Team Member – Teshome Wakene

With wife Alem and son Kia

International Community

The Way to Mend the Broken System of Human Relation

I am one of the luckiest and blessed person to be a friend and mentored by you. Mack, all my adult life, I have been working in humanitarian activities in one way or another. Out of all the things I have done in my life nothing gave me joy more than wrapping a blanket around frost bitten person when I was volunteering in relief activity with Ethiopian Red Cross Society in DebreBirhan, Ethiopia; and helping HIV/AIDS victims when I was working with DKT International/Ethiopia. But, when I learn the vision of Community Renewal International and saw what has been accomplished over twenty years in Shreveport Louisiana and learned about its activities both locally and internationally, I realized the greater purpose it stood for and I made a promise to myself to be a part of this activity that change people’s heart and make the world a better place for ourselves and our offspring in the future.

I had an opportunity twice to visit Community Renewal International and its activities in Shreveport, Louisiana. The first time I visited, I was so amazed and wowed. I realized that if men and women and all children of God, regardless of their religion, race or creed, come together for such a mighty purpose as mending the broken rope of relationship, it could become a tangible reality. The evidence is that with CRI’s effort in Louisiana the crime rate has dropped dramatically in high crime prevalence neighborhoods; the poor and impoverished neighborhoods have been revitalized; young children, who lack assistance for their education, got free tutoring and were cared for; homeless people were given a home and hope; peoples’ outlook have changed in the way they think about each other – the neighbors who were not used to greeting each other now party with each other and discuss how to make their relationship even better. The “we care” placards are posted in front yard of thousands of homes symbolizing that members of those households are supporters, caring and driving forces of CRI. At the conclusion of my two day visit, I admired the effort of every one; employed or who volunteered for the wonderful accomplishment and spent time reading all the literature that I brought home with me and answered my questions of “how”.

The second time I visited was October 2014, two years to the day of joyfully becoming a U.S. citizen. It was during the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of Community Renewal International (CRI). During this time, both cities of Bossier and Shreveport were dressed up and shined with perfect attire to the event. All pages of the local papers were filled with pictures and history of CRI. The presence of former President Jimmy Carter to celebrate this event with the people was the highlight of the celebration. The community renewal team from Africa, with their traditional attire made the event so colorful and created an opportunity for experience sharing. During this event I had a chance to meet with many people, staff, volunteers and other people from the airport to my hotel and while touring both cities, everyone knew about CRI and aware of what is being done and the whole city was part of the celebration. While sitting on the third row behind former President of the United States on the stage in auditorium, (which was a rare chance by itself for me) I prayed that this torchlight should go forward touching all cities and villages around the world. The auditorium was filled with people from all walks of life cheering up for the Journey that CRI has taken over twenty years. At the conclusion of my 2nd visit I was fully convinced that it is not religion that will change the broken relationship of the world, nor government policies or conventional campaigns that are often imposed on people, but learning and following what is happening in Community Renewal International. I also committed myself to be part and play a role not merely by words but with every intentional act of caring. Now I have a clear vision on how I can be part of it. As a symbol of my commitment I started a small, but recurring, donation since October and also have made myself available to work with Washington D.C.’s “We care Team” and beyond as situations avail itself.

Mack praise the lord for God’s calling to make you the founder and frontrunner of this blessed journey and thank you for dedicating your life for this noble purpose and personally for being my mentor.

God bless!!
Teshome Wakene

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