More Than a Helping Hand

More Than a Helping Hand

By: Brandy Campbell, with Tigist Gizachew in Ethiopia   |   Posted: October 16, 2008

Compassion's Support Boosts Girl's Faith in Tough Times
After the death of her father, Selome had to raise her two younger sisters, something she says she wouldn't have been able to do without Compassion's help.

Ato pulled back the tattered curtain in his daughter Selome's room, letting the early morning sunshine spill across the dirt floor. He gently woke 7-year-old Selome, pulling clean clothes out of a crate as she rubbed her eyes.

"Where are we going, Papa?" she asked as she pushed her thin arms through the sleeves of her tattered dress.

"Everything will be all right soon," he said quietly as they rushed out the door. They walked quickly down the dusty street of their village to the Mekane Yesus Church, where hundreds of other parents and children milled around in the cool morning air. Selome clutched her father's jacket tightly as he filled out paperwork and answered questions. 

Selome didn't know it then, but her father was taking the steps that would change her life profoundly. It was the beginning of a long journey Selome would take with Compassion, one that would fill her with hope, fuel her faith, and help her cope with more difficult times ahead.


When Selome and Ato left the church hours later, she was exhausted. But she had not seen her father this happy in months, not since before her mother died suddenly less than a year earlier. 

"I still remember the joy on my father's face that day," says Selome of the morning she was registered into the Nefas Silk Mekane Yesus Church Student Center (ET-502). "It took away his sadness and he soon was making plans to move on with his life." 


When Selome's mother died, Selome knew she would soon have to drop out of school to work. Her mother had been the primary provider in the family and without her income, Selome, the eldest of three girls, would not have money for her fees or books. So when her father found out about the Compassion-assisted program, he rushed to register Selome. He knew that once she was registered, the little girl no longer would have to worry about adult problems.

"The most important support Compassion gave me, apart from food, medicine and clothing, was the opportunity to go to school without thinking for a minute about who will pay the next tuition fee," Selome says.

For the next nine years, Selome's father, along with the program workers and her sponsor, gave her constant support and encouragement. She became a top student at her high school. Her father bragged about his daughter constantly, relieved that she was making something of her life.


But one day, when Selome was 18, her father never came home from his job as a guard at a nearby factory. She and her uncle went to look for her father and found that he had died unexpectedly, alone in the small guard shack.

Selome was devastated. She felt so alone. But the night her father died, workers from the student center came to her home to pray with her. And Selome knew that, with Christ, she would never be alone.

"That night, I saw a miracle," she says. "The workers from the child development center relentlessly supported me in any way they could after the death of my father, and my sponsor, Mr. Miller, offered me words of encouragement. I am forever grateful for being God's child, and for Him giving people to care about me."

In the six years since her father died, Selome has graduated from high school, earned a college degree, and now works for a relief organization in her community. She is raising her sisters, both of whom have accepted Christ. 

"God has been faithful," says Selome, now 19. "He has provided friends who love me and a sponsor who supported me for many years. God is taking care of us."

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