Eileen just called me from Ethiopia to tell me that Solomon was named Valedictorian of the Graduating class of Infonet College! Over 400 students received their diplomas and Solomon had the highest overall score of 95.76% ! Isn't that awesome? He scored the highest in the class, even though he missed an exam a couple of months ago when he was sick with food poisoning. Otherwise his score would have been higher! Wow!
Eileen was in tears as she was describing what happened. She and Georgie (who videotaped it all) were so surprised as Misganaw interpreted the announcement. Solomon was shocked! He was told he was going to receive an award but he did not expect this. When he received his award, he was given an opportunity to say a few words so he said,
"I could not have done this without God and my Mom"
What a blessing to be a part of this special time! What if Eileen had not been there for this? Solomon would have had no one with whom to savor this moment. Even Misganaw's dad, who did not have a ticket and could not get into the graduation ceremony, was in tears when he heard the news.
"This is a work of God" he said.
Wait, there's more. After the ceremony, Eileen had to fight the crowd to get to Solomon. People were lining up to congratulate him. Eileen said he looked like a movie star, signing autographs. Girls were asking him for his phone number! Someone discussed with him the possibility of a sponsorship for admission into a university.
Solomon was overwhelmed. What a special time for a young man whose life was once as he described "without hope". I actually got a chance to congratulate him on the phone and tell him how proud I was of him.
Even the yearbook had had a full front page tribute to Solomon and his achievements.
On that page, he was quoted as saying,
"Thanks to God and to my Mom"
The other day Georgie bought a chain and a cross as gift to both Solomon and Misganaw. Solomon was so grateful that he cried. He said he had never experienced anything like this in his life. He also tasted Pizza for the first time in his life. He loved it! If you have been following this blog, you'll know that he had ice cream for the first time the other day.
Eileen had called me from a special reception that the school was hosting in honor of Solomon and the other award recipients. After this reception, they were all heading for Misganaw's house where they were having a graduation party for Solomon.
Do you see the value of investing in the life of an orphan? I am not talking about the giving of money. What I am describing is the giving of ourselves. Eileen has been privileged to pour her life into this young man for almost two years and God has shown us a glimpse of the fruit of that investment. God is so good!
In case you have been wondering why there have not been any posts lately, the internet situation is pretty bad there. Eileen has limited access to the internet at the guest house where they are staying, and there is only one dial-up connection. This means she has had to take turns with the other people that are staying there, and it also means that when the phone lines are down, as they were yesterday, she cannot communicate with us. She said she tried for 3 hours yesterday, but there was no dial tone. We did manage to video chat with her and Solomon on Friday night. It was pretty cool.
She said they went to see Tigist, the birth mom to Josiah, Keziah and Keren. She was doing great, and they even got video of her. They are meeting with her again tomorrow when Tigi is going to give Eileen some baby pictures of Josiah. Have you ever heard of anyone else with an Open International Adoption? This is just so awesome.
Yesterday, the gang all went to the Gladney Foster home where they got a chance to hug and kiss all the babies. They especially hugged and kissed (and photographed and videotaped) Mike and Teresa's new babies, and Andy and Veronica Kick's new son.
I am planning to call Eileen later today and hopefully I will more to report after that.