Elias* held the live chicken in his hands calmly. To most teenage boys, a full grown, live chicken might not be much of a reward or gift, but to Elias, it was so much more than just a gift. It was evidence of his hard work paying off and for being seen by the adults in his life.
Elias, the newest Hope Student to call Agape Hope Home his home, had to grow up rather quickly. He was born and lived most of his adolescence in the village near the Back2Back-partnered education center in Nigeria. At a young age, he lost his father. His consistent attendance at the Education Center and his hard work made him an exceptional candidate for the Hope Education Program. When he was finally accepted, staff were excited for him to experience his new role in a family.
He has transitioned well into Agape and is already learning so much from Nehemiah, Hope parent at the home. Music is a huge part of the culture at Agape, and Nehemiah spends time teaching each of the teens how to play various instruments, singing, and leading worship. Elias picked up playing instruments quickly and has shown what a natural gift for music he has, a gift he’d never realized he had before now.
Elias had a great deal of responsibility and independence before he became a Hope student, and Nehemiah wanted to honor that part of his story and further foster it. They purchased chickens to raise, and Elias immediately volunteered to take care of everything, telling Nehemiah and the other teens they didn’t need to worry about a thing. He did not disappoint as he worked hard and raised 25 chickens. Nehemiah was impressed with Elias’s dedication and wanted to reward his commitment and hard work by giving him one whole chicken. Nehemiah told Elias he could sell it for money or he could use the chicken for food (chicken is seen as quite a treat in Nigeria, so this was a very special gift.)
Elias brought with him to the Hope Program a focus and dedication that can be hard to come by in growing teens, and he has used it to serve his Hope family well. He is also learning new roles within family-style living, like child, recipient, and learner. Please pray with us that Elias would continue to grow in humility and character as he is in an environment which fosters both his heart and his mind.