During my January visit to Addis Ababa, we held a special dinner in honor of the first four Ethiopian Sponsorship Program students to have graduated from university as well. Joining these guests of honor were about 50 high school students who are currently sponsored in our program.
Following the meal, all four took turns sharing about their experiences in university and encouraging their younger peers. I was particularly intrigued by the impassioned speech given by Bezawit W., who had recently graduated with a degree in Computer Science. Although I could not understand her as she spoke in Amharic, I could tell that our Addis staff members were greatly moved by her words. Here is a translated excerpt from Bezawit’s speech that we hope will be a blessing to you:
The Bible says “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3). I would like to attribute every success and victory to The Creator. I glorify God for strengthening me through all my difficulties because I know that I couldn’t have done it in my own strength. There are so many people who have great potential but are unable to succeed because they do not get opportunities to help them grow. I thank God for this ministry because through the continued support of Covenant Mercies, I was able to focus on my education and study in the field of my choice.
I am so thankful for the friendly and approachable staff at Covenant Mercies who have treated me like a family member. Honestly, it is almost inevitable to have feelings of inadequacy, dependency, and self-doubt when one is a recipient of charity, but I have never felt that way thanks to the kindness of the staff at Covenant Mercies. I have always been welcomed, accepted, and prioritized, even when I showed up to the office without a prior appointment. The love I received from the staff of Covenant Mercies has made me feel valued, and confident that there is a greater future for me.
To those of you who are still in high school, I would like to tell you that there are so many children out there who do not get the opportunities that you have through Covenant Mercies. Many children are not going to school due to lack of support and many cannot afford to eat everyday. So, I urge you to be mindful and to use the opportunities and gifts the Lord has given you wisely. Remember that God has entrusted us with the responsibility to be faithful stewards of what He has given to us for His glory and according to His plan.
This reminds me of “The Parable of the Talents” in Mathew 25:14-30. Notice that the amounts entrusted to the servants vary in this parable. “To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.” The gifts, abilities, and opportunities that God gives His people vary, but do not underestimate them. You may not think it’s much, but you have so much to contribute to the world! God has gifted you the perfect amount so that you can use your gifts in the service of others. What matters is not how much you have in comparison to others, but rather that you are faithful with whatever you have been given.
So how has God gifted you? At this point in our lives, we have been given the role of educating ourselves through formal education or vocational training. Surely, the ‘talent’ you have in this season of life is the gift of being able to attend school without having to worry about what to eat, what to wear, and whether you are able to afford school fees. All of these are being covered by God through His ministry and servants of Covenant Mercies. So go and develop your talents, mind, body, knowledge, and spirit. If you faithfully study, attain your diplomas, and help your guardians with chores, what higher stewardship can there be?
All the talents, abilities, and money we have come from God’s gracious hand. He has not only given us our bodies, souls, eyes, ears, reason, and senses, but He also takes care of them all. So I urge you to be grateful for the gifts and opportunities God has brought to you today, and cast your cares on Him because He is the giver and sustainer of all these opportunities. Thank you.”
What a blessing to see our Sponsorship graduates rising up as young people of faith, speaking words of wisdom and encouragement to those trailing behind them in our program. This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes!