Those are just a few adjectives that describe Jeff Butler, our board member and Adoption Ministry 1:27 Director. He and his wife Chris are a vital and well-loved part of our Adoption Ministry family. If you haven’t met them yet, you really need to! They have nine children, seven who are adopted (three from Ethiopia) and Jeff volunteers selflessly in directing the 1:27 program. The Butlers are financially committed to this ministry as well.
Recently, Jeff was honored as ‘Volunteer of the Year’ by the company he works for. He is directing the $5,000 grant he was awarded to Adoption Ministry of YWAM Ethiopia.
The company featured Jeff in a recent article in the employee newsletter which goes out to over 40,000 employees and brings tremendous exposure to our ministry. Here are some excerpts:
“Poverty is a prison that traps people. When we can give them a key to open the prison door, they run out and find freedom and hope,” says Jeff Butler, who recently won the Volunteer of the Year gold award. Two of Jeff’s peers nominated him for the award in recognition of his volunteer work as director of Adoption Ministry 1:27.
This U.S.-based charity focuses on humanitarian efforts in Ethiopia, with U.S. donors supporting Ethiopian counterparts through an adopt-a-family program. To date, this effort has provided financial assistance to more than 400 families fighting poverty and illness.
In a country where it’s commonplace for children to be left orphaned in the streets when a family can’t afford to care for them, the goal of Adoption Ministry 1:27 is to keep Ethiopian children with their parents. Jeff makes an annual two-week trip to Ethiopia at his own expense to monitor the progress of the program.
He explains that his goal in creating Adoption Ministry 1:27 was “to help stabilize these families and enable them to become self-sustaining by teaching them how to start small businesses.” Some of the businesses include injera (Ethiopian bread) baking, sewing, selling fruits and vegetables at the market and livestock raising.
Jeff credits his job for giving him the means to both have a large family and help so many other families through his volunteer work.
“I had visited several orphanages and saw what happens to children who lose their parents. I thought that if we could get upstream of the crisis, we could help vulnerable families before they disintegrated. We should not only adopt orphans, we should also help prevent orphans. This is what Adoption Ministry 1:27 is doing.”
Just back from his seventh visit to Ethiopia, he describes visiting a family of eight. “They were among the poorest I’ve seen. The father died, and the mother was left trying to care for the children. She had severe health problems and couldn’t work.”The children felt hopeless. They couldn’t go to school because they had no money for uniforms, books or lunches. Thankfully, a couple traveling with Jeff decided to support this needy family. Jeff says, “You should have seen the faces of the kids and mother when we told them the news.”
Jeff says he’s very thankful to the Foundation for awarding a $5,000 grant to his nonprofit and for the many other grants he’s earned each time he logs 25 hours of volunteer service.
“I believe it is the mark of a great company that understands the value of serving and giving back. The award means more desperate families will see a brighter future.”
His reward? “My reward is seeing lives change one family at a time. We can all do something, and that might mean everything to someone else.”
If you would like to read more about Adoption Ministry 1:27 please visit our website here. Jeff is also available to come to your church to share opportunities for congregations to partner with us. We are seeking an interested church to adopt one of our YWAM project areas, similar to what Brooklake Church and Lake City Church in Washington state have done (read more here). Please contact us at: email@example.com for more information.