All Sameson wanted was to belong. Through Compassion, he not only found his place, but also his value through Jesus Christ.
"My name is Sameson Tilahun. I still remember the day when my mother left me at my aunt’s house in Addis Ababa. For a long time, I believed she would come back for me. But she never did.
"In Addis, I spent my days tending to cattle and sheep. At five years old, I did this alone. I would sit there, watch cattle and cry.
From one world to another
"The course of my life changed when I was registered for the Compassion Child Sponsorship Programme. When my life seemed to be at a standstill, God sent Compassion to brighten my future.
"I can still remember my first day at the project. I saw many children my age playing and there were even different toys. It felt like I had gone from one world to another. The project was where I found my sisters and brothers who understood me. It’s where I grew up, with everything provided for me. It’s where I experienced family love and care.
"The support I got was beyond material provision. Because I was hurt in many ways, the project counselled me and helped me realise that I was capable of becoming whatever I wanted to be. They did this, with a lot of commitment, to every child in the project.
"Out of everything, I am most grateful for the chance to come to know the Lord. Six years after I joined the programme, I made a decision to follow Christ. It was at a children’s conference organised by the project. After that, the lessons at the project helped me get to know Christ more.
"I sometimes look at the other children who I grew up around and I try to imagine how my life would look if I hadn’t come to the project. Most of them are living in addiction and terrible conditions. If I hadn’t come to the project, I would be living that kind of lifestyle.
"Thanks to my sponsor, I was able to join school and take two years of woodwork training. These skills are now my source of income. I rent a woodworking shop where we make furniture – chairs, doors and even kitchen cabinets. There are five others from the community who work here and also make an income.
"My old project has even arranged for sponsored children to come to my workshop to receive training. I am very happy to be a role model, it’s a great privilege to be like an older brother to them. My story is proof that Jesus is changing lives through Compassion. I am so thankful that my sponsor decided to support me."
Watch Sameson's story, in his own words, in this video created by Compassion USA.Find an event near you