Strong Hearts has built a strong reputation for itself on the streets of Addis Ababa. It is evident that Strong Hearts has made it a priority to be accessable to the people who don’t have shelter or homes. By investing emotionally and spiritually in the community, the organization knows the people they’re serving and can concentrate on providing services specifically tailored to the people that need it the most. To illustrate one example, we must visit the heart of streets of Addis.
About six months ago, Ayenalem came to one of Strong Hearts’ street ministries and became a regular attendee. At the time she was about three months pregnant and was living on the street. Over the next six months, Strong Hearts and Ayenalem began to build a relationship that was essential to Ayenalem and her new family’s future.
About one month ago, Dundee, the director of Strong Hearts, received a call from Ayenalem’s husband, saying that she was going into labor. Luckily, Dundee was free and was able to answer the Lord’s calling to serve and made the trip just in time. Once they arrived at the hospital, Ayenalem gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. In order to look out for the child’s well being, Dundee told the couple to find a house and Strong Hearts would pay the rent while they get on their feet.
They found a house shortly after but the new family found themselves back on the street only after a couple weeks. Only recently have they been able to find something stable but after a quick visit, it was obvious that this family would have to move due to the living conditions. Last week Strong Hearts paid a follow up visit to the family’s new residence. To get there, you need to follow a creek about a quarter of a mile through mud and rocky terrain. You cannot get there by car or any other type of transportation.
After the brief hike, you begin to see sheet metal fencing to the right, following the edge of the creek. After finding the right “door”, you walk into a narrow uncovered “hallway” with a bunch of 1 meter by two meeter rooms with sheet metal doors to provide at least some sort of privacy. The couple lived in one of these “rooms”. There’s a sheet metal roof and all their posessions are in plastic bags tied to some string that hung accross the “room”.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted with smiles and warm handshakes. Fortuna, the baby, was feeding and it was obvious that the couple loved their daughter very much. They were in high spirits and you could tell that they are really strong in their faith and have hope. Seeing their hope was an inspiration and made me think of how much they have had to endure to be able to develop such strong character during their difficult circumstances. Before the night was over, Dundee offered to take the couple out in search of a better place for them to make a home for themselves. It is obvious that this story is not yet over and that God is still working in their family and through Strong Hearts. This is just one of the many stories where Jesus has led the way for Strong Hearts to become an influence and resource to the surrounding community and it is obvious that this organization has mastered this art of building these Christ centered relationships.