Assfu Halfon is one of the women chosen to receive a newly constructed house this year through Cross Catholic and the Daughters of Charity in Ethiopia.
Assfu’s current housing conditions are better than some – which is to say she has a bed to sleep in (only since she inherited one from her deceased father), and her wealthier neighbors have donated sheets and pillows. But unfortunately, she has a math problem.
The poor mother-of-four is paying about $15 per month to rent her tiny home with crumbling walls and a dirt floor. It’s a small amount, until you consider that she only earns about $18 per month from her job as a janitor, plus a little extra money washing clothes for her neighbors. That leaves very little to purchase food to feed her three daughters and one son. And to make matters worse, she is going blind. Assfu lost her right eye in 2010 because of glaucoma, and now she may need surgery for her left eye also.
But there is hope. It struck me that the Bible verse hanging on her wall is Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” I don’t know whether she understands the words, written in English. But the images of Christ and St. Michael that decorate her home need no translation. They remind me of how, in the Bible, the poor were always seeking Jesus, because they knew they were lost without him.
I look forward to seeing Assfu and her children move into their new home, where they will no longer be burdened by unaffordable rent, so they can use their money for food and medical care. It’s an honor to be used by God to help his people, so they can truly say, on earth as in heaven, “I shall not want.”