Friday, April 30, 2010

A Place to Worship

You've heard us talk about this little village on the blog before (with varying spellings!).  This very poor village lies on the outskirts of the town of Bulbula, about 122 miles south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Watch and Pray International Ministry (W&PIM) has trained missionaries to teach the message of salvation through Christ, taking the truth of the gospel and making it understandable.

In 2009, there were 108 heads of families who were converted to Christianity in Gutumuma. Those families represent 254 children! At the request of these families, community officials and the church leaders, the local government has provided about an acre and a half of property to this village.

W&PIM would like to secure funding for:

• construction of a worship center

• construction of a much-needed kindergarten

• a fence to surround the property.

• clean water which must be accessed and brought in to the construction site

• housing for many of the families in this village

• future guest house construction

The projected cost for these projects is $58,190 (USD).  We are believing God to supply every one of those requests!   As you look at the beautiful pictures below, taken March by Mike Monahan of Just Love Them Ministries, please pray for these new Christians and the project to provide them with a place to worship their Savior!

Many thanks to Mike and Dinah Monahan for providing us with so many great photos!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Her Name is Helen

She is 28-years-old. She is a full orphan and was raised by her grandmother who died three years ago and Helen now has no family. She found a job but fell and broke her arm so she could no longer work. She could not afford medical care so her arm never healed properly and she has difficulty doing manual labor, which is the only thing she knows to do.

Looking for love and stability, she became involved with a man and it wasn’t long before she discovered she was pregnant. The man of her dreams left her immediately upon hearing she was pregnant. She and the baby she gave birth to were destitute. They had no food and neighbors contributed bits of this and that to keep them alive.

When her baby was three months old, Helen turned to prostitution to earn enough bread for herself to keep her milk supply adequate. Hers was a hard life. She was beaten repeatedly and was constantly in fear of contracting HIV. Depression and hopelessness became her close companions and the deep pit of despair overwhelmed her when she again found herself to be with child. She tried several times to kill herself and her unborn baby through an overdose of drugs, taking poison and an unsuccessful attempt to hang herself. With each failed attempt she became more depressed.

I stood in her room and wrapped my arms around this beautiful woman and prayed. I can give her money to get an ultrasound and to have her sick 2-year-old girl seen by a doctor and to buy medicine. I cannot mend her broken spirit - only God can do that. So I pray.

I know we cannot help every case.  She is just the face of many similar situations in Ethiopia. But what if there was a refuge for women like her? How would Helen’s life be changed if she was surrounded with God’s love, didn’t have to worry about food, received prenatal care and had the opportunity to learn a skill and make a life plan?

God is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit …. Psalm 34:18

Living Hope Women's Center/Hope House Maternity Home out of Arizona is partnering with YWAM to open a maternity home and a pregnancy counseling service in Adama, Ethiopia. The staff is hired and is being trained and the facility is identified. More will be shared about this exciting new ministry as it progresses!

Monday, April 26, 2010


Earlier this month, one of our mission teams from Virginia Beach, VA was in the village of Gutumua.  (You can read more about that village here.)  In this small village after many years of evangelism and prayer on the part of Watch and Pray ministries, there have recently been many converts to Christianity.  Mark Wolbert, Adoption Ministry's missions director, joined the pastor of the church in baptizing 24 of the new converts.  These converts had been meeting to prepare for their baptism with the pastor of their church (no church building but services are under the trees on the African plain). The visiting team traveled in the van to the nearby lake and the Ethiopians loaded into horse carts to make their way to the same location.  It was a day full of rejoicing and celebration!

The site of the converts waiting on the shore for their turn was remarkable. Mark said that they were singing and clapping and raising their hands in affirmation of their new life in Christ.

Afterward, they all loaded up to head back to the village. They were welcomed by the villagers with beating drums and much rejoicing.  Mark said that he and the team were overwhelmed with blessing at being part of such a significant event in this village.   Imagine the celebration in heaven!!

"In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."  Luke 15:10

**Be sure to read one of the team member's posts about this day here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lots to Share

Designer babies, Designer god
An 'Extreme God Make-over'

A story of infertility and adoption from Ethiopia

Christianity Today - Orphans matter to God

 An Ethiopian adoption resource blog

Speckled Bird Art blog:  One  Two and Three
A professional photographer goes along with a family to meet
and bring home their son from Ethiopia

Why Adopt?
One family's answer

Friday, April 16, 2010

And now, for this commercial announcement...

Any of you grow up on this stuff?  Neither did I.  But suddenly it's made its way into our ministry!

If you receive any correspondence from Adoption Ministry via e-mail - newsletters, family updates, the YWAM e-Touch, etc... it means our messages are being accepted by your e-mail provider.  However, we've discovered - to our dismay - that some of our important e-mails are going straight into your SPAM folders!! 

One of our adopting families thought we didn't love them - they weren't getting replies to the questions they sent us and thought we just didn't care!  One of the things we consider at the top of our list is our communication with our families so you can imagine how awful it was to know this family felt ignored. 

So... can I ask a favor?  Would you please add to your e-mail address books/contact lists if you've signed up for our newsletter?  And if you should be receiving email from us about adoption, be sure you have our e-mail addresses in there too!  And please go check your spam folders - they may contain some important stuff!

Now go make yourself a good sandwich!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mission Team in Ethiopia

We have a team of people from a church in Virginia Beach, VA who are in Ethiopia right now, serving at one of our orphanages, at YWAM's Children's Home, in several villages and in the city of Addis Ababa. 

Mark Wolbert, our missions director at lunch with the team at
YWAM's Children's Home

Here is an excerpt from the blog they are posting on while in Ethiopia:

Friday at the Leper Colony...

The Leper Colony is a sight to see! It looks like any other huge neighborhood; houses, streets, stores, a school and clinics. The only difference is the houses are really shacks made out of scrap metal or mud and straw and they are on right next to each other. The streets are made out of rubble, rocks and dirt. The stores are tiny little rooms crammed full of almost anything. The school is dilapidated and the school uniforms (which are required for every student) are literally falling off the children. The clinics are small and full of people.

Our first stop in the Leper Colony was the Christian Church, which is about 20 x 30. The walls are made up blue tarps and the roof is made of pieces of scrap metal. There are benches and plastic chairs for the church members to sit on and the dirt floor is partly covered by pieces of a canvas type material. We met the Pastor and other Church Leaders who were so excited for us to be here with them! After the initial greetings and prayers it was off to work. We had wheat and coal to separate, Children's Health Kits to organize and candy to pass out to the children and adults. When the wheat and coal were in family size bags, we were off to deliver them.

It really is something when you can hand a bag of food to a woman who, along with her children, is hungry. To know that you have just given her enough food (20 kg) to last for 10 days . . . but to understand that she will make it last longer so her children won't go hungry. To see the gratitude on her face is a sight we will never forget.

We visited and delivered wheat, salt and coal to 34 families in the colony . . . and countless pieces of candy to oodles of children and adults. To walk through the small doorways and meet the people literally where they live was very humbling. They have practically nothing, compared to us, but they are so excited to see us and have us in their homes. To experience this type of hospitality in such a place is awe inspiring.

Be sure to check out their blog:  Ethiopia Mission April 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Widows & Orphans Home Construction Update

We are building a brand new Widows and Orphans Home in Adama, thanks to the generous gift of Dean and Deb Hustler.  These photos were taken on March 24th and you'll notice a lot of progress since our last update. 

All of the concrete has been poured and it must now sit for 28 days.

So in the meantime, they are putting up pillars for the next story! 

A second story is for sometime in the future... right now we still need to raise money for a retaining wall, a bridge across the drainage ditch and a stone fence around the property. 

Can you see this facility full of 30 children and 10 widows?  There will be a clinic, dining hall, full kitchen and offices as well.  We give God all the glory and pray that He brings us many children to place in forever families!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Found in Blogland...

On taking a child with you when you travel to get your children

Never taking for granted the gift of a mom and a dad

@The Halvorson Family
(thanks Kristen!)

"Will the world change our children...or will our children change the world? Time is short and lives are at stake. Right now, God is inviting our families to become part of a bigger story—a vision that will engage hearts to make a radical difference. One Million Arrows is an inspirational call to raise our kids to impact their culture, community, and world for Christ. If we want our kids to discover their purpose, if we want them to live with passion for the Kingdom, if we want our family to go down in His-Story, accept the mission...and leave a mark for eternity."
@Soli Deo Gloria

Friday, April 2, 2010

Jesus - The Gift of Easter

With our newspapers and televisions filled with ads for toys to shower on kids for Easter, it's refreshing to remember there is only one Gift, given by the Father out of love and compassion, and He has already been given:  Jesus.  The best and perfect Gift!

How can we give our children that Gift?  I'd love to hear, in the comments below, ways you share the Gift of Jesus with your children.  How do you make Easter meaningful? 

Here is a great resource, passed along to me by one of our adoptive families.  It is The Jesus Film for Children and is available in many languages.  (The link here is for the Africa Volume 2 version, which includes English, Amharic and several other Ethiopian and African languages.)  This YWAM family is watching in Amharic first, then in English!  They adopted two 'older' children who haven't lost their Amharic and will hear every detail of Christ's life, death and resurrection in their own native tongue. 

You can also go to The Jesus Film Project website and watch a streaming version of the film - in Amharic or 100 other languages!  Campus Crusade is doing an amazing job to make this visual gospel available in over 1,000 languages across the world.  But I love this specific outreach to children! 

Happy Easter!  He is risen indeed!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Book Report - Learn Amharic!

Simple Amharic for Adoptive Families (available for ordering here) is a book and CD set that was highly recommended to us as we get ready to bring our sons home. A friend of mine brought her 8 year old son home a month ago and she told me it has been invaluable to their family. As we have spent time with this resource, we agree with my friend - it's probably going to be VERY useful to us!

The book and CD match up exactly - so as you listen to the CD, you can follow along in the book. The CD is an English speaker saying the English phrase, then a native Amharic speaker saying it in Amharic. The book is English on one side and the phonetic pronounciation of the Amharic word/phrase on the other.

The first 8-9 sections are phrases that, although are helpful, are long and a bit overwhelming for us! Chapters 10-12ish are the basic words... yes, no, thank you, please, stop, wait. The kids and I listen to those chapters over and over again. Learning the cadence of the language and pronounications, even in the small basic words, have already been a help. As we master the basic words, we'll graduate up to the longer phrases! Even if we don't master the longer phrases, I'm so glad we have them so in case we need to use them we can quickly open the book and at least read the phrase we need.

I think this is a great investment for any family bringing an Ethiopian child 18mo or older home. Even though the children will pick up on English quickly, it's still important to be able to comfort them and direct them in their heart language. We learned VERY basic Mandarin when we were preparing to travel to China to bring our 21 mo. old daughter home for two reasons:
   1) to be able to communicate with her on very basic level so that at least something was familiar to her and
   2) to be brave enough to try to talk to the Chinese adults.

People in other countries get so excited when you at least attempt to speak their language. I think it is a sign of respect for us to learn the basic phrases of our children's heart language. AND, although this isn't easy, we sure have had alot of fun learning and incorporating Amharic into our daily conversations!

written by Jeanette Stephens, YWAM adopting mom
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