(MNN) — The merger between Buckner International and Bright Hope, a ministry in Ethiopia, has jumpstarted outreach
growth by three years.
dignitaries celebrated the agreement with great fanfare, the March 18
announcement was largely a quiet one. For Getahun Tesema, executive director of Bright Hope, and Ken Hall,
president of Buckner International, the
coming together of the two groups is the formal seal on a partnership that's
been in the making for some time.
The two non-governmental organizations have been
collaborating in Ethiopia
for about a year. Buckner also offers international and in-country adoptions of
Bright Hope, meanwhile, has focused its efforts on foster
care, programs for street children, basic skills development training, care and
support for people living with HIV/AIDS, food distribution, and educational
Both a literal and figurative cornerstone of this merger is
the construction of an education center in Bantu. Buckner's Director of International programs, Randy Daniels, says, "Part of this education center that
we're partnering with Bright Hope to do will include a church, (and) water
well; we will increase the capacity of the health clinic, and we'll develop a
community center that will also provide basic education–literacy–for the
adults living in that city, and then we're also going to build a baby
Daniels says the baby home will be ready this August, and
the school will open its doors next September.
In a region filled with desolation and poverty, the contrast
between "religion" and faith is stark. "When they haven't eaten for three days, that's the reality that
they face. We bring in ministry that provides for need and, in providing for
that need, we develop relationships with people, and then we can share, over
time, the TRUE Gospel."
Volunteers are needed for construction projects, medical
clinics, to distribute shoes through the "Shoes for Orphan Souls" program, and
to work with foster children under the care of Bright Hope. Teams will work in
the capital of Addis Ababa
and in other locations throughout the country.