by Joy Casey
This time of year causes me to contemplate the humble beginnings of Jesus. I wish I could have known Him as a child and as an adolescent and could have watched Him develop, but you and I know Him most intimately as a grown man who is kind and welcoming to the poor and rejected. His regard and protection of children is legendary, and His own words leave no doubt what He thinks about those who would harm a child, “It would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” Luke 17:1-3

Let me introduce you to a teeny-tiny little girl with big eyes, fine features, and skin as golden as toast. In the world’s eyes she is a nobody, hardly worth noticing. She was found naked and dirty by a fence shortly after her mother gave birth and was brought to YWAM’s Widows and Orphans Home in Ethiopia. The policeman who brought her named her Ebise (A-bees’-ay) which means “blessed for the future”. Jesus had a fantastic plan for her! She was dearly loved by all the nannies and found a very special place in the heart of the orphanage director, Tezera. When she was just a few months old she got the measles and really suffered, but Tezera personally stayed by her side and nursed her (willed her!) back to health.

The next part of the story gets better! A lovely family from Spokane, Washington stepped forward and asked if they could adopt this child and they gave her an American name, Ellie, that is a royal name meaning “Noble, Exalted, Shining Light.” Quite a name for a little girl who was born in the dirt! But her family knows that God redeems the lowly and He looks with eyes of faith on their little one, foreknowing her end from the beginning.

When this couple flew to Ethiopia to meet their daughter, their heart was captured forever by all twelve pounds of sweet baby girl. The state of their emotions and heart was expected, but what they did not anticipate was how affected they were by the obvious close relationship between Tezera and Ellie Ebise. It was bittersweet to see Tezera lovingly say good-bye to this princess (see video clip below), but the knowledge of how supremely Ellie Ebise had been loved her whole life was tucked away in their hearts and brought them great comfort. They decided to include Tezera’s name in Ellie’s already elegant name. Tezera means “sowing seeds”, so now this diminutive lass has a name that means:

Noble, Exalted, Shining Light… sowing blessed seeds for the future