stories @ jesus house
Pastors Agu and Sola’s Compassion UK mission to Ethiopia Ethiopia is one of the world’s poorest countries, where, of a population of around 80 million, 35 million people live below the poverty line, with more than 12 million struggling to put together a simple meal each day. These are statistics that cannot be glossed over whatever way you look at it.
s part of our determined drive as a church to make an impact in the wider world, Pastors Agu and Sola Irukwu travelled to Ethiopia with Compassion UK, spending a number of days touring around the poor, rural areas to meet people whose lives had been touched by God through Compassion UK’s work in the region. Pastor Agu described one of their many encounters: “We went to see a young girl of 18 who lost her father and mother [to] HIV. She lives in a little hut [but] by the grace of God, through the help of the local church and Compassion, she now has a chance to live a healthy and normal life.” The couple also spent some time encouraging and mentoring several young men who were once sponsored as children and have gone on to lead fulfilling lives. “These are people who were trapped in extreme deprivation and unimaginable poverty,” Pastor Agu explained, “but with Compassion working through the local church they [were able to get] out of poverty. Amazingly, one is a computer scientist, one a pastor for the local church, and another works in a carpentry workshop. These guys were [otherwise] destined for a life trapped in poverty.” Pastor Sola was equally touched by the stories she heard. “This trip has had a life-changing impact on me,” she said. “You read about the impact that a small amount of money makes in people’s lives, but I never fully grasped what it really meant until I came out here and saw real people who, from childhood, have been sponsored by individuals all over the world. These children have gone on to become counselors, doctors, engineers…the list is 20
Right: Pastors Agu and Sola with one of the sponsored children. Below: With the family of another sponsored child.
endless.” She shared the story of a lovely lady, called Ayni, who was sponsored by Compassion from the age of eight years old after she lost both her parents. “She’s now 21, works for Compassion, and is doing a Masters degree [as well as] getting married to a gentleman who was [also] sponsored by Compassion. So you can see it actually working well.” Whilst there, the couple were so moved by the experience that they could not leave without dedicating themselves to sponsoring three children: Semira Abdella (aged 7), Abudurazak Abdella Ali and Fikerte Kidney (both aged 4), and upon their return, they shared their lifechanging experience of Ethiopia in a video diary with the congregation. Since their return, 387 members have sponsored children in Ethiopia through Compassion UK. Speaking on CSR International’s plans for 2012, Pastor Sola told Outflow that “The drive is for ordinary people to make