The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Everybody Has a Story

February 7, 2011

A story of sacrifice

CADDO MILLS — Feb. 3 marked the 100th day that 15-year-old Block has given up her school lunch money, approximately $2 a day, to Lifesong for Orphans, which in turn gives it to the Adami Tulu preschool in Ziway, Ethiopia. Instead of using that money to purchase lunch, she brings soup — the same kind of soup that the children attending the African preschool eat every day.

Why Ethiopia? Because Block recently paid a visit to Ziway in March, along with her mother, Amy, to bring home Block’s baby sister, Havyn.

Block has eight siblings. Travis, Keegan and Kal are her siblings, related by blood, and Mya, Aliegha, Kaden, Carson and, of course, Havyn are her adoptive siblings.

Her first adoptive sibling was brought home from Guatemala in 2004, when Block was 9 years old.

While Block was completely on board with the adoption, as were the rest of the family, she didn’t know at the time how adopting a child would change her entire family, her entire life.

“When you’re 9 years old, it’s pretty important to you that you are like everyone else,” said Block. “It’s pretty important to you that you fit in. I remember wanting to dress like my friends, talk like my friends and do the same things as my friends.”

However, when they brought home Aleigha, her family no longer “looked” like everyone else. They had become a multi-racial, adoptive family with five children.

“It was sort of hard for me to pretend I was just like everyone else anymore, because God had called our family to be different,” she said.

Due in part to the family’s adoptions, Block has had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala, where she worked at Eagles Nest Orphanage, and Ethiopia, where she spent a day with missionaries Gary and Peggy Ifft at the Adami Tulu Preschool.

“I’m pretty sure I left a piece of my heart there,” said Block. “I have a quote hanging on my bedroom wall that reads ‘When you walk with God, you always reach your destination,’ and I had reached mine.”

Being at the preschool that day made Block realize how much she took for granted.

“I couldn’t open my closet door and see 12 pairs of shoes without thinking about those with none,” said Block. “I couldn’t go to the mall with friends and spend $15 on yet another T-shirt knowing that that $15 would have fed five children at the preschool for a month. I couldn’t just be a regular American teenage girl anymore. I was different. And different, I realized, is a good thing.”

Block’s forfeiture alone has yielded $200 to the cause, but it doesn’t stop there. Through her efforts, people have picked up on the idea via her family’s blog and Facebook page. Now, more than 200 people have committed to take part in Block’s sacrifice in some way. Some forfeited their lunch money on Feb. 3, Block’s 100-day anniversary, with all money going to Lifesong for Orphans to help the children Block fell in love with in Ethiopia. Many, however, are donating a good deal more than just their lunch money.

“A mere $3 feeds a child at the preschool for one month,” said Amy Block, Addisyn’s very proud mother. “It may just be one meal, but often times it’s their only meal of the day.

In addition to this $2 a day sacrifice, Addisyn has also raised money to help buy the preschool children’s uniforms and backpacks. She did this by forfeiting birthday and Christmas presents, raffling off a Nintendo Wii and hosting luncheons at Paradise Baptist Church in Caddo Mills, where they served the same African soup Block has been eating for the past 100 days, including bad weather days.

“What to some may seem a small gift, God sees the heart behind her efforts,” said Amy. “He sees a child willing to give up the little she has for others who have nothing. Through a simple bowl of soup God has taught Addisyn so many lessons in sacrifice and integrity.”

 

To read more about Addisyn’s experiences and the Block family visit www.buildingtheblocks.blogspot.com or visit the One Day – One Lunch Project page on Facebook. For more information on Lifesong for Orphans visit www.lifesongfororphans.org.

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