By Rev. George Cushman
What does it feel like to be a glimmer of hope where poverty and despair are often the norm? What is it like when you think you are the one in ministry only to discover that it is your own life that has been turned upside down and changed? Ask anyone who has just returned from our Ethiopian mission trip. Nine people accompanied Pastor Surafel Gebretsadik to Addis Ababa to work with the orphans and displaced children of Hope for the Hopeless.
Hope is a mission started in 1992 by Pastor Surafel to help transition some of the thousands of children living on the streets of Addis Ababa, to a safe home and a new family in which to live. In the early years of this ministry it continued only by the grace of God and Pastor Surafel’s determined commitment. Often the only money to support the children was based on how much credit Surafel had on his credit card.
Today, there is much to be grateful for. There are now two group homes that help provide transition for children either from the street into a home or group environment, and one that helps youth/young adults transition into the community. Presently the ministry supports 395 children and youth. There are 309 children now in foster families, 14 in one group home and 25 in the other and 47 living at the boarding school.
There is much to be thankful for this year. Our boarding school opened and we have 60 children attending grades 1-4. Over the next 2-3 years we will add new grade levels until the school serves grades 1-8.
Thanks to a very generous gift from families from North Scottsdale UMC, we were able to complete the campus this year. Our multi-purpose building is now complete and will serve as a kitchen, dining area and community room. We were also able to complete a clinic. Much to our own amazement, we learned that our clinic will be only the third medical service in the whole city of Sululta which numbers around 40,000 people.
Thanks to another generous gift from a couple from Desert Mission UMC we also traveled to Ethiopia to make several videos to share our story, introduce our kids and help people see what is happening because of their support.
A wonderful perk of the trip is that several of us were able to go with Pastor Surafel to a revival in Diga, Ethiopia. Surafel was the primary speaker and teacher to a crowd that conservatively numbered 6,000.
If anyone would like to know more about Hope for the Hopeless, please contact Pastor Surafel or Pastors and . We would welcome any invitation to share the story and the joy of God’s hope in a place where it is often just wishful thinking.