Project Hopeful – Awassa, Ethiopia

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Dear Friend,

I wanted to write and thank you for the kindness you showed me in supporting my recent trip to Awassa, Ethiopia. It is a humbling experience to ask people to partner with you in that type of journey, and your generosity was very much a gift. The financial assistance is only a small piece of that gift (though very much appreciated!). The true gift is to my heart and spirit in having people come along side and send me forth.

My time in Ethiopia can best be described as amazing and hard. It was go, go, go from dawn to dusk with a mixture of challenging, heart wrenching work, and lots of laughter, joyful tears, dancing, singing, coffee, and fun.

Spending time at the Ajuuja Orphanage, I did training for the nannies and social workers on attachment issues and ways they can help children start to heal and learn to attach in healthy ways. I also got to hold some little survivors who are making amazing strides under these loving women’s care.

We spent several days traveling out to other small cities and villages to meet with the Ministry of Women’s and Children’s Affairs to meet with sponsor families and the women involved in the Enabling Independence Program. These women, who had been in very poor living situations, are starting to make great strides toward learning to run a small business and become independent. I gazed upon and held a good number of prized chickens!

I had the opportunity to visit a little boy that we sponsor and meet his family. He is 8, the same age as my third child, and as I knelt to see his smile and look in his eyes and give him a hug, i felt so thankful to be there. And his amazing mom, sitting in her home with her, hearing her story and putting my arms around her to pray…such love for this family.

Probably one of my favorite parts was providing care to the women who are afflicted with Mossy Foot. To kneel before a woman of my age, a woman who had been outcast and called cursed, touch her swollen hot skin, loosen shoe strings and praying we could find a pair of shoes that would fit. To stretch my arms over these women and pray for healing and restoration. I felt honored to be there. To pray for them, to tell them with my words and my touch that they are worthy of healing. That they are worth of care. So thankful for that time.

There were fun, silly times, too. Feeding monkeys, riding a boat to see the hippos, riding around town in the Bajaj, and getting to be goalie in an Ethiopian soccer game…and win!

So many things still to process and sort through. I have no idea yet where this experience has left me, or where it will lead me. I do know that i am thankful. So thankful. Thank you for being part of it.

Much love,

Courtney Blackston

Church Family,

Such a blessing to me to be loved and supported in a place that is very dear to me. Your financial support and prayers are much appreciated!!