Monica Barlow and her husband Scott were working at the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Gimbie and were the catalyst to YWAM opening up an orphanage in Gimbie to care for all the abandoned babies that the Lord was bringing to their doorstep. Those first months while waiting for all the licensing procedures to be finalized, Monica had her hands more than full. Without this faithful, dependent servant of God many babies might not have made it. Putting it bluntly, many babies would have died. We cannot give Monica enough thanks for what she did. Here is her story… a perfect one to end Orphan Sunday:
“Lord, help me! I can’t do this much longer!” That was my cry one sleep deprived night five years ago as I sat in the middle of six babies sleeping (or not) on the floor and two 7-year-olds slumbering in the back bedroom. Numb with exhaustion, I was not expecting a reply, but immediately I heard a voice in my head saying, “Monica, hold on! This is hard but the end will be worth it. I promise I will reunite you with these kids someday. You will look into their once terrified, yearning eyes and see children who have found families that love them. The families I have for these kids will fight for them. Your job is to take care of them for Me, right now. Every day, you will get up and do the work, and I WILL sustain you.”
So everyday I washed clothes, fed babies, read stories, sang songs and eventually they were transferred to the orphanage and ultimately adopted to great Christian families in the U.S.
I had forgotten God’s words to me those years ago, but on a flight to Nashville for a YWAM reunion in May 2013, God’s promise to me that night back in 2009 was brought to my mind. I could hardly wait to see those bright, well-fed little guys! All but two of the children from Gimbie were safe with loving families, and I yearned for those two even while enjoying the rest.
God is good, all the time! I say that a lot, but today, I am reminded again! Those crazy times in Ethiopia are just sweet memories now; I don’t even remember those sleepless nights! All I remember is that the amazing, life-giving work of God for His little children is so purposeful and rewarding…it is well worth any inconvenience on my part.
Now for THE REST OF THE STORY:
Remember the two babies that had NOT been rescued by that first reunion in Nashville May, 2013? Well, I was blessed to be reunited with Kayla (Feenan) and Chala two weeks ago in San Diego!
God promised in John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.” And that promise came true!!! The last two orphans from Gimbie are NOW with their forever families! He never stopped watching over them and leading them to their new homes.
As I think back on that night when God promised me that He would take care of these babies, I am in awe of how faithful He is for the orphans and each one of us! Let us not grow weary of helping the parentless children around the world. I pray we never forget how God has adopted each one of us and yearns for us to follow His example! This is the work we were made for. Although it is difficult, it shows the heart of God better than any sermon.
I am so thankful for your faithful love and care for my boys…before we ever even heard of Gimbie or knew our children's names. It really is like getting a peek into heaven to hear you tell of God working in and through you in the lives of these kids. Sometimes we may wonder what God is up to, then on the few occasions, like this, that we get to see the whole picture (well a good bit of it) we just have to sit back in awe. Thank you again for loving our boys, Monica!