Kebede’s Jubilee Moment
“I have a bright future now.”
Kebede Mena invites us over as his seven children gather outside their home to enjoy a meal together. He shows us his newly thatched roof and reinforced walls, and points to his thriving crops of beans and maize nearby. Life is good for Kebede, but things weren’t always this way.
Just a few months before our visit, the family was struggling to make ends meet.
As the wind howled outside of his small home, Kebede tried to find some sense of peace and calm. The storm arrived suddenly and rain was pooling in the corners of the single room of his house. Kebede’s seven children were huddled together trying to sleep, sneezing and coughing as the rain water continued to pour through.
How could they make it through another night like this?
The next morning, Kebede surveyed the damage to his home. The thatched grass roof was caving in, and the slats of wood acting as walls were rotting out. If he didn’t do something now, the house would surely collapse.
Desperate to protect his family, Kebede decided to lease out the small portion of land he owned. Kebede only had half an acre of land to begin with, and with half of that now rented to local farmers, he had almost no space in his field to grow food for his large family.
With money from leasing his land still not enough to pay for repairs to his home and to feed his hungry children, Kebede took a job as a day labourer in his community. Kebede worked terribly long hours for a low wage, sometimes working in the fields late into the evening.
His income and the money from leasing his family’s land was still not enough to fix his crumbling home. Kebede was losing hope. No matter how hard he worked, he just couldn’t make ends meet. His children were starting to get sick from being exposed to the wind and rain all night.
One evening when Kebede was turning home from work he was greeted by some elders from the local church. To his surprise, they let him know that the congregation was giving him the money and labour needed to finish repairing his home. Kebede couldn’t believe his ears!
The church was choosing to stand in solidarity with him, a poor farmer with hardly anything to his name. The elders told him that they were trying to live out their faith in Jesus by meeting the real needs in the community. They wanted to love their neighbours, and give them tangible hope.
On top of this gift, the elders also let him know that they would start helping him buy pieces of his land back. This meant that they would help cancel the lease so he could have more space in his field to grow enough food.
This was a moment of jubilee for Kebede!
Like the people of Israel in the Old Testament, the local church in the village of Ela Mesino, Ethiopia are restoring land and livelihoods to those living in poverty. With training from Tearfund’s local partner, Terepeza Development Assocation (TDA), churches are learning how to help lift people from poverty.
Now that Kebede has a solid roof over his head and is no longer struggling to make ends meet, he is on his way to lifting himself out of extreme poverty. He’s excited that his family is now healthy and is hopeful for the future.
“I have a bright future now that the church is willing to buy my leased land back,” says Kebede. “I personally think that I can produce enough food on my own. I would like to bless my church leaders and the committee who mobilized the congregation to support my family.”
When you give to Tearfund, we’re able to bring life-changing transformation to some of the poorest places in the world through our local church partners. Your support has allowed the local church in Ethiopia to bring jubilee-like restoration to Kebede and his family. He’s seen the transforming love of Christ through the words and deeds of his church because of you.