It just takes a lit­tle to change a lot

The Covington News - - OBITUARIES - Andy Butts was born and raised in New­ton County. He is the youth pas­tor at Jour­ney Church in Ox­ford, GA. He loves God, his wife, his chil­dren, food, Ethiopia, and Star Wars.

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

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