Boarding Ethiopian flight ET501 for Addis Ababa. Capturing Grace for Hawassa Hope in Hawassa, Ethiopia

“Dear God… please bless unkie Ronnie….” It was baby christina’s first prayer for me and it was precious, her words alternated between english, Malayalam and Tamil, but the message of love for me was unmistakable. 

Christina’s eyes were closed and her little hand clasped mine as the Paul family became my own in a circle of prayer. These times together before my international departures have become a tradition that I treasure. 

It’s hard to believe that Christina will be four years old in December. Her characteristic “hard to get” game has turned into enthusiastic hugs when I arrive and tears when I leave. 

On this day, as I stepped into the Paul home, Christina announced my presence to her father with a very enthusiastic “unkie Ronnie is here!!” along with a simultaneous, overly dramatic flourish with her arms and hands for emphasis.

This morning, as my plane prepares to take off from DC for a 14 hour flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I can still hear baby Christina’s prayer and feel the presence of God. The love is unmistakable and I am grateful. Life is a miracle, never to be taken for granted, everyday is precious. 

Take someone’s hand today and let them know how much they are loved. 


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