Meet Bifa

August 10, 2015 | Written by PRC Staff

test vid 63Bifa.

Maybe it was his contagious smile. Maybe it was his easy-to-pronounce name in a sea of names that were hard to remember, let alone say. Or maybe it was our first exchange that made Bifa stand out in my mind.

One by one our team stepped out of the van onto the dirt road, introducing ourselves to Bifa. It was just a normal set of introductions until Becky Cleveland introduced herself. Bifa’s immediate response was – oh, Becky, that is my mother’s name. I remember Becky’s smile and her surprised confusion – “Becky” surely isn’t a common Ethiopian name. With a language barrier, it’s always hard to tell if something was misunderstood. But soon we were playing soccer, learning songs, and pressing stickers onto the hands of children in the school yard, and the interaction over Becky’s name had slipped away.

Bifa is the director of Leku Keta’s school and the program coordinator for World Orphan’s Home Based Care (HBC) program. He is the bridge between Pulpit Rock and Leku Keta, caring for the children and families we are sponsoring.

It turns out he’s also a former Compassion child. Bifa graduated from the Compassion program six years ago, but when conversation turned to his sponsors, he reached into his pants pocket and pulled out their picture. There was his “mother,” Becky. Being raised by his grandmother, he called his Compassion sponsors his mother and father.

IMGP2313My husband, Mark, works at Compassion and was called over to hear Bifa’s story and see the picture of his sponsors. Mark wanted Bifa’s sponsors to see the amazing man their sponsored child had grown into. He wanted to tell them about the children who chased after us on the road to our home visits calling Bifa! Bifa!, the children who sang and laughed with him at the school, and the church leaders who clearly held him high esteem. So Mark took a video and pictures of Bifa in hopes of locating the sponsors to update them on Bifa.

Within a couple weeks of leaving Ethiopia, Mark had found and connected with Bifa’s sponsors. The husband was brought to tears on the phone as Mark shared about Bifa pulling their photo out of his pocket. And the video provided them a first “face to face” meeting with their sponsored child who they had never met outside of letters and photos.

It was an unexpected gift to meet Bifa.


For Mark and me it deepened our personal connection with Leku Keta and the kids Pulpit Rock sponsors through World Orphans. It also deepened the meaning of the work Mark does at Compassion.

And it was a glimpse of the power of partnerships with local churches through organizations like Compassion and World Orphans, the Body of Christ standing together to say “yes” when God shows us what to do.

Written by Corrie Dunkerton


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