Now this is amazing moment for us...
For a long time, since 1995 to be exact, we have been sponsoring a child through Compassion International. We've had the same boy during that whole time period. His name is Tsegaye Mamush and he lives in Ethiopia. We got him when he was 6 and he is now 21. During the years, we have written him and he has written us. We've sent him pictures of our family and received pictures of him. His writing, the last few years, has revealed him to be a kind thoughtful person, who has a deep faith in God.
Close friends of ours, Jeremy and Amanda, were going through the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia and I asked them, on a wing and a prayer, if they might visit our sponsor child for us. They would be staying in the same city as Tsegaye and after conferring with Compassion, we were able to set up a meeting. Our family shopped for Tsegaye here, picking out a nice bracelet and had it engraved and sent along to Jeremy to take.
I can't believe they were so generous with their time, spending 2 hours with our child and taking him shopping for a new soccer ball too. Here was some of Amanda's news for us:
He really loves you guys. I hope you know how much your writing has supported him through the years and how much he values the photos you've sent. He said he fears two things in life: 1. Losing his grandma (who raised him) and 2. Losing you as his sponsors.
He was very genuine and got teary a lot. Tried to be tough but it didn't work. He hugged us a lot and kept saying (through the translator) that he was so thankful you sent us to visit him. He said that when he was a little boy at first he didn't understand the value of being sponsored but through the years he has realized how fortunate he is. He is currently in office equipment training. Something like that. But says chances of work are not great. He plans to help take care of his grandma as she ages. he said he cooks for her. he has a little brother and sister that don't live with them but who he is close to. He loves soccer and basketball. We asked which ball he'd prefer and he chose soccer. Nice that there was an awesome sports store in the "mall" we were eating in.
It was a really sweet visit with a great guy and we were so happy to do that for you guys.
Shopping for him made him more real to me. His letters, of course, made him real but touching and picking out something that he would wear was an emotional process for me. Through technology, the world has become so small, but in a third world country, he still seems so far away.
He will be aging out of the Compassion Program but the great news is, that we will likely be able to maintain contact with him. We will sponsor another child, but I will always feel a special connection to Tsegaye. And I could never thank Jeremy and Amanda enough for sparing the time to meet with him. Bless you both and your newest member!