Feeding the hillside children on En Toto Mountain
“As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.” “But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered. “Bring them here,” he said. Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children!”
Matthew 14:13-21 NLT
“Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.” The disciples replied, “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?” Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?” They replied, “Seven loaves, and a few small fish.” So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to the disciples, who distributed the food to the crowd. They all ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food. There were 4,000 men who were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children. Then Jesus sent the people home, and he got into a boat and crossed over to the region of Magadan.”
Matthew 15:32-39 NLT
We were packed into our vans as we traveled up En Toto mountain. We came across the first bundle lady. Her posture was bowed from the many years of traveling up En Toto mountain for nine miles to retrieve her 170 pound bundle of sticks. Her shoes were in tatters. I am not even sure how they stayed together. I was told at the top of the mountain she would gather her bundle then travel back down the 9 mile trek and sale this bundle for less than $4. It was how this woman fed her children. JESUS HAD COMPASSION ON THEM.
We stopped halfway up En Toto for our picnic lunch of pasta and rice and bread. We saw them coming toward us. Their clothes were threadbare. Shoes were nonexistant. Faces and hands were grimey. “One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him. Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.””
Luke 18:15-17 NLT
We took out our handiwipes and began washing faces and hands. They loved the smell of the wipes. I think that is a universal thing with all children. My grandson still enjoys the fragrance of hand sanitizer. That is the one thing that keeps my grandneice seated at the dinner table, playing with her mothers hand sanitizer that hangs from her diaper bag. The little children who came to us that day loved the smell of our wipes. We left the wipes with them. They were starving. We could see the watery eyes of malnutrition. We seated them in circles on the hillside. We blessed our picnic of rice and pasta. They cupped their hands. We scooped our food into their outstretched hands. They ate. They scoffed down each handful. We had plenty to go around. It is hard to eat when the children God brings before us are starving. We told them, “Eyesus yewedegnal.” Jesus loves you.
Compassion from the Greek – To be moved in the inward parts, especially the noble entrails – the heart lungs, liver and the kidneys. These grradually came to denote the seat of the affections. Strong’s Concordance
Compassion – That human disposition that fuels acts of kindness and mercy.
“WE LOVE EACH OTHER BECAUSE HE LOVED US FIRST.” 1 JOHN 4:19
Another story from God’s word coming to life for me the day we stopped for a picnic on En Toto mountain in Ethiopia.
I will be travelling up En Toto mountain again very soon with my pastor, Justin Graves and his mission team. Pray for our eyes to be open to see where the Lord is at work and we might join God in His work.
Pray that Jesus will instill in us His compassion as we travel through a land where so many children are malnourished.
If you want to be a prayer partner just reply back to this post and underneath the comment box click on the button to be notified of future posts. I will be updating this blog with more adventures from Ethiopia.