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Guest Post #3: Lauren & El Olam

November 30, 2011

I received an email today that I got pretty excited about. It was about a woman named Hiwot and her organization, El-Olam, located in Ethiopia. Today’s post from Lauren is appropriate since it is about this same woman.
I sent an email to Girl Effect, an organization that spreads the message of other organizations that are empowering vulnerable women and children around the world. I told them how amazing this woman was by the name of Hiwot and all the work that she is doing for women and children in Ethioipa. I received an email back from Girl Effect (with no intention of receiving an email in return) stating that they loved her story and want to feature El-Olam as the “Organization of the Month” for December. Hiwot and El-Olam will be featured on their website and on their Facebook page with over 271,000 “likes”! Wow! I will keep you posted on more information on how to view once I confirm details and receive Hiwot’s approval.
Lauren wrote about Hiwot a few weeks ago and I am so thankful for Lauren’s gift of writing and Hiwot’s amazing heart. Enjoy!

Reflections on Ethiopia: El-Olam, God Everlasting

Did or does anyone else have a To-do list before turning 30? I wanted to run a marathon (check, but almost died), not be chained to my undergrad student loans (check, thanks Dave Ramsey), and be married to a cute half-Japanese guy that would forever look 18 (check, but the cute, half-Japanese part was just a bonusJ). These are nice personal goals, but how many of us are willing to give up our relatively short-sighted lists in exchange for God’s eternal plan? What about when it will require taking more risks, making more sacrifices, and trusting God more than my bank account balance? Am I willing?

I met someone who is: Hiwot Abera, founder of Elolam Care for Children in Addis Ababa. Jen and I visited many different orphanages and ministries in Addis, but we both instantly felt that there was something unique about Hiwot. It became evident that everything about her and how she runs her organization is Spirit-led. Born in Ethiopia, Hiwot moved to Germany with her family when she was young. She trained as a dentist and could have stayed and lived a comfortable “western” life near friends and family. However, God put it on her heart to return to her country and minister to the most vulnerable. Hiwot admits that when she first returned to Ethiopia, she strayed from God’s plan because she felt frozen by her lack of funds and ability. So she fell back on safer plan B: get married, have kids, and get a “real” job. But she was miserable pursuing her own plan and her relationship with God drifted. She hit rock-bottom when her marriage fell apart and she could barely provide for her own children. Hiwot realized that she needed to start operating like God’s Word is really true: “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). She literally started with nothing, but today she has four orphanages, a free daycare center for children of single mothers who were former beggars and prostitutes (most with HIV/AIDS), and she is empowering these same mothers with job training so they can provide for and keep their children.

Now that’s some list. But it doesn’t end with a check mark or even Hiwot’s life on earth. Like the name of her organization, El-Olam (God Everlasting), her work has everlasting implications. I’m pretty sure when I meet my Maker, He won’t say “Well done Lauren. You’ve run a marathon, you’re debt-free, and you have a cute hubby. These things will really come in handy in Heaven.”

And by the way, Hiwot is 28. So yeah, I’m feeling convicted. The good news is that life is not over at age 30. I’ve discovered that it’s just beginning, and it’s never too late to start living for the Everlasting.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary Erickson permalink
    December 1, 2011 10:18 am

    Jen, this is great news about Hiwot, we never know what our part will be in God’s plan! Mom

  2. December 1, 2011 3:28 pm

    Wow!!! What an amazing woman!!

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