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Make Your Mark

I’ve been thinking a lot about you. Yep, YOU.

I love that my clients, readers, and followers have a desire for a bigger world-view and a love for things outside themselves. I hear it in our interactions, and it’s gotten me to thinking- thinking about how to make things over here better represent all of you. There are going to be some big, wonderful changes coming this summer, and I can’t wait to share more! But in the meantime, thanks for reading and caring and taking action!

Today, I want to write about another of the five organizations we worked with on our Creatives Trip.

Make Your Mark Ministries is a group that has delved into the depths of the pain of boys living on the streets and has a rehabilitation program for them. We were able to interview two different boys- one who has been off the streets for 2 years and one who had just entered the program. We asked what life was like on the streets. They opened up honestly about their experiences- crying on holidays because they had no one; huffing glue to dull the pain; regularly being raped by rich men that would come specifically looking for the boys; being beaten by the local police; and fearing that they, like some of their friends, might be kidnapped to have their kidney removed and sold on the black market. Because, yes, this actually does happen.

During his interview, Sintau, the one who had been off the streets for two years talked of his new life and new-found faith in Christ. He told us that he now attends school and works as a welder. When discussing the transformation, he explained that when he came to Make Your Mark,­ it was the first time he was told that he had value. He specifically talked of the transforming change that happened when he was informed that he was made in the image of God. I asked him what he wanted people to know.

“I want them to see that other street boys can change,” he told me through a translator. “I was told that I could be somebody. They can be somebody, too.”

Below you can see Sintau’s before and after photos along with a photo of him at his new job.

before after
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Begin With One

I stood there in middle of a government school in the remote village of Chapa in southern Ethiopia. In the middle of a set of buildings that would be about the size of a preschool facility here in the States, we learned that there were 3,000 students. This number left no alternative but to do half-day school twice a day with each teacher responsible for about 80 children during each of those time periods. Supplies were scarce and there was simply not the grounds nor resources for higher education.

Standing in a single classroom, I had my usual thought- where do I point my camera? There’s so much to show, so much to tell.

I turned to the interpreter, “What do they want me to photograph? What do they want people back in my country to know?”

The answers came back: “We want them to see what our schools look like.”

“We want them to see how crowded we are.”

A seventh grader stood up: “I want them to see [me]. To see that I want to learn more, but my school does not have enough money to run higher grades. So I cannot get more education.”

Those are their words. These are images they wanted me to take. So as I promised them on that warm afternoon a month ago, I’m telling and showing it all you.

Begin With One is organization that has partnered with Chapa to work together as two communities building each other up. They have taken this project under their wing; and what began as a $60,000 dollar project is now down to a little over $22,000. A group has offered to do a matching grant up to $12,000 so every dollar you give is doubled. Head over HERE if you want to get involved.

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