Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | April 29, 2014

A Day of Open Doors

Endabaguna Refugee Transition Center, Northern Ethiopia

Permission granted! Those are the words we waited all day to hear. Finally at about mid-afternoon, we received word that we had been granted permission to proceed with our visit and work at the Endabaguna Transition Center for Eritrean refugees. The moment we received the phone call from the Ethiopian Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs, the authorizing agency, we sprang into action and headed to our vehicles. And, as if to protest our long-awaited opportunity, a thunderstorm blew in and flooded the streets in minutes. The rain slowed us down a bit but did not keep us from pressing on.

As we drove down the flooded streets of Shire toward Endabaguna, I thought about the open door before us. As Christ-followers, we live in a day of open doors and unprecedented access to the nations. That’s why we must not be passive but instead act intentionally by stepping across thresholds to engage those who live on the other side of those open doors. And that’s why we must pray that God will open even more doors to give us access to people in need and those who have never had an opportunity to hear about or experience the great love of God.

Entrance Endabaguna
When Ethiopian authorities pick up Eritrean refugees, they bring them to the Endabaguna Transition Center where the Ethiopian Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs establishes their identity. These individuals are then temporarily housed at the center until they are assigned to one of four refugee camps. Adults and families are generally assigned quickly to one of four displacement camps. Unaccompanied minors, however, can spend months at the transition center.

Women's Area
The accommodations and latrines at the transition center are less than adequate to serve the needs of so many refugees. Those who fled Eritrea with nothing but the clothes on their backs sleep in crowded rooms on hard concrete floors. Any unaccompanied girls are assigned to the general population of women and children. The unaccompanied boys are assigned to a boys dormitory. These children have nothing to do all day. The center does not make provision for the education or entertainment of these children. These poor kids have a dismal existence.

Laundry Girls
Most of the kids have only one set of clothes. They are responsible for doing their own laundry, which means fetching water and washing their clothes in basins without any laundry detergent. Clothes are then hung out to dry on a barbed wire fence in the compound. This week we will give each kid an extra set of clothes. We will also provide soccer balls and solar-powered lights to make it safer for them at night.

Boy Sleeping
The bigger picture calls for us to join hands with our partners at Innovative Humanitarian Solutions to fund the construction of a dormitory for the unaccompanied Eritrean girls. This dormitory will be housed within a walled compound with security because these girls are especially vulnerable to abuse. We will also help to provide bunk beds for both the boys and girls dormitories and make provision for education supplies. A young lady named Rachel, one of our team members, will stay for another six months to help oversee this work.

The Apostle Paul once asked the church at Colossae to specifically pray that God would open a “door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ” (Col. 4:3). We are thankful that God has opened a door of opportunity of us to join Innovative Humanitarian Solutions in meeting the needs of kids who will never know a normal childhood. Walking through this open door will give us opportunities to both show and declare the love of Christ. Please pray that this door will remain open (Rev. 3:8) and that God will use us to change the world for Eritrean kids who deserve the opportunity for a better life.

Endabaguna Girl

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