“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
Sara was knit together by God, and delivered to the world in the city of Jimma, Ethiopia. Her mother, captive to an unhealthy lifestyle when Sara was born, knew she could not raise a baby. As is a devastating but common practice, the unwelcome baby Sara was abandoned to her fate near the edge of the local dump.
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” (Psalm 139:1-8)
A woman took notice of Sara at the dump, and carried her home to grow up alongside her own children. But this woman could not love Sara as her own child, and burdened her with extra housework and heavy demands to provide for the family by selling injera (traditional Ethiopian flatbread). Still, the little girl’s heart was made for love, and she longed for it. She recalled that the “best day ever” in her life was “the day my mom kissed me.”
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:11)
When Sara came to Sports Friends Camp, she was eager to receive the kindness of her coach and staff. She was very talkative and shared her story openly. During camp there is a very special foot-washing ceremony where staff humbly love and honor the young people, made in the image of God, whom they serve. When a woman named Hiwot washed Sara’s feet, Sara told her, “When you washed my feet I felt like Jesus Himself had come down to wash my feet. I didn’t know anyone could love me. I thought I was the kind of person that wasn’t lovable.”
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should also wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14)
It took Sara a little time after she clearly heard the message of Jesus and His love for her to decide she was ready to accept Him as her own Savior. She told her team leader she was ready to repent and believe in Him. As part of a Sports Friends team she is embraced by coaches that are investing in her life, and a local church that is committed to helping her learn to walk as a daughter of God, no matter where life takes her.
“Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)