It just takes a little to change a lot
If you read my article all the way to the end there is a short biography. In that bio it says I love Ethiopia. This is super true, I love Ethiopia; it’s people, food, and coffee. But let me tell you why I love a country that is 7,659 miles from my home.
It all started on a Sunday afternoon at Covington coffee shop Square Perk in 2012. A friend of mine invited me to bring my youth group to hear a couple talk about orphans and what we are supposed to do as Christians. Being the good youth pastor that I am, I agreed. This is where I first meet Tymm and Laura Hoffman and heard their story. They started an organization called Brighton Their World to care for orphans in Ethiopia. The reason behind this is that they were adopting a boy from Ethiopia. They named him Brighton and waited to get the call to bring him home. On Jan. 9, 2008, around 1:15 p.m., the phone rang. Tymm received news that Brighton passed away. Brighton was only 76 days old. The Hoffman’s were heartbroken. I cannot imagine the pain they felt.
Instead of walking away from adoption they ran toward it. They have adopted three more children from Ethiopia and started Brighton Their World. The main focus of Brighton Their World is nutrition. Brighton passed away due to malnutrition. So, Brighton Their World provides formula, diapers, and other assorted things for Kebebe Tshey orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
After hearing their story I was heartbroken. What could I do to help? So that Sunday afternoon, I introduced myself to Tymm and Laura. The Hoffman’s decided to start sending small teams to Ethiopia so that Brighton Their World was more hands on. I volunteered for the very first trip. I argued with God for a while about it but we all know how arguing with God ends. Just look at Jonah.
I went on that first trip in 2013 and God opened my eyes. I actually refer to it as “A Sucker-Punch from the Holy Spirit”. My life was changed. My walk with God was changed. My role as a father changed. My role as a husband changed. To put it plainly, every aspect of my life had been turned upside down. There is not enough space to tell you about everything I saw or did there. I could fill up eight or nine full pages.
I am currently preparing to leave for my next trip. I have not missed a trip yet and God willing I never will. But this trip is different from the rest. Brighton Their World opened a school! It is called the Brighton Academy of Excellence. It has 300 students. Half of the students are sponsored and the other half are selfpaying. The school opened in the Shiro Meda area of Addis Ababa. This is the poorest area in Addis.
When you sponsor a student at Brighton Academy the cost is $28 a month. That includes the student’s school, meals at school, and clean water for their family. Or you could be what they call a Nutritional Sponsor for $12 a month, that includes meals and clean water for their family. That is mind blowing!
Brighton Their World has 14 children for Kebebe Tshey going to Brighton Academy. I love how God works and I am humbled to be a part of it. If you want more information on Brighton Their World or Brighton Academy of Excellence visit their website, brigthontheirworld.org.
To answer the question to why I got involved, the answer is simple. I was told to by God. James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” Psalms 68:5 tells us that God is “a father for the fatherless and a judge for the widows”. If orphans and widows are important to Him than they are important to me. Plus, I have new family members because of Ethiopia!
If you ever see me around Covington and you are in a hurry, don’t ask me about Ethiopia. I will take up as much time as I can. But, if you ever want to sit down, grab a cup of coffee, and talk about Ethiopia let me know.
ANDY BUTTS COLUMNIST