Tuesday, April 27, 2010

God Give Us Eyes to See

Imagine:  a child living in destitute conditions, struggling for daily bread, unable to provide for his blind parents and little brother, wondering what each day holds.  Imagine him waking up in severe pain, unable to see, afflicted with the same eye infection that robbed his parents of their sight.

This isn't some random story. This is the life of Birhanu, a handsome 12 year old boy who is enrolled in Children's Future Ethiopia.

Birhanu lives with his parents, both of whom are blind, and his 5 year old brother. He and his brother were forced into the streets of Addis Ababa to beg for food and money because their parents are unable to work because of their disability. Birhanu's parents became blind because their living conditions are not sanitary : they have no running water, no electricity, no soap, no money for doctors or medication.  Can you imagine losing your eyesight because of filth?

When Birhanu missed his weekly appointment with Robel and the other children of CFE, Robel became concerned. Robel went to the boy's home and this is what he found : "Birhanu was in terrible pain and suffering badly. His eyes were closed and crying and seeing this made me cry, too."  Birhanu was now in jeopardy of losing his eyesight also!

Robel contacted Into the Streets of Ethiopia and we immediately responded with your generous donations. Our instructions were clear, "Do whatever you have to do to save his eyesight."

Matthew 25:34-36 (New International Version)
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

The first doctor could not even touch Birhanu's eyes. A medication was given to reduce the swelling and tears. A few days later, after walking 45 minutes (to find the clinic) and taking taxi cab rides all around Addis, Robel was finally able to secure an appointment with a specialist.

$23 US dollars to see 2 specialists

Over 2 hours of waiting

$19 US dollars for medications prescribed

Birhanu being examined by the specialist

We have learned this from Robel: "Birhanu's eye infection was avoidable. However, if his living conditions do not change, this is likely to occur again. Birhanu will need to see a doctor regularly." In addition to the medication, Robel purchased necessary cleaning items for Birhanu and his family.

Robel sends this message to you: "During the two days of going to the doctors with Birhanu, we shared lunch together and got to know one another better.  In spite of not feeling well, Birhanu is an amazing kid and he is so happy.  I was fascinated with him.  I am praying for him and the others in CFE.  Please continue to pray."

Children's Future Ethiopia will continue to monitor Birhanu's vision and Into the Streets will provide the necessary funding for treatments and medication to prevent Birhnau's eyesight from deteriating further.

I have a 12 year old son. When I look into his face, I see Birhanu.  When I remind Ben to take a shower each day, I am struck with the reality that many children (like Birhanu) don't have clean, running water.  As I prepare dinner each night, I can't forget that many children go to bed hungry, some never knowing what a full belly fills like.

What will you see when you look into the face of your own child? Will you see the face of poverty? Will your heart grieve for those in need?

I can imagine Birhanu's life with clean water, his vision restored, and his belly full.  I can imagine Birhanu's life being transformed, by the grace of God, through the kindness of others.

Deuteronomy 4:9 (New International Version)
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

God give us eyes to see.

Maria LLanely is an adoptive parent living in Ethiopia (temporarily) and she was able to partner with Into the Streets of Ethiopia to personally minister to Birhanu,  accompany him to the doctor and provide incredible photos for this post.  

We want to send a Thank You to those who have financially given in our first month of work.  Your money is already beginning to go to work on the Streets of Addis Ababa.  It is with joy that we share with you a story of how YOU are being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ!


  1. This is so amazing! I am so thankful for RObel and what he able to do to serve these young street boys! Thankful that he is sharing both physical and spiritual salve for their wounds!

  2. What an uplifing story to share. Thanks for the great work you are doing. =)