This honor brought her to the U.S. for a six-week intensive training this summer.
After the conclusion of her Fellowship, I had the joy of introducing Hilina on Sunday, August 4th to the church that founded Covenant Mercies 17 years ago.
Here is an excerpt of the beautiful comments she shared:
“…To our sponsors as well, I may not name you all, I cannot name you all, but God knows you by name, and He is not limited to reward you for your selfless service.
Most fatherless children in Addis, they struggle with not having enough to eat, they would be in and out of school, they are unlikely to finish their education due to financial hardship. They would be tempted to beg on the streets instead of going to school, they are vulnerable to suffering, and they even die from curable diseases because they are unable to afford their medical bills.
So owing to the support of Covenant Mercies, lives of many poor and needy children have been impacted. Many lives have been saved, touched, and transformed. Families are remaining intact, children are going to school, many are discovering their talents. Our sponsored children, they do not have to worry about going to school with empty stomach, they get enough nutrition and diet, which helps them focus on their education better. Some even go to the university studies with full government scholarship, and our Mapalo Scholarship.
…For this, we owe a lot of gratitude to our sponsors and donors, and also to those who personally reaching out to the children through their personal letters and prayers. Thank you for standing with us in recognizing our children’s potential as people made in the image of God. Thank you for taking the courage and commitment to prevent their potentials from going to the graveyard without being realized.
Most of all, my joy is full, because the relationship we form with these children gives us great opportunities to share the love of Christ, the love of God in Christ Jesus. This joy is inexpressible. This is the joy in heaven. This is a joy in the presence of angels of God over one who repents.
Thank you for being part of this great business, Kingdom business, and thank you for transforming lives.”
-Hilina Atlabachew, Ethiopia Program Coordinator
If you are a financial partner of Covenant Mercies in any capacity, your generosity is mobilizing leaders like Hilina to care for our children in Jesus’ name. We couldn’t dream of doing this effectively on our own, but thanks to these dear friends we are able to do it with excellence. Likewise, because of your generosity, Hilina and all our indigenous partners are equipped and resourced to care for underserved children in their home communities. This is the beauty of partnership. Apart from each other, neither we nor our indigenous partners could adequately carry out the mission we deeply believe God has called us to fulfill. But joined together, each of us can play a vital role in the realization of a mission that is transforming the lives of thousands of children. Please join me in praying for these very children, for their eternal good and for the glory of our God who loves to turn mourning into gladness and create beauty out of ashes.