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The Story of Biruk, the Horton Family, and a Guesthouse

I’d like to tell you three stories. Fair warning–at the end I’m going to ask you to do something that will take less than five minutes of your time. So if you don’t have a soul you can stop reading, because this is all leading to an easy-breezy action point.

Like I said, three stories: One is about a kid named Biruk, one is about a guesthouse in Ethiopia, and one is about a couple who decided they needed to obey Jesus regardless of how hard it seemed.

First, the couple:

Chris and Christy Horton had always talked about adopting, but dropped the subject after an arduous and emotional attempt to go through the process in a state that shall remain nameless (coughMissouricough). But on a mission trip with their church in June, 2010, they found themselves at a children’s home in Mexico City, Mexico. Emotions they had stuffed deep down inside bubbled to the surface, and the conviction to bring a child into their home became impossible to ignore.

A nagging quote she read looped in Christy’s head:

“What if there are children who will suffer somehow because I failed to obey God? What if my cowardice costs even one child somewhere in the world his or her life?” Richard Stearns, The Hole in Our Gospel

After her husband returned from a trip to Haiti, the couple realized that to not pursue adoption would in their case be flat out disobedience. So they climbed the mountain of paperwork that International Adoptions require and God began to do incredible work in their lives, paving the way. The day before submitting their first payment, they received an unexpected reimbursement check for the exact amount. The process was long, but it was filled with reminders that they were doing the right thing.

And ultimately, it led them to Ethiopia.

Now the story about Biruk.

Biruk was born and spent his earliest years in Ethiopia. Life was hard, and in many ways is unspeakable. 5.5 million kids in Ethiopia are orphaned or vulnerable. AIDS and many other awful things that are hard to wrap your Western, comfy mind around snatch kids right out of their parents loving care.

But the beauty of Biruk’s story is not found in his trials, but in the redemption he’s experienced since.

In December 2012, after their difficult path and his exponentially more difficult journey, Biruk was brought home to live with the Horton’s at the age of 7. He joined them speaking very little English. He was malnourished, could not read, handled discipline poorly, and had been rejected at every turn in his young life. His only trip outside of his village had been to Addis Ababa to meet his new family.

Now, only fourteen months later, Biruk has become a healthy, loving, English speaking, English reading boy with an awesome sense of humor. He still has issues, but they’ve gone from seemingly insurmountable to common issues for any 8 year old.

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My last story is about a guesthouse.

After two emotional tales of faithfulness and adoption, telling a story about a house may seem insignificant. But the ministry of this house and organization is what linked Biruk with the Horton family. It’s a sturdy bridge connecting two beautiful stories. In some ways, it is a beautiful story in and of itself.

Yezelalem Minch Children and Community Development is run by Mrs. Birtukan Sinishaw, once a child of poverty herself. But she was raised by a dedicated single mother, and has taken it upon herself to offer support to children without the benefit of such a devoted parent.

She used her first home to take in two orphans. She kept on taking orphans whose parents died due to HIV in her home and raised them together with her biological children. Now her small vision has turned into an organization operating in three different cities with staffs whose hearts are full of love for children and committed to see changes in their lives. It is an incredible ministyr of child sponsorship and much more. But in a country where 5.5 million children are categorized as orphaned or vulnerable, the work is never complete.

That’s where Biruk, the Horton’s, and the guesthouse all need your help.

My friend Christy was nominated for a contest honoring moms. Rightly so — she is indeed a great mom. She and Chris obeyed God and have made an eternal difference for little Biruk. The winner of the contest wins $1000 to be donated to the charity of their choice. She’s elected to donate her winnings–you guessed it–to the guesthouse where the stayed when they travelled to Ethiopia to adopt Biruk. YMCCD enjoys a partnership with U.S.-based Blue Nile Traders. That company donates their profits to YMCCD. The money will flow through Blue NIle directly to YMCCD.

So what can you do?

You can vote for Christy by following these simple instructions:

  • Like Tea Collection on Facebook. They’re running the contest.
  • Find the “Inspiring Mom’s Contest” picture, URL, page, etc.
  • Vote for Christy Horton in her category of “Global Connector.” It makes you vote for each category, and Christy is in the third category. But seriously, that’s two extra clicks. You can handle it.
  • It makes you fill out a short form to cast your vote. Do it. Yes, you will get some junk e-mail or whatever. But there’s such a thing as unsubscribe. Not a big deal. If you let it use your FB info you don’t even have to do the form, it does it for you. Easy as pie.
  • Share that you voted and get all your besties to vote too. Don’t know Christy? WHO CARES! I do, and I’m telling your right now, she and her hubby are the real deal.

You can also buy some coffee from Blue Nile. Because then YMCCD gets more money and you get delicious coffee. No lie, coffee from Ethiopia is delicious.

And check out YMCCD’s website and get involved.

Thanks for reading, voting, and sharing.

And share this blog so others can do the same. Biruk (and Chris and Christy, and his brother Blake, and YMCCD) all say thanks:

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4 comments

    1. I thought that at first two. There are three categories. It makes you vote for each category. She is the third. So vote for two strangers and then you’ll see her in the third batch. Thanks, Jenni!

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