For fourteen years NewLife has offered early childhood education to sixty 5 and 6-year-olds from desperately poor families in a Mus!im village.  Pouring into the lives of these children over the years has given our case workers a warm welcome into the homes of villagers.

For two years during the recent drought, we provided bags of corn to their families — children cannot learn if their tummies are empty.  Visiting the children’s families is an opportunity to share the gospel, and several of our kindergarten families have become followers of Christ through this connection!

Over the years we brought service teams from the U.S. church that ‘adopted’ this village.  Classrooms were gaily decorated, the children enjoyed VBS-style activities, and teachers from the U.S.  taught skills to our teachers.  Seminar trainings for the area missionaries were usually part of the team’s program coupled (sometimes) with a day-long women’s conference.  We have held youth rallies at the church and shown the Jesus film.

But lately … nothing.  The past several years the village and surrounding area has been dominated by an ethnic terrorist group making ingress and egress to the village impossible for anyone outside their tribal affiliation.  The danger of violence or kidnapping has put a hard stop on any outsider visiting.  Overt evangelism has slowed down and outreach to neighboring villages has been curtailed.  The good news is the children are unaffected and merrily skip to school as usual and church is uninterrupted.    The anxiety caused by this group has pulled the Christian community closer to each other with rich worship, prayer times and Bible studies.  God continues to draw people deep into His heart!

Not being able to get fresh pictures of the children enjoying school life and unable to nurture community relationships built over the years is a frustration and disappointment.  Our kindergarten sponsors get report cards on ‘their’ student(s), but that doesn’t flesh out a personality or give a picture of a what school days are like.  We appreciate our faithful sponsors who steadfastly give toward a child’s chance to secure a head start to their education … despite meager feedback.

We cannot begin to adequately thank our faithful kindergarten sponsors enough!

Recently, a purchase from our gift catalog gave a donkey and cart to a child’s family.  This is a HUGE gift!  “We are delighted with this support!” states 5-year-old Sumaya’s mom, Robdu.  “After this, I can use the donkey and cart to fetch water from far area.  Also, I use it for transportation while I go to markets.  In addition to this, I can use it to transport baggage as well as travelers by receiving payment for transportation.”  Robdu has been gifted a taxi- Ethiopian style!

We are in need of others who will invest in a child’s education.  A hot lunch with daily vitamin, a full day of school, all school supplies and a uniform gives children a head start to their educational journey they would never get.  Because of the severe poverty the children come from, the chances of them receiving formal learning are low.  Most parents have minimal or no education.  Help us break that cycle!