Never heard of it? Neither had I. In fact, you probably never would unless you intentionally researched the place like I have for the last few weeks.
You see, it all started with a harmless Facebook post by a woman I went to church with when we lived in Indy. It seems she has a friend that has adopted five children from Ethiopia, in addition to the three they already had. In December 2012, Tisha Alexander travelled to Korah while in Ethiopia to bring home the three boys that were joining their growing family.
What Tisha saw broke her to the point that she knew, with God's help, she had to do something...and A Heart for Korah was born. Julie's "harmless" Facebook post was a request to help A Heart for Korah receive 1000 likes because a generous donation of $2 per "like" would be given to the organization up to $2000. Praise God, they received their desired number of likes...and then some. When I clicked on the link (which you can do also by going to their Facebook page), I didn't know what to expect, other than I knew Addis Ababa was the capital of Ethiopia.
What I was not prepared for was the desperate circumstances in which over 120,000 people live.
Korah...as it turns out...is a dump. Yes, you read that correctly...a garbage dump. It's not only a dump where people pick through it for food to eat and items they can sell, but the "lucky" ones live around the outskirts of the dump. The unlucky ones live on the dump.
As I read more and more about this place, I knew I wanted to do something to help. A Heart for Korah is already doing something...through sponsorship of families. Yes, the entire family is sponsored. They always have on their blog a list of families that need sponsorship (click here for more information). For only $40 per month, $35 goes to the family for food and rent or other specified needs, and $5 goes to the pastor that visits them regularly. The pastor is the one that also pays their rent and buys their food for them with the funds from sponsors.
It takes me awhile to mull over things and to ask God's Spirit what He would have me do. So flash forward about two to three weeks and here's what happened: We received some unexpected, "free" money. Immediately, I started planning for the purchase of some patio furniture I've been wanting...but then...the full weight of all I had been reading and processing fell upon me with this thought from the Holy Spirit:
Angela...how can you even think about buying new patio furniture when there are people in this world that actually have to pay rent to live in a dump.
Anger, grief and plain disbelief welled up in me as I became infuriated that I live in a world where we in the U.S. have so much...too much...and half a world away, by only an accident of geographical birth...people...children...have to pick through trash to be fed. I remembered how many times (too many to count), when I or my children have expressed discontentment I have said aloud, "Well, at least we don't live on a garbage heap, picking through it for our food." And here I was, confronted with the faces of people that have to do exactly that. They were no longer faceless "them"...they were smiling, beautiful faces, each with lives and a story to tell.
So I went to the internet again, to do more research outside of A Heart for Korah's information and I came across innumerable photos, posts and blogs about Korah. It seems that slowly...but surely...God is shining light in this very, very dark place. One of the best posts I read was from a woman that visited there in 2010. Please take the time to read it. She admits that the experience was too overwhelming to convey her emotions, but just the description of what she encountered is enough. Kuwaitcitygal.blogspot.com
How come we haven't heard of this Gehenna (see link to Kuwait City Gal above)...this Hell on earth...before? Because darkness hides. How come God's Church is not rising up to storm the gates of this Hell and so many others like it? That is a more complicated answer, I'm sure.
Or is it?
I am not charged in God's Word with trying to find out the why. I am charged to be faithful with my what.
So Holy Spirit asked me, What are you going to do about it?
Truly, the thing that infuriates me the most is that someone actually has to pay rent to live in Korah. God help us right the world of such excruciatingly horrible wrongs.
When confronted with the knowledge of something downright awful that I previously had never known before, time and time again the Spirit brings my heart and mind back to James 4:17, "Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin." (emphasis mine) I can no longer chastise my discontent children with an admonishment about perspective poverty, when there are names and faces that I turn a blind eye to, can I? Can you?
I have a "full disclosure confession": right after contacting Tish to confirm which family we would sponsor, I took the kids out to lunch. I don't know why...other than dining out has been one of our family's favorite things to do. The bonding over food and conversation has always been precious to me. But I confess, that I had that "tug" that I shouldn't be spending the money on dining out...and I ignored it. When I saw the total and realized we'd just spent more than one month's support for a family on one sit down lunch...I was disappointed in myself and that's putting it mildly...mental nausea is probably a better description. I know I'm still a work in progress and I won't be perfected until I stand before Jesus...but it is time for me to get this right! Someone's very life may depend upon it.
For another ministry opportunity for the people of Korah, here is a short documentary from MissionEthiopia.com